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The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)

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

Director:

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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Captain Gomez
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Rosa
Ignacio Guadalupe ...
Lucio
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Irineo Alvarez ...
Manuel (as Irineo Álvarez)
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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:

Nobody is beyond redemption. 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:

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

Opening Weekend USA:

$23,859, 18 December 2005

Gross USA:

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

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tommy Lee Jones's theatrical directing debut. His only other directing credit was the TV movie The Good Old Boys (1995). See more »

Goofs

When Norton is heading out on a solo patrol before encountering Melquiades, he drives briskly through the countryside without wearing his seatbelt. When he stops the car to get out, he unclips his seatbelt. See more »

Quotes

Mariana: Is there hot coffee?
Juan: Yes, fresh made.
Mariana: Bring me the pot.
[Mariana pours the coffee in Mike's lap, then hits him with the pot]
Mariana: Now we're even, asshole.
See more »

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

I Wonder Who'll Turn Out The Lights (In Your World Tonight)
(2004)
Written by Mack Vickery (as Vickery) / Wayne Kemp (as Kemp)
Performed by Bobby Flores
© Sony / ATV Tree Publishing
(from the Bobby Flores album "Festival Favorites" on Yellow Rose Records)
Drums: Jim Loessberg, Bass: Jake Hooker, Piano: Randy Reinhard, Steel Guitar: Dicky Overbey,
Guitars, Vocals: Bobby Flores
Recorded at B.G.M. Studio in San Antonio, TX.
Recorded for Yellow Rose Records, LLC.
Exec. Producer: Al Michalczak,
Produced by Bobby Flores, Mixed by Bill Green & Bobby Flores
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User Reviews

Powerful and moving modern western
22 November 2005 | by See all my reviews

The "Three burials of Melquiades Estrada" is a multi-layered story of death, retribution, loneliness, and remembrance. Although it takes place in modern day Texas, its main character Pete Perkins, superbly played by Tommy Lee Jones, seems to be living resolutely in the past. He is determined to seek justice for his best friend's death and forces the guy responsible for to a journey across the borders in Mexico to locate the village of the deceased for a proper burial. This journey will bring forward the stark contrast between the values of two ways of life and the landscape transversed is both geographical and emotional.

Modern civilization throughout the film is mainly represented by 4WD cars, sniper rifles, dinners, shopping malls, trailers, and TV-sets incessantly showing soap operas, while the characters revelling into those manifestations are invariably emotionally numb, disaffected people, trapped to a perfunctory life from which they seem unable or unwilling to escape. Concomitantly the values of the old west, based on friendship, loyalty and commitment have ebbed, though they are still existent as embodied by the relationship of Pete with his best friend. Pete is forced to pursue his own sense of justice after being repeatedly scorned by the contemptuous behavior of the authorities towards him and his demand for rightful punishment of the culprit, a cool, violence prone and emotionally detached border-guard.

The story is masterly told in a sturdy manner that perfectly serves the complexity of the excellent screenplay by an apposite use of flashbacks and wonderfully shot sequences. All the performances are top notch in their expressive minimalism, greatly contributing to the lasting emotional impact of this outstanding film.


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