Movies visit the Family Entertainment Center for more entertainment resources
Browse by Title
Browse by Release Date

La Bamba

Rating:PG-13
Genre:Drama
Release Date:January 1, 1987
Running time:108 minutes
Cast:Lou Diamond Phillips, Esai Morales, Rosanna DeSoto, Elizabeth Peña, Danielle von Zerneck
Director:Luis Valdez
Producer:Bill Borden, Taylor Hackford
Writer:Luis Valdez
Distributor:Columbia Pictures

Description: Lou Diamond Phillips plays legendary 1950s rocker Ritchie Valens (born Ricardo Valenzuela), in this musical biography. Before scoring radio and concert success with hits like La Bamba, C'mon Let's Go, and Donna, Valens was a 15-year-old migrant worker who worked with his mother Connie (Rosana De Soto). Valens' half-brother Bob Morales (Esai Morales) is a vitriolic ex-con who roars into the migrant camp on his Harley after his release from jail. Valens' musical talents are encouraged by his family -- though later various members of his family react to his fame with varying degrees of pride and envy -- and he soon earns an audition with legendary record producer and former Artie Shaw clarinet player Bob Keane (Joe Pantoliano). Valens soon appears in an Alan Freed rock n' roll teen exploitation film, lip-synching his blistering recorded version of Ooh, My Head. When a romance with Donna Ludwig (Danielle von Zerneck) is forbidden by her conservative father, Valens pens the famous ballad that bears her name. Tours follow his chart success until the fatal plane crash that claimed the lives of Valens, The Big Bopper (aka J.P. Richardson), and Buddy Holly on February 3rd, 1959. The supporting cast is excellent with power-pop icon Marshall Crenshaw playing Buddy Holly singing Crying, Waiting, Hoping. Brian Setzer accurately portrays rocker Eddie Cochran, and Howard Hunstberry plays Jackie Wilson and sings Lonely Teardrops. Additional music is provided by Los Lobos, a band who traces their musical roots directly to Valens and other Mexican influences. Also making cameo appearances are the real-life Mrs. Connie Valenzuela and Bob Morales. Although not 100% historically accurate, La Bamba is much more accurate than 1978s The Buddy Holly Story. The feature turned a new generation on to the influential Tex-Mex rock that was an inspiration to such later rockers as The Bobby Fuller Four as well as Los Lobos.~ Dan Pavlides, All Movie Guide

Movie summaries and listings powered by Cinema-Source

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

3 Fun Thanksgiving Games for Kids
Looking for some great Thanksgiving games to play with your kids? Print our free Pin the Feathers on the Turkey game, Pin the Hat on the Pilgrim game, and Thanksgiving Parade Bingo game for loads of laughs this Turkey Day!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top Family Movies in Theaters for the Holidays
Taking the kids to the movies is a special family treat for the holidays! Don't miss 2014's best family films in theaters from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!