Trial by Fire (2018 film)

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Trial by Fire
Trial by Fire.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byEdward Zwick
Produced by
  • Alex Soros
  • Allyn Stewart
  • Edward Zwick
  • Kipp Nelson
Screenplay byGeoffrey S. Fletcher
Based onTrial by Fire[1]
by David Grann
Music byHenry Jackman
CinematographyJohn Guleserian
Edited bySteven Rosenblum
Distributed byRoadside Attractions
Release date
  • August 31, 2018 (2018-08-31) (Telluride)
  • May 17, 2019 (2019-05-17) (United States)
Running time
127 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$148,504[2]

Trial by Fire is an American biographical drama directed by Edward Zwick. The story is based upon David Grann's article "Trial by Fire" that appeared in The New Yorker in 2009. The film stars Jack O'Connell as Cameron Todd Willingham and features Laura Dern, Emily Meade, Jeff Perry and Jade Pettyjohn in supporting roles.

It had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on August 31, 2018. It was released on May 17, 2019, by Roadside Attractions.


The tragic and controversial story of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in Texas for killing his three children.




On August 8, 2017, it was announced that Jack O'Connell and Laura Dern would star in an adaptation of the article "Trial by Fire" by American journalist David Grann with Edward Zwick directing. Zwick would produce the film together with Alex Soros, Allyn Stewart and Kipp Nelson under the Bedford Falls Company and Flashlight Films banner respectively.[3]


Screenwriter Geoffrey S. Fletcher, who won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for his screenplay on Precious, wrote the screenplay for the film.


Henry Jackman, who worked with Zwick on Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, composed the score for the film.[4] The soundtrack was released digitally on 17 May 2019 by Sony Classical Records.[5]


Trial by Fire had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on August 31, 2018.[6][7] Shortly after, Roadside Attractions acquired distribution rights to the film and scheduled it for release on May 17, 2019.[8]


Critical response[edit]

On review aggregrator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 58% based on 53 reviews, with an average rating of 6.18/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Trial by Fire has a worthy and heartbreaking story to tell, but this well acted dramatization is undermined by its aggressive manipulative approach."[9] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average of score of 48 out of 100, based on 15 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[10]


  1. ^ Grann, David. "Trial by Fire". The New Yorker. Retrieved 3 Jul 2018.
  2. ^ "Trial by Fire (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  3. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (2017-08-09). "Jack O'Connell, Laura Dern Star For Ed Zwick In 'Trial By Fire'". Deadline. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  4. ^ "Henry Jackman Scoring Edward Zwick's 'Trial by Fire'". 8 May 2018. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  5. ^ "'Trial by Fire' Soundtrack Details". Film Music Reporter. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  6. ^ Tapley, Kristopher (August 30, 2018). "'First Man,' 'Front Runner' and 'Roma' Among 2018 Telluride Film Festival Selections". Variety. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  7. ^ "Telluride Film Festival Program Guide" (PDF). Telluride Film Festival. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  8. ^ McClintock, Pamela (February 25, 2019). "Edward Zwick's 'Trial by Fire' Lands Early Summer Release Date From Roadside". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  9. ^ "Trial by Fire (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  10. ^ "Trial by Fire Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved May 17, 2019.

External links[edit]