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La Bamba Details


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 Los Lobos. 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, Rovi

  • Release date:July 24, 1987


Lou Diamond Phillips
as Ritchie Valens
Esai Morales
as Bob Morales
Rosanna de Soto
as Connie Valenzuela
Elizabeth Peña
as Rosie Morales
Danielle von Zerneck
as Donna Ludwig
Marshall Crenshaw
as Buddy Holly
Joe Pantoliano
as Bob Keene
Rick Dees
as Ted Quillin
Howard Huntsberry
as Jackie WIlson
Brian Setzer
as Eddie Cochran
Daniel Valdez
as Lelo
Stephen Lee
as Big Bopper
Bob Morales
Jeffrey Alan Chandler
as Alan Freed
Dyana Ortelli
as Donna's Girlfriend
John Quade
as Bartender
Sam Anderson
as Mr. Ludwig
Noble Willingham
as Howard
Geoffrey Rivas
as Rudy
Allison Robinson
as Girl at Party
Ernesto Hernandez
as Garbage Man
Mike Moroff
as Mexican Ed
Tony Genaro
as Mr. Caballero
Eddie Frias
as Chino
Junie Lowry-Johnson
Maggie Gwinn
as Mrs. Ludwig
Kim Sebastian
as Donna's Girlfriend
Diane Rodriguez
as Ernestine


Luis Valdez
Bill Borden
Stuart Benjamin
Taylor Hackford
Luis Valdez
Adam Greenberg
Carlos Santana
Carlos Santana
Composer (Music Score)
Ritchie Valens
Featured Music
Curt Sobel
Composer (Music Score)
Buddy Holly
Featured Music
Miles Goodman
Composer (Music Score)
Don Brochu
Sheldon Kahn
Alan C. Blomquist
Production Designer
Daniel Valdez
Associate Producer
Stuart Benjamin
Executive Producer
Sylvia Vega-Vasquez
Costume Designer
Susumu Tokunow
Sound/Sound Designer
Chuck Colwell
Second Unit Director Of Photography
Warren Hamilton
Sound Editor