La Bamba

1987 PG-13 1h 49m DVD

La Bamba

1987 PG-13 1h 49m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
The plane crash that killed rocker Buddy Holly also took the life of Ritchie Valens, a 17-year-old Mexican-American who rocketed to fame with the hit "La Bamba." The film paints a vivid portrait of Valens's modest upbringing and rise to stardom.
Lou Diamond Phillips, Esai Morales, Rosanna DeSoto, Elizabeth Peña, Danielle Von Zerneck, Joe Pantoliano, Rick Dees, Marshall Crenshaw, Howard Huntsberry, Brian Setzer
Luis Valdez
Widescreen 1.85:1
English, Thai, Spanish (Neutral), Korean, Chinese Simplified
Spanish (Neutral): Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, English: Dolby Digital 5.1
PG-13 - Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers.
age 14+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 14+
age 14+

Common Sense Note

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.

Sexual Content

A couple passionately makes out; they are still wearing most of their clothing and are shown from the chest up when they appear to start having sex. Teens kiss and "neck." A character remarks about his girlfriend, "I almost have to rape her just to have sex." The same character takes his younger brother to Tijuana to get him "laid." Prostitutes at a brothel/dance hall line up to be chosen.


One character in particular has violent, alcohol-fueled flare-ups that include fistfights and brawls with men and violence against his girlfriend -- verbal, physical, and sexual (a rape is implied by not shown). A character has a recurring and increasingly graphic nightmare in which two planes crash in the sky and the fiery wreckage rains down on children in a schoolyard. A main character dies in a plane crash, which takes place off-screen and is handled by radio reports. A folk healer is shown stripping a dead rattlesnake in half.


Profanity throughout, including "f--k" and "s--t."

Social Behavior

Staying true to one's dreams; family loyalty. When a producer asks Ritchie what's more important -- his friends or his music -- Ritchie replies, "My family." Characters are generally good, supportive, and caring people. One character is a violent, alcoholic ex-con who struggles with his behavior throughout the film but appears to be cleaning up his act in the end.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Characters are shown drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and/or smoking pot. One character sells a friend some marijuana; the kilos are shown taped to his torso under his shirt. The same character often becomes drunk and violent. A character wakes up with a hangover.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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