IMDb > The Buddy Holly Story (1978)
The Buddy Holly Story
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The Buddy Holly Story (1978) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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Director:
Writers:
Alan Swyer (story)
John Goldrosen (source material "Buddy Holly His Life and Music")
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Buddy Holly Story on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
3 November 1978 (Finland) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Music never felt this good. See more »
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won Oscar. Another 5 wins & 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Great Busey Performance, Weak Everything Else See more (52 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Gary Busey ... Buddy

Don Stroud ... Jesse

Charles Martin Smith ... Ray Bob

Conrad Janis ... Ross Turner
William Jordan ... Riley
Maria Richwine ... Maria Elena
Amy Johnston ... Cindy Lou

Dick O'Neill ... Sol Gittler (as Dick O'Neil)

Fred Travalena ... Madman Mancuso
Neva Patterson ... Mrs. Holly

Arch Johnson ... Mr. Holly
John F. Goff ... T.J. (as John Goff)

Gloria Irizarry ... Mrs. Santiago
Jody Berry ... Engineer Sam
Richard Kennedy ... Preacher
Jim Beach ... Wilson

Gailard Sartain ... Big Bopper
Albert Popwell ... Eddie

Paul Mooney ... Sam
Freeman King ... Apollo M.C.
Matthew 'Stymie' Beard ... Luther (as Stymie Beard)
Bill Phillips Murry ... Desk Clerk
Joe Renzetti ... Violinist #1
Rajah Bergman ... Violinist #2
Alan Peterson ... 8 Year Old
John Waldron ... 6 Year Old
M.G. Kelly ... Avalon M.C.
Craig White ... King Curtis
Jerry Zaremba ... Eddie Cochran
John B. Jarvis ... Pianist - Eddie Cochran Band
Richard Hayward ... Drummer - Eddie Cochran Band
David Miner ... Bass - Eddie Cochran Band
Jack Denbo ... New York Cabbie
Paul Carmello ... Mr. Parker
Robert Christopher ... Cadillac Salesman (as Bob Christopher)
Jack Jozefson ... Stage Manager
Buddy Miles ... Tour Musician
Loutz Gage ... Producer
Peter Griffin ... Director
Gilbert Melgar ... Richie Valens
John Fisher ... Man in Theater
Will Jordan ... Ed Sullivan (voice)
Bill Lytle ... Delbert
Raoulle ... Barking Dog
Cora ... Ruby
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mags Kavanaugh ... Sissy Lou (uncredited)
Hope Sage ... Fan (uncredited)
Eric Voge ... Groupie (uncredited)

Directed by
Steve Rash 
 
Writing credits
Alan Swyer (story)

John Goldrosen (source material "Buddy Holly His Life and Music")

Robert Gittler (screenplay)

Produced by
Frances Avrut-Bauer .... associate producer
Fred Bauer .... producer (as Freddy Bauer)
Edward H. Cohen .... executive producer
Fred T. Kuehnert .... co-executive producer
 
Original Music by
Joe Renzetti 
 
Cinematography by
Stevan Larner (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
David E. Blewitt  (as David Blewitt)
 
Casting by
Joyce Selznick 
 
Production Design by
Joel Schiller 
 
Set Decoration by
Thomas L. Roysden  (as Tom Roysden)
 
Makeup Department
Doris Alexander .... makeup artist
Gerry Leetch .... hair stylist (as Gerry Becker Leetch)
Marvin G. Westmore .... makeup artist (as Marvin Westmore)
 
Production Management
Don Goldman .... production manager (as Donald Goldman)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Carol Himes .... assistant director
Robert J. Smawley .... second assistant director (as Bob Smawley)
 
Art Department
Michael C. Ayers .... assistant property master (as Michael Ayers)
Anthony P. Cellucci .... swing gang (as Tony Cellucci)
Robert W. Dutton .... swing gang (as Robert Dutton)
Victor Goldis .... construction foreman
Jack Holz .... construction foreman
Ronald C. Jacobs .... swing gang (as Ron Jacobs)
Ron McCaffrey .... labor foreman
James A. Rathbun .... swing gang (as Jim Rathbun)
Ernie Sawyers .... property master
Mort Zwicker .... construction coordinator
 
