Down 42 this week

La Bamba (1987)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama, Music  |  24 July 1987 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.8/10 from 20,407 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.



Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

Free at IMDb

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



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The story of the life and career of the early rock and roll singer, from his meteoric rise to stardom, to his marriage and untimely death.

Director: Steve Rash
Stars: Gary Busey, Don Stroud, Charles Martin Smith
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

The life and career of the wildly controversial rock 'n' roll star, Jerry Lee Lewis.

Director: Jim McBride
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Winona Ryder, John Doe
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The story of Jaime Escalante, a high school teacher who successfully inspired his dropout prone students to learn calculus.

Director: Ramón Menéndez
Stars: Edward James Olmos, Estelle Harris, Mark Phelan
Young Guns (1988)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A group of young gunmen, led by Billy the Kid, become deputies to avenge the murder of the rancher who became their benefactor. But when Billy takes their authority too far, they become the hunted.

Director: Christopher Cain
Stars: Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips
Selena (1997)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The true story of Selena Quintanilla-Perez, a Texas-born Tejano singer who rose from cult status to performing at the Astrodome, as well as having chart topping albums on the Latin music charts.

Director: Gregory Nava
Stars: Jennifer Lopez, Edward James Olmos, Jon Seda
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The story of singer Tina Turner's rise to stardom and how she gained the courage to break free from abusive husband, Ike Turner.

Director: Brian Gibson
Stars: Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Rae'Ven Larrymore Kelly
My Family (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

This epic film traces over three generations an immigrant family's trials, tribulations, tragedies and triumphs. Jose and Maria, the first generation, come to Los Angeles, meet, marry, face... See full summary »

Director: Gregory Nava
Stars: Jimmy Smits, Esai Morales, Edward James Olmos
Young Guns II (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

In 1881, cattle baron John Chisum pays a bounty to Patrick Floyd Garrett to kill outlaw Billy the Kid.

Director: Geoff Murphy
Stars: Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips
The Cisco Kid (TV Movie 1994)
Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

This update of the 1950 western TV series changes Cisco and Pancho from wandering heroes of the old west to somewhat anti-"gringo" Mexican revolutionaries.

Director: Luis Valdez
Stars: Jimmy Smits, Cheech Marin, Sadie Frost
Zoot Suit (1981)
Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A kind of musical accompanying the story of the early 1940's and the effect that the "zoot suit" (a man's suit of long jacket and pegged pants, always worn with a long keychain that looped ... See full summary »

Director: Luis Valdez
Stars: Daniel Valdez, Edward James Olmos, Charles Aidman
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Biographical story of Loretta Lynn, a legendary country singer that came from poverty to worldwide fame. She rose from humble beginnings in Kentucky to superstardom and changing the sound and style of country music forever.

Director: Michael Apted
Stars: Sissy Spacek, Tommy Lee Jones, Levon Helm
Bad Boys (1983)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Chicago crime kid Mick O'Brien is sent to reform school after accidentally killing Paco Moreno's kid brother.

Director: Rick Rosenthal
Stars: Sean Penn, Reni Santoni, Jim Moody


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


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 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 »


Right when Bob (Esai Morales) finds the cels, the other garbage man calls him by the actor's last name: Morales. However, it's just coincidental that this is also the character's last name. 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 »


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


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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

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?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
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
Discuss La Bamba (1987) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page