Year: 2005
USA: Sony Pictures Classics
UK: Optimum Releasing
Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Barry Pepper, Julio Cedillo, Dwight Yoakam, January Jones, Melissa Leo, Vanessa Bauche, Levon Helm, Mel Rodriguez, Cecilia Suarez, Ignacio Guadalupe,
Director: Tommy Lee Jones
Countries: USA / France
USA & UK: 121 mins
USA Rated: R for language, violence and sexuality
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong language and moderate violence
USA Release Date: 3 February 2006 (Limited Release - wider)
USA Release Date: 13 December 2005 (Limited Release - New York and Los Angeles)
UK Release Date: 31st March 2006

UK Distributor
(in English / French)


THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA is Academy Award-winning actor Tommy Lee Jones' first feature film as a director. Fresh from its 2005 Cannes Film Festival success, where it picked up awards for Best Actor for Tommy Lee Jones and Best Screenplay for Guillermo Arriaga - whose previous credits include award winning AMORES PERROS - the film is lensed by two-time Academy Award winner Chris Menges.

THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA binds together the lives of a Texas ranch foreman (Tommy Lee Jones), a Border Patrolman (Barry Pepper), and an illegal immigrant (Julio Cesar Cedillo) in a journey across the border into Mexico. Staying true to the variety of the border culture, the film forges its own character by drawing on a multitude of genres and emotions.

The body of Melquiades Estrada is found in a shallow grave in the desert where it was hastily buried after his murder. Making no attempt to solve the crime, the local authorities rapidly transfer the corpse to a pauper's grave in the cemetery. Pete Perkins, a ranch foreman and Melquiades' best friend, takes it upon himself to track down the murderer. A beacon of humanity in this remote part of Texas' Pete forces the killer to transport the body of Melquiades by mule to his own personal Eldorado in Mexico. By undertaking this dangerous and quixotic journey into Mexico Pete offers his friend a memorable journey to his third burial.

Guillermo Arriaga's dramatic and poetic script weaves past and present as it gradually reveals a great friendship, the lonely subterfuge of an illegal migrant's life, the cost of a promise made and kept, and culminates in the redemption of a callous if accidental killer.

Starring Tommy Lee Jones (MEN IN BLACK, THE FUGITIVE, JKF) the film also features Barry Pepper (SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, THE GREEN MILE), Julio Cesar Cedillo (ALL THE PRETTY HORSES, THE LIFE OF DAVID GALE), January Jones (ANGER MANAGEMENT, FULL FRONTAL) and Dwight Yoakam (SLING BLADE, PANIC ROOM).

THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA was filmed on location in West Texas, USA from the end of September through the first week of December 2004. The forty-three day shooting schedule was roughly divided between locations near the town of Van Horn and the surrounding Davis Mountains, and the Big Bend area further south on the Mexican border. These are some of the most remote and majestic areas in the United States—canyons, and mountains spread over the vast desert basin of the ancient Permian Sea—a geography as wild and varied as its weather.