La Bamba

Factual error: Near the end of the movie, a DJ announces over the air that the crash had occurred that killed Buddy Holly, J.P. Richardson (commonly known as "The Big Bopper"), and Ritchie Valens. The DJ then plays the Santo & Johnny tune "Sleep Walk" as a tribute to the lost musicians. The crash occurred on Feb 3, 1959 (and one would assume the radio news announcement was within 24 hours of the crash). The song "Sleep Walk" was not released until July 1959.

Factual error: Buddy Holly is seen singing 'Cryin', Waitin' Hoping' at the Winter Dance Party. He hadn't actually finished composing this song, never mind recording it as a finished piece of work when he went on his final tour. This song comes from his final recordings 'The Apartment Sessions' which he recorded in New York and was finally released after his death, complete with added backing music and vocals.


Factual error: Bob finds the discarded animation cells of Woody Woodpecker, Buzz Buzzard, etc. at Columbia Studios (where La Bamba was produced). Actually, these Walter Lantz characters appeared in cartoons that were produced by Universal Studios.

Factual error: The calendar in Ritchie Valens' mother's kitchen is wrong. The calendar is open on October 1957. That year Oct 1 was a Tuesday and the movie calendar has it as a Wednesday.

Factual error: As Ritchie and Donna go for a drive, the middle of the road has double yellow lines which did not exist in the 50's - all road markings were white until the early 60's.


Factual error: The film depicts the coin toss between Valens and one of Holly's band members, Tommy Allsup, as having taken place at the airport shortly before takeoff, with Holly having tossed the coin. In real life, the coin toss took place at the Surf Ballroom when Tommy Allsup, after being asked numerous times by Valens to "let me fly", finally pulled a fifty cent coin out of his pocket and said "Call it." Valens called heads and won.


Plot hole: When Ritchie appears at a pizza party sponsored by a local radio station, his manager Bob Keane is handing out copies of Ritchie's first album. In reality, the album had not been released until April 1959, two months after Ritchie's death. As the actual LP includes his biggest hit "Donna", Ritchie had not yet recorded (or even composed) the song in this part of the movie until a few scenes later.

More mistakes in La Bamba

Buddy Holly: The sky belongs to the stars.

More quotes from La Bamba

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