The Day the Sky Exploded

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The Day the Sky Exploded
The Day the Sky Exploded movie poster.jpg
Poster for the U.S release of the film
Directed by Paolo Heusch
Produced by Samuel Z. Arkoff / Guido Giambartolomei
Written by Virgilio Sebel, Marcello Coscia, Sandro Continenza
Starring Paul Hubschmid / Fiorella Mari
Music by Carlo Rustichelli
Cinematography Mario Bava
Edited by Otello Colangeli
Release dates
  • 1958 (1958)
Running time
82 minutes
Country Italy
Language Italian

The Day the Sky Exploded (Italian: La morte viene dallo spazio / Death Comes From Outer Space) is a 1958 Italian science fiction film directed by Paolo Heusch. It is known as the first Italian sci-fi dramatic film, predating even the sci-fi films of Antonio Margheriti.[1][2] It starred Paul Hubschmid and Fiorella Mari, and was also released in France, the United States and West Germany. Famed Italian horror director Mario Bava was the cinematographer on the film, and is said to have contributed to many of the film's special effects.


An atomic rocket is launched on a manned moon mission, but one of the engines malfunctions. The rocket's steering is broken. The pilot disengages the capsule and returns to Earth. The atomic booster, however, continues on, eventually crashing into and exploding in an asteroid belt. The explosion dislodges many asteroids from their orbits. They coalesce into one giant cluster and are heading for earth. As the cluster approaches earth it causes global scale disasters: tidal waves, wind, fire storms and earthquakes. One scientist loses his sanity in the crisis and disables the great computer needed to calculate all the firing data. He is stopped and the data provided. When there seems to be no reasonable hope that humans could eventually avoid the crash, scientists find that the moon will pass in front of the cluster so that the Earth will be shielded from most of it. However, a small part of the cluster is not shielded and goes towards the Earth. At this point, mankind's only hope is to arm every missile on earth with a nuclear warhead and fire them all at the cluster. The nations of the world band together and fire the volley. The cluster is destroyed.

In the English version of the movie, the sun was not mentioned as the source of the asteroids. From the movie:

In the French version of the movie, however, the atomic rocket stage exploded later in the asteroid belt hurtling meteors on a collision course with earth.

Atomic-Age Moral[edit]

Nearing the climax of the film, the main character (and rocket pilot) John McLaren says:

An Italian or a German-Italian sci-fi movie ?[edit]

The Day the Sky Exploded was an Italian-French co-production.[1][2] However, in Germany the movie was often considered as a German-Italian film. In fact the movie has an unusually high number of German actors for an Italian movie. Alongside Paul Hubschmid were Eddi Arent and other actors from the famous German Edgar Wallace "Krimi" movies, and the director was German as well.


  1. ^ a b Roberto Chiavini, Gian Filippo Pizzo, Michele Tetro (2003). Il grande cinema di fantascienza: aspettando il monolito nero (1902-1967) (Vol. 2 of Il grande cinema di fantascienza, Collana gli Album ed.). Gremese. p. 145. ISBN 8884402662, ISBN 978-88-8440-266-0. 
  2. ^ a b Roberto Chiti, Roberto Poppi, Enrico Lancia (1991). Dizionario del cinema italiano (Vol. 2 of Dizionari Gremese, Vol. 1-2 of I film ed.). Gremese. p. 240. ISBN 8876055487, ISBN 978-88-7605-548-5. 

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