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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 20,406 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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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 <seaman@sbbs.se>

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?


Original title was "Let's Go". See more »


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 »


Bob Morales: [to Ritchie] You've been laid yet? I'm serious, I know what your problem is. Sperm pressure, it's scientific.
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 Community: Football, Feminism and You (2009) See more »


Goodnight My Love
Words & Music by George Motola & John Marascalco
Performed by Los Lobos
Courtesy of Slash Records
Produced by Steve Berlin
See more »

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User Reviews

Bio of young 50's rocker Ritchie Valens
9 April 1999 | by (New Mexico) – See all my reviews

Under-rated melodrama with excellent music by Los Lobos and others. Young Lou Diamond Phillips gives an excellent energetic performance and Esi Morles is at his very best as the sometimes neglected hoodlum brother. A great cast from top to bottom saves what could have been an all too sudsy script.

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Delete your post La Bamba style ... demo_deus
Why was Ritchie.... lissee92
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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