AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Coal Miner's Daughter
Director: Michael Apted (Dir)
Release Date:   7 Mar 1980
Premiere Information:   Los Angeles and New York openings: 7 Mar 1980
Production Date:   early Mar--7 May 1979 in Tennessee and Kentucky
Duration (in mins):   125
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Cast:   Sissy Spacek (Loretta Lynn)  
    Tommy Lee Jones (Doolittle "Mooney" Lynn)  
  also starring: Beverly D'Angelo (Patsy Cline)  
  [and] Levon Helm (Ted Webb)  
    Phyllis Boyens (Clara Webb)  
  The Webb Children - Loretta's Brothers and Sisters: Bill Anderson, Jr.    
    Foister Dickerson    
    Malla McCown    
    Pamela McCown    
  [and] Kevin Salvilla    
    William Sanderson (Lee Dollarhide)  
  Loretta and Mooney's Children: Sissy Lucas    
    Pat Patterson    
    Brian Warf    
  [and] Elizabeth Watson    
    Robert Elkins (Bobby Day)  
    Bob Hannah (Charlie Dick)  
    Ernest Tubb (Himself)  
    Jennifer Beasley (Patsy Lynn)  
    Jessica Beasley (Peggy Lynn)  
    Susan Kingsley (Girl at fairgrounds)  
    Michael Baish (Storekeeper)  
    David Gray (Doc Turner)  
    Royce Clark (Hugh Cherry)  
    Gary Parker (Radio station manager)  
    Billy Strange (Speedy West)  
    Bruce Newman (Opry stage manager)  
    Grant Turner (Opry announcer)  
    Frank Mitchell (Washington neighbor)  
    Merle Kilgore (Cowboy at Tootsie's)  
    Jackie Lynn Wright (Redhead at Tootsie's)  
    Rhonda Rhoton (Lizzie)  
    Veron Oxford (Preacher)  
    Ron Hensley (John Penn)  
    Doug Bledsoe (Cowboy at Grange Hall)  
    Aubrey Wells (Red Lynn)  
    Russell Varner (Bidder at pie auction)  
  Teachers at Pie Auction: Tommie O'Donnell    
    Lou Headley    
  [and] Ruby Caudill    
    Charles Kahlenberg (Business manager)  
    Alice McGeachy (Woman with doll)  
    Ken Riley (Road manager)  
    Jim Webb (Bus driver)  
  The Coal Miner's Band: Dave Thornhill    
    Don Ballinger    
    Zeke Dawson    
    Gene Dunlap    
    Durwood Edwards    
    Chuck Flynn    
    Lonnie Godfrey    
  [and] Bob Hempker    
  The Patsy Cline Band: Danny Faircloth    
    Charles Gore    
    Doug Hauseman    
    Mike Noble    
    Daniel Sarenana    
  [and] Billy West    

