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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)
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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 Reginald Beckwith ... Harry
Gene Anderson Gene Anderson ... May
Renée Asherson ... Angela
Arthur Christiansen Arthur Christiansen ... 'Jeff' Jefferson - Editor
Austin Trevor ... Sir John Kelly
Edward Underdown Edward Underdown ... Dick Sanderson
Ian Ellis Ian Ellis ... Michael Stenning
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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:

Never leave atomic bombs where children can reach them. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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:

£200,000 (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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film received an "X" certificate from the British Board of Film Censors upon release in 1961, barring anyone under sixteen from seeing it. See more »

Goofs

In the film, two simultaneous nuclear explosions tilt the Earth's axis and change its orbit trajectory. The Earth is in fact far too massive to be moved appreciably by any man-made explosion. See more »

Quotes

Peter Stenning: Well, Billy boy, they got me doing your homework. Five hundred words on sun-spots.
Bill Maguire: Have you seen the figures on some of these Earth tremors?
Peter Stenning: It's another planet trying to contact us.
[He picks up his empty coffee mug and speaks into it]
Peter Stenning: This is Earth. Are you receiving me? Are you receiving me? You are?
Peter Stenning: Well get knotted.
Peter Stenning: [He sets the mug down again]
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

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

Light Cavalry Overture
(uncredited)
Written by Franz von Suppé
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An all-time classic.
19 May 2004 | by docpSee all my reviews

This is truly an all-time classic. It is a genuine gem from beginning to end. Its date of 1961 should not be allowed to put you off as you will find here a gripping film with truly serious overtones and a very worrying conclusion. The acting is excellent and the story-line convincingly brought out. The tension builds up throughout the duration of the film and the end of the film really makes one think. The special effects are more-than-adequate - indeed, no more is needed. Shot in dramatic black and white this film deserves a place on everyone's DVD shelf. If you haven't yet seen it, then don't hesitate a moment longer as you are missing one of the best sci-fi films of all time.


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