The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)

R  |   |  Adventure, Crime, Drama  |  24 February 2006 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 33,129 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.


Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

4 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A lawman apprehends a notorious outlaw and gives him nine days to kill his older brother, or else they'll execute his younger brother.

Director: John Hillcoat
Stars: Ray Winstone, Guy Pearce, Emily Watson
The Homesman (2014)
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Three women who have been driven mad by pioneer life are to be transported across the country by covered wagon by the pious, independent-minded Mary Bee Cuddy, who in turn employs low-life drifter George Briggs to assist her.

Director: Tommy Lee Jones
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, Grace Gummer
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A retired military investigator works with a police detective to uncover the truth behind his son's disappearance following his return from a tour of duty in Iraq.

Director: Paul Haggis
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron, Jonathan Tucker
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A detective in post-Katrina New Orleans has a series of surreal encounters with a troop of friendly Confederate soldiers while investigating serial killings of local prostitutes, a 1965 lynching, and corrupt local businessmen.

Director: Bertrand Tavernier
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, John Goodman, Peter Sarsgaard
The Good Old Boys (TV Movie 1995)
Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An aging cowboy must choose between his desire to remain free and the responsibilities of maintaining a family.

Director: Tommy Lee Jones
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Terry Kinney, Frances McDormand
Open Range (2003)
Action | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A former gunslinger is forced to take up arms again when he and his cattle crew are threatened by a corrupt lawman.

Director: Kevin Costner
Stars: Kevin Costner, Robert Duvall, Diego Luna
The Missing I (2003)
Adventure | Thriller | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In 1885 New Mexico, a frontier medicine woman forms an uneasy alliance with her estranged father when her daughter is kidnapped by an Apache brujo.

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Cate Blanchett, Evan Rachel Wood
Lone Star (1996)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

When the skeleton of his murdered predecessor is found, Sheriff Sam Deeds unearths many other long-buried secrets in his Texas border town.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Peña, Stephen Mendillo
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An American bartender and his prostitute girlfriend go on a road trip through the Mexican underworld to collect a $1 million bounty on the head of a dead gigolo.

Director: Sam Peckinpah
Stars: Warren Oates, Isela Vega, Robert Webber
Appaloosa (2008)
Crime | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Two friends hired to police a small town that is suffering under the rule of a rancher find their job complicated by the arrival of a young widow.

Director: Ed Harris
Stars: Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Renée Zellweger
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When two brothers organize the robbery of their parents' jewelry store the job goes horribly wrong, triggering a series of events that sends them, their father and one brother's wife hurtling towards a shattering climax.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney
The Pledge I (2001)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A retiring police chief pledges to catch the killer of a young child.

Director: Sean Penn
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Benicio Del Toro, Patricia Clarkson


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 »


After the hotel scene, when Pete and Melquiades Estrada drop the girls off at their vehicle, Melquiades Estrada gets back in the truck and puts the window up, a crew member can be seen in the reflection of the window. See more »


Pete Perkins: What's Belmont doing?
Rachel: He went on vacation. He said that it wasn't his problem, that it was between you and the Border Patrol, and he wanted to go to Sea World.
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 »


The Cheatin' Hotel
Written by Hank Williams Jr.
Performed by Hank Williams Jr.
© Bocephus Music, Inc.
(P) Curb Records
Courtesy of Universal Music Special Projects
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

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.

192 of 213 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

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

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: