The mechanical system considered is a bilayer cantilever plate. The substrate and the film are linear elastic. The film is subjected to isotropic uniform prestresses due for instance to volume variation associated with cooling, heating, or drying. This loading yields deflection of the plate. We recall Stoney’s analytical formula linking the total mechanical stresses to this deflection. We also derive a relationship between the prestresses and the deflection. We relax Stoney’s assumption of very thin films. The analytical formulas are derived by assuming that the stress and curvature states are uniform and biaxial. To quantify the validity of these assumptions, finite element calculations of the three-dimensional elasticity problem are performed for a wide range of plate geometries, Young’s and Poisson’s moduli. One purpose is to help any user of the formulas to estimate their accuracy. In particular, we show that for very thin films, both formulas written either on the total mechanical stresses or on the prestresses, are equivalent and accurate. The error associated with the misfit between our theorical study and numerical results are also presented. For thicker films, the observed deflection is satisfactorily reproduced by the expression involving the prestresses and not the total mechanical stresses.