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Trial by Fire (2018)

2:25 | Trailer
The tragic and controversial story of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in Texas for killing his three children after scientific evidence and expert testimony that bolstered his claims of innocence were suppressed.


Edward Zwick


Geoffrey Fletcher (screenplay by), David Grann (based on The New Yorker article by)
3,839 ( 287)





Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack O'Connell ... Todd
Laura Dern ... Elizabeth
Emily Meade ... Stacy
Chris Coy ... Daniels
Jeff Perry ... Hurst
McKinley Belcher III ... Ponchai
David Wilson Barnes ... Reaves
Darren Pettie ... Horton
Blake Scott Lewis ... Johnny Webb
Jade Pettyjohn ... Julie
Noah Lomax ... Andrew
Jason Douglas ... Jackson
Carlos Gómez ... Vasquez (as Carlos Gómez)
Anthony Reynolds ... Fogg
Katie McClellan ... Margaret
Learn more

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The film takes place in Texas. Cameron Todd Willingham is accused of triple killing of his children killed in a fire. The man denies his guilt and claims that he loved his daughters more than life. However, the court sentenced him to death. For eight long years, Cameron has been on death row, and soon he will be executed. His business is interested by Elizabeth Gilbert, who all her life leads an implacable struggle with the system. Written by Peter-Patrick76 (peter-patrick@mail.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Stand for What's Right, Fight for What's True.


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout, some violence, disturbing images, sexual material and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Emily Meade and Chris Coy both star in The Deuce. See more »


When the detectives are at Todd's house and are taking pictures of the crime scene, there are two posters of metal albums on the wall. One is the cover of the album 'Prevail' by Canadian death metal band Kataklysm, released in 2008, and the other is the cover of the album 'Abrahadabra' by Norwegian black metal band Dimmu Borgir, released in 2010, while the movie takes place in 1991. See more »


Cameron Todd Willingham: Thanks to you, I have tried to make my peace. You showed me that love is always there if you just open yourself to it. You helped me to learn to enjoy the simple blessings of being alive.
See more »


Referenced in Talking Dead: Do Not Send Us Astray (2018) See more »


Cover Me In Your Filth
Written by Jeffrey Bützer and Scotty Hoffman
Performed by The Compartmentalizationalists
See more »

User Reviews

Unrelenting Jack O'Connell - must watch
2 October 2019 | by colinwohlrabSee all my reviews

This is the third movie I have seen Jack O'Connell in where he is a prisoner, after Starred Up (excellent) and Unbroken (spotted but also very good) and it leads me to believe that perhaps he has something to say about the prison system and prisoner reform.

All three of these movies have in common the unrelenting need to showcase the individual as true and real to their beliefs no matter the hard forces that oppress you. And this is a very important thing to teach, something we really do not see enough of.

This movie I cannot get out of my mind and I believe it is for the fact that Jack O'Connell is clearly a master of acting and he is speaking for someone who has no voice of their own: it is gut-wrenchingly powerful. Never before have I seen an actor so devoted to portraying the underdog who is really forced to come to understanding of a terrible fate.

These types of movies are valid because they give you not just the story but the feeling. The feeling of being lost and forgotten, yet heard by someone. I don't care who you are, deep down everyone should be able to relate to that: being unheard by the masses but remembered by few. It's literally one of the only things we can strive for.

I probably won't be able to change your mind about whether or not you want to sit through (**another**) relentless prison movie where hope can only come through as passive understanding. And I won't say that this movie is for everyone but if you are curious about some of the major inequalities (and I say major because instead of reform we are just erasing these people from society) that plague or beautiful and modern world and you can stomach a little short of 2 hours of intense character development in an setting where development isnt just unencouraged but definitely unwanted then you need to check out this movie. Just remember though that the hope is still out there.

And I just want to end by saying "thank you" to Jack O'Connell. Your efforts to bring awareness to these causes is greatly appreciated not just by me but by many. And I know he would never read this but i just want to add that his depictions of struggles through insane situations has increased the desire in me to enact change as well, and that is what art is all about. So a huge applause to him for taking on the roles that must be near impossible to shake off at nite.

And if you enjoy this definitely check him out in Starred Up and Unbroken, then tell everyone you know about these injustices because that is the only way we will ever change as a society.

Thanks for reading.

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Release Date:

17 May 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Trial by Fire See more »

Filming Locations:

Atlanta, Georgia, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$78,817, 19 May 2019

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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