The Buddy Holly Story (1978)

PG   |    |  Biography, Drama, Music

The Buddy Holly Story (1978) Poster

The story of the life and career of the early rock and roll singer, from his meteoric rise to stardom, to his marriage and untimely death.


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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

13 December 2008 | winner55
| set the standard
This film set the standard for all rock biopics to follow. It accomplished this through the energetic performances of the leads, the steadiness of the camera-work (avoiding 'rock-video' clichés that were actually invented for the Beatles in their first two films), tight editing, and a non-judgmental presentation of the star as human being rather than symbol or god (or demon). Yes, there are minor holes in the plot, and incidental details that are a little unnecessary, and there will always be debate between families of those personally involved as to specifics. But the issue here, as in the much more recent "I walk the Line" or Carpenter's famed TV Elvis biopic of the same era, is whether the meaning of the performer's life, in its time and place, as a catalyst for fans' ideals and appreciation, is made manifest in the performance, and this is clearly the case here. We come away from this movie understanding not only how Buddy Holly became a star, but why. I don't see what else one could want from the film.

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Did You Know?


Contrary to what is shown in the film, Buddy Holly did not punch out the music producer in Nashville. In reality, Buddy, along with his singing partner Bob Montgomery, spent a few months in Nashville writing and recording songs. Although they ultimately got nowhere, their compositions were covered by other artists. Buddy's most prominent song from his time in Nashville is "Blue Days, Black Nights". It was after returning to Lubbock from Nashville that Buddy Holly and Bob Montgomery went their separate ways and Buddy formed The Crickets and went into Rock N Roll.


Buddy Holly: Hey, Riley, we're all plugged in and checked up... yeah, we're ready.
Buddy Holly: Riley wants to hear you at the mike - that's the one right there; say somethin' into that mike.
Ray Bob Simmons: One, two, three, testing... one...
Buddy Holly: How's that sound?
Riley Randolph: All right, that's a good level, ...


The closing caption refers to "Clearlake" (one word), Iowa. The city is "Clear Lake" (two words), as seen at the city's official website, The same mistake is made in the name of the (erroneous) "Clearlake Auditorium".

Crazy Credits

Caption shown at end of film: "Buddy Holly died later that night along with JP 'The Big Bopper' Richardson and Ritchie Valens in the crash of a private airplane just outside of Clearlake... and the rest is rock 'n' roll!"


That'll Be the Day
Written by
Buddy Holly (uncredited), Jerry Allison (uncredited) and Norman Petty (uncredited)
Performed by Gary Busey


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Biography | Drama | Music

Box Office


$1,200,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:


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