7.5/10
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Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)

Biographical story of Loretta Lynn, a legendary country singer that came from poverty to worldwide fame. She rose from humble beginnings in Kentucky to superstardom and changing the sound and style of country music forever.

Director:

Michael Apted

Writers:

Thomas Rickman (screenplay) (as Tom Rickman), Loretta Lynn (autobiography) | 1 more credit »

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ON DISC
Won 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sissy Spacek ... Loretta Lynn
Tommy Lee Jones ... Doolittle Lynn
Levon Helm ... Ted Webb
Phyllis Boyens-Liptak Phyllis Boyens-Liptak ... 'Clary' Webb (as Phyllis Boyens)
Bill Anderson Jr. Bill Anderson Jr. ... Webb Child
Foister Dickerson Foister Dickerson ... Webb Child
Malla McCown Malla McCown ... Webb Child
Pamela McCown Pamela McCown ... Webb Child
Kevin Salvilla Kevin Salvilla ... Webb Child
William Sanderson ... Lee Dollarhide
Sissy Lucas Sissy Lucas ... Betty Sue Lynn
Pat Patterson Pat Patterson ... Jack Benny Lynn
Brian Warf Brian Warf ... Ernest Ray Lynn
Elizabeth Watson Elizabeth Watson ... Cissy Lynn
Beverly D'Angelo ... Patsy Cline
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Storyline

At only thirteen years of age, Loretta Webb marries Doolittle Lynn and is soon responsible for a sizeable family. Loretta appears destined to a life of homemaking, but Doolittle recognises his wife's musical talent, and buys her a guitar as an anniversary present one year. At eighteen, the mother of four children and busy housewife still finds time to write and sing songs at small fairs and local honky-tonks. This gift sets Loretta Lynn on the gruelling, tumultuous path to superstardom and country music greatness. Written by Shannon Patrick Sullivan <shannon@mun.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

She was married at 13. She had four kids by the time she was 20. She's been hungry and poor. She's been loved and cheated on. She became a singer because it was the only thing she could do. She became a star because it was the only way she could do it.

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 March 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La hija del minero See more »

Filming Locations:

Norton, Virginia, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,366,443, 9 March 1980, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$67,182,787
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Beverly D'Angelo and Sissy Spacek did all their own singing. Director Michael Apted also wanted Spacek to sing all of the songs live, feeling he could capture the realism in all of the performing scenes. See more »

Goofs

When Loretta and Doolittle are leaving the Ryman Auditorium after appearing on the Grand Ole Opry, they walk past the security cameras that weren't placed on the building until years later. See more »

Quotes

[Doolittle walks out of the door after an argument with Loretta]
Loretta Lynn: Doolittle; are you leavin'?
Doolittle Lynn: [come back in the house] Naw, Loretta; *I* ain't leavin'.
[Loretta walks up to her parents' house]
Ted Webb: Well, look whose back!
Loretta Lynn: Doolittle's done throwed me out.
Clara Webb: Maybe it ain't to late to stop you from ruinin' your life.
Ted Webb: I believe married life is makin' you fat, girl.
Clara Webb: [to herself] Oh, no!
See more »


Soundtracks

Blue Moon of Kentucky
Written by Bill Monroe
Performed by Levon Helm
Courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Character Development
27 October 2002 | by olivergruverSee all my reviews

The reason this film works (arguably the greatest bio-pic ever produced) is that it is ABOUT Loretta Lynn's life, not about country music. From the opening shots of a young Loretta riding a mule to the mines with her brother, you know this will be a film about extraordinary characters. It is over an hour before we hear one song from Loretta Lynn; director Michael Apted and writer Thom Rickman spend time to develop Loretta, Doolittle and her family. When her father dies, the audience cries with Loretta because we know her family, her father, we understand where this girl came from and why it is such a unique transition from backwoods girl to international star.

It's been said that Ms. Lynn was named after movie star Loretta Young. When approached by executives to make a movie about her life (based on her best-selling autobiography), she was savvy enough to realize that a film would end up on television anyway, and opted to have film made. I can imagine (most likely to the chagrin of studio execs) that Apted fought to develop a script that showcased the characters over the music. The result is a film that EVERYONE enjoys. When the film was released in 1980, I remember people going who were definitely not country music fans, and I remember their raves after the movie.

America is about the Horatio Alger storyline: everyone can achieve greatness. This film highlights that dream. While it does fall into some cliche trappings once Loretta Lynn is a huge success (the on-the-road montage, the drugs, the nervous breakdown), there are such cliches because the pressure performers feel is one in the same. Overall, it ages beautifully because it captures a time when the American hills spawned such unique talent (Lynn's contemporaries are either showcased or mentioned to great effect).

Of special note: If Oscars could be given for past work, Beverly D'Angelo should be voted the "Best Supporting Actress" of 1980 for this film. Unfortunately, she was not even nominated. You will be hard-pressed to find such a complete performance in film. Similar in screen time and impact as Dame Judi Dench's performance in "Shakespeare In Love", D'Angelo gives a Master Class in screen acting for her portrayal of the late Patsy Cline. Most likely, this flash of brilliance is what inspired the film "Sweet Dreams", the bio-pic of Cline, a film that pales in comparison to "Coal Miner's Daughter."

This is Spacek's only Oscar win thus far out of six nominations. She's a national treasure and this performance is outstanding. However, you should see this film for all its elements, working to create an outstanding picture. Highly recommended.


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