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

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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:

Nobody is beyond redemption. 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
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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

The alcohol given to Mike Norton by the Mexican bear hunters is caramel colored. Later, after the third burial, the alcohol is now dark brown. See more »

Quotes

Border Patrolman: How many got away?
Mike Norton: Three.
Border Patrolman: Well, someone's got to pick strawberries.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Three Burials: Making the Music (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

This Could Be The One
(2000)
Written by Michael Morales
Performed by Flaco Jiménez (as Flaco Jimenez)
Produced by Michael Morales (as Michael) and Ron Morales at Studio M,
San Antonio, Texas
© Boom Tat Music Publishing / ASCAP
(P) 2000 Back Porch / Virgin Records Ltd.
From the album "Sleepy Town"
Courtesy of EMI Music France
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User Reviews

 
Bring me the body of Melquiades Estrada
14 February 2006 | by MacAindraisSee 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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