7.1/10
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78 user 71 critic

The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)

Unrated | | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi | May 1962 (USA)
When the U.S. and Russia unwittingly test atomic bombs at the same time, it alters the nutation (axis of rotation) of the Earth.

Director:

Val Guest

Writers:

Wolf Mankowitz (written for the screen by), Val Guest (written for the screen by)
Reviews
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Janet Munro ... Jeannie Craig
Leo McKern ... Bill Maguire
Edward Judd ... Peter Stenning
Michael Goodliffe ... 'Jacko' Jackson - Night Editor
Bernard Braden Bernard Braden ... 'Dave' Davis - News Editor
Reginald Beckwith ... Harry
Gene Anderson Gene Anderson ... May
Renée Asherson ... Angela
Arthur Christiansen Arthur Christiansen ... 'Jeff' Jefferson - Editor
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Storyline

Hysterical panic has engulfed the world after the United States and the Soviet Union simultaneously detonate nuclear devices causing a change to the nutation (axis of rotation) of the Earth. Written by Fernando <diamond@argenet.com.ar>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The INCREDIBLE becomes Real! The IMPOSSIBLE becomes Fact! The UNBELIEVABLE becomes True! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Edward Judd was not the first choice for the role of Peter Stenning. The character was originally written with Richard Burton in mind (hence the drinking, womanizing and snappy dialogue of the character) but the producers could not afford to hire him. Peter Finch was also contemplated but was unavailable. See more »

Goofs

The multiple camera lights are visible by the reflections on the body of Stennings' car when he drives to Jeannies flat and pulls up behind the parked Police car. The lights are also reflected on the body of the police car too. See more »

Quotes

[Bill asks Peter what is bothering him]
Bill Maguire: It's the kid, isn't it?
Peter Stenning: You ought to see the way they're bringing him up, Bill. It'll be the right prep school next. And then the right boarding school. And by the time they finish with him, he'll be a right bowler-hatted, who's-for-tennis, toffee-nosed gent, but he won't be MY son.
Bill Maguire: Oh, I don't know. That bad blood of yours is bound to come out.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no end credits whatsoever (not even a "The End" caption); merely a fade to black. See more »

Alternate Versions

Although listed as cut by the BBFC, the then censor John Trevelyan passed the film uncut according to his memoirs. The 'X' certificate was given due to the subject matter, and occasional tough language, being unsuitable for anyone under the age of 16. Video and DVD releases are now rated PG. See more »

Connections

References Annie Get Your Gun (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

Camptown Races
(uncredited)
Composed by Stephen Foster
See more »

User Reviews

 
An all-time classic
30 November 2000 | by NymChimpskySee all my reviews

This has got to be one of the best sci-fi films ever made. Great plot, snappy and witty script, characters with real depth and histories, and a (debatably) great ending. What more could you ask for?

Although the plot is quite similar to that of 'When Worlds Collide', the realism of the characters and setting really lift the whole film far above its contemporaries. Its use of journalists to tell the story is similar to that of many of the classic works of literary science fiction (HG Wells' War Of The Worlds or John Wyndham's Kraken Wakes for example) and it follows a similar apocalyptic template as well.

The theme of mankind's actions causing havoc for the globe, which was originally a criticism of the cold war, is still very relevant today for quite different reasons. The parallel with global warming is obvious, and the graphic depiction of the effects of this are all the more disturbing because we see similar effects, on a smaller scale, around the world on a day to day basis. The film is shocking in its bleak vision of the havoc that mankind has brought upon himself.

Basically, this is the benchmark for all serious science-fiction, and makes a perfect partner for the other great of the cold war era, "The Day the Earth Stood Still".


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

May 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Day the Earth Caught Fire See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pax Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Black and White (with tinted sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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