December 15th, 2011
02:30 PM ET
Twenty-five years ago this week, the dream comedy team of Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short (in his big screen debut) was first unleashed upon the public in "Three Amigos!"
Unfortunately for them, the trio couldn't compete with the star power of Eddie Murphy that particular weekend at the box office in 1986, and lost out to "The Golden Child." (The critics weren't kind, either.)
However, "Three Amigos!" became one of the many beneficiaries of the advent of home video in the 1980s. Between that, and the movie becoming a mainstay in syndication, it soon joined the pantheon of endlessly-quoted '80s comedy classics, like "Caddyshack," "Airplane!" and "The Blues Brothers" (also directed by "Amigos'" John Landis).
The concept - about three fired silent movie actors who accept an invitation to "stop the infamous El Guapo" in a small Mexican village, without realizing that it's not a new movie they're shooting - has since been used by "Galaxy Quest" and "Tropic Thunder" (to better box office results).
What is it that made the "Amigos" endure? If it was merely Martin, Chase and Short in ridiculous costumes, that would be one thing. It would be a forgettable one-joke movie.
Instead, it has one memorable scene of smart-dumb humor after another. From the moment the trio hold one note of their theme song entirely too long at the beginning, we know what we're in for. Then, Lucky Day (Martin) unsuccessfully tries bird calls (at night!) to get his friends' attention.
Then, upon arriving in Mexico, there's the impromptu performance of "My Little Buttercup" in a bar.
That only gets us through the first half hour or so. We haven't even gotten to "Lip balm?"
The recently released Blu-ray sadly does not include as many deleted scenes as it could have (some of them were trashed, but Landis did find some extended scenes from a preview print made for theater owners), because the original version of the film included performances by Fran Drescher and the late Sam Kinison.
In any case, it's great to see the movie get its due a quarter century later, looking and sounding as great as ever (and the interview clip included is an interesting look at the three stars relaxing in the midst of their '80s heyday).
The Singing Bush, the Invisible Swordsman and El Guapo can't hold them back. Wherever there is injustice, you will find them. Wherever there is suffering, they'll be there. Wherever liberty is threatened, you will find... the Three Amigos! (Cue salute.)
Have you also seen this movie more times than you can count? Share your memories (and favorite quotes, of course) in the comments.
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