A first-rate, realistic film biography of Buddy Holly – the talented rockabilly composer-musician who introduced such 1950s hits as That’ll Be The Day and Peggy Sue.
Lanky, toothsome Gary Busey, in the title role, lights up the screen with his energetic musical and dramatic performance. The story follows Holly’s career beginning as a roller rink musician in Texas to his death at the age of 22 in a plane crash.
Best of all is the way the film captures the joy and enthusiasm of early rock & roll and its effect on young people.
Gary Busey and the movies Crickets do their own singing and playing, generating their own very palpable raw energy. Although Holly had many Crickets throughout his career, here Don Stroud and Charles Martin Smith portray a composite of all of them.
The film is not entirely true to the details of Holly’s life, though. For example, Norman Petty, who was Holly’s producer, does not appear as a character (the production couldn’t reach an agreement with Petty) and the final scene will disturb Holly fans: In reality, Holly played his last concert with The Crickets, whereas in the film he discards them and performs his last show with a full orchestra, seemingly Vegas bound.
Busey never matched his marvellous performance as the legendary rock & roller in this well-made biopic.
Charles Hardin ‘Buddy’ Holly
Charles Martin Smith
Maria Elena Santiago
Mrs Ella Holly
Mr Lawrence Holly
The Big Bopper
Matthew ‘Stymie’ Beard