6.8/10
22,155
64 user 18 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.

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4,338 ( 1,363)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Connie Valenzuela (as Rosana De Soto)
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Rick Dees ...
Marshall Crenshaw ...
Howard Huntsberry ...
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Daniel Valdez ...
Felipe Cantu ...
Eddie Frias ...
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Geoffrey Rivas ...
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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:

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Details

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Release Date:

24 July 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Let's Go  »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,500,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$54,215,416 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The 1957 plane crash at Ritchie Valens' Jr. High School which was referenced in this movie, occurred over the San Fernando Valley. A DC-7 and an F-89 jet crashed into each other over the San Fernando Valley. The two planes broke-up in the air, and the DC-7 plummeted from the sky onto the playground of Pacoima Junior High School. Valens did not attend school that day because he was at his grandfather's funeral. At the time of the crash, students were at recess on the playground. The crew of the DC-7 were killed, as were several students on the playground. 74 more students were injured. It was this plane crash that caused Valens to have a fear of flying. See more »

Goofs

At the Pizza Party featuring a personal appearance by Ritchie, Bob Keane is handing out copies of Ritchie's first album. This is erroneous on two accounts: (1) The album wasn't released until March 1959 (one month after Ritchie's death), and (2) as the actual album features "Donna" and "La Bamba", Ritchie had not yet recorded either song, nor had he even written "Donna" yet, at that point in the movie. See more »

Quotes

Bob Morales: I've had one sip of beer and I have to admit it taste like piss to me. Want it?
Ritchie Valens: Yeah.
[takes a sip then puts the beer down]
Ritchie Valens: What's your problem man?
Bob Morales: Old Steve. He always said you'd be somebody and I bought it, too. If that's the way Steve wanted it that's the way it was going to be. Even after he told me he wasnt my dad, once I knew the full score, I understood why he treated you just a little bit better than me. I'll just hang around for the leftovers, like a dog. That's how much i loved him. ...
[...]
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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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Real Housewives of Orange County: La-Bomb-Ba (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

For Your Precious Love
Performed by Jerry Butler and The Impressions
Courtesy of Vee Jay International, Inc./Original Sound Entertainment
Words & Music by Jerry Butler, Arthur Brooks & Richard Brooks
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User Reviews

 
A Fairy Tale With a Tragic End
24 February 2004 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

Ritchie Valens (Lou Diamond Phillips) is a very poor Mexican-American living with his family in a slum in Paicoma, California. When he is sixteen years old, his half-brother Bob Morales (Esai Morales) is released from the jail and comes back home, bringing money enough for the family to move from the slums to a humble house in a better place. Ritchie goes to the nearby high-school, where he falls in love for Donna (Danielle von Zerneck). Donna, together with his mother Connie Valenzuela (Rosanna DeSoto), his family and his guitar, are the passions of Ritchie. Bob Keene (Joe Pantoliano), president of Del-Fi Records in Hollywood, invites Ritchie to record a single and offers him a recording contract. His first single (`Come On Let's Go') is a great success, and Bob Keene becomes Ritchie's manager. The next songs (`Donna' and `La Bamba') are also very successful and Ritchie Valens becomes famous, earning lots of money. While traveling making shows along USA, he decides to accept an invitation of Buddy Holly to fly back home. A tragic plane crash on 03 Feb 1959 ends the life of this promising seventeen years old singer, along with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper. The dramatization of Ritchie Valens' life is presented like a soap-opera, full of beautiful songs, and it is very pleasant to watch this film. Lou Diamond Phillips has (maybe) his best performance as actor, but Esai Morales is wonderful as his big brother. The touching story looks like a fairy tale, having a tragic end. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): `La Bamba'


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