Rock 'n Roll biopic on the life of Ritchie Valens, a young Mexican/American whose talents as a rock and roll singer catapulted him from the obscurity of a farm laborer obsessed with music to stardom at the age of seventeen with a string of pop hits still popular today. Starring Lou Diamond Phillips as Ritchie and an excellent Esai Morales as his brother Bob, with whom he had a loving but tempestuous relationship.
Elizabeth Peña - Cuban American actress, BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED
Lou Diamond Phillips - American actor/director, LA BAMBA
Esai Morales - Puerto Rican American actor, LA BAMBA, NYPD BLUE
Luis Valdez - Director/Playwright
Taylor Hackford - American Director/Producer
Danielle Von Zerneck - Actress
Danielle von Zerneck - Actress
Carlos Santana - Guitarist/Songwriter
Stuart Benjamin - American producer
A film biography of Mexican-American musician and singer Ritchie Valens, a one-time fruit picker who became a rock-and-roll legend. The story covers his early career (when he scheduled gigs in between high school classes); his romance with blond, WASP-y Donna, the namesake of one of his pop hits; and the ill-fated national tour he played with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper.
Produced by R. Valenzuela Productions. Film premiered (and opened) the 12th Seattle International Film Festival in 1987, two months before its national release. Shot on location in San Jose and Hollister, California, for an estimated budget of $6.5 million. Copyright 1987 Columbia Pictures.
"...[Brings Valens's] music to life all over again....Philips has a sweetness and sincerity that in no way diminish[es] the toughness of his onstage persona..." - 07/24/1987 New York Times, p.C4
"...LA BAMBA is engrossing throughout and boasts numerous fine performances. In Lou Diamond Phillips' sympathetic turn, Valens comes across as a very fine young man..." - 05/20/1987 Variety
"...Engaging biopic of 50s rock 'n' roll star Ritchie Valens....His music is rousingly performed by Los Lobos..." - 06/01/2001 Sight and Sound, p.58