A Prayer Before Dawn (film)

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A Prayer Before Dawn
A Prayer Before Dawn (film).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJean-Stéphane Sauvaire
Produced by
  • Roy Boulter
  • Rita Dagher
  • Sol Papadopoulos
  • Nicholas Simon
Written by
  • Jonathan Hirschbein
  • Nick Saltrese
StarringJoe Cole
Music byNicolas Becker
CinematographyDavid Ungaro
Edited byMarc Boucrot
Distributed by
Release date
  • 19 May 2017 (2017-05-19) (Cannes)
  • 20 July 2018 (2018-07-20) (United Kingdom)
  • 10 August 2018 (2018-08-10) (United States)
Running time
117 minutes[1]
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • France
  • China
Box office$310,035[2]

A Prayer Before Dawn is a 2017 drama film directed by Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire, written by Jonathan Hirschbein and Nick Saltrese and starring Joe Cole. It is based on the book A Prayer Before Dawn: My Nightmare in Thailand's Prisons by Billy Moore.[3][4]

The film had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on 19 May 2017. It was released in the United Kingdom on 20 July 2018, by Altitude Film Distribution, and in the United States on 10 August 2018, by A24.


Billy Moore (Joe Cole), a British national with a checkered past comes to Thailand with an intent for living well. After finding work as a boxer and stuntman he falls back into drug use, and is charged with possession of stolen goods and a firearm. He is sent to prison in Thailand, where he finds himself quickly caught up in violence unseen in other prisons, and spends his days chasing addiction and the violence that is typical in Thailand prison life. With a desperate need to fight again and battle his demons with addiction and himself, he agrees to fight in Muay Thai tournaments to earn his freedom.



In October 2014, it was announced Charlie Hunnam would star in the film, with Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire directing from a screenplay written by Jonathan Hirschbein and Nick Saltrese, based upon a memoir written by Billy Moore. Rita Dagher, Sol Papadopoulos, and Roy Boutler will serve as producers on their Senorita Films banner, alongside HanWay Films.[5] In October 2015, Joe Cole joined the cast of the film, replacing Hunnam.[6]


A Prayer Before Dawn: A Nightmare in Thailand was first published in 2014 by Maverick House, Dublin, Ireland. In February 2017, A24 acquired U.S. distribution rights to the film.[7] In April 2017, Altitude Film Distribution acquired U.K. distribution rights to the film.[8] The film had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on 15 May 2017.[9][10] It went onto screen at South by Southwest on 12 March 2018.[11]

It was released in the United Kingdom on 20 July 2018,[12] and in the United States through DirecTV Cinema on 12 July 2018, before being released in a limited release on 10 August 2018.[13][14]


On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 94% based on 49 reviews, and an average rating of 7.5/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "A Prayer Before Dawn is far from an easy watch, but this harrowing prison odyssey delivers rich rewards — led by an outstanding central performance from Joe Cole."[15] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 76 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[16]


  1. ^ "A Prayer Before Dawn (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 10 July 2018. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  2. ^ "'A Prayer Before Dawn (2018)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  3. ^ Moore, Billy (2016). A Prayer Before Dawn: My Nightmare in Thailand's Prisons. New York: Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 9781510702141. OCLC 914219270.
  4. ^ "'A Prayer Before Dawn' pulls no punches in its portrayal of boxing in Thailand's prisons". The National. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  5. ^ Barraclough, Leo (31 October 2014). "'Sons of Anarchy's' Charlie Hunnam to Star in 'A Prayer Before Dawn'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  6. ^ Barraclough, Leo (30 October 2015). "'Peaky Blinders' Star Joe Cole Boards Thai Kick-Boxing Thriller 'Prayer Before Dawn'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  7. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (10 February 2017). "A24 Buys North American Rights To Muay Thai Pic 'A Prayer Before Dawn' – Berlin". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  8. ^ Grater, Tom (27 April 2017). "Altitude picks up Joe Cole thriller 'A Prayer Before Dawn'". Screen Daily. Screen International. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  9. ^ "The 2017 Official Selection". Cannes Film Festival. 13 April 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  10. ^ Winfrey, Graham (13 April 2017). "2017 Cannes Film Festival Announces Lineup: Todd Haynes, Sofia Coppola, 'Twin Peaks' and More". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  11. ^ "A Prayer Before Dawn". SXSW Schedule. South by Southwest. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  12. ^ "A Prayer Before Dawn". Launching Films. Film Distributors Association. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  13. ^ "AT&T Delivers 'A Prayer Before Dawn' the Muay Thai Boxing Story Shot in a Real Thai Prison". AT&T. 12 July 2018. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  14. ^ Dry, Jude (19 July 2018). "'A Prayer Before Dawn' Trailer: Joe Cole Leads Cannes Boxing Drama Shot in a Thai Prison". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  15. ^ "A Prayer Before Dawn (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  16. ^ "A Prayer Before Dawn Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 21 August 2018.

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