The Twilight Zone: Season 1, Episode 8

Time Enough at Last (20 Nov. 1959)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Fantasy, Horror, Mystery
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 9.1/10 from 2,476 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 3 critic

A henpecked book lover finds himself blissfully alone with his books after a nuclear war.



(teleplay by), (based on a short story by), 1 more credit »
Watch Episode
0Check in

Watch Now

Free at IMDb


TV Spotlight: The Top 10 Episodes of "The Walking Dead"

We've curated a list of the top 10 episodes of "The Walking Dead" according to the IMDb user ratings.

Read More

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 25 titles
created 02 Jul 2011
a list of 25 titles
created 02 Jan 2013
a list of 25 titles
created 07 Apr 2013
a list of 35 titles
created 1 month ago
a list of 27 titles
created 1 month ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Time Enough at Last (20 Nov 1959)

Time Enough at Last (20 Nov 1959) on IMDb 9.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Twilight Zone.
« Previous Episode | 8 of 156 Episodes | Next Episode »





Episode complete credited cast:
Jacqueline deWit ...
Helen Bemis (as Jaqueline deWit)
Lela Bliss ...


Henry Bemis loves to read. The only problem is that he can find neither the time nor the place to enjoy his pastime. At work, his boss has let him know in no uncertain terms that he is not to read during working hours. At home, his shrewish wife won't even let him read a newspaper, let alone a book. One day, he sneaks down to the vault in the bank's basement to read a bit and suddenly, there is a huge explosion above. He emerges to find the world destroyed in a nuclear holocaust. He does find books from the library and he sees a great deal of reading time ahead of him. Except for one small unintended event. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis





Release Date:

20 November 1959 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Out of the 92 episodes of The Twilight Zone (1959) written by Rod Serling, this was his personal favorite. See more »


Mr. Bemis expects to live "years and years and years" post-attack. In 1959, the effects of nuclear fallout were still under initial study and not widely understood. We see Bemis emerging from the bank vault more or less immediately after a thermonuclear blast (bomb-shelter protocol says to wait at least two weeks for the worst of the radioactivity to decay), eating packaged food that was probably irradiated, etc. So even with his glasses, Bemis would have not lived to enjoy his books for very long. See more »


Narrator: [Opening Narration] Witness Mr. Henry Bemis, a charter member in the fraternity of dreamers. A bookish little man whose passion is the printed page but who is conspired against by a bank president and a wife and a world full of tongue-cluckers and the unrelenting hands of a clock. But in just a moment, Mr. Bemis will enter a world without bank presidents or wives or clocks or anything else. He'll have a world all to himself - without anyone.
See more »


Referenced in The Pinball Arcade (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The tale of a bank worker who yearns to be a book keeper.
8 June 2012 | by (Edinburgh.) – See all my reviews

"Time Enough At Last" is an episode of The Twilight Zone that many people will rate as the number one of all time. It's definitely in the top five, easily, and it's one of those episodes that has such a great punchline you may already be well aware of it even if you haven't seen it. Don't let that put you off though, there is still so much to enjoy here with the usual high standard of writing and a faultless performance from Burgess Meredith in the lead role.

Meredith plays Henry Bemis, a bank worker who just loves to read. The problem is that his wife (Jacqueline DeWit) doesn't allow him to indulge in his favourite pastime. Poor Henry doesn't get a minute to himself with any reading material and resorts to sneakily reading at work whenever he gets the chance. He uses his lunch break to go down to the bank vault and read a few precious pages, a habit that leads him directly into The Twilight Zone on one fateful day.

Written by Rod Serling, from the short story by Lynn Venable, and directed by John Brahm, there is really nothing here to find fault with. Okay, the actual central premise is something we now know to be pretty impossible but ignorance is bliss - watch the episode and grow to love the central character as horror overwhelms his life in a variety of ways.

Not to detract from any other aspect of the production, Burgess Meredith takes this episode from greatness to unmissable classic. His portrayal of the bespectacled Henry Bemis is absolutely wonderful from start to finish. It would be wrong to generalise and say that TV performances are often overlooked (TV has often proved to be a great touchstone between live stage work and movies) but I think it would be completely within reason to argue that great performances like this one are often slightly overshadowed by the umbrella of the TV show itself. If you can name me five one-off TV performances as good as this work by Meredith then I will do my best to see them and appreciate such great acting.

This is essential viewing for anyone who is a fan of the show, a fan of Burgess Meredith or just a fan of some of the finest acting you could hope to see.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Large plot hole in Perchance To Dream? dinkywinky123
Best season four episode? rogers-kyle
Five Characters in Search of an Exit rogers-kyle
I Sing the Body Electric gasmaskproductionsbooks
July 4th Marathon steely3000
This might be a good time to start the hotties of the TZ thread gary135r
Discuss Time Enough at Last (1959) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page