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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 20,217 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


Born to poverty. Destined for stardom. He lived the American Dream. 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?


The actors who played Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly were both much older than the stars they played. 25-year-old Lou Diamond Phillips played teen-aged Ritchie Valens and 33-year-old Marshall Crenshaw played 22-year-old Buddy Holly. See more »


The garbage truck that Bob rides is a 1973 International Harvester. See more »


[Last Line]
Bob Morales: [In agony over his brother's death] RICHIE!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


References Woody Woodpecker (1941) See more »


Ooh! My Head
Words & Music by Ritchie Valens
Performed by Los Lobos
Courtesy of Slash Records
Produced by Steve Berlin
See more »

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User Reviews

Great biopic of a musical legend
24 June 2002 | by (Tucson, AZ) – See all my reviews

The life and times of Richie Valens, and well made to say the least. Lou Diamond Phillips really showed a lot of promise in this film, but poor choices later in his career hurt his rep in Hollywood. Nonetheless, this film is quite an achievement in regards to portraying a rock idol (which was far better than the dull Buddy Holly Story). What really made this film was the relationship between Phillips and Esai Morales. Never has a brotherly dynamic been portrayed so fluidly, displaying the sweet and sour sides of the two growing up. With the help of a great soundtrack, I really felt this film has a spirit which isn't displayed in biographies anymore. Nowadays, most films try too hard to show the downside, which is what this tried not to do. 7.5/10

13 of 15 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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