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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)





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


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 »


Executioners are contract employees, not correctional officers. No dept. of corrections would allow an officer with daily contact with a death row inmate to "pull the switch" due to obvious potential for emotional attachments. See more »


Hurst: What's Your sign?
Elizabeth Gilbert: Excuse Me?
Hurst: Under what sign of the zodiac were you born?
Elizabeth Gilbert: Aries
Hurst: And your horoscope, do you read it?
Elizabeth Gilbert: Sometimes, I guess.
Hurst: Sometimes It's right and sometimes its wrong
Elizabeth Gilbert: Well, all that stuff is just...
Hurst: People have always been fascinated by the stars, they chartered their movements. They could tell when Mercury was retrograde or when Mars was aligned with Venus. They made predictions based on these observations. These people were called Astrologers. They were the experts on the Solar System. ...
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Referenced in Talking Dead: Do Not Send Us Astray (2018) See more »


Built For Speed
Written by Edward Wohl and Daniel Braunstein
Performed by Dogbone & Pauli Rockwell
Courtesy of Huge Music and DB Music
See more »

User Reviews

19 December 2020 | by lukem-52760See all my reviews

This real life drama was truly gripping & heartbreaking & the brilliant British actor JACK O'CONNELL gives an Oscar worthy performance as a man on death row for a horrendous crime he did not commit!!! This is a true life story & a disturbing one too, you can look up the real life story as i did after this movie & it's still shocking that this actually happened & made me so Angry at the evil & corrupted Texas Justice System, the trial was a joke, a corrupted circus to make sure the guy went to prison & was definitely put on death row!!! The towns people had it for the poor guy & he was doomed from the start of the horrendous accident that had nothing to do with him & was a house problem!!!! I felt so sorry for guy & when in prison he sees a vision of his dead little girl & it's haunting & heartbreaking, JACK O'CONNELL is one of the greatest actors working today & was brilliant in '71 & Starred Up, the young actor is truly one of the greats already in my opinion & seems to be getting better & better!!! Laura Dern is also outstanding here to as the pen pal & only person to want to help him find Justice for the crime he did not commit. Now Cameron Willingham (O'Connell) comes accross as not the most likable guy but that didn't mean that he would murder his three kids & that's the point of this Biographical Drama as we are shown how all the evidence was corrupted & when the real truth starts to come out years later it's suppressed again to make sure this poor guy is murdered by the state!!! Texas is a horrible corrupted place & just imagine how many innocent people have been executed by them? This is a very sad & tragic story that i wish wasn't true.

Willingham was an innocent man & a loved his kids but everyone around him was evil including his vile wife so he didn't stand a chance but I'm glad his horrific story has been told & Jack O'Connell does his story & humanity Justice.

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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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