La Bamba (1987)

Very traditional Hollywood biopic covering the rise to fame of Ritchie Valens, the Mexican-born rock star whose eight months of success were cut short when he took a fateful plane ride with Buddy Holly in 1959.

La Bamba chronicles Ritchie’s meteoric rise from a life of poverty among California’s Mexican fruit pickers to a privileged seat in the rock and roll hall of fame.

The road was full of potholes. Sick of racial prejudice, tortillas, and hardships, Ritchie’s dream was rock and roll, and his guitar was the key to his escape.

Part Chicano, part Yaqui Indian, he had nothing to start out with in life but his own raw talent and the support of a mother who even paid for his first gig in an American Legion hall with her own rent money.

Ritchie wanted more. He longed to perform the Mexican folk song La Bamba in his own rocking style. The rest is history.

Valens is persuasively played by angelic newcomer Lou Diamond Phillips, but since he is characterised as such a good-hearted innocent it is left to his sinful, delinquent brother to provide the sleazy fun.

A neat package that is content to be breezily superficial, and sneaks in most of Valens’ hits.

Lou Diamond Phillips
Esai Morales
Rosanna De Soto
Elizabeth Peña
Danielle Von Zerneck
Joe Pantoliano
Rick Dees
Marshall Crenshaw
Howard Huntsberry
Brian Setzer
Daniel Valdez
Felipe Cantu
Eddie Frias
Mike Moroff
Geoffrey Rivas
Sam Anderson
Maggie Gwinn

Director
Luis Valdez