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The Ditchdigger's Daughters (1997)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama  |  23 February 1997 (USA)
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In many ways "The Ditchdigger's Daughters" adheres to the well worn path of a genre best described as the black struggle in an injust white America. But the real plot in this movie revolves... See full summary »



(book) (as Yvonne S. Thornton M.D.) , (book), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Ditchdigger's Daughters (TV Movie 1997)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Donald Thornton
Young Donald
Young Donna
Young Jeanette (as Raeven Kelly)
Young Yvonne
Malaika Jabali ...
Young Linda
Erika L. Heard ...
Kiara Tucker ...
Young Rita
Betty (as Denice J. Sealy)
Niaja Cotton ...
Young Betty


In many ways "The Ditchdigger's Daughters" adheres to the well worn path of a genre best described as the black struggle in an injust white America. But the real plot in this movie revolves around the tyranny of a father and the effect it has on his six daughters as he cajoles, demands, blusters, and drives his daughters to reach for his notion of excellence. Demanding all "A" report cards, prohibiting dating, punishing with housework, and insisting that each daughter aim her sights on a career as a doctor all harken to the underlying fact of his own failure to complete school, and his own view of being poor and black. Written by Gary Davis <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis







Release Date:

23 February 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Oi exi kores tou Thornton  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When the Thorntons go to the Apollo, the Apollo theater logo is reflected in a car window on the street, but it isn't reversed as it should be. See more »


Peace in the Valley
Written by Thomas A. Dorsey (as Thomas Dorsey)
Performed by The Henry Davis Singers
Courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
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User Reviews

Excellent film
5 April 2006 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

The book is better, but this movie captures the struggles of an American family (who happens to be black). The strict, yet loving father figure is riveting and the accomplishments of his daughters are amazing. I wish they developed the characters of each girl a little more. The emphasis of intergenerational conflict hampers the message of persistence and survival in a world that is dismissive toward women. One can only imagine the uphill battles that were encountered in trying to raise and educate six girls in the 50s and 60s. The movie only glances over that. However, the last scene with the daughters carrying their father's casket to his final resting place is heart- rendering. Great flick!

6 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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