The Buddy Holly Story

The Buddy Holly Story is a 1978 American biographical movie which tells the life story of rock musician Buddy Holly. It options an Academy Award-winning musical rating, tailored by Joe Renzetti and Oscar-nominated lead efficiency by Gary Busey. The movie additionally stars Don Stroud, Charles Martin Smith, Conrad Janis, William Jordan, and Maria Richwine, who performed Maria Elena Holly.

It was tailored by Robert Gittler from Buddy Holly: His Life and Music, the 1975 biography of Holly by John Goldrosen, and was directed by Steve Rash.


Buddy Holly and his mates, drummer Jesse Charles and bass participant Ray Bob Simmons, play in native venues in Lubbock, Texas, as The Crickets. Buddy needs to play rock and roll, however it’s frowned upon.

The band’s break comes when it’s invited to Nashville, Tennessee, to make a recording, however Buddy’s rock-and-roll imaginative and prescient quickly clashes with the producers, who need them to play nation music, and he walks out. Ultimately, he finds a extra versatile producer, Ross Turner, who, after by accident publishing their demo to public acclaim, very reluctantly permits Buddy and the Crickets to make music the best way they need.

Turner’s secretary, Maria Elena Santiago, shortly catches Buddy’s eye. Their budding romance practically ends earlier than it could possibly start as a result of her racist aunt initially refuses to let her date him, however Buddy persuades the aunt to alter her thoughts. On their very first date, Maria accepts his marriage proposal and they’re quickly wed.

Sol Gittler indicators up the Crickets sight unseen for the well-known Apollo Theater in Harlem, assuming from their music that they’re a black band. When three white Texans present up as an alternative, he’s surprised. He refuses to allow them to carry out, fearing the black viewers’s response, however Buddy factors out that Gittler’s telegram specifies that they solely should be in New York Metropolis for per week to be paid $1000.00, so Gittler nervously lets them go on, the primary white act to carry out on the Apollo. After an uncomfortable begin, Buddy’s songs quickly win over the viewers and the Crickets are an incredible hit.

After two years of success, Ray Bob and Jesse resolve to give up, as they really feel overshadowed by Buddy and don’t need to relocate to New York Metropolis, which Buddy believes is important to remain on high. They return to Lubbock with the settlement that they may retain the Crickets title. Buddy is saddened by their departure. Whereas he carries on writing, he initially is afraid to tour with out them regardless of his supervisor’s emphasis of the significance of touring to chart success. When Maria broadcasts that she is pregnant, Buddy is delighted. She sees that he’s annoyed and urges him to tour, which he ultimately agrees to.

On February 2, 1959, making ready for a live performance at Clear Lake, Iowa, Holly decides to constitution a non-public airplane to fly to Moorhead, Minnesota for his subsequent massive live performance, because the tour bus has damaged down. The Massive Bopper and Ritchie Valens be a part of him on the flight. In the meantime, the Crickets, feeling nostalgic, seem unexpectedly at Maria’s door, expressing their want to restart the band. They plan to shock Buddy at his subsequent tour cease. After enjoying his last tune, “Not Fade Away”, Holly bids the gang farewell with: “Thanks Clear Lake! C’mon. We love you. We’ll see you subsequent 12 months.” A caption then reveals that Holly, Valens, and the Bopper died in a airplane crash that night time “…and the remainder is Rock ‘n Roll.”


Actor Position
Gary Busey Buddy Holly
Don Stroud Jesse Charles
Charles Martin Smith Ray Bob Simmons
Conrad Janis Ross Turner
William Jordan Riley
Maria Richwine María Elena Holly
Amy Johnston Cindy Lou
Dick O’Neill Sol Gittler
Fred Travalena Madman Mancuso
Neva Patterson Mrs. Holly
Arch Johnson Mr. Holly
John Goff T. J.
Gloria Irizarry Mrs. Santiago
Jody Berry Engineer Sam
Richard Kennedy Preacher
Jim Seashore Wilson
Gailard Sartain The Massive Bopper
Albert Popwell Eddie Foster
Paul Mooney Sam Cooke
Freeman King Apollo M.C.
Stymie Beard Luther
Craig White King Curtis
Jerry Zaremba Eddie Cochran

Actor Gilbert Melgar is briefly seen, in an uncredited non-speaking position, enjoying Ritchie Valens.


The actors did their very own singing and performed their very own devices, with guitarist Jerry Zaremba overdubbing the guitar elements. Busey, particularly, was famous for recording the soundtrack music reside and for shedding a substantial quantity of weight as a way to painting the thin Holly. In accordance with Busey’s biography, he misplaced 32 kilos to look extra like Holly, who weighed 146 kilos on the time of his dying.

