7.2/10
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65 user 33 critic

The Buddy Holly Story (1978)

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

Writers:

Alan Swyer (story), John Goldrosen (book) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Busey ... Buddy
Don Stroud ... Jesse
Charles Martin Smith ... Ray Bob
Conrad Janis ... Ross Turner
William Jordan William Jordan ... Riley
Maria Richwine Maria Richwine ... Maria Elena
Amy Johnston ... Cindy Lou
Dick O'Neill ... Sol Gittler (as Dick O'Neil)
Fred Travalena ... Madman Mancuso
Neva Patterson ... Mrs. Holly
Arch Johnson ... Mr. Holly
John F. Goff ... T.J. (as John Goff)
Gloria Irizarry ... Mrs. Santiago
Jody Berry Jody Berry ... Engineer Sam
Richard Kennedy ... Preacher
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Storyline

The musical career of rock and roll pioneer Buddy Holly is chronicled, from the days when "Peggy Sue" was "Cindy Lou", a song about his first girlfriend, to the meteoric run of "That'll Be the Day" up the charts, to his marriage, breakup with the Crickets, reunion with the Crickets, and untimely death. Written by Jason A. Cormier <wildrose@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

His story will have you singing, laughing, crying, cheering and stomping your feet. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 September 1978 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Buddy Holly Story See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$14,363,400

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$14,363,400
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Innovisions, ECA See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an interview for VH1's Behind the Music, "The Day The Music Died", at the premiere screening of the film, Buddy's widow, Maria Elena Holly, ran out of the theater crying when Busey, as Buddy, sang "True Love Ways" during the final concert. "True Love Ways" was Buddy's personal love song for Maria. See more »

Goofs

In the roller rink scene, numerous pinball machines featuring rotary score wheels can be seen in the background. Score reels were not in use on pinball machines until the 1960s; in 1956, scores would have been kept by lit numbers on each machine's backglass. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Buddy Holly: Hey, Riley, we're all plugged in and checked up... yeah, we're ready.
Buddy Holly: [to Ray Bob] Riley wants to hear you at the mike - that's the one right there; say somethin' into that mike.
Ray Bob Simmons: One, two, three, testing... one...
Buddy Holly: [to Riley] How's that sound?
Riley Randolph: All right, that's a good level, Buddy, hold it right there... Yeah, you better get ready, it's about thirty seconds till eight.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Caption shown after the end credits are over: "This film is dedicated to those who loved him first - Mr. & Mrs. Lawrence Holley, Maria Elena Holly" See more »


Soundtracks

The Great Pretender
(uncredited)
Written by Buck Ram
Performed by The Platters
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not very factual, but the music rocks and so does Gary Busey
28 February 2006 | by krorieSee all my reviews

I turned 13 when Elvis hit the big times in 1956 with his first RCA hit. A year later Buddy Holly stepped in to give the King some competition. One of Buddy's major talents, besides his unique singing style and his songwriting ability, is often downplayed. Buddy was also a skilled lead guitar player, developing a unique rockabilly style all his own on his Fender Strat. Gary Busey attempts to capture this aspect of Buddy's persona. There were other contemporary master guitar rockers of equal caliber, such as Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, and Eddie Cochran, but Buddy's talent is often overlooked.

As noted by others, Busey is the driving force behind the success of "The Buddy Holly Story." Not only does the script play with the facts of Buddy's life, but it even interjects several anachronisms for the two years of Buddy's popularity, basically 1957-1959. One that comes to mind is the scene where Buddy and Maria are watching a 3-D movie. Buddy is disenchanted with it all and tells Maria that it'll never last. It's just a fad. In reality there were no 3-D movies in circulation at the time. The heyday for 3-D was in the early 1950's. By 1955 the fad had already faded. Yet another example where just a little research would have sufficed to make the story more believable.

At times it is difficult to separate what really happened from urban legends surrounding Buddy's career. The story about how the Crickets got their name may or may not be apocryphal, but it certainly did not take place the way it is presented in the movie. Another problem with the film is how Buddy's parents are depicted. Certainly Buddy's parents were supportive of his musical career. "Maybe Baby" is credited to Buddy's mother and she did have input into the writing of the song.

It's good that Buddy's biggest hits were used in the movie, but I miss hearing one of my favorites, "I'm Looking For Someone to Love." I'm proud that as a result of this movie, Buddy's music was reissued for a new generation to hear. His legacy is one of the very best from the early days of rock 'n' roll. Rave on, Buddy, rave on.


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