Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors is a 2015 American made-for-television drama film based on a true story by Dolly Parton, written by Pamela K. Long and directed by Stephen Herek.[1] The film premiered on NBC on December 10, 2015.[2] The film received generally positive reviews from critics.


Coat of Many Colors details Dolly Parton's upbringing in 1955 as her family struggles to live in Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains, putting a strain on love and faith. Dolly (Alyvia Alyn Lind) aspires to be something greater but must cope with family troubles, including the premature birth and death of a baby brother. Dolly's mother, Avie Lee Parton (Jennifer Nettles) uses the baby's blanket to make Dolly her patchwork coat of many colors. Although Dolly is at first proud of it, she changes her mind after school bullies make fun of her. Meanwhile, Dolly's father, Lee Parton (Ricky Schroder) suffers a personal crisis brought about by the baby's death combined with the depression of his wife and a drought which threatened his tobacco crop. Eventually, faith brings the family together again.


  • Alyvia Alyn Lind as Dolly Parton, a precocious nine-year-old who hopes to be a famous singer
  • Jennifer Nettles as Avie Lee Parton, the devout matriarch of the Partons living in the mountains
  • Ricky Schroder as Robert Lee Parton, the hard-working patriarch of the Partons with faith issues
  • Gerald McRaney as Rev. Jake Owens, Avie Lee's father and preacher
  • Carson Meyer as Willadeene Parton, Dolly's oldest sister
  • Hannah Nordberg as Judy Ogle, Dolly's schoolmate-turned-friend
  • Mary Lane Haskell as Miss Moody, school teacher who is firm yet supportive of Dolly's aspiration
  • Stella Parton as Corla Bass, owner of the town market and a gossip
  • Forrest Deal as Rudy Sanders, a school bully
  • Kennedy Brice as Gloria Sanders, Rudy's sister and another bully
  • Farrah Mackenzie as Stella Parton, Dolly's younger sister
  • Parker Sack as David Parton, Dolly's oldest brother
  • Dylan Rowen as Denver Parton, Dolly's second-oldest brother
  • Blane Crockarell as Bobby Parton, Dolly's younger brother
  • Jennifer D. Taylor as Aunt Dorothy Jo
  • Dolly Parton as the narrator



Coat of Many Colors was filmed in Covington and Conyers, Georgia, and Sevier County, Tennessee, the latter at Dollywood for introductory and closing scenes from Dolly Parton.[3][4][5]


Parton, whose childhood is told in the film's story written by her, is also executive producer. She spoke about the casting process, beginning with singer Jennifer Nettles, who plays her mother: "When she started reading I thought, Oh my lord, that's momma. And, she is incredible ... I didn't even know she acted." For her father, Parton already had someone in mind, Ricky Schroder, because "he reminds me so much of my daddy." In casting the younger Dolly, several hundred children auditioned. Parton stated "God's going to send her." Alyvia Alyn Lind auditioned and could "sing...act" and "cry on cue", said Parton, adding, "When she came in, it just kind of blew it all out of the water and she got the part."[3] In addition, Dolly's younger sister Stella Parton appears in the film, playing town gossip Corla Bass.


Critical reception

Coat of Many Colors received favorable reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has received a 78% rating from nine critics.[6] Among eight reviews at Metacritic, it holds a "generally favorable" score of 65 out of 100.[7]

Ken Tucker of Yahoo TV gave the film its highest praise, stating "The pastoral nostalgia that this TV-movie taps into is powerful, if maudlin, stuff. This is the time of year when sentimentality can be a warming thing, and Parton's Coat will keep an awful lot of people warm this winter."[8]

The Guardian's Brian Moylan commented on the film's faith storyline: "For those who don’t regularly visit the house of the Lord, it will make your eyes roll like loose marbles in the back of a station wagon."[9]

David Wiegand of the San Francisco Chronicle was the most critical but commented "Although it's a struggle at times, you do suspend disbelief and go with it because Lind is so adorable, and you want to accept that the saccharine story line could have played out in real life just the way it's depicted in the film."[10]


In its initial December 10, 2015 broadcast, Coat of Many Colors was seen by 13.03 million viewers and received a 1.8/6 rating/share in the 18-49 age demographic.[11] This marks the highest viewership for any television film (made for TV or theatrical) or miniseries on the broadcast networks since 2012.[12]


On April 3, 2016, Coat of Many Colors was honored during the Academy of Country Music Awards ceremony with the Tex Ritter Award, which is presented to a film released in the previous year that features country music. Dolly Parton accepted the award.[13]


Main article: Dolly Parton's Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love

In May 2016, it was announced that a sequel to the film is in the works. In Dolly Parton's Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love, Jennifer Nettles, Ricky Schroder, Gerald McRaney and Alyvia Alyn Lind reprised their roles. Stephen Herek returned to direct the sequel written by Pamela K. Long.[14] Dolly Parton herself also had a cameo. The film aired on NBC on November 30, 2016.[15]


  1. Script error
  2. Kissell, Rick (August 18, 2015). "NBC Sets Airdate for Original Movie Based on Dolly Parton’s ‘Coat of Many Colors’".. Retrieved on November 19, 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Haynes, Beth (November 26, 2015). "Behind the scenes of Dolly Parton's 'Coat of Many Colors'".
  4. Wynn, Ron (December 10, 2015). "Flipping Channels: Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors Tonight on NBC".
  5. Ho, Rodney (December 8, 2015). "Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors (NBC Dec. 10) uses Covington, Conyers".
  6. "Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors (2015)".. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on December 11, 2015.
  7. "Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors".. Metacritic. Retrieved on December 11, 2015.
  8. Tucker, Ken (December 10, 2015). "'Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors' Is A Sentimental Beauty".
  9. Moylan, Brian (December 10, 2015). "Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors: sugary TV movie sings one-note tune".
  10. Wiegand, David (December 9, 2015). "Poorly made 'Coat' still warms the heart".
  11. Porter, Rick (December 11, 2015). "Thursday final ratings: 2 Broke Girls and other CBS shows adjust down with NFL pre-emptions".
  12. Porter, Rick (December 11, 2015). "TV Ratings Thursday: 'Coat of Many Colors' does well for NBC, 'Bones' goes below 1.0".
  13. Dolly Parton, Katy Perry to Duet on ACM Awards
  14. Kissell, Rick (May 11, 2016). "NBC Sets Sequel to 'Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors' for This Year". Retrieved on May 12, 2016.
  15. Reiter, Annie (August 24, 2016). "Dolly Parton Shares Air Date For 'Christmas Of Many Colors'".

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