7.4/10
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The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)

Trailer
1:53 | Trailer

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ON DISC
Ranch hand Pete Perkins looks to fulfill the promise to his recently deceased best friend by burying him in his hometown in Mexico.

Director:

Tommy Lee Jones
5 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tommy Lee Jones ... Pete Perkins
Barry Pepper ... Mike Norton
Julio Cesar Cedillo ... Melquiades Estrada (as Julio César Cedillo)
Dwight Yoakam ... Belmont
January Jones ... Lou Ann Norton
Melissa Leo ... Rachel
Levon Helm ... Old Man with Radio
Mel Rodriguez ... Captain Gomez
Cecilia Suárez ... Rosa
Ignacio Guadalupe ... Lucio
Vanessa Bauche ... Mariana
Irineo Alvarez Irineo Alvarez ... Manuel (as Irineo Álvarez)
Guillermo Arriaga ... Juan
Josh Berry ... Border Patrolman
Rodger Boyce ... Salesman
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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

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

24 February 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The 3 Burials of Melquiades Estrada See more »

Filming Locations:

Shafter, Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$759,792 (France), 2 December 2005

Opening Weekend USA:

$23,859, 18 December 2005

Gross USA:

$5,023,275, 4 June 2006
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| | (TV)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Much of the movie was shot on Tommy Lee Jones's own ranch. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Melquiades Estrada: Promise me one thing, Pete. If I die over here, carry me back to my family and bury me in my home town. I don't want to be buried on this side among all the fucking billboards.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

You Can't Roller Skate In A Buffalo Herd
(1966)
Written by Roger Miller
Performed by Roger Miller
© Tree International, Administered by Warner Chappell Music
(P) 1966 Mercury Nashville Records
Courtesy of Universal Music Special Projects
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dead man riding
21 December 2005 | by jotix100See 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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