The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada 2006

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

Critics Consensus

Tommy Lee Jones' directorial debut is both a potent western and a powerful morality tale.

85%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 149

81%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 33,733

Where to watch

Show all services

Rate And Review

User image

Verified

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Rate this movie

    Oof, that was Rotten.

    Meh, it passed the time.

    It’s good – I’d recommend it.

    Awesome!

    So Fresh: Absolute Must See!

    What did you think of the movie? (optional)



  • You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Step 2 of 2

    How did you buy your ticket?

    Let's get your review verified.

    • Fandango

    • AMCTheatres.com or AMC AppNew

    • Cinemark Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Regal Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Theater box office or somewhere else

    You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Rate this movie

    Oof, that was Rotten.

    Meh, it passed the time.

    It’s good – I’d recommend it.

    Awesome!

    So Fresh: Absolute Must See!

    What did you think of the movie? (optional)

  • How did you buy your ticket?

    • Fandango

    • AMCTheatres.com or AMC AppNew

    • Cinemark Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Regal Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Theater box office or somewhere else

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada Photos

Movie Info

When brash Texas border officer Mike Norton (Barry Pepper) wrongfully kills and buries the friend and ranch hand of Pete Perkins (Tommy Lee Jones), the latter is reminded of a promise he made to bury his friend, Melquiades Estrada (Julio Cesar Cedillo), in his Mexican home town. He kidnaps Norton and exhumes Estrada's corpse, and the odd caravan sets out on horseback for Mexico. As Estrada's body begins to rot, Norton begins to unravel, but Perkins remains determined to honor his vow.

Cast & Crew

Tommy Lee Jones
Pete Perkins
Barry Pepper
Mike Norton
Julio Cedillo
Melquiades Estrada
January Jones
Lou Ann Norton
Levon Helm
Old Man With Radio
Mel Rodriguez
Captain Gomez
Cecilia Suárez
Rosa
Michael Fitzgerald
Producer
Chris Menges
Cinematographer
Merideth Boswell
Production Designer
Show all Cast & Crew

News & Interviews for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

Critic Reviews for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

All Critics (149) | Top Critics (41) | Fresh (126) | Rotten (23)

  • The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada has the grandeur of a morality drama enriched with the impassioned bewilderment of true tragedy.

    October 7, 2018 | Full Review…
  • As an actor Tommy Lee Jones rarely makes a false move. A master of understatement, he conveys a sense of enormous power held in check. The same could be said of his first feature as a director, Three Burials.

    November 1, 2007 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Newsweek
    Top Critic
  • This gripping film about real people is well-worth excavating.

    March 21, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Nev Pierce

    BBC.com
    Top Critic
  • This isn't a film that demands to be enjoyed in order to be remembered -- one way or the other, it will stick with you.

    February 24, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • With all due respect to that important, quasi-controversial, most-honored film of last year, this is the best Western of 2005.

    February 24, 2006 | Rating: 5/5
  • [A] long, kooky, immensely absorbing picture, which forges the elegiac cruelty of a Cormac McCarthy novel with the two-fisted machismo of a Sam Peckinpah movie, and comes up with an altogether new brand of Western mythology.

    February 24, 2006 | Rating: 3/4

Audience Reviews for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

  • May 14, 2015
    An offbeat and odd morality tale that burns in your memory, Tommy Lee Jones' film nonetheless bleeds with all of the bullets and brawn masculinity exhibited in such Sam Peckinpah western classics as The Wild Bunch and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. Two years before No Country for Old Men (which Jones starred in) gave filmgoers an instant 21st century classic, one of that film's stars nailed the same serio-comic tone and stripped bare violence in a similar tale of the American West. Topical on the subjects of geopolitics and the Mexican quotient of Mexican-American without being a tutorial, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada excellently pits the very U.S. of A genre of western in a very Latin American context. In this R-rated modern western, Ranch hand Pete Perkins (Jones) looks to fulfill the promise to his recently deceased best friend by burying him in his hometown in Mexico with the help of the careless man who shot him (Pepper). From premise to fulfilling the protagonists promise, Tommy Lee Jones delivers an A-Level directorial debut. You can hear the pitch black humor and laid-bare honesty of Cormac McCarthy in dialogue that's exchanged like bullets in a shootout...but it's screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga and not the author of No Country for Old Men, All the Pretty Horses, and Blood Meridian, who's dreamt up this world that's at times stark and raving mad but never completely stark raving mad. Jones' Pete is a man of scruples, as is the actor's direction. He tames Arriagas rugged dusty landscape and nails a role that's just as much a scrupulous oddball. Bottom line: All the Pretty Horsesense
    Jeff B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 30, 2013
    I don't think I really have much to say about this movie but it is a well-written and incredibly well-acted movie. It features one Tommy Lee Jones' more understated and heartfelt performances as this man who's only trying to do right by his friend after he was unjustly murdered by a border patrolman. I think what the movie does well is that, while, Barry Pepper's character is kind of an asshole, at first, what happened really was an accident, as he's clearly haunted by the fact that he killed an innocent man. The film is particularly powerful when you're constantly reminded of Melquiades through the use of flashbacks and seeing how he and Pete develop a close friendship, that adds some depth to the movie. The movie also touches on themes of prejudice, obsession, redemption and morality. So it tackles a lot of issues and it does so in an intelligent manner. I was also surprised by the amount of comedy that is in the film. It's not like it's meant to be a comedy, but the are scenes here and there that keep the movie from feeling too serious. And I thought that was a smart choice. Again, it adds a little light touch to what is an incredibly dark movie. I also thought the ending, or the climactic act of the movie, which sees Tommy's character finding out that Melquiades lied to him about where he lived and about having a family and seeing how his denial leads to him creating his own little town in order to bury Melquiades. I thought this aspect of the film also added a good deal of mystery to the character that you grew so fond of throughout the flashbacks. You're not sure what Melquiades was up to in Mexico and what made him escape to Texas, so that adds a little twist to the film's story, which is already really good. I thought this movie was great. It has some excellent acting, special mention goes to Barry Pepper who did an incredible job, and a great storytelling. I'd definitely recommend this flick, it's certainly underrated.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Nov 15, 2012
    I have no issue with the supporting cast who are fabulous but Jones appears preachy in his director's debut. Clearly as the director, he was not keeping Jones the actor in check.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 25, 2011
    Featuring Arriaga's traditional broken narrative, Three Burials is a very well pulled drama/western about morality and redemption, though don't expect a dark approach as in 21 Grams or Amores Perros. It actually has some pretty funny moments that help to distract the viewer from the more serious themes. Boosted by another great performance from Tomy Lee Jones and great shots of the desert, Three Burials shouldn't pass unnoticed.
    Francisco G Super Reviewer

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Movie & TV guides