Sound Department
Willie D. Burton .... sound mixer (as Willie Burton)
Joel Fein .... sound re-recordist
Joel Fein .... special audio
Walter A. Gest .... sound re-recordist (as Walter Gest)
Robert W. Harris .... sound assistant (as Bob Harris)
Marvin E. Lewis .... sound assistant (as Marvin Lewis)
Colin C. Mouat .... sound effects editor (as Colin Mouat)
Tex Rudloff .... sound re-recordist
Jerry Stanford .... dialogue editor
Curly Thirlwell .... sound re-recordist
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Charlie Albrecht .... grip
Tom Bookout .... grip
Garrett Brown .... Steadicam operator
David Dalzell .... camera operator
John Davis .... best boy
Allen Facemire .... director of photography: second unit (as Alan Facemire)
John Falone .... grip: second unit
Sherman Fulton .... lamp operator (as Sherman Fulton Jr.)
Michael Goldstein .... camera assistant (as Mike Goldstein)
Gene Griffith .... key grip (as Eugene Griffith)
Bob Harkins .... grip
Elisha Harris .... lamp operator
Gemma La Mana .... still photographer (as Gemma LaMana)
Kyle T. MacDowell .... electrician
Calvin Maehl .... gaffer
Jeffrey W. Petersen .... lamp operator (as Jeffrey Peterson)
Steve Peterson .... camera assistant (as Steven Peterson)
Randall Robinson .... Steadicam assistant
Randall Robinson .... first assistant camera
Thomas Sands .... grip best boy
Robert Segars .... gaffer: second unit
Steve Stafford .... assistant camera
 
Casting Department
Sharon Benson .... extras casting coordinator
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Michael Butler .... wardrobe
Bill Flores .... costumer: male
Thalia Phillips .... wardrobe
 
Editorial Department
Susanne Gervay .... negative cutter
Mark Newman .... apprentice film editor
James Seidelman .... assistant film editor
 
Music Department
Bud Buschardt .... music research
Frank Capp .... musical contractor (as Frankie Capp)
Joe Renzetti .... conductor
Jack K. Tillar .... music editor (as Jack Tillar)
 
Transportation Department
Rene Baken .... driver
Norm Benson .... driver
Reed Cohan .... driver
Donald P. Desmond .... driver (as Donald Desmond)
Thomas A. Gordon .... driver (as Thomas Gordon)
Clive Henderson .... driver
William Jakubecy .... driver
Darwin Joston .... driver
Herald Koger III .... driver
Bob Limon .... driver
Gary Littlefield .... transportation coordinator
Jean Spray .... transportation captain
Fred Stretch .... driver
Jerry Weiss .... driver
Janet Woodd .... driver
 
Other crew
Michael Ackley .... stand-in
Larry Joe Berger .... stand-in
Pat Bradley .... assistant to producer
Suzy Dahl .... secretary to producer
Douglas Dean III .... production assistant
Kate Groobin .... stand-in
Joyce King .... script supervisor
Alex Klinsky .... craft service
John Lytle .... location manager
Kelly Marshall .... unit coordinator
Maggie Rash .... project coordinator
 
Thanks
Jim Afflick .... special thanks
Herman Avrut .... special thanks
Ave Butensky .... special thanks
Stu Chalfin .... special thanks
Joe Diaz .... special thanks
Buddy Epstein .... special thanks
Bob Fain .... special thanks
Maggie Fain .... special thanks
Len Hodes .... special thanks
Sue Lesser .... special thanks
Joe Lipshur .... special thanks
Jan McCormick .... special thanks
Harry McMahan .... special thanks
Frank Mooney .... special thanks
Clifford Neschky .... special thanks
Ralph Peer .... special thanks
Ralph A. Rash .... special thanks
Ralph R. Rash .... special thanks
Norman G. Rudman .... special thanks (as Norman Rudman)
Allen Sanders .... special thanks
Bobby Schiffman .... special thanks
Bobbi Silver .... special thanks
Jon Sirlin .... special thanks
Joe Weiss .... special thanks
Louise Zuckerman .... special thanks
 

Production Companies
  • ECA (as An Innovisions-ECA Production)
  • Innovisions (as An Innovisions-ECA Production)
Distributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
114 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Company:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
In the scene where Cindy Lou gets on the bus to go back to college, Busey was originally supposed to answer her question of "What am I gonna tell the kids at college?" with "Cindy Lou?...Kiss my ass!" But director Steve Rash didn't like that line and so they came up with "Boola, Boola." instead. (According to DVD commentary)See more »
Goofs:
Factual errors: The Crickets real names were Jerry Allison and Joe B. Mauldin, not Jesse and Ray Bob as in the movie.See more »
Quotes:
[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 »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Mockin' Bird HillSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
23 out of 29 people found the following review useful.
Great Busey Performance, Weak Everything Else, 7 April 2004
Author: Bill Slocum (bill.slocum@gmail.com) from Greenwich, CT United States

