Where Was La Bamba Filmed? An Astounding Biographical Drama Film!


If you enjoy watching biopics, I’m sure you’ve watched La Bamba (1987). The biographical drama film narrates the true story of Ritchie Valens, who belongs to a working-class Mexican-American family. He becomes an overnight rock and roll sensation but tragically dies in a plane crash. In this article, I’ll discuss the movie and tell you where was La Bamba filmed.

La Bamba features Lou Diamond Phillips in the lead role. The supporting roles are played by Esai Morales, Rosanna DeSoto, Elizabeth Peña, Danielle von Zerneck, and Joe Pantoliano. Lou Diamond Phillips debuted in a low-budget movie called Trespasses, but he became prominent after his role as Ritchie Valens in La Bamba. He was nominated for several awards, including a Golden Globe Award and an Independent Spirit Award. The 61-year-old actor has also been in several theater productions and popular TV shows

If you’re thinking about where La Bamba was filmed, the biographical drama film was shot in California, United States of America.

From director and screenwriter Luis Valdez, La Bamba premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival in May 1987, followed by its theatrical release on 24 July 1987 in the United States. The biographical drama film arrived on OTT platforms on 8 January 2014. However, it’s time to look at the filming locations closely.

Where Was La Bamba Filmed? La Bamba Filming Locations!

Where Was La Bamba Filmed? An Astounding Biographical Drama Film!

Luis Valdez’s La Bamba received several critical acclaims and was praised by renowned critics like Roger Ebert and Janet Meslin. Both of them applauded Lou Diamond Phillips’ flawless and nuanced performance. The biographical drama film was added to the National Film Registry in 2017. Not to mention the movie was also a big hit at the box office, as it earned over $54 million against a budget of just $6.5 million.

The movie received an incredible score of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes and a rating of 6.9 on IMDb. However, without any further ado, let’s dive into where was La Bamba filmed.

California, United States Of America

Filming of the biographical drama movie primarily took place in the city of Hollister in California. The production team put a lot of effort into finding the ideal spots to shoot the film. Besides Hollister, several scenes were filmed at Fillmore, Pacoima, and San Fernando.

The scene in which Ritchie meets Donna for the first time at the high school was filmed at the San Fernando High School at 11133 O’Melveny Avenue, San Fernando, California. The scenes involving Ritchie’s flashbacks about the plane crash that killed his best friend were shot at Pacoima Junior High School. It is located at 9919 Laurel Canyon Boulevard in Pacoima, a small city in California.

Remember the funny scene where Bob asks Ritchie to select a girl to have fun with and all of a sudden, he hears the tune of the song La Bamba? That scene was filmed at Hotel De Anza on East 5th Street, Calexico, California.

One of the remarkable scenes in the movie where Ritchie takes his mother for a drive in his car to show the new house that he bought for her was filmed at 727 Fine Street in Fillmore. The scene in which Ritchie gets ready to board the plane with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper was shot at 12653 Osborne Street in Pacoima

Some Other Filming Locations

A few other filming locations of the biographical drama movie include:

  • Southside Drive, Hollister
  • Blaine Avenue, Fillmore
  • Rayen Street, Panorama City
  • Orion Avenue, Sherman Oaks
  • North Avenue 55, Highland Park
  • Carson Street, Culver City
  • Sepulveda Boulevard, Culver City
  • Argyle Avenue, Hollywood
  • La Brea Avenue, Inglewood

Plot Of La Bamba (1987) | The Sad Story Of A Young Rockstar!

Where Was La Bamba Filmed? An Astounding Biographical Drama Film!

The story of La Bamba is set in the late 50s and revolves around Ritchie Valens, played by Lou Diamond Phillips. Ritchie is a Mexican-American and belongs to the working-class Valenzuela family. He lives with his parents, younger brothers, and sisters in Northern California. Ritchie works on a farm after school and dreams of becoming the greatest rock and roll artist ever.

When Ritchie’s older half-brother, Bob, returns from prison, they all shift to another house in Southern California. Ritchie starts to attend San Fernando High School, where he meets Donna Ludwig and joins the school band named The Silhouettes. 

Eventually, he became the lead singer of the band. Bob Keane, the owner of a music company, after watching Ritchie perform at a party, asks him to produce an album for him. Ritchie becomes an overnight rock and roll star, but soon, while traveling to Chicago, he tragically dies in a plane crash.

Final Words

After watching La Bamba you might feel like visiting the actual filming locations of the movie. So, I have mentioned all the filming spots that you can visit. Having said that, the movie is highly recommended, especially if you’re fond of watching good biographical dramas. Also, if you liked reading the article, then do not forget to let me know in the comments section.

Ujwal Mattoo
Ujwal Mattoo
With full journalism and half engineering background, Ujwal has hands in both the tech and creative fields. He is a film enthusiast who loves all kinds of genres. As much as he enjoys watching movies, he is always amused to know more and write about the locations to feed his hunger for traveling. In this world of fictional louds, he voices his opinions softly! He is either busy writing or playing with Milo, his dog!


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