Jimmy Porter (Richard Burton) is a university graduate, and the husband of a woman of some means, but he has rejected middle class dreams, and operates a candy stall at the local flea market. During their two year marriage, Allyson (Mary Ure) has carried the full brunt of Jimmy's anger and frustration, as well as his intense love. As time goes on, he becomes more and more bitter, ridiculing Allyson about her middle class background. Allyson defends herself as best she can, but her husband so intimidates her that she can't even bring herself to tell him that she is pregnant. Everything comes to a head when Allyson's friend Helena Charles (Claire Bloom), an actress, moves in with them for awhile. She becomes witness to the turbulent relationship and the toll it is taking. When she learns about the pregnancy, she persuades Allyson to leave Jimmy and return to her parents, allowing time for the relationships to complicate even further.