An aspiring poet in 1950s New York has his ordered world shaken when he embarks on a week-long retreat to save his hell raising hero, Dylan Thomas.


Andy Goddard


Andy Goddard (co-writer), Celyn Jones (co-writer)
7 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Elijah Wood ... John Malcolm Brinnin
Steven Mackintosh ... Jack
Andrew Bicknell ... Loomis
Celyn Jones ... Dylan Thomas
Kate Drew Kate Drew ... Janet
Adam Gillen ... Harvey
Nicola Duffett ... Lady Lye
Steve Speirs ... Mickey
Ken Drury Ken Drury ... Doctor
Maimie McCoy ... Rosie
Richard Brake ... Mr Unlucky
Polly Hemingway ... Ms Missy 1
Sue Maund Sue Maund ... Ms Missy 2
Shirley Henderson ... Shirley
Kevin Eldon ... Stanley


In 1950, John Brinnan invited the highly acclaimed and infamous Dylan Thomas to New York for a series of poetry readings. Ignoring rumors of Thomas' frivolities back home, Brinnan has his hands full when the poet arrives. Desperate to get his watchful university chaplains off his back, Brinnan takes Thomas to his family retreat in the woods of Connecticut. But even in the middle of nowhere, the resourceful and cantankerous Thomas finds an audience for his art, passion, love and aggression...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A week with Dylan Thomas.


Biography | Drama


Unrated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The character "Shirley", played by Shirley Henderson, is referred to only by her married name of Hyman, but is, in fact, Shirley Jackson, the famous authoress of "The Haunting Of Hill House" (filmed twice as "The Haunting") and "The Lottery". The real Shirley Jackson looked nothing like Ms. Henderson. See more »


When Dylan and John's "boxing" gets out of hand, Shirley exclaims, "Don't get your pantyhose in a knot." Pantyhose were not available to the public until 1959. Shirley also calls John "Rocky" in this scene, which seems to be referring to the 1976 movie "Rocky." See more »


Dylan Thomas: There is no secret, John. No Holy Grail. Just what's in front of all of us. Don't open a book. Open a window.
See more »


Set Fire To The Stars
Composed by Gruff Rhys
Vocals (Trailer) by Gruff Rhys
See more »

User Reviews

30 May 2015 | by stevelewis92See all my reviews

This film is the perfect example of why great writing, direction and performances will always be more important to creating great cinema than having oodles of cash and lavish visual effects. Shot in weeks not months, no one misses a beat in this story about an enigmatic, troubled genius. Wood and Jones are mesmerising as Brinnin and Thomas respectively and it's beautifully directed in black and white by Andy Goddard. Finally, a mention for Gruff Rhys whose haunting soundtrack perfectly augments a beautiful film. It amazes me that films like this have to fight to get made. One of the best films I've seen in the last few years. A must see whether a fan of Thomas or not.

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Release Date:

12 June 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Set Fire to the Stars See more »

Filming Locations:

Swansea, Wales, UK


Box Office


GBP700,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,132, 14 June 2015

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mad As Birds, Masnomis See more »
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Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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