Summary: In Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, thirteen-year-old Loretta Webb delivers a lunch pail to her coal miner father, Ted, and is mesmerized by former soldier, Doolittle “Mooney” Lynn, who wins a bet that he can scale a nearby mountain in his jeep. At home, Ted gives Loretta a dress, but the other children are jealous. However, Ted insists that when girls become women they should have pretty things. At a community dance and pie auction, Mooney steps in as auctioneer, and ends up outbidding a local boy for Loretta’s chocolate pie. However, it proves to be inedible because Loretta accidentally used salt instead of sugar. The mistake does not dampen Mooney’s affection because he walks her home after she refuses to ride in his jeep. He says the army made him realize that the world is a big place, and he has no interest in being a coal miner. He plans to do bigger things. Soon, Mooney takes Loretta on an exhilarating jeep ride, racing around town. When Loretta returns, her father beats her with a switch for running off. She admits she is in love with Mooney, but Clara, her mother, thinks Mooney is wild, and warns her daughter not to see him anymore. One day, Mooney visits the Webb home, shows Loretta a wad of money he earned at work, and asks her to be his wife. Ted and Clara reluctantly give Mooney their blessing, and he promises he will never beat Loretta or take her far away from her family. After the couple is married, they spend their wedding night in a cold, shabby motel. Mooney roughly mounts his new wife in bed, and Loretta loses her virginity. Later, Mooney confesses that Loretta needs to improve her cooking, her cleaning, and her lovemaking. When he gives her a sex manual to read, she asks for more of his patience and understanding. Soon, Mooney sends her home, and she learns that she is pregnant. Mooney comes to town to tell Loretta he is leaving Kentucky for a logging job in Washington state, and he will send for her when he has enough money, but she reminds him that by doing so he will break his promise to her father. Mooney tells her she has to decide whether she wants to be daddy’s girl or his wife. Soon, Ted waits with his pregnant daughter at the train station, and has a premonition he will never see her again. Several years later, Loretta and Mooney have four children, and she sings them to sleep. Loretta asks for a wedding ring for her anniversary, but he buys a guitar for her at a pawnshop instead. Although disappointed, Loretta teaches herself to play, and writes songs. Later, Mooney takes Loretta to a local bar, and arranges for her to sing with the band. When she insists that she cannot sing in front of strangers, Mooney bullies her. As a result of the audience’s enthusiasm, Mooney takes Loretta and the children on the road to record her first single. He takes publicity photographs, books Loretta to play at local “honky tonks,” and sends her records to radio stations. Meanwhile, the couple receives word that Ted has died, and return home for his funeral. Loretta sits by his grave, feeling guilty and sad. Soon, Mooney asks Loretta if she truly wants to be a professional singer because they need to introduce Loretta’s music to disc jockeys. When she admits that she wants to sing for a living, they leave the children with her mother. At one radio station, they persuade a disc jockey to play her song. From there, the couple travels to many local stations in the South, where Loretta does short interviews. Along the way, a deejay tells them that Loretta’s record has climbed to No. 14 on the country music charts. Later, they arrive at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, and Loretta is given a chance to perform on an Ernest Tubb variety show. Still later, Loretta performs at Ernest’s Record Shop “Mid-Nite Jamboree,” and dedicates a Patsy Cline tune to Patsy’s recovery in the hospital. Afterward, Charlie Dick, Patsy’s husband, invites Loretta to meet Patsy. At the hospital, Patsy says she wanted to meet the gal who sang at the Opry seventeen times without sleeping with someone to get there. The women become friends and Patsy invites her to join her tour. Later, Loretta joins Patsy on stage, and Mooney orders her to wipe off her makeup, but she ignores him. Still later, Loretta finds Mooney in the arms of a prostitute inside a car. She orders him back to the tour bus, warns him never to fall to temptation again, and writes a song about the incident on the bus. One day, Loretta and Patsy return from a shopping trip, and Mooney again orders Loretta to remove her makeup. When Loretta refuses, they fight in the parking lot until she leaves in a car with Patsy and Charlie. Mooney returns home with a bandaged hand, and admits it is time for him to get another job. Loretta is willing to stop performing for the sake of their marriage, but Mooney advises her that successful people do not quit. He feels his job is done, and she needs a professional manager. Meanwhile, he gives her the wedding ring she has wanted for so long, and they make up. Later, Loretta tells Patsy she is pregnant again, and Patsy gives her some of her old maternity clothes. When she returns from doing a benefit in Kansas City, Patsy says they will go shopping for the things Loretta needs. However, Patsy is killed in a plane crash. Later, Loretta gives birth to twins she names “Peggy” and “Patsy.” She tells Mooney she will return to work soon. As Loretta starts touring, her songs become hits and her fans multiply. She and Mooney buy a home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, for her large family. Loretta asks Mooney to go out on tour to watch her interests. One night, Loretta is too exhausted to perform, but Mooney insists that she sing. On stage, she explains how hectic her life is, and collapses as she leaves. Back home, Loretta recuperates, and the couple makes plans to build a new house. Renewed in spirit, Loretta goes back on the road, and sings about being a coal miner’s daughter.


