The Ditchdigger’s Daughters film is back

Written by yvonnethornton on May 9th, 2010

In 1997, a movie version of my memoir, The Ditchdigger’s Daughters, aired on The Family Channel. And while the film covers only a fraction of the book, it was still a thrill to see the actors playing the roles of my family members and me.

The film was never released commercially on DVD and seemed all but forgotten. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that BET network was broadcasting my story – and lots of people on Facebook are talking about it. I caught the film version last weekend as a movie premiere on BET, which makes me think that it might be broadcast again, so you should check the schedules.

Of course, Hollywood likes to focus on the conflict, so the movie was more about the struggles between my father and my older sister, Jeanette and less about what made the book a bestseller: how my father and mother overcame incredible obstacles to build a better life for their daughters.

It’s fun to watch but if you really want the whole story, I hope you’ll read the book.

And if you want to know what happens after that book ends, please keep an eye out for my next memoir, Something to Prove, scheduled to be published in December.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH


40 Comments so far ↓

  1. susie says:

    i missed the movie on BET (june 13 2010)…does anyone know when it will air again

  2. justme says:

    It comes on BET July 11, 2010 at 5:30 pm EST…I already have my dvr set! I can’t wait!

  3. Kendra says:

    Is there anyway that this movie can be purchased?

  4. michelle williams says:

    can i get a copy of the movie based on your family 2 copies please just like the way i was raised my a strict mom who wanted all girls to be nurses their are three of us one is an lpn i am a nurses tech i was head strong like your sister janette i can relate to her much lol my other sister worked as medical secretary but works at a restaurant now this movie brings back memories it came out the year my daughter was born she want to be a animal doctor please tell how much it wiil cost thank u peace love and happiness

  5. Dr. Hester Young says:

    Where can I purchase the cd?

  6. lilkunta says:

    it is on RIGHT NOW. sun 15 august . it started at 7pm (est).

  7. Kate G says:

    Dr. Thornton,
    My grandfather was a ditchdigger, illerate, who had quit school when he was in the fourth grade, but he always demanded that his children do better than he. I found your book about your father incredibly inspirational and am VERY interested in finding the dvd!!

  8. donna W says:

    I would like to purchase the dvd

  9. donna W says:

    I would like to purchas the dvd

  10. Julie says:

    Looking for the perfect Christmas gift and thought immediately of your book. Your story has made a lasting impact on my life.

  11. Eula says:

    I have been trying to purchase “The Ditchdigger’s Daughters” movie, but I can’t seem to locate it. Do you know where I can find a copy?

  12. Vee says:

    This movie is so inspirational. I have to show it to my family. They have got to put this movie on DVD.

  13. Jan says:

    I have been looking for this movie for years. It is not even listed on Carl Lumbly movie credits. It is an excellent movie. I hope it is put out on DVD as well as Tiny Valentines.

  14. marva says:

    where can i get the movie

  15. covarrubia911 says:

    Where can I buy the DVD

  16. Shemika says:

    Where can I purchase this movie?

  17. yvonnethornton says:

    Good afternoon:

    You can purchase the movie, “The Ditchdigger’s Daughters” from my website: under the tab “Shop”. I hope that helps you.

    Have a nice day and thanks for visiting.

    Dr. Thornton

  18. yvonnethornton says:

    Good afternoon:

    You can purchase the movie, “The Ditchdigger’s Daughters” from my website: under the tab “Shop”. I hope that helps you.

    Have a nice day and thanks for visiting.

    Dr. Thornton

  19. Meg110 says:

    I have been looking for this movie to buy for years. I saw this movie years ago and it has always been stuck in my mind. After i learned the name of the movie immediately looked for it. Unfortunately no one had it for sell till now. But $50 for a movie? Thats more then a tv series on dvd. Is there anyway the price could go down?

  20. audrey says:

    I would like to purchase this movie on dvd,where can I find it

  21. Roxanne Jones says:

    Can you call me I want to order movie

  22. yvonnethornton says:

    Good evening: Please go to my website: and click on the “Shop” tab.

  23. yvonnethornton says:

    Please go to my website: and click on the tab “Shop” at the top. Thank you and have a nice evening.

