The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

2 h 1 min2006R
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
Tommy Lee JonesBarry PepperJulio Cesar Cedillo
English [CC]
Audio languages

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Supporting actors
Dwight YoakamJanuary JonesMelissa LeoLevon HelmMel RodriguezBarry TubbCecilia Suárez
Luc BessonMichael FitzgeraldTommy Lee JonesPierre-Ange Le Pogam
Sony Pictures Classics
R (Restricted)
Content advisory
Smokingalcohol usenudityfoul languagesexual contentviolence
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3.7 out of 5 stars

64 global ratings

  1. 51% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 11% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 6% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 18% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 14% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

MarlaReviewed in the United States on February 7, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Extraordinary story of choosing right or wrong
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First, set your expectations. This isn't an action movie. It's a thoughtful psychological drama.

This is a riveting story with excellent performances. The Texas landscape is also a stunning and perfect backdrop for the scenes. Each of the characters, even the minor players, are presented with choices to make, and must choose whether to adhere to their values, or even decide what their values are. Tiny everyday choices as well as momentous life-changing ones. It's a story about being an adult, keeping your promises, and being responsible for your actions, which means making good when you do something wrong. Not just giving lip service to the idea of accountability, but DOING something about it. TLJ personifies American ideals of manhood and restates that these include - besides strength - compassion, love, friendship, respect for women, joy. We see the other character - I'm not putting any spoilers here - reluctantly make the journey to adulthood with Pete's guidance.

Some of the movie is hard to watch, it has some graphic scenes. But it's well worth the discomfort.
5 people found this helpful
WildmanReviewed in the United States on October 29, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
Save Your Time
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I like Tommy Lee Jones, but this was ridiculous on several levels from the desert scenes to several points when the kidnapping could have been ended with Jones's character being disabled or terminated. But, then there wouldn't have been a story. Suspect this went straight to DVD. S/F Wildman
6 people found this helpful
MyOpinionReviewed in the United States on December 24, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Best Film I've Seen All Year!
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The movie starts out slow in a bleak little border town somewhere in Texas. The occupants are either border patrol, local ranchers or illegal immigrants who cowboy or ranch for a living. The story is full of some rather amusing irony...some scenes so surprisingly funny that if you don't laugh out loud there's definitely something wrong with you. Heart filled moments too that will tear at you...hard to describe, but it was one of the best films I watched this year. How this one managed to fly beneath the radar without much detection is a mystery to me. Definitely a film you shouldn't miss! Tommy Lee Jones awesome as ever!
2 people found this helpful
EdelweissReviewed in the United States on October 30, 2021
2.0 out of 5 stars
Too Biased To Be A Good Movie
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I wanted to like this, but it failed at numerous points. The storyline plays out like it was written by someone with an intense hatred of the border patrol. The majority of the movie involves the kidnapping, and torture of a border patrol agent, in an attempt to make him see the error of his ways. It's self righteous to the point of ruining the movie. If you pay any attention, you can't help noticing that nearly every white person is portrayed as corrupt, cheating, violent, dishonest, etc.
Finally, I can't help but make the comparison to No Country For Old Men, a much better movie. The main difference, is that NCFOM left the politics at the door, and just told a compelling story.
Doyle W PattonReviewed in the United States on July 26, 2021
2.0 out of 5 stars
Very Flawed Movie
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I almost quit this movie several times, especially in the beginning for the totally unnecessary vulgarity. But I sat through it, and glad I won't have to do it again. I am so tired of the never ending story lines comprised of the total demonization of the evil white man, while presenting people of color as saints without flaws. It is grotesquely wrong, and will destroy this country. I guess Tommy Lee Jones wanted to relive his Lonesome Dove days by carting around another dead man. Unfortunately, this time it was just plain gross. What a shame.
Anthony DarkReviewed in the United States on October 14, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great Movie
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This was a bit offbeat from your normal drama but a wonderful cast and interesting viewpoint about if a Mexican working in the US without papers. The love of friends that transcends, this is not your shoot 'em up type movie. Great writing and cinema craft takes place in this movie this is a slow burn type drama.
3 people found this helpful
DonReviewed in the United States on October 26, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
I struggled to get trough it
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The acting was excellent for the most part and the story is obviously very close to Tommy Lee's heart. The empathy is there but not without a lot of cliché baggage if you look at this story in the context of current events. There are many themes touched upon involving friendships, loyalty, and honor and redemption and there is plenty of the opposite kinds of behavior as well. Certainly, by today's movie standards this a great film that l unfortunately found tedious in it's storytelling.
One person found this helpful
GEORGEReviewed in the United States on October 2, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great story
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Excellent film.
3 people found this helpful
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