Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Dolly Parton’s 5 Best Film Roles

Dolly Parton’s 5 Best Film Roles

Dolly Parton is one of the most prolific singer-songwriters around. However, she’s also managed to build an impressive film-acting resume. Here are a few movies that let the Queen of Country stretch her acting chops.

‘Straight Talk’

1992’s Straight Talk enlists Dolly to play the lead role of Shirlee Kenyon. She is a dance instructor who relocates to Chicago and achieves success as a radio talk show host, providing guidance and wisdom to her listeners. Despite being a romantic comedy, Parton can’t quite sell that she’s attracted to co-star James Woods. However, she’s definitely the star of the show here. Keep your eyes peeled for the screen debut of Office Space star Ron Livingston.

‘Wild Texas Wind’

Despite her big-screen success, Dolly Parton has never shied away from TV movies. Wild Texas Wind, a TV movie from 1991, boasts a cast featuring Parton, Gary Busey, and Ray Benson from Asleep at the Wheel. Set in Austin, Texas, the film revolves around an aspiring singer (Parton) and her abusive alcoholic manager (Busey), with a murder at its core. Notably, the movie includes a cameo by fellow music icon Willie Nelson and features original music written by Parton and Benson.

‘Steel Magnolias’

Most of Dolly’s film roles in the 80s relied on her talent for comedy or musical abilities. However, 1989’s Steel Magnolias finally let Parton show her dramatic acting skills. The film tells the story of a group of women in a quaint Southern town who form deep connections through the ups and downs of life. While it is often hailed as one of Julia Roberts’ finest performances, Dolly Parton also steals her scenes with her portrayal of the town’s gossip, Truvy Jones.

‘The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas’

However, some of Dolly’s most iconic film roles utilize her top-notch comedic timing as well as her gift for music. Parton shines in the 1982 musical comedy The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, a film adaptation of the 1978 Broadway production. She plays Miss Mona Stangley, the owner of a quaint brothel known as the Chicken Ranch. The plot thickens as a persistent TV anchor tries to shut down the establishment. It helps that here Parton is paired with Burt Reynolds at perhaps the peak of his cool.

Dolly Parton’s Best Film… ‘9 to 5’

Of course, Dolly Parton’s film debut, 9 to 5 tops this list. Starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Parton, this 1980 workplace comedy portrays the lives of overworked and underpaid office workers. The trio of office workers plot to exact revenge on their misogynistic boss, played by Dabney Coleman. The movie propelled Parton into superstardom, giving rise to Parton’s iconic song “9 to 5.” She even scored an Academy Award nomination for the title song, which remains one of her biggest hits.