Originally the movie was supposed to star Steve Martin, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. Martin mentioned it in a Playboy interview published January 1980, referring to the movie as 'The Three Caballeros'.
In his memoir, Life Itself, film critic Roger Ebert recounted appearing as a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962) alongside Chevy Chase who was promoting the film. During the interview, Ebert was asked what his least favorite film of the holiday season was, he replied ¡Three Amigos!. Chase said "looking forward to your next picture" but later confided with Ebert backstage that he didn't "think it's so hot, either."
Director John Landis has said of the singing turtle: "That singing turtle was my idea. It's a desert setting so we needed lots of animals. The animals were on set with handlers and wires so they didn't run, but I remember the coyote was the most difficult".
Randy Newman, who wrote some of the songs for this movie, was the voice of the singing bush. This was possibly a reference to the burning bush from the Holy Bible's book of Exodus. Moses' (the Amigos') vision to guide the oppressed Hebrews (Santa Pocans) into freedom.
Rebecca Underwood is billed in the credits as "Señorita Kissing Ned". A former Playboy Playmate, she is actually known as Rebecca Ferratti, and had been the Playboy Playmate of the Month for June 1986.
One of a number of movie collaborations of husband and wife team of director John Landis and costume designer Deborah Nadoolman. The pair have worked together in those roles in numerous movies that Landis has directed.
The name of the picture on the billboard in the scene where the Amigos break into the studio to retrieve their costumes was the "The Dueling Cavalier". This is also the name of a movie made by Don Lockwood and Lena Lamont in the 1952 classic "Singin' in the Rain."
The name of the village is spelled and pronounced as Santa Poco in the movie and soundtrack. This is grammatically incorrect, as "santa" is a feminine word and "Poco" is masculine, and since in Spanish the genders should match, the proper spelling is Santo Poco, though San Poco would actually be the correct form used in Mexican Spanish, due to other conventional rules regarding the letters with which a name begins.
The name of the picture on the billboard that starred Miss Rent was "The Dueling Cavalier". The names of some of the films that the three amigos had starred in, either singularly or together, were "Shootin' For Love", ""Little Neddy Grab your Gun", "Those Darn Amigos!", "Little Neddy Goes to War", and "Amigos! Amigos! Amigos!".
MXN to US Dollar exchange would have been about a little over 2 Pesos to 1 Dollar in 1920 adjusting for inflation would have netted a 2,500,000 stipend in 2014. In 1986 100,000 pesos would have netted 1000 US dollars before the peso revaluation in mid 1990's. Their payment would have been about 75.75 US Dollars in 2014.
The Video & DVD Guide said this film was a "send-up of The Cowboy Star (1936)' whilst Halliwell's said that it was a "take-off of The Magnificent Seven (1960)". Moreover, Movies on TV & Videocassette said that it was a "spoof of Mexican bandit movies" whilst Rating the Movies said that the picture was a "spoof of B-westerns".
This is the first film that Steve Martin and Martin Short starred in together. In 1991 they starred in the remake of father of the bride and then in 1995 then starred in the sequel to father of the bride
Four actors that are in the movie executives scene have played a role in the The Simpsons (1989). Steve Martin as Ray Patterson in The Simpsons: Trash of the Titans (1998). Jon Lovitz as Artie Ziff / Llewellyn Sinclair / Jay Sherman / Professor Lombardo / Jay Sherman / Ms. Sinclair / Aristotle Amandopoulis in several episodes. 'Joe Mantegna' as Fat Tony in several episodes and the late Phil Hartman as Troy McLure / Lionel Hutz who you might remember from several Simpons episodes...
Of the two movies that comic star Steve Martin appeared in during 1986, this film and Little Shop of Horrors (1986), both pictures featured singing plants, the Singing Bush in this picture, and the big green mother Audrey II in the other movie.
Carl La Fong (actor/stunts) is the name used to great comic effect when W.C. Fields is questioned about that character's whereabouts in It's a Gift (1934): Insurance Salesman: Do you know a man by the name of LaFong? Carl LaFong? Capital L, small a, Capital F, small o, small n, small g. LaFong. Carl LaFong. Harold: No, I don't know Carl LaFong - capital L, small a, capital F, small o, small n, small g. And if I did know Carl LaFong, I wouldn't admit it!
Despite the notorious financial and critical failure of Heaven's Gate (1980), the Hollywood films industry within about five years of that movie bizarrely revived the oater movie genre during the mid-80s producing a mini-cycle of Western movies of which this western spoof was one. In 1985, the dream factory churned out such Western oaters as Silverado (1985), Rustlers' Rhapsody (1985), Pale Rider (1985) and Lust in the Dust (1985). ¡Three Amigos! (1986) followed in 1986.
Tony Plana turned down " Platoon " to appear in this. He had appeared in " Salvador " for Oliver Stone and knew that shooting "Platoon" in the Philippines would be an even more difficult shoot, compared to the 5 star hotel that was being provided for the Tucson location for " Three Amigos!". Stone did not talk to him for years.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
The basic story and quite a few scenes borrow heavily from Akira Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai". (Seven Samurai (1954)): Village terrorized by bandits; A few villagers goes into town to find help; They have very little to offer; No help from towns people; They find "warriors"; They prepare defenses (among them water filled trenches); Large climactic battle; The leader is the last of the bandits to die; Three prepare to leave the village; One looks back at the girl he fell in love with (though Three amigos has a slightly happier version of what happens then).