The Buddy Holly Story (1978) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Buddy Holly Story (1978)

The Buddy Holly Story (1978)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Buddy Holly Story Photos

Movie Info

Gary Busey's sterling performance as Buddy Holly graces this entertaining film biography of this pioneering rock and roll performer. The film follows the trajectory of Holly's musical career from his beginnings in Lubbock, Texas, through his troubled recording career, to his national fame after the success of his hit "That'll Be the Day." As Holly struggles up the road to success, the film also chronicles the tension between him and his backup band, The Crickets (Don Stroud and Charles Martin Smith), along with his love for his Puerto Rican bride Maria (Maria Richwine).

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Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Buddy Holly Story

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (1)

The facts in this pop biography are often hopelessly askew, but the story is carried by the unadulterated power of Gary Busey's original and insightful performance.

April 22, 2013

...a better-than-average behind-the-scenes drama that boasts a sterling turn from Busey and a whole lot of memorable music.

November 1, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Gary Busey received a well-deserved Oscar nomination for playing the rock 'n roll legend in this entertaining biopic.

April 10, 2012 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

[W]hat really puts the movie over is the actor in the title role, Gary Busey.

September 18, 2010 | Full Review…

An exceptionally good musical biopic with a sensational performancy by Busey

February 19, 2005 | Rating: 5/5

The Buddy Holly Story moves us with the joyfulness of its music and the honest sentiment aroused in us by this gawky, shy rock singer and songwriter.

January 24, 2004 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Buddy Holly Story


If you want to see the promise and potential of Gary Busey before a drug-induced psychosis enveloped his entire being, this is the film to watch. Busey's portrayal of the legendary rock-n-roll pioneer is absolutely brilliant. He even sings all of Buddy's songs himself. Gary Busey is a walking, talking testament to the belief that the line between genius and madness is a thin one. Much like Buddy Holly himself, Busey is a star that burned out all too quickly.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer


Probably the best work Gary Busey has ever done.


Super Reviewer

Gary Busey not only did his own singing, but even lost 32 lbs to play Buddy Holly in this sensational musical biography of the singer from Lubbock Texas. Despite reportedly playing fast and loose with facts, the film is extremely entertaining. Busey was rightfully nominated for an Oscar for his effective portrayal.

Mark Hobin
Mark Hobin

Super Reviewer

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