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The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)

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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5 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

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Nobody is beyond redemption. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

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Details

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Release Date:

24 February 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The 3 Burials of Melquiades Estrada  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Barry Pepper's character Mike Norton reads the April 2004 issue of Hustler repeatedly when he's out on patrol. See more »

Goofs

When Pete and Mike are in the ruins at 'Jiminez' a crew member can be clearly seen crouching in a corner as the camera pans past him. See more »

Quotes

Rachel: Viagra works for Bob.
Belmont: I'll turn truck-stop queer and blowjob-giver before I use that shit.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Before The Next Teardrop Falls
(1967)
Written by Ben Peters and Vivian Keith
Performed by Freddy Fender
© Shelby Singleton Music, Inc.
(P) 1974 Geffen Records
Courtesy of Universal Music Special Projects
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User Reviews

 
Dead man riding
21 December 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

"The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada" is a surprise. Directed by Tommy Lee Jones, marking his first time behind the camera, with a screen play by Guillermo Arriaga, this is a film that tells a story about an murder in a troubled border area between the US and Mexico. The film is loosely based on a true story that happened in that part of the country some years ago.

Pete Perkins is a decent man. When his ranch hand is killed under mysterious circumstances, Pete jumps into action. Pete wants to take his friend, Melquiades Estrada, across the border to Mexico to make sure he receives the proper burial he deserves. A coyote has lead to the first burial site and the following investigation involves the local sheriff, Belmont, but Pete will have none of that.

Pete's investigation leads him to the corrupt border guard Mike Norton. Perkins captures the man and with the body strapped to a horse and his captive in another, Pete begins the long journey to Mexico. He passes the hot land between the two countries in a voyage that will bring Melquiades to his home.

The separate narratives at the beginning of the film are somehow confusing and the viewer is advised to pay close attention to it since it has multiple stories going on at a time when we don't know much of what is happening. We get to meet the cruel Norton and his bored wife Lou Ann. It also serve as the way to tell us how Pete and Norton meet.

Tommy Lee Jones, with his rugged looks, brings a tremendous presence to his own film. Mr. Jones is a decent man who can't stand the injustice his hired hand suffered as he delves into solving the mystery of Melquiades' death. Barry Pepper is quite good as the nasty Mike Norton, a man who gets much more than what he bargained for. Dwight Yoakam, January Jones and Melissa Leo are seen in minor roles. Julio Cedillo plays the dead man, Melquiades Estrada.

Tommy Lee Jones is blessed to be working on his first venture with the great cinematographer Chris Menges. Mr. Menges' take on the scenery is one of the best things in the film. The musical score by Marco Beltrami is also another asset. The editing of Roberto Silvi sets the tone for the early part of the movie.

"The Three Deaths of Melquiades Estrada" shows us a mature Tommy Lee Jones who has learned his lesson well in front of the camera. Now, working behind, as well as directing himself and his amazing cast, he shows a humongous talent that ought to be seen in future ventures.


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