The actor’s correct portrayal was aided by information gained from a earlier try to movie a part of the Holly life story, the ill-fated Three-Sided Coin, during which he performed Crickets drummer Jerry Allison. The movie was cancelled by twentieth Century Fox as a result of strain from Fred Bauer and his firm, who had made offers with the Holly property.[4] The screenplay of Three-Sided Coin (by Allison and Tom Drake) revealed many private particulars about Holly, and Busey picked up extra throughout off-set conversations with Allison.

Whereas the story follows Buddy Holly from age 19 to 22 (1956 to February 1959), Busey was 33 when he performed the position. Charles Martin Smith auditioned for the position of Buddy, however since Busey already had been solid, the producers solid Martin to play Ray Bob Simmons as a result of they appreciated his audition. Simmons and Jesse Charles have been character names used rather than Joe B. Mauldin and J.I. Allison, two of the particular Crickets (1956 to early 1958 Cricket Niki Sullivan, acting on 27 of the 32 songs Holly recorded, will not be proven).

The incident during which a Buffalo disc jockey locked himself in a studio and repeatedly performed the identical tune time and again was loosely primarily based on real-life stunts orchestrated by disc jockey Tom Clay (and repeated just a few years later by Danny Neaverth), who held up Buffalo’s Shelton Sq. by enjoying Invoice Haley & His Comets’ “Rock Across the Clock” repeatedly from the highest of a billboard, and by Joey Reynolds, who locked himself in a studio enjoying “Sherry” by The 4 Seasons for a number of hours; these incidents, nonetheless, had no relation to Buddy Holly or his music.


The movie had a particular premiere in 9 completely different Texas and Oklahoma cities on Might 18, 1978, together with Holly’s hometown of Lubbock and Busey’s hometown of Tulsa,[5] earlier than opening in Los Angeles on June 14.[6]


Field workplace

The movie earned $14.3 million on a $1.2 million price range.[3]

Important response

Roger Ebert gave the movie three and a half stars out of 4 and praised Busey’s “exceptional efficiency as Buddy Holly. For those who’re a fan of Holly and his music, you will be quietly amazed at how utterly Busey will get into the character.”[7] Vincent Canby of The New York Instances wrote, “There are plenty of actors in ‘The Buddy Holly Story’ — a few of them very good — however the film is mostly a one-man present. It is Gary Busey’s galvanizing solo efficiency that provides which means to an in any other case shapeless and bland feature-length movie concerning the American rock-and-roll star who was killed in a airplane crash in 1959.”[8] Gene Siskel gave the movie 4 stars out of 4 and wrote, “In a 12 months during which we’re inundated with movies that includes rock music, ‘The Buddy Holly Story’ most likely will change into one of the best. That’s due to Busey’s galvanizing efficiency.”[9] Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Instances wrote, “The center and soul and energy of ‘The Buddy Holly Story’ is the uncanny, marrow-deep, strong, exhilarating, likable, superlative, overwhelmingly convincing portrayal by Gary Busey … For as soon as there isn’t any lip-synching to another person’s voice, no feigning with the fingers to any individual else’s strumming. Busey does all of it himself, and it’s a type of uncommon and beautiful performances during which the particular person of the actor himself is completely misplaced to sight in his creation of another person.”[10] Gary Arnold of The Washington Submit wrote, “Gary Busey invests the title position with a private allure so unique and an emotional dedication so exhilarating that he appears to raise the fabric off its considerably pedestrian ft.”[11]

The Buddy Holly Story holds a 100{ae90547d17d4d74b17007ee836a04674fd006933c139011dc78eb03c100070a7} ranking on Rotten Tomatoes primarily based on 30 opinions, with a weighted common of seven.3/10.[12] The New York Instances positioned the movie on its Greatest 1000 Motion pictures Ever listing.[13]

Peggy Sue Gerrow Allison Rackham, to whom the tune “Peggy Sue” was written, known as the movie “typical Hollywood, gobbledygook fantasy”.[14] Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney wasn’t optimistic concerning the movie both. Being interviewed and concerned within the manufacturing of director Richard Spence’s documentary ‘The Actual Story of Buddy Holly’, McCartney determined after seeing the movie to make a extra correct account of what occurred. In a Rolling Stone interview, government producer Ed Cohen, director Steve Rash and producer Freddy Bauer defended inaccuracies within the film, mentioning the price range of the film was solely two million {dollars}. “No matter we put up there on the display screen would be the reality”, commented Bauer. “Ask moviegoers who invented the phone. They’re going to inform you that Don Ameche did.” In accordance with Rolling Stone, the three main complaints involved the portrayal of Holly’s household, the remedy of the Crickets and the omission of Norman Petty, Holly’s producer.[14]


The movie gained the Academy Award for Greatest Adaptation Rating by Joe Renzetti. Busey was nominated for Greatest Actor in a Main Position, and Tex Rudloff, Joel Fein, Curly Thirlwell and Willie D. Burton for Greatest Sound.[15]

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