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La Bamba (1987)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama, Music | 24 July 1987 (USA)
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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.

Director:

Luis Valdez

Writer:

Luis Valdez
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Popularity
1,427 ( 379)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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 Daniel Valdez ... Lelo
Felipe Cantu Felipe Cantu ... Curandero
Eddie Frias Eddie Frias ... Chino
Mike Moroff ... Mexican Ed
Geoffrey Rivas ... Rudy
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Born to poverty. Destined for stardom. He lived the American Dream. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

24 July 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Let's Go See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,651,990, 26 July 1987

Gross USA:

$54,215,416

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$54,215,416
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Lou Diamond Phillips was 25 when he played teen-aged Ritchie Valens. Marshall Crenshaw was 33 when he played 22-year-old Buddy Holly. See more »

Goofs

In the early scene where Bob is shown riding through Pacheco Pass he passes a road sign that has 3 errors. First of all, Pacheco Pass is in Santa Clara County not Santa Clarita County. Second, there is actually no Santa Clarita County, there is the city of Santa Clarita in Los Angeles County. And third, it says the elevation is 3500 but the highest point of Pacheco Pass is only 1368 feet. See more »

Quotes

Bob Keene: Look... it could be worse, you could have been Riki Zuela.
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 »

Connections

Referenced in A Planet Comicon Panel with Helen Slater (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Betty Jean
Performed by Chuck Berry
Courtesy of MCA Records
Words & Music by Chuck Berry (as E. Anderson)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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