La Bamba
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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… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"An enjoyable if slightly innocuous biopic based on the brief life and short-lived fame of teen rock'n'roll idol Richie Valens"
‑ Nigel Floyd, Time Out
"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."
‑ Hal Hinson, Washington Post
"Sweet, sad rock-idol story for mature teens."
‑ Teresa Talerico, Common Sense Media
"Perhaps otherwise destined to be remembered as a talented footnote in musical history, Richie Valens is immortalized for the masses in this well-conceived and involving movie."
‑ Scott Weinberg,
"La Bamba is engrossing throughout and boasts numerous fine performances."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"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."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"solid, entertaining biopic"
‑ Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
"A musical extravaganza. Powerful, and superbly performed."
‑ Clint Morris, Moviehole
"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."
‑ Janet Maslin, New York Times
"Predictably, there isn't a Ritchie blemish in sight. But the circumstances of Valens' life seem to beg this golden portrait."
‑ Desson Thomson, Washington Post
"Fairly well put together film about the hispanic king of rock'n roll."
‑ Alex Sandell, Juicy Cerebellum
"Good entertainment even if before the film, like me, you couldn't reliably name a single one of Valens's hits."
‑ Mark R. Leeper,
More reviews for La Bamba on Rotten Tomatoes