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The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)

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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 30,715 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 194 user | 168 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

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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Title: The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)

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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

Plot Keywords:

mexico | journey | friend | cemetery | promise | See more »

Taglines:

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


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

3 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:

£82,586 (UK) (31 March 2006)

Gross:

$5,023,275 (USA) (2 June 2006)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| | (TV)

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

At 1:51:24, when Pete stands on a hill ovelooking the captive sitting in the bushes, his hat is a wide brim sombrero; it's usually a conventional straw Stetson. See more »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Mujeres en el parque (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Fair to Midland
(2003)
Written by Dwight Yoakam
Performed by Dwight Yoakam
© So Forth Music, Administered worldwide by Bug Music Inc.,
Courtesy of French Fried Music
Dwight Yoakam appears courtesy of Koch Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bring me the body of Melquiades Estrada
14 February 2006 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada(2005) ****

Tommy Lee Jones steps up to the plate and takes a big first swing with 'Three Burials.' This is a movie that captures the old Peckinpah-esquire style of the rugged west and combines wonderfully with Guillermo Arriaga's moody and alienated script. This is a film that could have took a political mood and dealt with the issues of border security and the like, but it smartly refrains from doing so and instead focuses sharply on the heart of society itself - people.

Tommy Lee Jones plays Pete, a rancher who has few friends with his closest friends being a woman from town, and a man from Mexico. The woman is the wife of a local diner owner, Rachael (Melissa Leo). She also happens to be extremely bored and engages in extramarital affairs. Pete loves her, but she loves her husband. And possibly the sheriff, and possibly Pete. The other emotional connection in Pete's life, the Mexican, is Melquiades Estrada (Julio Cedillo), an illegal immigrant who finds work and friendship with Pete. Pete loves him like a son, or a brother, or friend, or a combination of all three. Barry Pepper plays Mike, the new border patrolman in town. He is brutal. Perhaps by nature, or not. He is bored; he passes the time sitting outside of his jeep looking at dirty mags. His wife, Lou Ann (January Jones), is also bored. She feels isolated and separated from her husband. She spends her time at the local diner and befriends Rachael. While she sits at home, her husband, the rookie border patrolman, makes a stupid mistake and tries in vain to hide it. The whole town is bored, even the police and the border guards. They find out, the police find out, and in a small town people talk, but more importantly people listen because they have nothing else to do. Pete finds out about Mike's mistake and sets out to carry out Mel's last wishes and bury him in his home town back in Mexico.

The story has its characters and connects them in ways that we don't always suspect they will connect. No one is a cardboard cut out. Even better, no one is simple. Each character is complex and has their own distinct feelings. A major theme is that of alienation. The characters are alienated not only from each other, but from themselves as well. Earlier i stated that he film took the right road and avoids making a blatant political message. The movie still carries a message though. It is a commentary on life and society.

The story has parallels to Peckinpah's 'Bring me the Head of Alfedo Garcia.' It has a very Peckinpah style, and features a man who makes a long journey with a dead body. He cares for it and tries to preserve it, even talks to the body sometimes. The film has some great cinematography as well, and the score suits it perfectly. The acting is wonderful, and I have to say that Tommy Lee Jones has rarely ever been better than he is here. Barry Pepper also gives a solid performance. This is Tommy Lee Jones first directing credit in major film and he knocks this one out of the park. Jones clearly has a strong control of his movie and this should go down in history as one of those rare first time wonders.

4/4


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Why was there no Jimenez and why the fake family picture? decflatte
Why didn't he shoot? mastholte
Pity For Mike (Pepper)? muse83
Tommy Lee Jones's Spanish TheFlickChick
The most heartbreaking scene ever.... thirtymiles
Manslaughter or murder? albertoribas

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