La Bamba (film)

1987 film directed by Luis Valdez

La Bamba is a 1987 biographical film of the rise from nowhere of early rock and roll singer Ritchie Valens who died at age 17 in a plane crash with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper.

Directed and written by Luis Valdez.
Born to poverty. Destined for stardom. He lived the American Dream.taglines

Ritchie Valens

  • My mom reckons I'm going to be a star. And stars don't fall from the sky.
  • [singing] Oh Donna, oh Donna.
    Oh Donna, oh Donna.
    I had a girl, Donna was her name.
    Since she left me, I've never been the same.
    Cause I love my girl, Donna oh where can you be?

Bob Morales

  • [to Ritchie] You've been laid yet? I'm serious, I know what your problem is. Sperm pressure, it's scientific.
  • You know, my old man wasn't around when I was born. [takes swig of vodka and grimaces] Why should I be?

Donna Ludwig

  • I will never let anyone get in the way of my feelings for you, ever again.


  • Rosie Morales: [about Bob] He doesn't want a wife. He wants a love slave, one that he can kick around.
  • Bob Keane [after changing Richard Valenzuela's name to Ritchie Valens]: Look, it could've been worse; you could have been "Ricky Zuela".


Ritchie Valens: Bob! Watch it! My guitar, man!
Bob Morales: Sorry. I didn't' know that piece of junk was so important to you.
Ritchie Valens: I even sleep with it.

Bob Morales: Don't be such a dreamer, man.
Ritchie Valens: My dreams are pure rock and roll.

Ritchie Valens: [in Tijuana] This is like my high school prom.
Bob Morales: Yeah. Except this prom puts out.

Connie Valenzuela: How could you do this to Ritchie?!
Bob Morales: To Ritchie? I did this to me, okay!
Rosie Morales: That's my Bob, always thinking of others first.
Bob Morales: Shut your goddamn mouth!
Ritchie Valens: Hey man, don't take it out on Rosie, okay.
Bob Morales: Ritchie, you don't understand man. You don't understand a goddamn thing! [walking away] What do you think, the whole fuckin' world revolves around you?

Bob Morales: I've had one sip of beer and I have to admit it taste like piss to me. Want it?
Ritchie Valens: Yeah. [takes a sip then puts the beer down] What's your problem man?
Bob Morales: Old Steve, boy. He always said you'd be somebody and I bought it, too. If that's the way Steve wanted it that's the way it was going to be. Even after he told me he wasn't my dad. Once I knew the full score, I understood why he treated you just a little bit better than me. Okay? I said it, you know. I said, I'll just hang around for the leftovers, like a dog. That's how much I loved him. Like a goddamn dog.
Ritchie Valens: Bob we don't have to talk about this right now.
Bob Morales: No! Shit, no, I want to talk about this right now and you're gonna listen to me!
Ritchie Valens: This is a crock of shit man!
Bob Morales: No, he set you up, man, to conquer the world and didn't leave me shit!
Ritchie Valens: Nobody told you to throw your life away man! I'm only sorry I didn't say something about you being drunk half the time. You did it to yourself!
Bob Morales: Listen to you, coming in here like you own the whole goddamn country. To me you'll always be that little asshole who followed me around in the sticks.
Ritchie Valens: Yeah, I followed you around man. I followed you around 'cause I thought you were somebody... then!

Bob Morales: Look Rosie, you're not my wife. Quit being such a drag. What the shit's eating you anyway?
Rosie Morales: I'm pregnant. [long pause] Well aren't you gonna say anything?
Bob Morales: What's there to say? It's not my first. Or my last.

Bob Keene: Wait Ritchie, look. I understand about friendship... but I'm being honest here. Not everyone in the world gets a shot at the "brass ring." You're gonna have to ask yourself what's more important, your friends... or your music.
Ritchie Valens: [Walks back to table] My family...

Ritchie Valens: Bob. Where's mom's new dress?
Bob Morales: What new dress?
Ritchie Valens: The one I asked you to buy her for Christmas.
Bob Morales: Hey, you're the asshole with all the money, why don't you buy it yourself?

[Just before their plane takes off. Buddy Holly looks back and sees a nervous Ritchie]
Buddy Holly: Hey, Ritchie, relax, man. Everything's cool. Besides, the sky belongs to the stars, right?


  • Born to poverty. Destined for stardom. He lived the American Dream.
  • Talent made him a star, fate made him a legend. The true story of Ritchie Valens.


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