Battle Beneath the Earth
Directed byMontgomery Tully
Written byCharles F. Vetter
Produced by
  • Charles Reynolds
  • Charles F. Vetter
CinematographyKenneth Talbot
Edited bySidney Stone
Music byKen Jones
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • October 1967 (1967-10) (United Kingdom)
  • 15 May 1968 (1968-05-15) (United States)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Battle Beneath the Earth is a 1967 British sci-fi thriller film directed by Montgomery Tully and starring Kerwin Mathews. It was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.


Scientist Arnold Kramer believes that rogue elements of the communist Chinese Army headed by fanatic General Chan Lu are using advanced burrowing machines in an effort to conquer the U.S. by placing atomic bombs under major cities. In the opening, Las Vegas police are called for a report that Dr. Kramer is prone on a sidewalk telling people he hears movement underneath.

The bombs are in tunnels dug from China through the Hawaiian islands to the United States. In the expected war 100 million people are forecast to die. Kramer is committed to an asylum, but when he is visited by U.S. Navy Commander Jonathan Shaw, what he tells him lines up with observations Shaw has made himself. Shaw gets Kramer released and produces enough evidence to convince his superiors that the story is truel, and he is ordered to lead troops underground to defeat the red army and defuse the bombs.

The U.S. Army detonates nuclear bombs in the tunnel in Hawaii. The detonations are reported to have stopped all activity in the tunnels.



The film features a fast-paced "crime-jazz" / jazz-noir musical score by Ken Jones.


The film released to DVD by Warner Home Video on 29 July 2008.[2]

Critical reception

The Monthly Film Bulletin wrote: "Schoolboy comic-strip capers, involving subterranean constructions, hydroponic farms ("enforced growth under solaric light" the Chinese scientist explains), laser beams, nuclear bombs and sinister Oriental villains. Nothing is quite so fanciful, though, as the finale, in which hero and heroine, with only ten minutes to run to safety after setting off an atom bomb, emerge in a volcano and stand looking at the glare of the nuclear explosion with not even a blink of their unshielded eyes. Delightfully nonsensical, the film is at least a variation on the usual SF themes, and very properly everyone acts with deadpan solemnity."[3]

Kine Weekly wrote: "Schoolboy adventure material, this will pass with all but stuffy audiences. Reliable half of a double programme."[4]

The film has been described as "deliriously paranoid".[5]


  1. ^ Chapman, J. (2022). The Money Behind the Screen: A History of British Film Finance, 1945-1985. Edinburgh University Press p 360
  2. ^ Battle Beneath the Earth (DVD), ISBN 978-1-4198-6943-3
  3. ^ "Battle Beneath the Earth". Monthly Film Bulletin. 36 (420): 30. 1 January 1967.
  4. ^ "Battle Beneath the Earth". Kine Weekly. 618 (3193): 19. 21 December 1968.
  5. ^ Chapman, James (2006) [2002]. Saints & Avengers: British Adventure Series of the 1960s. Popular Television Genres. London: I. B.Tauris. p. 124. ISBN 978-1-86064-754-3. … most notably the deliriously paranoid science-fiction film Battle Beneath the Earth (1967) in which the Chinese attempt to invade America by burrowing under the ocean.