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La Bamba (1987)

 -  Biography | Drama | Music  -  24 July 1987 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 18,138 users  
Reviews: 58 user | 14 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)

La Bamba (1987) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Bob Morales
...
Connie Valenzuela (as Rosana De Soto)
...
Rosie Morales
...
Donna Ludwig
...
Bob Keane
Rick Dees ...
Ted Quillin
Marshall Crenshaw ...
Howard Huntsberry ...
...
Daniel Valdez ...
Lelo
Felipe Cantu ...
Curandero
Eddie Frias ...
Chino
...
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:

Born to poverty. Destined for stardom. He Lived the American Dream. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 July 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Let's Go  »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,500,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$54,215,416 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In this movie, Jackie Wilson is played by Howard Huntsberry. Two years later, two versions of the song "Higher and Higher" would be used in the movie Ghostbusters II (1989); the first is the Jackie Wilson version in the toaster scene, and the other is a cover by Howard Huntsberry used in the Statue of Liberty scene. See more »

Goofs

When Richie and his brother Bob get into a shoving match, Bob pulls on Richie's sweater and yanks his tie out of kilter. A few seconds later, Richie's tie is tucked in and his sweater is smoothed down, but not enough time has elapsed for him to have done this to himself. See more »

Quotes

Ritchie Valens: Bob! Watch it! My guitar, man!
Bob Morales: Sorry. I didnt' know that piece of junk was so important to you.
Ritchie Valens: I even sleep with it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References Woody Woodpecker (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

Chantilly Lace
Performed by The Big Bopper
Courtesy of PolyGram Special Projects, a division of PolyGram Records, Inc.
Words & Music by The Big Bopper (as J.P. Richardson)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A terrific film about the importance of family and realizing your dreams.
9 April 2002 | by (Edison, NJ) – See all my reviews

La Bamba which stars Lou Diamond Phillips as tragic 50's rocker Ritchie Valens(real name Richard Valenzuela) is my favorite rock bio film. The film covers the Mexican American Valens' rise from poverty in California to becoming a rock n roll superstar at the young age of 17 only to lose it all within 8 months on the "Day the Music Died".

In addition to focusing on Valens' music career, writer/director Luis Valdez spends time showing the tense relationship between Ritchie and his older brother Bob who is played excellently by Esai Morales. As Ritchie becomes famous Bob begins to resent him and that provides the film with some of its most powerful and heartbreaking scenes.

The film's other effective moments come between Ritchie and his girlfriend Donna. During their scenes together I felt that Valdez did a good job in showing what teenage romances must've been like back in the more innocent 1950's and how parents prejudices could interfere.

Last but not least is the film's great soundtrack. Ritchie Valens songs were redone for the film by the group Los Lobos. All of the instrumental music was provided by Carlos Santana and Miles Goodman. Also included are many other classic songs from the 50's.

The only small criticism I have of the film is that Valdez spends too much time in foreshadowing Valens' fate through dream sequences and references to his fear of flying. While it is documented that Ritchie did have a fear of flying I would imagine that he didn't talk about it as frequently as he does in the film.

Overall I think that La Bamba is a film about sticking to your dreams and the importance of family. I give this film a pretty strong recommendation. You don't even necessarily have to be a fan of 50's music to enjoy it. This is for those who enjoy small films that deal with the triumphs and struggles of everyday people.


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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
The ending jennLynn1975
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