La Bamba

La Bamba Movie (1987)

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.

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.

Movie Comments & Discussion

Juneau
I, like many others only knew about Ritchie Valens' death, when his plane went down, also killing the Big Bopper and Buddy Holly. I had no idea that he was so young when he died, and that he had had such a short musical career. A fantastic film!

Here's what an Amazon.com reviewer had to say:

"This is the story of the talented 17 year old Ritchie Valens (Richard Steve Valenzuela) of Southern California. The story in the La Bamba film doesn't always stick ridgidly to the truth, but never the less, tells a story that needed to be told. He lived his life as happy as he could be and struggled, as many other music performers of his day, with a sometimes dishonest manager who sought to make a buck out of a talented but innexperienced teenager. But, why is this movie worth noting? Because it perpetuates Ritchie Valens' legacy and music. This is something important since Valens is a pioneer figure from the early days of rock n' roll. His untimely death after only eight months into his professional career placed his music and legacy in momentary oblivion. The dated news reports of February 1959 listed Valens as the biggest star of the three who were killed in a plane crash (Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper were the other two). At the time of his death Ritchie had the number one song in the popular music charts for the West Coast and the number two song in the nation. In his brief but remarkable career Ritchie Valens caught the attention of rock n' roll fans around the world. He appeared in various television shows and before live audiences throughout Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, Honolulu and Canada. Audiences perceived in Valens a style innovative to the music world. Unlike the other rock n' roll artists of his time, Ritchie Valens was neither Anglo nor African-American. He was of Hispanic descent (particularly Mexican Mestizo-Indian). Valens left quite a music legacy. Even though he could neither read or write music, he was a very talented musician. While it was rare for early rock n' roll performers to pen their own material, Ritchie was known to do exactly that. His talent even landed him a spot on the silver screen. He appeared alongside Chuck Berry, Jackie Wilson and Eddie Cochran in a motion picture by Alan Freed set for release in August 1959. With his "Donna/La Bamba" single Valens was able to accomplish something that few rock n' roll musicians, like the Beatles, have accomplished: a simultaneous double-sided hit. His achievements inspired others to follow. The fellow Californian Band, the Beach Boys, had their big break playing for a Ritchie Valens Memorial Concert in Long Beach, California and went on to have a successful career. In only eight months he went from playing in a neighborhood band to key-billing in a major rock n' roll tour across the Midwest. One can only wonder what would have been had he not suffered that tragic accident in 1959. The public loved Ritchie but they were barely getting to know him when he died. As time passed, Buddy Holly, who at the time of the accident was working on a comeback to the music scene, came to be remembered as the most promising artist that perished that day. In time, Valens became the footnote to the Holly story. However, today, a star with Ritchie's name lies in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was recently inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame and a documentary about his life has been released on DVD. La Bamba deserves a special place amongst Rock n Roll movies. But hopefully it will inspire viewers to look into who Ritchie Valens was and why he has earned his right to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame".
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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.
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Stats for this Movie

Feb 2010
in Drama
807 Views
Last Viewed: Dec 5
Last Liked: Mar 2012

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