The British Film Institute presents the best global cinema on-demand:
From classic and contemporary films to the best of the BFI National Archive.

The Day the Earth Caught Fire
The Day the Earth Caught Fire

The Day the Earth Caught Fire 1961


This film is certified

Please confirm that you accept our terms of use.


The Day the Earth Caught Fire 1961 PG

United Kingdom Director. Val Guest

When the USA and Russia simultaneously test atomic bombs, the earth is knocked off its axis and set on a collision course with the sun. Peter Stenning (Edward Judd), a washed-up Daily Express reporter, breaks the story and sets about investigating the government cover-up.

With strong performances (Leo McKern is a stand-out), a vivid depiction of the world of newspaper journalism, and extensive location shooting on the streets of London, Val Guest delivers one of the best British sci-fi films.

Restoration supported by Simon W. Hessel

Directed by

Val Guest


Janet Munro

Leo McKern

Edward Judd


Sci fi Science Fiction Sci fi


Tomorrow's World Sci fi






United Kingdom



Production company

Melina Productions

Read lessRead more
Part of

1,000s of beautifully preserved films, capturing 120 years of Britain on Film

The map

Explore further

View 80,000 Suspects
80,000 Suspects

80,000 Suspects 1963 PG

A race-against-time thriller about a smallpox outbreak that shatters the serenity of idyllic Bath.

113 mins United Kingdom

View Jigsaw

Jigsaw 1961

The chopped-up corpse of an unknown woman is found in a trunk. Who was she and whodunit? A Brighton police detective hunts for motive and murderer.

107 mins United Kingdom Director. Val Guest

View The Man Who Fell to Earth
The Man Who Fell to Earth

The Man Who Fell to Earth 1976 18

Nicolas Roeg’s cult sci-fi stars David Bowie as an alien attempting to amass a fortune to save his home planet, but unable to escape his decadent earthly lifestyle.

133 mins United Kingdom Director. Nicolas Roeg

View Flash Gordon
Flash Gordon

Flash Gordon 1980 PG

Sam J. Jones stars as the quintessential comic strip hero, out to save the Earth from Ming the Merciless, in Mike Hodges’ visually ravishing sci-fi.

115 mins Netherlands Director. Mike Hodges

View Godzilla (1954)
Godzilla (1954)

Godzilla (1954) 1954 PG

The original Godzilla - arguably the definitive monster movie - both a bold metaphor for the atomic age and a thrilling powerhouse of pioneering special effects.

92 mins Japan Director. Ishiro Honda

View Under the Skin
Under the Skin

Under the Skin 2013 15

An alien Scarlett Johansson prowls the streets of Glasgow in Jonathan Glazer’s astonishing, mind-bending mixture of existential sci-fi and inner-city realism.

108 mins United Kingdom Director. Jonathan Glazer


View All

Welcome to a new subscription service like no other.

>100s of hand-picked classics and critically-acclaimed films

>Critic Mark Kermode picks a must-see film every week

>No contract, cancel anytime

Cookies Policy

This website uses cookies, as explained in our Cookies Policy.

To accept the terms and hide this message please click 'I accept'.

I accept

Passionate about film? So are we…

Don't miss the email made for the in-the-know film fan:

New releases — on the same day as in cinemas Special collections & unheralded classics Exclusive news on discounts

Never ask | Ask me later