The Buddy Holly Story


The Buddy Holly Story

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 29


Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,536
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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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Critic Reviews for The Buddy Holly Story

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (7)

  • The film is an entertaining chronicle of Holly's brief but productive and influential career as a pioneering rock 'n' roll composer and singer.

    May 23, 2019 | Full Review…
  • The plotting of this 1978 biopic is contrived, and director Steve Rash's feeling for Buddy Holly's time and place is virtually nil, but Gary Busey's performance is astonishing-less as an interpretation than as a total physical transformation.

    May 23, 2019 | Full Review…
  • It's Gary Busey's galvanizing solo performance that gives meaning to an otherwise shapeless and bland feature-length film about the American rock-and-roll star who was killed in a plane crash in 1959.

    May 23, 2019 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Apr 22, 2013
  • The Buddy Holly Story smacks of realism in almost every respect, from the dramaturgy involving Holly and his back-up band, The Crickets, to the verisimilitude of the musical numbers.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • Fine biopic which showcases a brilliant performance by Busey as Holly, and conveys a real, raw feeling for the music.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Chris Auty

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Buddy Holly Story

  • Dec 07, 2010
    Nicely done loosely based biopic on the life of Buddy Holly. The performance by Gary Busey is fantastic and unfortunately he's never been better.
    Wu C Super Reviewer
  • Oct 06, 2010
    Gary Busey actually gives an amazingly sincere and believable performance as the late great Buddy Holly in this rock solid biopic. It's every bit as good as other great musical biopics I've seen, and what I liked about it, besides Busey's excellent performance, was that it took its time showing us the music. We get some great lengthy scenes of pure performance...and man did Buddy Holly have some classics. Busey actually sings and plays his own guitar, seamlessly making us believe that he is a rock star, and one of the first "rock stars" ever, at that. Really impressive stuff.
    Jared H Super Reviewer
  • Feb 07, 2010
    This was one of Busey's best movies and he did an excellent job with this movie! He even looked like geeky Buddy Holly and I thought it hit home. The story was a little bit all over the place but laid his life out pretty well. What is even better is that Busey sang all original songs and lost weight for this part. I had no idea he played the Apollo and went on tour with Sam Cooke. Its too bad Busey went downhill because he is a pretty good actor and this movie proved it.
    Matthew L Super Reviewer
  • Nov 04, 2009
    Probably the best work Gary Busey has ever done.

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