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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 32,897 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


Nobody is beyond redemption. 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 screenplay was written in Spanish by Guillermo Arriaga but was translated in to English by Tommy Lee Jones. See more »


In the scene were Pete buys two beers and asks for directions in a Mexican store, the Mexican guy in the store is drinking an orange Topo Chico soft drink. The Topo Chico brand doesn't come in orange flavor in Mexico. Just in the USA. See more »


Pete Perkins: Thank you!
Old Man with Radio: I need to ask you a favor.
Pete Perkins: Anything you want.
Old Man with Radio: I need you to go ahead and shoot me. My son, he ain't coming back.
Pete Perkins: Oh, he'll come back.
Old Man with Radio: He said he had cancer. Told me to go into town with him. But I don't want to go. I've lived here all my life. I don't want to offend God by shooting myself. It's a problem, you see.
Pete Perkins: We don't want to offend God neither.
[Pete and Mike start to leave]
Old Man with Radio: You're good people. You need to go ahead and shoot me.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Features Fox Pop (1942) 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

Sad and sometimes quirky journey about friendship, loss and regret
1 November 2005 | by (Belgium) – See all my reviews

I just had the pleasure of seeing this wholly original modern-day American western. Just when you think you have this film's plot pigeon holed it takes you in a different direction. THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA is in part a revenge story, but it's also much more than that. There are no one dimensional characters. As much as you want to hate Barry Pepper's numbed border patrol officer, you can't help but feel sorry for him. And Tommy Lee Jones' Pete will break your heart. He and Pepper have never been better and Jones' direction is natural and subtle. My only problem with the film was sometimes it got a little too quirky for its own good. But for the most part I believed every moment and really cared for these lost characters. It's one of those films that really leaves you thinking about a lot of stuff, from mortality and loss to the very real problems of racism and inhumanity. It's never preachy or self aware and isn't out to impress, it's just telling a story. I highly recommend this movie. It's by far one of the best films I've seen recently.

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Why was there no Jimenez and why the fake family picture? decflatte
Pity For Mike (Pepper)? muse83
Why didn't he shoot? mastholte
Does anybody actually know or can trace the path they followed? stobon
The most heartbreaking scene ever.... thirtymiles
Tommy Lee Jones's Spanish TheFlickChick

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