A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the cracking sounds in this spoofy comedy aren't fireworks -- they're gun fire. Much of the action is played for humor, but in true Western-style shootouts, guys get shot and drop from rooftops and balconies with regularity, although without graphic consequences (no prolonged suffering or blood). Relationships between the heroes and they women they meet don't go beyond kissing, but the bad guy's desription of "forcing a woman's flower open" may give some viewers pause. Several scenes depict a dirty barroom filled with violent men drinking tequila.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
It's the 1920s, and the THREE AMIGOS -- Dusty (Chevy Chase), Lucky (Steve Martin), and Ned (Martin Short) -- are silent film stars who've been successful in a series of films casting them as crusaders for justice in the Wild West. When a villager of Santa Poco, Mexico -- desperate to find protection for her village -- stumbles into a movie showing in a small town, she confuses the men on the screen with the characters that they're playing. After summoning them to Santa Poco, the boys are met by El Guapo and his gang of bandits, and the amigos quickly become aware that the violent display the bandits put on is the real thing.
Is it any good?
Three Amigos is a truly inspired, and still somewhat light, comedy. It's chock full of laughs at every turn, with the Hollywood-raised Amigos constantly proving how much difference there is between film stars playing roles and men playing out those roles in real life. Although they're stars in the silent era of film, there are a few memorable musical sequences, including the opening theme song, a precious rendition of "My Little Buttercup" in front of an angry barroom crowd, and a campfire sing-a-long in which the horses and other desert animals join in as the chorus.
In keeping with Westerns, men are shot and killed, but these deaths are quick and cartoonish with none of the major characters being affected. For those families with some interest in action films, particularly older Westerns, this film will be pure pleasure as it makes light of the tricks always employed by those movies.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the difference between violence in comedies and in action movies. Which has more impact? Why?
Why do the villagers think that the amigos are real gunfighters? How do the amigos' attitudes change when they realize that the bandits are shooting real bullets at them?
Is it believable that the amigos are able to pull the villagers together to stand up against the bandits in the final showdown? Is believability even necessary for a comedy?
- In theaters: January 1, 1986
- On DVD or streaming: November 9, 1999
- Cast: Chevy Chase, Martin Short, Steve Martin
- Director: Marilyn Agrelo
- Studio: Warner Home Video
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 105 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: language
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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