La Bamba is a 1987 movie based on the real life events that affected the lives of rock star Ritchie Valens, his brother Bob Valenzuela, his girlfriend Donna and the rest of their family. It also documents how Valens witnessed an air collision when he was young and was fearful of airplanes since then.
The movie illustrates how Ricardo Valenzuela went into becoming a famous singing super-star from being a normal teenaged boy, and to adopt the professional name of Ritchie Valens. It follows through by showing how he met and fell in love with Donna, for whom he wrote a song that became a number one hit. The movie also has several backdrop stories that relate to Valens, such as his relationship with his mother and brother, and how his brother felt that their mother favored Ritchie. In a movie's scene, they show how Bob had won an important art contest that helped promising cartoonists, only to throw away his prize because, in his eyes, his mom didn't seem to care enough.
As Valens becomes famous, his responsabilities change because he must go on tour and be on different cities, after his hits La Bamba and Donna had reached the top of the Billboard charts. However, every time they get a chance, he and Bob sneak out and have fun, going to carnivals and to Tijuana and acting like young people.
Valens also becomes friends with important people in the show business and goes on tour with Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper.
The movie ends with Valens, Holly and Bopper taking off under a snow storm for their fateful flight. As Bob is fixing a car, he listens to the news that his brother's plane crashed without any survivors, and the news hits the whole Valenzuela family.
Bob then goes onto a bridge and screams the name of Ritchie, remembering all the good times they had had.
This movie, it could be said, helped the careers of Lou Diamond Phillips and Puerto Rican Esai Morales. Phillips played Ricardo Valenzuela/Ritchie Valens, while Morales played Bob Valenzuela. Elizabeth Pena was also in this movie, as Bob's girlfriend.