6.8/10
23,980
67 user 21 critic

La Bamba (1987)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama, Music | 24 July 1987 (USA)
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ON DISC
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
4,278 ( 236)
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:

Talent made him a star, fate made him a legend. The true story of Ritchie Valens. 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

The Big Bopper and Waylon Jennings, who was Buddy Holly's bass player at the time, traded seats. The Big Bopper got on the plane, Waylon took the bus. Before the plane took off, Buddy said to Waylon, "I hope you freeze your ass on that bus". Waylon responded, jokingly, "Well, I hope your plane crashes". That remark haunted Waylon for years. See more »

Goofs

During the party for Ritchie, his mother takes a picture with a Kodak Brownie camera. She holds the camera up to her eye which seems normal, however, that style of camera has a viewer which requires the photographer to look down through a prism and not through an eye piece. Normally the camera was held at belly level and while the user looked down through a prism which reflected what was in front of them - it would not be held up to their eye as is depicted. See more »

Quotes

Bob Morales: You know, my old man wasn't around when I was born.
[takes swig of vodka and grimaces]
Bob Morales: Why should I be?
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

I Got a Gal Named Sue (That's My Little Suzie)
Performed by Carlos Santana & Los Lobos
Carlos Santana appears courtesy of CBS Records
Words & Music by Ritchie Valens & Robert Kuhn
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Oh,what could have been
16 April 2002 | by SmileysWorldSee all my reviews

Ritchie Valens was a young,vibrant rock and roll star.At 17,he could already write songs,sing,and was an absolute wizard with a guitar.I'm too young to remember the real Valens,but when I think of him,as well as other stars who died tragically young,I can't help but wonder what might have been.This young man was only getting started in his stardom when he was cut down all too soon in the same plane crash that claimed the lives of Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper.This film did a great job of bringing the legend of Valens back to life if only for a couple of hours.Lou Diamond Phillips gave the performance of his career here,as Valens,even though he didn't really look much like the real man in my opinion.Being the role he is best known for,I'm sure it is also one he has tried to escape from in the 15 years since its' release.As far as historical accuracy,I have heard discrepancies as to how the story really went,but you know Hollywood,things always have to be spiced up just a little.Overall,this movie is great fun,especially for old rock and roll enthusiasts such as myself.Thumbs up!


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