6.9/10
25,201
68 user 23 critic

La Bamba (1987)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama, Music | 24 July 1987 (USA)
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Biographical story of the rise from nowhere of early rock and roll singer Ritchie Valens who died at age 17 in a plane crash with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper.

Director:

Luis Valdez

Writer:

Luis Valdez
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Popularity
3,254 ( 208)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lou Diamond Phillips ... Ritchie Valens
Esai Morales ... Bob Morales
Rosanna DeSoto ... Connie Valenzuela (as Rosana De Soto)
Elizabeth Peña ... Rosie Morales
Danielle von Zerneck ... Donna Ludwig
Joe Pantoliano ... Bob Keane
Rick Dees ... Ted Quillin
Marshall Crenshaw Marshall Crenshaw ... Buddy Holly
Howard Huntsberry Howard Huntsberry ... Jackie Wilson
Brian Setzer ... Eddie Cochran
Daniel Valdez Daniel Valdez ... Lelo
Felipe Cantu Felipe Cantu ... Curandero
Eddie Frias Eddie Frias ... Chino
Mike Moroff ... Mexican Ed
Geoffrey Rivas ... Rudy
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Storyline

This is the true story of Ritchie Valens, a young rock and roll singer who tragically died in a plane crash at age 17. The film follows Ritchie from his days in Pacoima, California where he and his family make a meager living working on farms to his rise as a star. The film also focuses on Ritchie's friendship and rivalry with his older brother Bob Morales and his relationship with Donna Ludwig, his girlfriend. Written by Mattias Pettersson <seaman@sbbs.se>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Talent made him a star, fate made him a legend. The true story of Ritchie Valens. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

24 July 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Let's Go See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,651,990, 26 July 1987, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$54,215,416
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The American Legion Hall used in the movie was filmed on Ave 55 in the Highland Park community of Northeast Los Angeles. See more »

Goofs

In one of the final scenes, you see Buddy Holly and his band performing "Crying, Waiting, Hoping". In fact this song was never recorded in the studio or performed with his band during Buddy Holly's lifetime. The song was recorded privately by Buddy on his own with his guitar as an idea, on a home tape recorder. But not until after his death was it made into studio release, by various musicians recording overdubs. It is extremely unlikely Holly would've played this song that night. See more »

Quotes

Bob Morales: Come on Rosie, take a hit man! Put a little mota in our love life!
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Crazy Credits

Caption starting off the music credits: "We greatfully acknowledge the help and support of the Valenzuela family". See more »

Alternate Versions

When the movie was originally released, the second half of the end credits detailing all the musical numbers, was originally shown in silence. On the DVD version as well as all broadcasts since the DVD release, the music credits scroll with "Come On Let's Go" playing in the background. See more »

Connections

Features American Bandstand (1952) See more »

Soundtracks

The Paddi Wack Song
Words & Music by Ritchie Valens
Performed by Los Lobos
Courtesy of Slash Records
Produced by Steve Berlin
See more »

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User Reviews

 
I was surprised by the "generation gap" in the audience.
22 April 2000 | by Baxter-5See all my reviews

I was a Junior in High School the "day the music died" so I knew how this movie would end going in. I saw the movie in theatrical release in 1987. In the row in front of me was a group of 14-year-old girls. It was apparent that they did not begin to guess the ending until the Beechcraft was rolling down the runway at Mason City.

There may have been some "Hollywood" to this version of Valen's life, but overall it was a very well done Bio. Lou Daimond Phillips is actually better looking than Valens, but he was convincing in the role. Joe Pantoliano is often overlooked, but I think his "Bob Keene" was also strong.


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