The Day the Earth Caught Fire (Blu-ray)

Newly remastered by the BFI National Archive, this Blu-ray version of the classic British science fiction thriller is released by the BFI as part of Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder.

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

Made at a time when the nuclear threat of the Cold War loomed large, The Day the Earth Caught Fire is an expertly crafted sci-fi film that boasts a BAFTA-winning screenplay, gritty characters and a vision of end-of-days London that really burns. It also stars Leo McKern (Rumpole of the Bailey), Janet Munro, real-life reporter Bernard Braden and one-time Daily Express editor Arthur Christiansen. Many scenes were filmed on location at the former Daily Express HQ on Fleet Street and in the surrounding area.

Special features

  • Brand new 4K transfer by the BFI National Archive
  • Hot Off the Press: Revisiting the Day the Earth Caught Fire (John Kelly, 2014, 34 mins): a newly-created documentary with contributions from Kim Newman, Marcus Hearne and BFI Archive curators John Oliver and Jo Botting
  • Audio commentary with Val Guest and Ted Newsom
  • An Interview with Leo McKern (Paul Venezis, 2001, 9 mins)
  • The Day the Earth Caught Fire: An Audio Appreciation by Graeme Hobbs (2014, 9 mins)
  • Original trailer, TV spots and radio spots
  • Stills and Collections Gallery (2014, 7 mins)
  • Three nuclear films from the BFI National Archive: Operation Hurricane (Ronald Stark, 1952, 33 mins); The H-bomb (David Villiers, 1956, 21 mins); The Hole in the Ground (David Cobham, 1962, 30 mins
  • Think Bike (1978, 1 min): road safety film with actor Edward Judd
  • Illustrated booklet with extensive credits and newly commissioned essays from John Oliver and Marcus Hearn
  • The Guardian Lecture: Val Guest and his wife, actress Yolande Dolan are interviewed by David Meeker, filmed at the National Film Theatre (1998, 63 mins)

Product information

    • Certificate


    • Colour

      Black/white and tinted

    • Sound


    • Running time


    • Languages


    • Subtitles

      Optional hard-of-hearing subtitles

    • Original aspect ratio

      Original aspect ratio 2.35:1

    • Blu-ray region

      • B - Includes most European and Middle-Eastern countries, all of Africa, Australia and New Zealand

Back to the top

See something different

Subscribe now for exclusive offers and the best of cinema.