La Bamba (1987)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Biopic [feature], Docudrama, Rock Musical  |   Release Date - Jul 22, 1987 (USA)  |   Run Time - 108 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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A somewhat syrupy rendering of real-life rags-to-riches rock and roller Ritchie Valens, La Bamba is both heartwarming and tragic. Lou Diamond-Phillips gives an energetic performance as the Mexican-American Valens; his acclaimed work in the film ultimately proved a double-edged sword, as the actor was largely unable to eclipse this performance in subsequent films. La Bamba's script extrapolates freely from the actual life and events surrounding Valens, but the end result is a pretty sound story that makes for a solid film. The music, provided primarily by Mexican-American rockers Los Lobos, helped their re-make of "La Bamba" chart on Billboard thirty-odd years after its initial release. Supporting performances by Marshall Crenshaw as Buddy Holly and Brian Setzer as Eddie Cochran lend the film even greater rock and roll credibility. The story that ended tragically in a plane crash claiming the lives of Valens, the Big Bopper and Buddy Holly informed a new generation of their legacy and was a hit at the box office.