La Bamba is a American biographical film written and directed by Luis Valdez that follows the life and career of Chicano rock 'n' roll star Ritchie Valens. The film depicts the impact Valens's career had on the lives of his half-brother Bob Morales, his girlfriend Donna Ludwig and the rest of his family. In , the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". Richard Steven Valenzuela is a normal teenage boy who becomes a rock 'n' roll superstar under the stage name Ritchie Valens. He meets and falls in love with high school classmate Donna Ludwig, for whom he writes a song that becomes a number two hit, "Donna". However, Donna's father has issues with his daughter dating a Mexican-American , which causes friction between Ritchie and Donna. Ritchie's relationship with his mother Connie and half-brother Bob Morales, and the jealousy Bob feels toward Ritchie's success, are also depicted. Bob wins an important art contest that helps promising cartoonists , only to throw away his prize because, in his mind, his mother does not care enough.
In this ongoing series , we revisit some of our favorite music movies—from artist docs and concert films to biopics and fictional music flicks—that are available to stream or rent. The American Dream can be cruel. Ricardo Esteban Valenzuela Reyes and his family got a taste of it, only for it to turn to ash in their mouths. On February 3, , he died at 17 in a devastating—and ironic—plane crash that also claimed the lives of Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper. La Bamba is ostensibly a Valens biopic, but its cultural legacy has extended beyond his individual sphere of influence. Ironically, it also served as a career springboard for its Filipino-American star, Lou Diamond Phillips. The workers have formed a community, poor but dignified, exploited but self-sufficient. This framing is effective at lionizing Ritchie and championing his innocence, but it also serves to caricaturize Bob.
Watch the trailer. This is the true story of Ritchie Valens, a young rock and roll singer who tragically died in a plane crash at age The film follows Ritchie from his days in Pacoima, California where he and his family make a meager living working on farms to his rise as a star.
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