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La Bamba (1987)

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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
4,509 ( 1,368)
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, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$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

Rosanna DeSoto is 12 years older than Lou Diamond Phillips and Esai Morales, who played her sons in the film. See more »

Goofs

When Ritchie's mom is on the truck PA, announcing the upcoming dance, she advertises Richard Valenzuela and his flying guitar and then incorrectly repeats the message in Spanish. She says "Ricardo Valenzuela y su flying guitar" but she should have said "Ricardo Valenzuela y su guitarra voladora". See more »

Quotes

Ritchie Valens: Bob. Where's mom's new dress?
Bob Morales: What new dress?
Ritchie Valens: The one I asked you to buy her for Christmas.
Bob Morales: Hey, you're the asshole with all the money, why don't you buy it yourself!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in We're the Millers (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

Bio of young 50's rocker Ritchie Valens
9 April 1999 | by dslackerSee 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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