Box art for La Bamba

La Bamba


The rise of Ritchie Valens from farm laborer to chartbusting rocker. Stars ESAI MORALES and LOU DIAMOND PHILLIPS.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 14
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
5 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Sweet, sad rock-idol story for mature teens.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that a central character dies in this movie, although the death occurs off-screen. Also, there are several scenes involving violence, drunkenness, and/or drug use. While Ritchie's courting of Donna is innocent and sweet, his brother is quite the opposite with women. He's violent and a scene implies that he forces sex on his girlfriend. Both that and Ritchie's recurring (and prophetic) dreams of a plane crash will be disturbing to sensitive and younger viewers.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the dynamics of Ritchie's family: What are the positive and negative aspects of their interactions and what is the distinction between the two brothers? How does the movie portray Mexican-Americans in 1950s California? Why does Ritchie change his name to something less "ethnic"? How accurate is the movie's portrayal of Ritchie?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 10
    see all La Bamba reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews


- Carol Cling, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Thursday, June 24, 2010


- Cole Smithey,, Thursday, June 24, 2010


- Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

3 stars

The movie was good, on the life of Richie Valens. The only true actor that gave an outstanding performance was Esai Morales, who portrayed Richie's brother. Very dramatic and real, and the ending was emotional, I cried. :( Not to mention he sings a song called "Donna"! LOL!!! Ok, I'm a sap! :P

- donnarenee2006, Friday, November 7, 2008

3 stars

ok biopic of the short career of ritchie valens

- leekyle1968, Tuesday, March 4, 2008

4 stars

Great movie!

- ileo, Friday, December 21, 2007