Production Company: Universal Pictures (An MCA Company)
Production Text: A Bernard Schwartz Production
Distribution Company: Universal Pictures (An MCA Company)
Director: Michael Apted (Dir)
  Wallace Worsley (Prod mgr)
  Dan Kolsrud (1st asst dir)
  Katy Emde (2d asst dir)
Producer: Bernard Schwartz (Prod)
  Zelda Barron (Assoc prod)
  Bob Larson (Exec prod)
Writer: Tom Rickman (Scr)
Photography: Ralf D. Bode (Dir of photog)
  Mike Stone (Cam op)
  William Birch (2d unit cam)
  Ray Kinzer (Key grip)
  Bob Woodside (Gaffer)
  John Dustin (2d unit cam op)
  George Kohut (Cam asst)
  Roy Collodi (Cam asst)
  Marc Hirshfield (Cam asst)
  Ann Lukacs (Cam asst)
  Tim Brennan (2d grip)
  Albert Ramos (Dolly grip)
  Mike Heath (Grip)
  Mark Stanley (Grip)
  David Jarrell (Best boy)
  Mark Abbott (Elec)
  Ted Varnadoe (Elec)
  Harry Jukes (Generator op)
  Melinda Wickman (Stills)
  Don Smetzer (Stills)
Art Direction: John W. Corso (Prod des)
Film Editor: Arthur Schmidt (Ed)
  Tom Finan (Asst film ed)
Set Decoration: John M. Dwyer (Set dec)
  Victoria Petrotta (Prop master)
  Lou Mann (Set des)
  H. John Ramos (Asst prop master)
  Richard Leon (Asst prop master)
  Bart Susman (Leadman)
  Al Bilof (Swing gang)
  Joe Savko (Swing gang)
  Frank Mitchell (Greensman)
  Ray LaPorte (Painter)
  Bob Nohles (Const coord)
  Bion Roberts (Const crew)
  Sam Adams (Const crew)
  Terry Feller (Const crew)
  John Marsala (Const crew)
  Andy Pedroza (Const crew)
  Jack Smith (Const crew)
  Gregg Villalva (Const crew)
  Ken White (Const crew)
  Andy Hawkes (Const crew)
  Dimitri Bugarcic (Const crew)
  James Callan (Const crew)
  Kirk Hansen (Const crew)
  Marty Urner (Const crew)
Costumes: Joe I. Tompkins (Cost des)
  E. W. Rose (Cost supv)
  Pam Wise (Cost supv)
  Hugo Pena (Men`s cost)
  Barry Downing (Men`s cost)
  Lucille Clark (Women`s cost)
  Michelle Dittrich (Women`s cost)
Music: Owen Bradley (Mus supv)
  Sissy Spacek (All songs sung by)
  Beverly D`Angelo (All songs sung by)
  George Brand (Mus ed)
  Bradley's Barn Mt. Juliet, Tennessee (Mus rec at)
  Joe Mills (Eng, Mus rec at Bradley's Barn)
  The Jordanaires (Back-up vocals by)
Sound: Jim Alexander (Sd)
  Richard Portman (Sd re-rec)
  Roger Heman (Sd re-rec)
  Gordon Ecker, Jr. (Supv sd ed)
  Lon E. Bender (Sd ed)
  Andrew London (Sd ed)
  Joseph Holsen (Sd ed)
  John McDonald (Boom op)
  Alsie Florence (Rec)
  John Agalsoff (Playback)
Special Effects: George Osaki (Title des)
  Floyd Van Wey (Spec eff)
  Tom Delgenio (Spec eff)
  Universal Title (Title & opt eff)
Make Up: Mark Reedall (Makeup)
  Lorraine Roberson (Hairstylist)
  Albert Jeyte (Asst makeup)
  Martin Samuels (Asst hair stylist)
Production Misc: Michael Chinich (Casting)
  Bob Forrest (Scr supv)
  Jo Doster (Casting assoc)
  David Skepner (Tech adv)
  Sue Dwiggins (Prod assoc)
  Russ Harling (Prod asst)
  Nick Chiarolanzio (Loc auditor)
  Olivia Maggard (Casting asst)
  Sandy Dawes (Casting asst)
  Bob McPherson (Craft service)
  Arthur Wilde (Pub)
  Gene Schwartz (Transportation capt)
  Dick Austin (Transportation capt)
  Bill Bilyeu (Driver)
  Jim Burris (Driver)
  Bill Essenpreis (Driver)
  Jim Johnson (Driver)
  Artie McLaughlin (Driver)
  Cal Masoner (Driver)
  Brad Siniard (Paramedic)
  Jim Jones (Wrangler)
  Danny Young (Timekeeper)
  Barney Thebiay (Projectionist)
Color Personnel: Technicolor® (Col by)
MPAA Rating: PG
Country: United States
Language: English

