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The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)

R  |   |  Adventure, Crime, Drama  |  24 February 2006 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 32,913 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 198 user | 172 critic | 35 from

Ranch hand Pete Perkins looks to fulfill the promise to his recently deceased best friend by burying him in his hometown in Mexico.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Melquiades Estrada (as Julio César Cedillo)
Ignacio Guadalupe ...
Irineo Alvarez ...
Manuel (as Irineo Álvarez)
Border Patrolman


A man is shot and quickly buried in the high desert of west Texas. The body is found and reburied in Van Horn's town cemetery. Pete Perkins, a local ranch foreman, kidnaps a Border Patrolman and forces him to disinter the body. With his captive in tow and the body tied to a mule, Pete undertakes a dangerous and quixotic journey into Mexico. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


For justice. For loyalty. For friendship. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, violence and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

24 February 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The 3 Burials of Melquiades Estrada  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$759,792 (France) (2 December 2005)


$5,023,275 (USA) (2 June 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| | (TV)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The producers tried to sway Tommy Lee Jones from using Mexican pastel colors for the title cards, but he told them he wouldn't budge on his decision. See more »


Just after Pete describes the Melquiades house at the end of the movie, there seems to be some sort of crew member visible starting in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. See more »


Mike Norton: [reassuring Lou Ann] You're my red hot mamma...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title of the film and the various title cards are in both English and Spanish. See more »


Featured in Maltin on Movies: The Kennedys Special (2011) See more »


Me Cai De La Nube
Written by Cornelio Reyna
Performed by Cornelio Reyna
© 1974 Warner Chappell Music Mexico
(P) 1971 Sony BMG Music Entertainment Mexico
Courtesy of Sony BMG Music Entertainment France
Courtesy of Warner Chappell Music France
See more »

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User Reviews

The road to redemption
9 February 2006 | by (TX, United States) – See all my reviews

As if we were being thrown smack in the middle of a Cormac McCarthy novel, >>Three Burials<< powerfully serves up the borderlands milieu through its bipolar texture and tone: both graphic and dreamy, tragic and comical. That fusion is accented by memorable characters and age-old themes: immigration and the Rio Grande; Spanish and English and Spanglish; violence and personal relationships; coyotes and border patrol; a tired waitress with a Chekhovian longing and an inept sheriff with nervous problems; a young, blonde wife terribly out of place, and an aging, rugged cowboy firmly in place (>>Ride the High Country<<, anyone?). Finally, the film centers on a classically picaresque story of personality development through trials and tribulations: Pete (Tommy Lee Jones), on a flashback-laden quest for his own way of justice, dragging along the rapidly disintegrating corpse of his friend, brings about the personal journey of a trigger-happy, macho-racist border patrol officer (played by Barry Pepper) from guilt to redemption... Wonderfully borderlands, comparable to >>Lone Star<<. Watch it.

71 of 97 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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