La Bamba (1987)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

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 … More

Rating: PG-13 (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Musical & Performing Arts, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Luis Valdez
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 6, 1999
Columbia Pictures


as Ritchie Valens

as Bob Morales

as Donna Ludwig

as Connie Valenzuela

as Rosie Morales

as Bob Keane

as Buddy Holly

as Eddie Cochran

as Jackie WIlson

as Ted Quillin

as Mr. Ludwig

as Mrs. Ludwig

as Elderly lady at part...

as Chino

as Mexican Ed

as Big Bopper

as Bartender

as Ernestine

as Garbage Man

as Donna's Girlfriend

as Farm Worker

as Donna's Girlfriend

as Mr. Caballero

as Farm Worker

as Girl at Party
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for La Bamba

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Critic Reviews for La Bamba

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (6)

An enjoyable if slightly innocuous biopic based on the brief life and short-lived fame of teen rock'n'roll idol Richie Valens

Full Review… | July 7, 2010
Time Out
Top Critic

La Bamba is engrossing throughout and boasts numerous fine performances.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

As Valens, Lou Diamond Phillips has a sweetness and sincerity that in no way diminish the toughness of his onstage persona. The role is blandly written, but Mr. Phillips gives Valens backbone.

Full Review… | June 12, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Predictably, there isn't a Ritchie blemish in sight. But the circumstances of Valens' life seem to beg this golden portrait.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Basically, it's a load of corn -- an up-from-the-basement account of a pop comet -- but the movie has an energetic, almost naive spirit.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

This is a sincere, well-acted movie about the short life of a minor rock 'n' roll star, and by the time it's over we almost have the feeling Valens would have been surprised not to have died in a crash.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for La Bamba


A refreshing biopic about a short-lived star that met a tragic death (and also ironic, considering his fear of flying and how his fate was decided by the flip of a coin), and it is so involving that it offers a heartbreaking conclusion even if we know from the get-go how it all ends.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Siblings and I loved this movie when we were kids... I distinctly remember us rocking around the room playing air guitar and belting out his songs :)

Letitia Lew
Letitia Lew

Super Reviewer


Lou Diamond Philips effectively portrays the late Ritchie Valens. Esai Morales is also a gem as the conflicted drunkard brother.

Wildaly M

Super Reviewer

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