6.9/10
2,801
43 user 34 critic

Trial by Fire (2018)

Trailer
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.

Director:

Edward Zwick

Writers:

Geoffrey Fletcher (screenplay by), David Grann (based on The New Yorker article by)
Reviews
Popularity
2,701 ( 1,138)

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

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

More Like This 

Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A woman raises her young grandson after her daughter goes missing.

Director: Jake Scott
Stars: Sienna Miller, Sky Ferreira, Christina Hendricks
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Rory MacNeil, a rugged old Scotsman, travels to San Francisco to seek medical treatment. He moves in with his estranged son Rory, as he sees his life getting transformed through a newfound bond with his baby grandson.

Directors: Oded Binnun, Mihal Brezis
Stars: Thora Birch, Brian Cox, JJ Feild
The Operative (2019)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A woman is recruited by the Mossad to work undercover in Tehran.

Director: Yuval Adler
Stars: Diane Kruger, Martin Freeman, Cas Anvar
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Civil rights activist Ann Atwater faces off against C.P. Ellis, Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan, in 1971 Durham, North Carolina over the issue of school integration.

Director: Robin Bissell
Stars: Taraji P. Henson, Sam Rockwell, Babou Ceesay
Semper Fi (2019)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A police officer who serves in the Marine Corps Reserves is faced with an ethical dilemma when it comes to helping his brother in prison.

Director: Henry Alex Rubin
Stars: Jai Courtney, Nat Wolff, Finn Wittrock
Brian Banks (2018)
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A football player's dreams to play in the NFL are halted when he is wrongly convicted and sent to prison. Years later, he fights to clear his name within an unjust system.

Director: Tom Shadyac
Stars: Aldis Hodge, Greg Kinnear, Sherri Shepherd
Seberg (2019)
Biography | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Inspired by real events in the life of French New Wave icon Jean Seberg. In the late 1960s, Hoover's FBI targeted her because of her political and romantic involvement with civil rights activist Hakim Jamal.

Director: Benedict Andrews
Stars: Kristen Stewart, Yvan Attal, Gabriel Sky
The Mustang (2019)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The story of Roman Coleman, a violent convict, who is given the chance to participate in a rehabilitation therapy program involving the training of wild mustangs.

Director: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre
Stars: Matthias Schoenaerts, Jason Mitchell, Bruce Dern
Just Mercy (2019)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

World-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson works to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner.

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Stars: Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A woman surprises the family of her deceased boyfriend by telling them she's pregnant with his child.

Director: Rowan Athale
Stars: Nick Robinson, Amy Ryan, Greg Kinnear
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Inspired by the true story of Siseko Ntondini and Piers Cruickshanks, who together won gold in the 2014 Dusi Canoe Marathon,"Beyond the River" delivers a nail-biting adventure story about the triumph of the human spirit.

Director: Craig Freimond
Stars: Lemogang Tsipa, Grant Swanby, Israel Matseke-Zulu
Ma I (2019)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A lonely woman befriends a group of teenagers and decides to let them party at her house. Just when the kids think their luck couldn't get any better, things start happening that make them question the intention of their host.

Director: Tate Taylor
Stars: Octavia Spencer, Diana Silvers, Juliette Lewis
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite proof provided by well regarded scientists and experts, Todd's wife, Stacey (Willingham) Kuykendall, believes he is guilty of the murders of Amber, Karmon, and Kameron. See more »

Goofs

During one of Elizabeth's visits to Cameron in prison, he states that his parents would never visit because it was a one way trip from Oklahoma of 1200 miles. That is near double the actual mileage from anywhere in Oklahoma to Huntsville. See more »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

How Forever Feels
Written by Wendell Mobley and Carl Mullins
Performed by Kenny Chesney
Courtesy of BNA Records & Sony Music Nashville
By arrangement with Sony Music Entertainment
See more »

User Reviews

A true crime story where the truest crime is his conviction.
20 May 2019 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

Director Edward Zwick and writer Geoffrey Fletcher movingly craft a biopic about convicted killer Cameron Todd Willingham (Jack O'Connell) in the late nineties executed for killing his three children in a fire. While there are multiple instances of the filmmakers morphing incidents to make strong their case against capital punishment in Texas, the impressive facts in the case swayed the jury and the parole board and the public.

Yet Elizabeth Gilbert (Laura Dern), a Houston playwright, befriends him and finds strong evidence that he may have had a weak defense, local justice withheld proof of innocence, and forensic evidence showing no arson, was all garnered too late. Although more than half of the film is spent on unnecessary setup, when the biopic gets to Liz unearthing new evidence, it becomes on fire, so to speak.

That last half has moments of tension while at the same time following the Hollywood formula of manipulating music, questionable coincidences, and charming convict. Although clearly the filmmakers make the case that his case was bungled, they also make sure to depict Todd as a redneck loudmouth unlikeable by any stretch, until, that is, he has time to educate himself and be contrite.

Dern and O'Connell are convincing in their roles as unlikely friends, with a hint of romance, the film's singular weakness being not connecting them earlier and getting to the evidence gathering sooner.


10 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 43 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 May 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Trial by Fire See more »

Filming Locations:

Atlanta, Georgia, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$78,817, 19 May 2019

Gross USA:

$148,504

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$148,504
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Your Next Binge Watch Awaits

Looking for something to watch? Check out IMDb's "What to Watch" series to find out what's really worth watching.



Recently Viewed