81 user 26 critic

La Bamba (1987)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama, Music | 24 July 1987 (USA)
1:42 | Trailer
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.


Luis Valdez


Luis Valdez
4,488 ( 1,009)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Lou Diamond Phillips ... Ritchie Valens
Esai Morales ... Bob Morales
Rosanna DeSoto ... Connie Valenzuela (as Rosana De Soto)
Elizabeth Peña ... Rosie Morales
Danielle von Zerneck ... Donna Ludwig
Joe Pantoliano ... Bob Keane
Rick Dees ... Ted Quillin
Marshall Crenshaw Marshall Crenshaw ... Buddy Holly
Howard Huntsberry Howard Huntsberry ... Jackie Wilson
Brian Setzer ... Eddie Cochran
Daniel Valdez ... Lelo
Felipe Cantu Felipe Cantu ... Curandero
Eddie Frias Eddie Frias ... Chino
Mike Moroff ... Mexican Ed
Geoffrey Rivas ... Rudy


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


The true story of Richie Valens. See more »


Biography | Drama | Music


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The patch on Bob's vest is that of the Galloping Goose Motorcycle Club. In 1947, Galloping Goose was one of many clubs that came to Hollister, California during the AMA Gypsy Tour motorcycle rally, which led to a riot. Galloping Goose, with just over a dozen members, was there by invitation. See more »


The bassist of the fictional backup band "The Silhouettes" is playing a Harmony H-22 bass guitar. Harmony didn't make bass guitars until 1962. The most common electric basses made in the 1950s were by Fender, Gibson and Kay. See more »


Donna Ludwig: I will never let anyone get in the way of my feelings for you,ever again.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

When the movie was originally released, the second half of the end credits detailing all the musical numbers, was originally shown in silence. On the DVD version as well as all broadcasts since the DVD release, the music credits scroll with "Come On Let's Go" playing in the background. See more »


Referenced in You're the Worst: Worldstar! (2017) See more »


Oh Boy
Words & Music by Sonny West, Bill Tilghman & Norman Petty
Performed by Los Lobos
Courtesy of Slash Records
Produced by Steve Berlin
See more »

User Reviews

I was surprised by the "generation gap" in the audience.
22 April 2000 | by Baxter-5See all my reviews

I was a Junior in High School the "day the music died" so I knew how this movie would end going in. I saw the movie in theatrical release in 1987. In the row in front of me was a group of 14-year-old girls. It was apparent that they did not begin to guess the ending until the Beechcraft was rolling down the runway at Mason City.

There may have been some "Hollywood" to this version of Valen's life, but overall it was a very well done Bio. Lou Daimond Phillips is actually better looking than Valens, but he was convincing in the role. Joe Pantoliano is often overlooked, but I think his "Bob Keene" was also strong.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | Spanish

Release Date:

24 July 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Let's Go See more »


Box Office


$6,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,651,990, 26 July 1987

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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