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The Buddy Holly Story (1978)

PG  |   |  Biography, Drama, Music  |  3 November 1978 (Finland)
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The story of the life and career of the early rock and roll singer, from his meteoric rise to stardom, to his marriage and untimely death.



(story), (book), 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
William Jordan ...
Maria Richwine ...
Amy Johnston ...
Sol Gittler (as Dick O'Neil)
Arch Johnson ...
John F. Goff ...
T.J. (as John Goff)
Jody Berry ...
Richard Kennedy ...


The musical career of rock and roll pioneer Buddy Holly is chronicled, from the days when "Peggy Sue" was "Cindy Lou", a song about his first girlfriend, to the meteoric run of "That'll Be the Day" up the charts, to his marriage, breakup with the Crickets, reunion with the Crickets, and untimely death. Written by Jason A. Cormier <wildrose@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The music you'll love forever. The man you'll never forget. The movie you must not miss. See more »


Biography | Drama | Music


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

3 November 1978 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

A História de Buddy Holly  »

Box Office


$1,200,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


While teaching the two little boys to play guitar, Buddy sings, "...we're gonna love Teddy Jack with all our might". Busey was a drummer with the stage name of Teddy Jack Eddy. See more »


The world map on the wall behind Buddy in the Greyhound Bus station shows the continent of Africa as made up of independent states. At the time "Cindy Lou" was going off to college, Africa was mostly comprised of British, French, Belgian, and Portuguese colonies which did not gain their independence till the 1960s. See more »


[first lines]
Buddy Holly: Hey, Riley, we're all plugged in and checked up... yeah, we're ready.
Buddy Holly: [to Ray Bob] Riley wants to hear you at the mike - that's the one right there; say somethin' into that mike.
Ray Bob Simmons: One, two, three, testing... one...
Buddy Holly: [to Riley] How's that sound?
Riley Randolph: All right, that's a good level, Buddy, hold it right there... Yeah, you better get ready, it's about thirty seconds till eight.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Caption shown after the end credits are over: "This film is dedicated to those who loved him first - Mr. & Mrs. Lawrence Holley, Maria Elena Holly" See more »


Referenced in High Chaparall: Gary Busey (2004) See more »


That'll Be the Day
Written by Buddy Holly (uncredited), Jerry Allison (uncredited) and Norman Petty (uncredited)
Performed by Gary Busey
See more »

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User Reviews

Busey Delivers Big Time
26 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I always liked listening to Buddy Holly and felt a real loss when he was killed at a young age in an airplane crash. He wasn't in the old rock 'n roll class of , let's say, Chuck Berry or Jerry Lee Lewis, but he wasn't far behind. Who knows how big his legacy would have been had he sang for decades. Almost every single he put out was a hit.

So, I was very pleasantly surprised how good a job Gary Busey did at playing him and at imitating his singing voice. He did Buddy proud, as were the actors (Don Stroud and Charles Martin Smith) who played Holly's backup group, "The Crickets."

Music-wise, there are some of Holly's better-known songs in the beginning of the film and its really good with a strong finish at the end as Holly and the boys are shown in Iowa in their last concert ever. Busey not only sings like Holly, he's a dead ringer for him in the looks department. Some thing was the actor''s best performance ever, and you get no argument from me.

I'm also glad they ended the film on an upbeat note with that Iowa concert, instead of dwelling on his tragic accident. The ending could have been a real downer, but they didn't let it be.

39 of 41 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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