Songs: "Walking The Floor Over You," sung by Ernest Tubb, record courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.; "Blue Moon Of Kentucky," sung by Bill Monroe, record courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.; "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels," sung by Kitty Wells, record courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.; "Satisfied Mind," sung by Red Foley, record courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
Source Text: Based on the book Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner's Daughter by Loretta Lynn and George Vecsey (Chicago, 1976).
Authors: Loretta Lynn
  George Vecsey

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Universal City Studios, Inc. 11/3/1980 dd/mm/yyyy PA61256

PCA NO: 25842
Physical Properties: Sd:
  Lenses/Prints: Lenses and Panaflex Camera by Panavision®

Genre: Drama
Subjects (Major): Country music
  Coal miners
  Family life
  Fathers and daughters
Subjects (Minor): Airplane accidents
  Coal mines
  Disc jockeys
  Grand Ole Opry
  Music fans
  Radio stations
  Washington (State)

Note: The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “The Producers wish to thank the following for their generous cooperation in the filming of this motion picture: Kentucky Film Commission, Delmar Kincer, Sally Webb, Kathy Virkler, Larry Lipton, Vince Bohannon, Bud Armes, Kent Rigg, Charles R. Campbell, Johnny Rosen/ Fanta Sound, and The People of Kentucky, Tennessee & Virginia.”End credits state: “Filmed entirely on location in Kentucky and Tennessee.”
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, screenwriter Tom Rickman, a native Kentuckian, was invited to travel with singer Loretta Lynn during a concert tour to experience the atmosphere firsthand. In addition, Lynn worked closely with Rickman to personalize the final script and make it as authentic as possible. According to a 19 May 1980 People article, a bit of dramatic license was taken in the movie including singer Lynn’s use of a gas range instead of the wood stove she cooked on for her children, truncating her five-year ascension into country music stardom into one year, and minimizing her Valium dependency and bouts of nervous exhaustion. Reportedly, these episodes were sensationalized in director Robert Altman’s Nashville (1975, see entry), a semi fictional satire about the country music business. Lynn claimed she quit her substance abuse in 1976.
       Production notes stated that children native to Tennessee and Kentucky were cast as Lynn’s five brothers and sisters, four others played the Lynns’ children, and near the film’s end, twins were cast as the couple’s kids. The ages ranged from eighteen months to nineteen years. For a scene involving a pie auction and a dance, filmmakers invited the local community to work as background actors. They played their own folk instruments, and were costumed in 1940s outfits.
       A 13 Dec 1978 LAT article announced that principal photography would begin in Feb 1979, but the start was pushed to Mar 1979, according to a 24 Jan 1979 DV brief. A 7 May 1979 HR brief announced that the production completed two months of principal photography on that day.
       Production designer John Corso and his crew moved adjacent to the original Butcher Hollow in Kentucky to design and construct a cabin like the one in which Lynn was born, as well as six other buildings. To have access to the outdoor location, the crew built several roads so heavy equipment could be moved into the location. For the pie auction and dance scenes, the director chose an existing one-room schoolhouse, complete with a brass bell in its belfry, and a pot-bellied stove.
       The film received an Academy Award for Actress In A Leading Role (Sissy Spacek as “Loretta Lynn.”) It also received the following Academy Award nominations: Art Direction; Cinematography; Film Editing; Best Picture; Sound; Writing-Screenplay based on material from another medium. The film received two Golden Globe Awards: Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, and Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (Sissy Spacek). It also received the following Golden Globe nominations: Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (Tommy Lee Jones), and Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Beverly D’Angelo).
       The film marked the dramatic theatrical film debuts of Levon Helm, a musician who had previously appeared in a rock ‘n’ roll documentary The Last Waltz (1978, see entry) with his group, The Band, and folk singer, Phyllis Boyens, who had been featured in the 1977 documentary Harlan County, U. S. A (see entry).

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   24 Jan 1979.   
Hollywood Reporter   7 May 1979.   
Hollywood Reporter   20 Feb 1980   p. 3.
Los Angeles Times   13 Dec 1978.   
Los Angeles Times   2 Mar 1980   p. 29.
New York Times   7 Mar 1980   p. 8.
People   19 May 1980   pp. 79-80.
Variety   20 Feb 1980   p. 19.

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