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I Saw the Light (2015)

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The story of the country-western singer Hank Williams, who in his brief life created one of the greatest bodies of work in American music. The film chronicles his rise to fame and its tragic effect on his health and personal life.


Marc Abraham


Marc Abraham, Colin Escott (book) | 2 more credits »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Hiddleston ... Hank Williams
Elizabeth Olsen ... Audrey Williams
Bradley Whitford ... Fred Rose
Cherry Jones ... Lillie Williams
Maddie Hasson ... Billie Jean Jones
Wrenn Schmidt ... Bobbie Jett
David Krumholtz ... James Dolan
Josh Pais ... Dore Schary
Wesley Robert Langlois Wesley Robert Langlois ... Don Helms - Steel
Joshua Brady ... Sammy Pruett - Guitar
Casey Bond ... Jerry Rivers - Fiddle
Michael Rinne Michael Rinne ... Lum York - Bass
Will Beinbrink ... Jim Denny
Todd Barnett ... Gas Station Attendant (as Steven Todd Barnett)
Richard Jackson ... Boyette


The story of the country-western singer Hank Williams, who in his brief life created one of the greatest bodies of work in American music. The film chronicles his rise to fame and its tragic effect on his health and personal life.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The story of Hank Williams.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language and brief sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

1 April 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Hank Williams Project See more »

Filming Locations:

Shreveport, Louisiana, USA See more »


Box Office


$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$45,471, 27 March 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,646,468, 5 June 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Both Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen did their own singing. See more »


Sections of the balcony at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee were removed in 1993 after a major renovation to the facility. Prior to 1993, the balcony extended to the sides of the main stage. The early 1950s scenes at the Ryman in this film show the post-1993 layout of the facility. See more »


Hank Williams: You know what I don't like is people pretending one thing and they got something else on their mind. You do what I do, you get where I am, you see plenty of that. People thinking they'll make a nice pie with a slice of me.
See more »


References Small Town Girl (1953) See more »


Honky Tonkin'
Written by Hank Williams
Performed by Tom Hiddleston and The Saddle Spring Boys
With permission from Sony/ATV Music Publishing
See more »

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User Reviews

I Saw The Light: An intimate experience of Hank Williams
7 April 2016 | by peemmzaSee all my reviews

I've got to hand it to director Mark Abraham. All the things he got right in "I Saw The Light" were far more impactful than things he missed. After reading other reviews I thought I was going to come away from the movie unsatisfied, but instead it was the opposite.

I really like that this movie was a more subdued and intimate look at Hank Williams. It's not fast paced or a high frequency drama. It's an intimate peak into the personal side of Hank during the last 5-6 years of his life with singing performances speckled throughout. The acting performances are fantastic especially Tom Hiddleston who transforms himself into Hank beautifully and does a fine job singing Hank's songs.

Many of the complaints of the film were from people who wanted to see the historical Hank Williams film. The whole boilerplate biopic from childhood to all the milestones of his rise to stardom and the impact he had on American music. People wanted to know why Hank was the way he was and did the things he did. Yet conflicted, talented artists tend to always defy being wrapped up into nice, little 120 minute boxes with definitive explanations supplied.

With that in mind Abraham did the next best thing and what was always his intention, created and showed a personal experience of Hank. To have the audience feel what it was like to be in his life. In that endeavor the director got it right many times over. By casting Hiddleston to play such a complex and conflicted person, it humanizes Hank and makes him relatable. Tom's performance allows people to have an endearing empathy and compassion for Hank and see this troubled cultural hero from a personal perspective.

Although there's a lot the director left out or only made reference to, the main problem with the film is in the weaving of all the many relationships and chapters of Hank's tumultuous life into a cohesive harmony. Still "I Saw The Light" delivers an insightful and engaging experience of the great country star that we have never seen before and with a masterly produced soundtrack that sets the tone and carries you through this little beauty of a film.

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