La Bamba
La Bamba (1987)

La Bamba is the story of 1950s rock 'n' roll rage Ritchie Valens (born Ricardo Valenzuela), played herein with gusto and credibility by Lou Diamond Phillips. The film follows 17-year-old Ritchie as he strolls from one end of his… More

Directed By:
Rated: PG-13
Running Time:
Release Date: July 24, 1987
DVD Release Date: April 6, 1999
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Critic Score: 96% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Nigel Floyd
Time Out

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

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Hal Hinson
Washington Post

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.

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Felix Vasquez Jr.
Cinema Crazed

A strong statement about the fleeting, fragility of life, and the bond between brothers.

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Variety Staff

La Bamba is engrossing throughout and boasts numerous fine performances.

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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times

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.

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Cathy Burke
United Press International

This is a movie about music and it is the Valens sound, a unique blending of Latin rhythm and rock beat, that prevents La Bamba from being just another example of Hollywood hero worship.

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Janet Maslin
New York Times

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.

Desson Thomson
Washington Post

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

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Teresa Talerico
Common Sense Media

Sweet, sad rock-idol story for mature teens.

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More reviews for La Bamba

Flixster Audience Score: 78% Flixster User Reviews
Carlos Magalhães
A refreshing biopic about a short-lived star who met with a tragic death (tragic and also ironic considering his fear of flying and how his fate was decided by… More
Jason Owens
"La Bamba" is the best biographical movie I've ever seen. It's the story of Ritchie Valens, the famous singer that sung some famous songs… More
Letitia Lew
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 :)
Lenny Muggsy
LDP making his loudest statement, good film with good music.
Wildaly M
Lou Diamond Philips effectively portrays the late Ritchie Valens. Esai Morales is also a gem as the conflicted drunkard brother.
Lady D'arbanville
Great story, tragic loss