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Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)

Biographical story of the legendary country singer's rise from humble, poverty-stricken beginnings in Kentucky to worldwide superstardom and how she changed the sound and style of country music forever.

Director:

Michael Apted

Writers:

Thomas Rickman (screenplay) (as Tom Rickman), Loretta Lynn (autobiography) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 9 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 13, Loretta Webb marries Doolittle Lynn and is soon responsible for a large family. She appears destined to a life of homemaking, but Doolittle recognizes his wife's musical talent, and buys her a guitar as an anniversary present one year. At 18, the busy mother of four children still finds time to write and sing songs at small fairs and local honky-tonks. This gift sets Loretta Lynn on the grueling, 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:

Coal Miner's Daughter See more »

Filming Locations:

Norton, Virginia, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,366,443, 9 March 1980

Gross USA:

$67,182,787

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$67,182,787
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

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

Sissy Spacek was reluctant to take on the lead role, instead favoring a project by Nicolas Roeg. She had insisted on doing her own singing for the film in hopes of scaring the producers off. The real Loretta Lynn prematurely announced that Spacek was going to play her on a talk show, so Spacek was torn between the decision to star in the film, or choose the other project. She was advised by her mother-in-law to pray for a sign on what to do that evening, which she did. Spacek later went for a drive with her husband in her mother's car, where the radio was tuned into a classical music station that changed formats every evening. As the car pulled out of the parking garage, "Coal Miner's Daughter" by Loretta Lynn came on the radio. Spacek then accepted the role. See more »

Goofs

The boom mic is visible when teenager Loretta is talking to her mother in the living room. See more »

Quotes

Radio station manager: And come off that dumb hillbilly act!
Doolittle Lynn: If you knew Loretta, you'd know that ain't no act.
Loretta Lynn: Thank you, honey.
See more »


Soundtracks

Satisfied Mind
Written by Jack Rhodes and Joe "Red" Hayes
Sung by Red Foley
Courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Biopic of Loretta Lynn Just Gets Better with Age!
24 October 2005 | by cariartSee all my reviews

To me, the success of a film biography isn't whether fans of the personality will watch the movie; they will, whether it is any good, or not...the true measure of success is how the film captures an audience who DON'T know the person, and wins their hearts.

"Coal Miner's Daughter" does this, better than nearly any other 'biopic', and the film is as passionate and wonderful today as it was in 1980.

There are several reasons for the film's 'staying' power; first, British director Michael Apted, making his first American feature, brought an unbiased eye to the lifestyle of poor but proud rural America. Eschewing the clichés of the "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Dukes of Hazzards" stereotypes, he cast many 'locals' in the film, and attempted to recreate, as realistically as possible, the world Loretta Webb/Lynn knew so well.

Second, the film boasts not one or two, but three powerhouse supporting performances. Tommy Lee Jones, who Apted picked over Harrison Ford, is a revelation as Doolittle 'Mooney' Lynn. With only a handful of credits when the film was released, he demonstrated the dazzling combination of humor and sensitivity that would eventually win him a place as one of our finest actors. Levon Helm, making his dramatic debut as Loretta's father, Ted, is even more impressive. Low-key, but irresistible, he offers so much love and power in his portrayal that it's easy to see why he would remain influential to his superstar daughter, long after his passing. In a brief but sparkling portrayal, Beverly D'Angelo channels Patsy Cline to perfection (I may be alone in my opinion, but I prefer her portrayal over Jessica Lange's, in "Sweet Dreams"). With earthy charm and worldliness, she would change Loretta's image from 'cowgirl' to 'royalty', and her shocking, early death would shatter Loretta, much as it did for everyone who loved her.

Of course, without a strong, charismatic performance in the lead, nothing else would matter, and Sissy Spacek is nothing less than spectacular! Handpicked by Loretta Lynn, herself, from a photograph (Spacek would admit that she felt 'wrong' for the role, and uncomfortable about Lynn proclaiming the actress as "her" choice on national TV, but as she was preparing to turn it down, "Coal Miner's Daughter" came on a 'classical' radio station she was listening to, and she suddenly knew she was 'meant' to play the part!) Contrary to popular opinion, she had to learn Lynn's Southern accent, and spent grueling weeks learning how to sing her signature tunes (including a week with Loretta, herself). The end results are stunning! Despite only a passing resemblance, Spacek so totally captured the talent, vulnerability, feistiness, and strength of Loretta Lynn that she won the 1980 'Best Actress' Oscar (over Gena Rowlands, Ellen Burstyn, Goldie Hawn, and Mary Tyler Moore), and is still identified with the role, today.

I knew little of Country Music in 1980, and even less about Loretta Lynn, but the film captured my heart...and after 25 years, it still moves me! "Coal Miner's Daughter" IS a CLASSIC!


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