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The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada Details


Veteran screen star Tommy Lee Jones makes his directorial debut with the fractured tale of murder and injustice on the U.S.-Mexico border scripted by Amores Perros and 21 Grams screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga. Mike Norton (Barry Pepper) is a fresh-faced Border Patrol officer in Cibolo County, TX, whose dedication to his new job leaves his lonely wife, Lou Ann (January Jones), with little to do but spend her days at the local diner, where she strikes up a friendship with waitress Rachel (Melissa Leo). Despite her own status as a married woman, Rachel is unfulfilled in her marriage and is intimately involved with both rugged rancher Pete Perkins (Tommy Lee Jones) and local sheriff Belmont (Dwight Yoakam). Soon after Pete hires Mexican illegal Melquiades Estrada (Julio César Cedillo) as a ranch hand, the growing bond between the pair is suddenly shattered when, in a moment of panic on a routine patrol, Mike hastily guns down the innocent Melquaides. When an enraged Pete learns that Mike has unceremoniously buried the illegal immigrant in an unmarked desert grave and local authorities opt to overlook the case, he kidnaps the crooked lawman and sets out to ensure that justice is served with or without the involvement of the local police force. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

  • Release date:February 3, 2006


Awarded by
Independent Spirit Awards Barry Pepper Best Supporting Actor 2005 Nominee
Cannes Film Festival Tommy Lee Jones Best Actor 2005 Winner
Independent Spirit Awards Chris Menges Best Cinematography 2005 Nominee
Cannes Film Festival Guillermo Arriaga Best Screenplay 2005 Winner
Independent Spirit Awards Guillermo Arriaga Best Screenplay 2005 Nominee


Tommy Lee Jones
as Pete Perkins
Barry Pepper
as Mike Norton
Julio Cedillo
as Melquiades Estrada
Dwight Yoakam
as Sheriff Frank Belmont
January Jones
as Lou Ann Norton
Melissa Leo
as Rachel
Levon Helm
as Old Man With Radio
Melvin Rodriguez
as Captain Gomez
Cecilia Suarez
as Rosa
Ignacio Guadalupe
as Lucio
Vanessa Bauche
as Mariana
Brent Smiga
as Deputy Antonio
Richard Dillard
as Jim
Charles Sanders
as Doctor
Richard Jones
as Bob
Sonny Carl Davis
as Kruger
Angelina C. Torres
as Adriana
Uriel Chavez
as Cowboy 2
Montserrat De León
as El Toston Woman 2
Raul Molinar
as Radio Announcer 1
Jesse De Luna
as Miller
Terry Parks
as Neil
Lupe Campos
as Sands Guy 2
Spike Spencer
as John, Soap Opera
Victoria Jones
as Immigrant Girl
Gustavo Sánchez Parra
as Tomas
Paulina Reyes
as Piano Player
Hugo Perez
as Man
René Campero
as Don Casimiro
Josh Berry
as Border Patrolman
Jordan Henderson
as Mary, Soap Opera Girl
Jorge Ádrian Espíndola
as Cowboy 1
Juan Pareja
as Sands Guy 1
Barry Tubb
as A.L.
Maya Zapata
as El Toston Woman 1
Guillermo Von Son
as Chino
Sean Hennigan
as Chuck
Rodger Boyce
as Salesman
Guillermo Arriaga
as Juan
Irineo Alvarez
as Manuel
Ariel Castro
as Jorge
Lonnie Nelson
as Gravedigger
Adrian Navarette
as Agustin


Tommy Lee Jones
Tommy Lee Jones
Luc Besson
Pierre-Ange Le Pogam
Guillermo Arriaga
Chris Menges
Jerome Lateur
Musical Direction/Supervision
Annette Fradera
Musical Direction/Supervision
Marco Beltrami
Composer (Music Score)
Roberto Silvi
Merideth Boswell
Production Designer
Jeff Knipp
Art Director
Kathy Kiatta
Costume Designer
Phil Shirey
Set Decorator
Philip Hardage
First Assistant Director
Rene Villarreal
First Assistant Director
Duane Manwiller
Camera Operator
Jo Edna Boldin
Mark Weingarten
Sound Mixer
Manuel Teil
Jeanne McCarthy
Ana Rebuelta
Script Supervisor
Pete Anthony
Jimmy Zelinger
Title Design
Joel Harlow
Makeup Special Effects
John Johns
Video Playback
Anna Abbey
Costumes Supervisor
Larry Madaras
Additional Editing
Larry Madaras
Post Production Supervisor
Lily Flashner
Location Manager
Richard Snell
Rob Hinderstein
Makeup Special Effects
Rocio Ceja
Costumes Supervisor
Sergio Suaste
Steve Beeson
Production Accountant
LeAnn Radeka
Antonio Diego
Production Sound Mixer
Cliff Happy
Stunts Coordinator
Al Laverde
Key Grip
Cecilia Monterrubio
Production Accountant
David Bach
Supervising Sound Editor
Dominique Hennequin
Re-Recording Mixer
Eric Bassoff
Production Supervisor