dolly parton movies
Lily Tomlin, from left, Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda present the award for outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or a movie at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

The 10 Best Dolly Parton Movies, Ranked


Dolly Parton is the definition of a triple-threat. She's a massively talented singer, Grammy-winning songwriter, and veteran actor. Oh, and she's also a philanthropist who provides one million free books to children each month. If given enough time, she could probably solve all of the world's problems. In the meantime, we have her movies. From a Sylvester Stallone vehicle to a Southern classic, here are the 10 best results from Parton's jump from Dollywood to Hollywood.

10. Rhinestone

If you've ever wondered how Sylvester Stallone would fare as a country singer, well, you might be the only one. But 1984's Rhinestone asks the question: what if Dolly Parton had to make Sly Stallone into a country singer in order to get out of a contract with a sleazy club manager? The film was panned upon its release, but it did spawn two top 10 country singles for Dolly: "Tennessee Homesick Blues" and "God Won't Get You." The plot is just ridiculous enough for a so-bad-it's-good movie night.

9. Wild Texas Wind


The 1991 made-for-TV movie Wild Texas Wind stars Parton, Gary Busey and Ray Benson.  Filmed in Austin, Texas, the film follows an aspiring singer (Parton) and her abusive alcoholic manager (Busey) and centers around a murder. The film features a cameo by Willie Nelson and original music penned by Parton and Benson.

8. A Smoky Mountain Christmas

The 1986 TV movie A Smoky Mountain Christmas stars Dolly as country music star Lorna Davis, who travels to the Smoky Mountains to escape the grind of  Los Angeles. While there, she meets and becomes caretaker of a group of orphans. The Christmas classic is as heartwarming and sweet as Dolly herself.

7. Straight Talk


We all know that Dolly gives the best advice, so it makes perfect sense that she'd play Shirlee Kenyon, a down-and-out woman turned advice guru, in the 1992 romantic comedy Straight Talk.

6. Unlikely Angel

CBS' 1996 made-for-TV movie Unlikely Angel finds Dolly playing another country star. This time it's the slightly egotistical Ruby Diamond (yes, really), who meets an untimely death and is assigned a mission to reunite a family on earth before she can become an angel.

That stretch of Parton's career also brought us another TV movie, 1999's Blue Valley Songbird.


5. Dolly Parton's Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love

Parton's TV movies about her childhood growing up in the Smoky Mountains are becoming a Christmas tradition. The 2016 NBC special Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love follows the Parton family as they sacrifice their Christmas gifts so their father can buy their mother a wedding ring. The movie stars Ricky Schroder and Jennifer Nettles as Parton's parents and Dolly herself as the town's "painted lady."

It's the sequel to Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors (2015), which starred Alyvia Alyn Lind as young Dolly.

Parton's holiday movie filmography keeps growing, with the recent addition of Hallmark's Christmas in Dollywood (2019) and Netflix's Dolly Parton's Christmas on the Square (2020).


Read More: Dolly Parton's Holiday Album 'A Holly Dolly Christmas' Features a Duet With Her Goddaughter, Miley Cyrus

4. Joyful Noise

The 2012 film Joyful Noise stars Parton and Queen Latifah as rival church choir members as they prepare for a national competition. The movie also features fellow multimedia superstar Kris Kristofferson as Dolly's husband.

3. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas


Parton dazzles in the 1982 musical comedy The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, an adaption of the 1978 Broadway musical. She stars as Miss Mona Stangley, proprietor of a small town brothel known as the Chicken Ranch. Things are complicated by a meddling TV anchor on a mission to shut the brothel down and Mona's on-again-off-again relationship with the local sheriff,  played by Burt Reynolds. The movie soundtrack spawned the top 10 hit "Hard Candy Christmas" and made Parton's "I Will Always Love You" a No. 1 hit for the second time.

2. Steel Magnolias

The 1989 southern saga Steel Magnolias stars Parton as Truvy Jones, the hilarious local beautician, advice-giver and town gossip. The film centers on the friendship between a group of women who endure tragedy with a whole lot of wit along the way. A true classic, the film is one of the best Dolly Parton movies ever made.

1. 9 to 5


The 1980 workplace comedy 9 to 5 stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Parton as overworked, underpaid and under-appreciated office workers. Fed up with the antics of their "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot" boss, the three women kidnap and blackmail him and take over the office, providing equal pay and flexible work hours for the employees. The movie officially launched Parton into super-stardom and spawned a hit Broadway musical and, of course, Parton's original song "9 to 5."

Parton's role as Doralee Rhodes earned her a Golden Globe nomination.

This story previously ran on Nov. 28, 2018.

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Editor's Note: Products featured on Wide Open Country are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.