La Bamba

Cliched melodrama about rock 'n' roll pioneer Ritchie Valens, notable as one of the first Mexican-Americans to achieve pop stardom. Beginning with his teenage days as a poor barrio resident in California, the film follows Valens (Lou Diamond Phillips) as he meets Donna Ludwig (Danielle von Zerneck), the love of his life and later the inspiration for his...read more

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Cliched melodrama about rock 'n' roll pioneer Ritchie Valens, notable as one of the first Mexican-Americans to achieve pop stardom. Beginning with his teenage days as a poor barrio resident in California, the film follows Valens (Lou Diamond Phillips) as he meets Donna Ludwig (Danielle

von Zerneck), the love of his life and later the inspiration for his song "Donna," while living with his adoring mother (Rosana De Soto) and irresponsible, violent half-brother, Bob (Esai Morales). Ritchie's natural talent soon makes him the star of the small band he's joined, though his personal

popularity causes friction with his jealous sibling. Soon, a record producer spots Ritchie, leading to his recording "Donna" and "La Bamba," which top the charts. At the peak of success, Valens loses his life in the plane crash made famous by Don McLean as "The Day the Music Died." The film is

rich with period flavor, and Phillips is superb as Valens, but the rags-to-riches story (even if true) is maudlin and overfamiliar. Los Lobos does an excellent job of re-creating Valens' tunes and Carlos Santana provides a top-notch score.

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  • Released: 1987
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: Cliched melodrama about rock 'n' roll pioneer Ritchie Valens, notable as one of the first Mexican-Americans to achieve pop stardom. Beginning with his teenage days as a poor barrio resident in California, the film follows Valens (Lou Diamond Phillips) as h… (more)

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