The Day the Earth Caught Fire (DVD)

Newly remastered by the BFI National Archive, this definitive 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

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 (16x9 anamorphic)

    • DVD region

      • 2 Europe (except Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus), Middle East, Egypt, Japan, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Greenland, French Overseas departments and territories

    • Catalogue number


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