  24. yvonnethornton says:

    Good evening:
    Thank you for the correspondence. The movie was never released to the public by Buena Vista (division of Disney). However, I do have access to the movie and have been given permission to copy the movie. Unfortunately, it is very expensive to individually duplicate it (~$50) by a professional videographer.

    If you are still interested in obtaining a copy, please let me know and I will have one of my staff contact you with the necessary information or you can go to my website ( and click on the “Shop” tab.

    In the interim, have you read the book, “The Ditchdigger’s Daughters”, yet? It is much better (and less expensive) than the movie. My new memoir, “SOMETHING TO PROVE” won the 2011 Grand Prize at the New York Book Festival.

    I hope this information has helped you. Take care, thanks for writing and I hope you have a wonderful day.

    Dr. Thornton

  25. Vanessa Clark says:

    Hi Dr.Thornton,we met at Jamaica Hospital severals years ago,i was invited along with my husband by you to attend an event that you were having…. you worked with OB GYN Women’s Health and work Family Practice next door, hope your memories are coming back,i remember you singing and playing an instrument, i also meet your husband. I have pictures that i had taken of you and your husband, i want to send them to you….please contact me with above email. Vanessa

  26. yvonnethornton says:

    Hi, Vanessa: Thank you for writing. I have already responded to your email. Have a great day! Sincerely, Dr. Thornton

  27. Kay Chandler says:

    Thanks for such a great movie. May God Bless

  28. Jim Whittinghill says:

    This was a great movie! I applaud the fact that all worked out for you and your sisters but am truly sorry for all of the injustices to your family. Congratulations for everything.

  29. yvonnethornton says:

    Thank you for your kind words. You should read the book of the same name. It’s even more riveting. Injustice builds character.

  30. ramon perez says:

    Hi Dr.Thornton the movie has a subtitles or spanish lenguaje.?
    we live in monterrey, mexico and my mom want the movie..
    sorry by my english


  31. yvonnethornton says:

    Good day!!

    You may obtain the movie by going to my website: and selecting the tab “Shop” at the top. Once at the Book Shop, you may select the movie or the books. The book is much better than the movie and less expensive. Have a nice day!!

  32. Jeremiah Green says:

    YES!!! Thank you yea movie is expensive but can’t find nowhere been looking for it for years!! My grandma we had recorded it on VHS along time ago and she had taped over it was so mad!!! Thanks so much for putting it on DVD I had to buy it!!! Even though expensive I had to buy it!!!! THANKYOU!!! I can finally bring my hunt to an end now.

  33. J G says:

    I feel that you are taking advantage of people with the cost you are charging for the movie. Movies are not that expensive to duplicate, I think you are charging high fees because people cannot find the movie any where else. I also notice you keep mentioning your book when people are asking about the film, apparently it is the movie people want and not the book.

  34. yvonnethornton says:

    The movie was not commercially available and requires to be copied by a videographer individually. The fee is reflective of that task. As far as reminding people about the book, I do believe that the the movie is entertaining but not inclusive. If viewers want to know the true nature of my parents’ story, the book is more comprehensive. I am sure that your grandmother would appreciate reading the true story rather than having the story portrayed through the eyes of a screenwriter. But, in the final analysis, people would rather be entertained than educated by sitting down and reading a book. The average person also wants what is most convenient rather than what is accurate. I wrote the book not the movie. Therefore, I have a certain loyalty to that medium.

  35. Michelle Jackson says:

    I’m so glad I found this site. I have been looking for this movie for over 5 years. I will be purchasing it. I love that movie and wanted my daughters to see.

  36. Michelle Jackson says:

    Yes I did read the book and the movie is just a very small portrayal of it.

  37. Brenae says:

    Hi Dr.Thornton
    I have been looking for this movie for years and I finally found where I could obtain a copy. I seen the movie a few years back and the story has been stuck in my head every since. I am also going to purchase the book because I would love to get a deeper sense of what happened in your father and mothers life.

  38. yvonnethornton says:

    From where are you obtaining a copy of the movie? The book is more comprehensive but the movie was never commercially released.

  39. Brenae says:

    I see on previous comment that I could get a copy from your website.

  40. I want the DVD of the ditchdiggers daughters

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