Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1970s Buddy Holly Story, The (1978)

Buddy Holly Story, The (1978)

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.

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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
Gary Busey
Don Stroud
Ray Bob
Charles Martin Smith
Ross Turner
Conrad Janis
William Jordan
Maria Elena Santiago
Maria Richwine
Cindy Lou
Amy Johnston
Sol Gittler
Dick O’Neill
Madman Mancuso
Fred Travalena
Mrs Ella Holly
Neva Patterson
Mr Lawrence Holly
Arch Johnson
John Goff
Mrs Santiago
Gloria Irizarry
Engineer Sam
Jody Berry
Jim Beach
The Big Bopper
Gailard Sartain
Albert Popwell
Sam Cooke
Paul Mooney
Matthew ‘Stymie’ Beard
King Curtis
Craig White
Eddie Cochran
Jerry Zaremba
Mr Parker
Paul Carmello
Richie Valens
Gilbert Melgar

Steve Rash