Hitman "El Mariachi" becomes involved in international espionage involving a psychotic CIA agent and a corrupt Mexican general.


Robert Rodriguez
3,293 ( 222)
3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Antonio Banderas ... El Mariachi
Salma Hayek ... Carolina
Johnny Depp ... Sands
Mickey Rourke ... Billy
Eva Mendes ... Ajedrez
Danny Trejo ... Cucuy
Enrique Iglesias ... Lorenzo
Marco Leonardi ... Fideo
Cheech Marin ... Belini
Rubén Blades ... Jorge FBI
Willem Dafoe ... Barillo
Gerardo Vigil Gerardo Vigil ... Marquez
Pedro Armendáriz Jr. ... El Presidente (as Pedro Armendariz)
Julio Oscar Mechoso ... Advisor
Tito Larriva ... Cab Driver


Return of the mythic guitar-slinging hero, El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas), in the final installment of the Mariachi/Desperado trilogy. The saga continues as El Mariachi makes his way across a rugged landscape on the blood trail of Barrillo (Willem Dafoe), a cartel kingpin with one last score to settle who is planning a coup d'etat against the president of Mexico. Enlisted by Sands (Johnny Depp), a corrupt CIA agent, El Mariachi demands retribution.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Time Has Come.


Action | Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The story told about Jorge FBI's partner's death, in which Sands convinces Jorge to seek revenge, closely parallels the history of United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, who was working undercover until he was revealed by an informant, and tortured and killed by Mexican traffickers. Every year, the DEA sponsors the "Red Ribbon Campaign" for schools around the country in honor of Agent Camarena's life and service, and commitment to kids staying drug-free. See more »


El Mariachi and Carolina are young, and Carolina has been dead for about a year or so. So it is unclear how Marquez fits into Carolina's old love life since she and El had been together for years and she was with Bucho for several years before that. See more »


[first lines]
Agent Sands: I never heard of him.
Belini: Who?
Agent Sands: The man you recommended.
Belini: The guitar fighter?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Dimension Films logo is tinted brown to match the color scheme of the movie. See more »

Alternate Versions

The theatrical version was screened in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The DVD & Blu-ray version keeps the original High-Definition 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Only Netflix has the theatrical 2.39:1 aspect ratio of the film. See more »


Edited into The Anti-Hero's Journey (2004) See more »


Dias De Los Angeles
Written by Mark Del Castillo and Alex Ruiz
Performed by Del Castillo
Courtesy of Smilin' Castle Productions
See more »

User Reviews

Sporadically enjoyable but the plot is a total shambles
30 September 2003 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

El Mariachi has long quit the gunslinger trade but is offered a chance to avenge the death of his wife and daughter by slightly unhinged CIA agent Sands. Sands is trying to control a coup by allowing it to happy but then having the victor killed as soon as he takes power. However the involvement of drug lord Barillo and various other groups soon complicate matters causing bullets to come from all sides.

After taking an unlikely trilogy to box office success, Rodriguez returns to the film series that basically brought him the success he has today – El Mariachi. While the first film in the series was a very cheap movie, the second and the third swelled with budget and star names. Here the action is constant and is very stylised. This is not to say that it is all edge of the seat stuff, but if spectacle and bangs is all you are after then this should do the job nicely. None of it moves slowly simply because it has more than enough going on to fill the time – but that's the problem to be honest.

The plot has so much going on but none of it actually fits together or makes a whole lot of sense. After a while any attempt to put things together in my head became a wasted effort – clearly the point here was that the style and gloss was meant to be everything. The other downside to this is that some characters are so poorly used that it's a wonder as to why they were even written in. Some cameos are fantastic and make the film. I refer to, of course, Depp, who, for the second time this summer, manages to make a film better by his sheer witty performance. He owes a lot to the writing of the character but he carries him off superbly and is darkly funny. However Rouke, Blades, Mendes, Dafoe all have little to do and, with some of them, are just clutter. Banderas does his usual stuff with style but his character doesn't have the depth that the flashbacks I think are meant to give him – again this is style over substance.

I still quite enjoyed the film but couldn't help but feel it was less the sum of it's parts. With a budget, big names and lots of action I was surprised that the cluttered, shambolic plot managed to take away from the `fun' as much as it did – but it did. Quite enjoyable but you need a LOT of style to win compensate for the total lack of substance.

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USA | Mexico


English | Spanish

Release Date:

12 September 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El Mariachi 3 See more »

Filming Locations:

Austin, Texas, USA See more »


Box Office


$29,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$23,424,118, 14 September 2003

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

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