7.1/10
4,193
71 user 67 critic

The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)

Unrated | | Drama, Sci-Fi, Romance | 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

Watch Now

From $3.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A dying scientist pushes forward his project to tap through to the Earth's magma layer, with results that threaten to destroy the Earth as we know it.

Director: Andrew Marton
Stars: Dana Andrews, Janette Scott, Kieron Moore
Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

As a new star and planet hurtle toward a doomed Earth, a small group of survivalists frantically work to complete the rocket which will take them to their new home.

Director: Rudolph Maté
Stars: Richard Derr, Barbara Rush, Peter Hansen
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

After an unusual meteor shower leaves most of the human population blind, a merchant navy officer must find a way to conquer tall, aggressive plants which are feeding on people and animals.

Directors: Steve Sekely, Freddie Francis
Stars: Howard Keel, Nicole Maurey, Janette Scott
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

During the Cold War, a RN warrant officer stationed in the British Embassy in Warsaw leaks secrets to his Polish girlfriend who's a Soviet agent and after his transfer to a naval station in Britain he joins a Soviet spy ring.

Director: Robert Tronson
Stars: Bernard Lee, William Sylvester, Margaret Tyzack
Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

When a spaceship lands on the moon, it is hailed as a new accomplishment, before it becomes clear that a Victorian party completed the journey in 1899, leading investigators to that mission's last survivor.

Director: Nathan Juran
Stars: Edward Judd, Martha Hyer, Lionel Jeffries
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The European Space Exploration Council sends two astronauts to explore a planet similar to the Earth but located on the opposite side of the sun.

Director: Robert Parrish
Stars: Roy Thinnes, Ian Hendry, Patrick Wymark
Jet Storm (1959)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Sir Richard Attenborough plays Ernest Tilley, a man who lost his daughter in a hit-and-run accident. He tracks down the man responsible for the accident and boards the same plane, ... See full summary »

Director: Cy Endfield
Stars: Richard Attenborough, Stanley Baker, Hermione Baddeley
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In Britain, a Manchester police inspector becomes obsessed with capturing a criminal who escapes from prison.

Director: Val Guest
Stars: Stanley Baker, John Crawford, Donald Pleasence
Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Stranded on Mars with only a monkey as a companion, an astronaut must figure out how to find oxygen, water, and food on the lifeless planet.

Director: Byron Haskin
Stars: Paul Mantee, Victor Lundin, Adam West
Jigsaw (1962)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A woman is found murdered in a house along the coast from Brighton. Local detectives Fellows and Wilks lead an investigation methodically following up leads and clues mostly in Brighton and... See full summary »

Director: Val Guest
Stars: Jack Warner, Ronald Lewis, Yolande Donlan
Hell in Korea (1956)
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

During the Korean War retreat in 1951, a small British recon group is surrounded by Chinese troops and holds out in a lonely temple atop a hill.

Director: Julian Amyes
Stars: Stephen Boyd, Ronald Lewis, George Baker
The Bargee (1964)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Hemel Pike is a canal barge casanova, aided and abetted by his illiterate cousin, Ronnie. Hemel has a girl in every town along his route, and each one is intent on marriage. He is finally ... See full summary »

Director: Duncan Wood
Stars: Harry H. Corbett, Hugh Griffith, Eric Sykes
Edit

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 Reginald Beckwith ... Harry
Gene Anderson Gene Anderson ... May
Renée Asherson ... Angela
Arthur Christiansen Arthur Christiansen ... 'Jeff' Jefferson - Editor
Edit

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 | Sci-Fi | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

May 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Day the Earth Caught Fire See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

GBP200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pax Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Opening credits: The events and characters depicted in this photoplay are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. See more »

Goofs

Only the extreme left-hand side of Peter Stenning's article "If you find your TV set has developed a nasty measle rash" is about sunspots, as per the dialogue. The remainder is a review of a newly-released book on jazz, referencing John Dankworth and Benny Green. See more »

Quotes

[Jeannie is working as a telephone operator; this is the first time she's talking with Peter Stenning, just a few sentences later]
Peter Stenning: Listen, your job is to pass messages on, when you're asked!
Jeannie Craig: My job is to do what I'm told by the people who gave me the job, and anyway, this isn't my job; I'm from the Pool.
Peter Stenning: Well, then why don't you dive back in and drown?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits say introducing Edward Judd, but he has 39 listed credits before this movie. See more »

Alternate Versions

According to director Val Guest, there were two versions of the film. The original version had a topless scene with Janet Munro, and "one for the Americans" in which she has a strategically placed towel around her neck. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Matinee (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
The Day the Earth Caught Fire
3 March 2004 | by EdgarSTSee all my reviews

1961's "The Day the Earth Caught Fire" must be judged according to the parameters of classics as 1951's "The Day the Earth Stood Still", and not today's special effects mega productions in which the perspective of the disappearance of planet Earth is taken with cynic humor. The idea came to director Val Guest during the Cold War in 1954, and it is under that decade's spirit that the movie is better appreciated. I remember seeing it when it opened, and I've never forgotten that experience, specially its tinted sequence. Forty-three years later I am able to see it again, and it's still the same notable film, not the least affected by today's cinematic technology, because, in its core, Guest's motivation -the worry for the actions of mindless men who struggle to control the Earth- is still relevant. If it's not highly regarded today as "The Day the Earth Stood Still", I think it has to do with the fact that Universal sold it as a B movie in America (though not so by British Lion in the UK, where it was a huge success, and won the film industry's top prize for its screenplay) and because not too many critics paid attention to it and wrote positive reviews, establishing it as an important science-fiction movie since then. Although there are very few re-enacted disaster scenes and it relies upon footage of real catastrophes, the tension is handled effectively in the newspaper's office where most of the action takes place, with its overlapping dialogues and constant flow of new information; and in the development of the romantic story in the midst of violence and terror in the streets. Edward Judd, Janet Munro and Leo McKern contribute good performances to this fine movie, shot in wide-screen Dyaliscope.


58 of 64 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 71 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed