The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

February 3, 2006 0 By Fans
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Still of January Jones in The Three Burials of Melquiades EstradaStill of Tommy Lee Jones in The Three Burials of Melquiades EstradaTommy Lee Jones and Dawn Jones at event of The Three Burials of Melquiades EstradaStill of Dwight Yoakam in The Three Burials of Melquiades EstradaStill of Tommy Lee Jones in The Three Burials of Melquiades EstradaStill of Tommy Lee Jones in The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada


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

Release Year: 2005

Rating: 7.5/10 (23,359 voted)

Critic's Score: 77/100

Tommy Lee Jones

Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Barry Pepper, Dwight Yoakam

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.


Tommy Lee Jones

Pete Perkins

Barry Pepper

Mike Norton

Julio Cedillo

Melquiades Estrada

(as Julio César Cedillo)

Dwight Yoakam


January Jones

Lou Ann Norton

Melissa Leo


Levon Helm

Old Man with Radio

Mel Rodriguez

Captain Gomez

Cecilia Suárez


Ignacio Guadalupe


Vanessa Bauche


Irineo Alvarez


(as Irineo Álvarez)

Guillermo Arriaga


Josh Berry

Border Patrolman

Rodger Boyce


Nobody is beyond redemption.


Official Website:
Sony Classics [United States] |

Release Date: 3 February 2006

Filming Locations: Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA

Opening Weekend: $23,859
(18 December 2005)

Gross: $5,023,275
(4 June 2006)

Technical Specs


(Mar del Plata Film Festival)
(TV version)

Did You Know?


['Guillermo Arriaga']
a helpful Mexican vaquero


Pepper's hair doesn't change in length for the entire stretch of his kidnapping.


Mike Norton:
[reassuring Lou Ann]
Your my red hot mamma…

User Review

Powerful and moving modern western


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.