A Golden Globe nominee for Best Picture, La Bamba is the story of the emergence in the late 1950s of a 17-year-old Mexican American boy--Ritchie Valens (Lou Diamond Phillips), whose real name was Ricardo Valenzuela--from the migrant camps and fruit groves of California's San Joaquin Valley to the front lines of rock. Fusing Latin sounds and rhythms with a rock and roll beat that changed music history, Valens had a string of chart-topping hits including "La Bamba," "Donna" and "Come On Let's Go" when his career was tragically cut short by the 1959 airplane crash that also killed Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper. With his dreams mostly misunderstood by his family, including mother (Rosana De Soto) and half-brother Bob (Esai Morales), Ritchie struggles to negotiate a path to show business success uncharted up to that point by Latino performers.

  • 1 hr 48 minPG13
  • Jul 22, 1987
  • Drama

Cast & Crew

  • Danielle Von Zerneck

    Danielle Von ZerneckActor

  • Esai Morales

    Esai MoralesActor

  • Lou Diamond Phillips

    Lou Diamond PhillipsActor

  • Cast Image

    Rick DeesActor

  • Joe Pantoliano

    Joe PantolianoActor

    With more than 100 film, television and stage credits to his name, Joseph Peter Pantoliano is a prolific American character actor who has played many diverse and memorable roles, from Guido in Risky Business (1983) to Eddie Moscone in Midnight Run (1988), Cosmo Renfro in The Fugitive (1993), Cypher in The Matrix (1999) and Teddy in Memento (2000). Pantoliano was born September 12, 1951 in Hoboken, New Jersey, the son of Mary (Centrella) and Dominic Pantoliano, first-generation Italian Americans who split when Joe was twelve years old (though they never officially divorced). His mother was a seamstress and bookie, and his father was a hearse driver and foreman at a factory. Despite suffering from severe dyslexia that made studies difficult for him, Pantoliano displayed acting talent from an early age and moved to Manhattan after high school to pursue an acting career. After four years in Manhattan that included auditions, acting classes, waiting tables and a role as Billy Bibbit in the touring production of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", Joe Pantoliano moved to California to pursue television and film acting. Joe was successful in landing a number of television roles before getting his feature film debut in The Idolmaker (1980), but his true Hollywood breakthrough came with his turn opposite a 21-year-old Tom Cruise as ruthless pimp Guido in 1983's Risky Business (1983). A wide array of TV and film roles followed that have led Joe to work with many of Hollywood's brightest talents, both on-screen and off, including Richard Donner, Steven Spielberg, Lilly Wachowski & Lana Wachowski, Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Wesley Snipes, Christopher Nolan and many others. Winner of a primetime Emmy for his work on The Sopranos (1999), for which he also received two SAG Award nominations, Joe Pantoliano is married to former model Nancy Sheppard, with whom he has two daughters, Daniella and Isabella. Pantoliano also has a son, Marco, from a previous marriage, and a step-daughter, Melody.
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  • Cast Image

    Elizabeth PenaActor

Cast & Crew photos provided by TMDb.