When Gary Busey got nominated for an Oscar for his performance in "The Buddy Holly Story," alongside Robert DeNiro, Warren Beatty, Laurence Olivier, and winner Jon Voight, it turned a lot of heads and made people pay more attention when the film came out on video and cable. Seeing it then for the first time years ago, I was amazed by Busey's powerful dynamism, the way he lives through each moment of the film so authentically. The rest of the film was enjoyable, funny, perceptive, and made me feel like I really understood something about Buddy Holly.

Watching it again years later, I still think Busey is terrific. But the rest of the film feels like a 1970s TV movie, with broad characterizations by the likes of Conrad Janis as a record exec. The Crickets are woefully portrayed, or perhaps a better word might be betrayed, given this shows them to be racist mediocrities who hold their buddy Buddy down. Even when the history isn't wrong, it feels wrong, like the scene of the Buffalo DJ who locks himself in his studio and plays "That'll Be The Day" non-stop until the police break down the door, helping launch the band.

"How'd get that dynamite sound?" the actor playing the DJ asks, hamming it up.

"Well, there's a guitar, drums, a stand-up bass and a cricket," Buddy replies, meaning an insect got in the middle of the recording session and made some background noise.

"Wow, Buddy Holly and the Crickets! What a super name!"

There's some truth behind the anecdote, a cricket apparently did find its way into the studio and inspired the band's name, but it just feels too contrived. Same with Buddy's problems back home in Lubbock, Texas, where his girl wants him to shape up and go to college. The actress playing the girlfriend is cute and winsome, but she pouts like a sitcom actress and says her lines like she's auditioning to play Marsha Brady.

But when the camera is on Busey as Holly, something takes over. He throws himself into every song with utter abandon, losing himself in Buddy's big glasses and pompadoured curls. It's not a note-perfect Buddy, but it encapsulates his spirit in a defining way. The only other actor who so dominated a film was George C. Scott in "Patton."

The fictionalized Crickets, only two instead of three, Don Stroud and Charles Martin Smith, are pretty terrific as backing musicians. I especially liked Stroud as Jesse the drummer, the way he cracks the skins and hammers the high hats with door-slamming authority. All the numbers are performed live, an unusual and brave choice by director Steve Rash that pays off brilliantly, capturing the raw vibrancy of straight-ahead rock 'n' roll.

There's a great opening sequence, done with a swooping camera shot inside a roller rink to where Buddy and his band play some bop for the kiddies and scandalize the community. Just the way the band switches from the soporific "Mockingbird Hill" to the thumping "Rock Around With Ollie Vee," with the audience reacting in comically but believably different ways (kids rushing the stage clapping their hands, adults rushing the exits clapping their ears) is a thrilling capsule commentary on what rock overcame to take over American culture. Also good are the period touches at the rink, like the malt bar, the roller skates, the sad fellow with the combover who plays rinkydink piano until someone taps him on the shoulders in mid-note.

Also good is the Apollo Theater scene, where Buddy and the Crickets become the first white band to play in that Harlem venue, getting a hilariously cold reaction when the curtain goes up, then winning the crowd over. I sort of doubt it happened like that, but there's some funny exchanges with the theater manager, and it's nice seeing Stymie from "Our Gang" in an adult role, complete with his trademark derby.

Basically, any scene where Buddy is performing is good, though his final performance at the Winter Dance Party in Clear Lake, Iowa, by which point he has become a solo act, is a little overdone, what with the over-the-top violins on "True Love Ways" and Ritchie Valens joining him on stage at the end with maracas.

Meanwhile back home, the Crickets come over to Buddy's apartment, and after talking to Buddy's pregnant wife Maria Elena, decide to surprise Buddy at his next tour stop in Moorhead, Minnesota. Yeah, right. Of course Buddy won't be there, he and Ritchie and the Big Bopper having picked the wrong night to fly. All that's left is a freeze frame of Buddy and some sad music over the credits.

We only had Buddy for 18 months, and this film, along with Don McLean's 1972 hit "American Pie," gave him back to us in a small but tangible way. For that, and for Busey's breakout moment, it is worth treasuring, and there are some nice scenes here and there. But playing with the facts is no way to tell a legend's story, especially when it serves sitcom-caliber punch lines. It's a good movie, but the real story behind it is better.

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