The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2006)



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

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Movie Info

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.
R (for language, violence land sexuality)
Drama , Western
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Box Office:

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Tommy Lee Jones
as Pete Perkins
Barry Pepper
as Mike Norton
Julio Cesar Cedillo
as Melquiades Estrada
Julio Cedillo
as Melquiades Estrada
Dwight Yoakam
as Sheriff Belmont
January Jones
as Lou Ann Norton
Melissa Leo
as Rachel
Vanessa Bauche
as Mariana
Levon Helm
as Old Man With Radio
Melvin Rodriguez
as Captain Gomez
Josh Berry
as Border Patrolman
Rodger Boyce
as Salesman
René Campero
as Don Casimiro
Lupe Campos
as Sands Guy 2
Uriel Chavez
as Cowboy 2
Montserrat de Leon
as El Toston Woman 2
Jesse De Luna
as Miller
Jordan Henderson
as Mary, Soap Opera Girl
Karen Jones
as Dog Lady
Victoria Jones
as Immigrant Girl
Raul Molinar
as Radio Announcer 1
Lonnie Nelson
as Gravedigger
Juan Pareja
as Sands Guy 1
Paulina Reyes
as Piano Player
Sergio Rodriguez
as Radio Announcer 2
Brent Smiga
as Deputy Antonio
Spike Spencer
as John, Soap Opera
Barry Tubb
as A.L.
Maya Zapata
as El Toston Woman 1
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News & Interviews for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

Critic Reviews for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

All Critics (140) | Top Critics (39)

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.

Full Review… | February 24, 2006
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

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
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

[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
Miami Herald
Top Critic

Funny, tough, filled with cut-to-the-bone moments and bleached in the heat of the Texas sun, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada is a movie that sears itself into the viewer with uncompromising vision and stark approach.

Full Review… | February 24, 2006
Detroit News
Top Critic

It boasts genuinely and uniformly fine performances -- a credit to Jones the director and the actor, as well as his costars -- some stunning cinematography by the great Chris Menges and a uncompromising script by [Guillermo] Arriaga.

February 24, 2006
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

Tommy Lee Jones' big-screen directorial debut might not be the easiest film to watch, but its payoff makes it one of the better trips to the movies of the past year.

February 23, 2006
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

Tommy Lee Jones' directorial debut fits right into his oeuvre, sometimes even feels like the brother of one of his masterpieces, "No country for old men". It tells the story of a ranger trying to solve the murder of his illegal Mexican worker, who was on the verge of becoming a real friend, and a special journey he's taking with the perpetrator. That's beautifully filmed, but very slowly told. The fact that the vigilante and the killer hardly ever speak, and probably realistically so, makes the final act a little less believable but still a pretty decent ending. Worth seeing and a brave attempt, but certainly not an easy film to consume.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer

This is one of Tommy Lee Jones best films. About a Mexican hand he hires who is murdered and what he goes through to prove his killer and to gets revenge. A very long movie one reason it didn't get much airplay. a 5 star independent film.

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer


Thought this was a western not sure what you class it as, quite an odd film.

Dean King
Dean King

Super Reviewer

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