Sunday Afternoon Movie: Three Amigos [1986]

The Three Amigos

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year is John Landis’ underrated Three Amigos, to mark the occasion the cult comedy comes to Blu-ray and has found its way to the Sunday Afternoon Movie Sofa.

Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short play three hapless American actors in the golden era of silent film, as The Three Amigos, they have found success with their antics at playing heroes on the silver screen. Their movies have even made it to the remote village of Santo Poco in Mexico where a local gang, lead named El Guapo, has bled the townsfolk dry with an unjust protection racket.

Carmen (the daughter of the mayor) mistakes the scripted entertainment for reality and sends a telegraph asking for the legendary Three Amigos to come and rid their town of these violent bandits. Unfortunately, she can’t afford the lengthy message she intended, and a heavily edited version is sent. Meanwhile, after they make some unreasonable demands from the studio, Lucky Day (Martin), Dusty Bottoms (Chase), and little Ned Nederlander (Short) finds themselves jobless and homeless. Luckily for them, Carmen’s message arrives and once they liberate their costumes from the studio they venture to Mexico to put on a show for the infamous El Guapo.

John Landis has directed some great movies over his career, Animal House, Blue Brothers (let’s pretend the sequel didn’t happen), Trading Places, An American Werewolf in London and Spies Like Us. Sadly, Three Amigos is often overlooked, and it deserves to be held in higher regard; time has been kind to those loveable Amigos and the jokes still land with slapstick gusto. Naturally Steve Martin steals the show, but that was only to be expected as he also co-wrote the script alongside SNL’s Lorne Michaels and Randy Newman. 

The Three Amigos might not be as sharp as its late 90s counterpart Galaxy Quest (if you take the concept of actors in dangers), but it does have the privilege of being the second best comedy western of all time. In case you wondered, Blazing Saddles is still in pole position. All together now! One for each other and all for one the Three brave Amigos are we…

The Three Amigos is out now on Blu-ray.

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