The Day the Fish Came Out

Watch The Day the Fish Came Out

  • 1967
  • 1 hr 49 min
  • 5.3  (671)

The Day the Fish Came Out is a 1967 British-Greek comedy film directed by Michael Cacoyannis, who is perhaps best known for his earlier work on the classic "Zorba the Greek". This film is quite different from Cacoyannis's other movies, blending elements of black comedy, satire, and farce to explore the consequences of a Cold War-era mishap.

The movie is set against the backdrop of the tense political climate of the 1960s, a period characterized by the threat of nuclear annihilation and the ever-present specter of the Cold War. The narrative is driven by a somewhat absurd and tragic incident involving a NATO plane carrying nuclear weapons. When the aircraft suffers an emergency, it is forced to jettison its payload into the Mediterranean Sea near a Greek island, initiating a surreptitious and frantic search by the military to recover the lost atomic devices.

The central figure of the movie is Tom Courtenay, who plays a British intelligence agent tasked with the delicate and high-stakes mission of recovering the ominous cargo before it can be discovered by the local population or, worse, Soviet agents. Courtenay's performance brings a sense of earnestness and urgency to his character, infused with a touch of slapstick, as his plans and cover stories often unravel in the face of the islanders' curiosity and the general chaos that ensues.

Sam Wanamaker portrays a NATO commander overseeing the recovery operation from a distance, grappling with mounting pressure and the potential international ramifications of the incident. His character must navigate the complexities of diplomatic relations and the needs of secrecy, while also contending with the bureaucracy and incompetence that often arise in such high-tension scenarios.

Colin Blakely joins the cast as one of the NATO officials involved in the operation. His role contributes to the spiraling sense of confusion and panic among the military personnel as they try to keep a lid on the developing crisis. The interactions between the characters, clouded by misunderstandings and miscommunications, evoke the satirical essence of the film, as it comments on the absurdity of the military-industrial complex and the frailty of human efforts in the face of potential catastrophe.

As the search for the nuclear weapons unfolds, "The Day the Fish Came Out" also turns a critical eye towards the residents of the Greek island, who are oblivious to the danger lurking beneath the waves. The islanders, including a varied cast of quaint and quirky characters, go about their daily lives, and their traditional ways are juxtaposed with the high-tech, secretive maneuvers of the NATO agents. This contrast underscores significant themes of innocence, ignorance, and the disruption of peaceful life by the machinations of global superpowers.

The film's title itself is a metaphorical nod to the surreal and unexpected nature of the plot—a day like any other on the Greek island, forever changed by a happenstance event that could have unforeseen and far-reaching consequences, suggesting a wider commentary on environmental and societal disruption. The "fish" in the title allude to the local fauna but also play a metaphorical role, representing how the political and military blunder intrudes upon nature and the simple life of the islanders, who are caught unaware in a larger political game.

Stylistically, "The Day the Fish Came Out" embodies a stark juxtaposition between the bright and idyllic setting of the Greek island and the darkly comedic tone of the narrative, a contrast that heightens the absurd and satirical undercurrents of the film. Cinematography captures the beauty of Greece, offering a visual feast that stands in counterpoint to the growing tension of the storyline.

Although it may not have achieved the same level of acclaim as some of Cacoyannis's other works, The Day the Fish Came Out is unique in its own right, notable for its witty script and the way it manages to intertwine humor with a cautionary tale about the dangers of nuclear proliferation and the Cold War's shadow over even the most remote and peaceful corners of the globe.

The film's commentary on the human condition, the potential for error in the high-stakes realm of international politics, and the simple humanity of the islanders provide the groundwork for what is ultimately a dark yet humorous critique of the times, encapsulated in a story about a moment when fate caused the paths of a small Greek island community and the might of modern military power to cross in an unforgettable and ironic twist of events.

The Day the Fish Came Out is a 1967 science fiction movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 49 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.3.

The Day the Fish Came Out
Where to Watch The Day the Fish Came Out
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  • Release Date
  • Runtime
    1 hr 49 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.3  (671)