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La Bamba (1987)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama, Music  |  24 July 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 20,207 users  
Reviews: 61 user | 17 critic

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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Title: La Bamba (1987)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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


Biography | Drama | Music


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 July 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Let's Go  »

Box Office


$6,500,000 (estimated)


$54,215,416 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Toward the end of the movie, when Ritchie and Donna are cruising down the road, Ritchie asks Donna if she'll wait to marry him. He says "Just till I'm 25 and I have a big, glass cabinet to keep all my gold records in". Lou Diamond Phillips actually was 25 during filming. See more »


Several times Ritchie is seen in a phone booth trying to call Donna. The phones' handset cord is of a type not used until the late 1960s. See more »


Connie Valenzuela: How could you do this to Ritchie!
Bob Morales: To Ritchie? I did this to me, okay!
Rosie Morales: That's my Bob, always thinking of others first.
Bob Morales: Shut your goddamn mouth!
Ritchie Valens: Hey man, don't take it out on Rosie, okay.
Bob Morales: Ritchie, you don't understand man. You don't understand a goddamn thing!
[walking Away]
Bob Morales: What do you think, the whole fuckin' world revolves around you!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Referenced in The League of Gentlemen: Love Comes to Royston Vasey (1999) See more »


Performed by Daniel Valdez
Words & Music by Daniel Valdez
See more »

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User Reviews

My Favorite Movie
28 November 2002 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

One Summer afternoon back in 1996 i was 17 years old, I had a guitar but never played as much as i should have.

With nothing to do i was watching TV, and La Bamba came on and for whatever reason i decided to watch it.

I have heard of Ritchie Valens but knew nothing of him, i knew a few of his hit songs but never knew that was him singing till i watched the movie.

That summer day i watched La Bamba changed my life. The movie just reached out and touched something in my soul. I am a Rocker and love all kinds of Rock music. And that's one of the things i loved about La Bamba the great music.

I watched La Bamba everyday it would come on cable even bought the movie, even after that i would still watch it when ever it came on.

Every time i see it i fall in-love with the movie all over again.

And because of this film i play my guitar, and because of this film i have a dream of working in film as a Writer/Director.

The story is all about Ritchie Valens who is 17 years old and dreams of being a rock star. But there is so much more to it then that.

It's a story about family as well, and young love.

Lou Diamond Phillips who is a Fav actor of mine is amazing in La Bamba he shows how talented he is.

Esai Morales plays Ritchie's older brother Bob.

Esai Morales plays the troubled Bob with perfection.

The Casting is great Rosanna Desoto plays Connie Ritchie's Mother, Elizabeth Pena as Rosie Bob's wife.

Danielle Von Zerneck as Donna Ritchie's Girlfriend and the great Joe Pantoliano as Bob Keene who discovers Ritchie Valens and is his Producer/Manager.

Like i said there is more to the story then just Ritchie's dreams,What La Bamba comes down to is a story about Brothers.

In some ways i relate to Ritchie but at the same time i know how Bob feels being second best.

Writer/Director Luis Valdez does an amazing job. Thank you Mr.Valdez for the wonderful job.

Los Lobos perform most of the sound-track and perform all of Ritchie Valens songs.

Lou Diamond Phillips is amazing but Esai Morales is the stand-out with his performance.

I just wanna thank the cast and crew for the inspiration they have given me.

And of course the man himself Ritchie Valens R.I.P

La Bamba shows you that Dreams can in fact come true.

I give La Bamba 10/10

35 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Why was Ritchie.... lissee92
Delete your post La Bamba style ... demo_deus
Where is Donna today? nemidwest
Lou Diamond Phillips as Ritchie sprklndiamond87
Live performance during credits takes away from ending travisme123
A 6.5?!!!! eduardovictory
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