In 1916, the bandit El Guapo and his gang are collecting protection money from the Mexican village of Santo Poco. Carmen, daughter of the village leader, searches for someone who can come to the rescue of her townspeople. While visiting a village church, she sees a silent film featuring “The Three Amigos” and, believing them to be real heroes, sends a telegram asking them to come and stop El Guapo.
Meanwhile, Lucky Day, Dusty Bottoms, and Ned Nederlander are Hollywood silent film actors who portray the Amigos on screen. When they demand a salary increase, studio boss Harry Flugleman fires them and evicts them from their studio-owned housing. Shortly afterward, they receive Carmen’s telegram, but misinterpret it as an invitation to make a show appearance with El Guapo.
After breaking into the studio to retrieve their costumes, the Amigos head for Mexico. Stopping at a cantina near Santo Poco, they are mistaken for associates of a fast-shooting German pilot, who is also looking for El Guapo and who arrived just before they did. The Amigos perform a show at the Cantina, singing “My Little Buttercup”, and leave the locals amused. The German’s real associates then arrive at the cantina, proving themselves adept with their pistols. A relieved Carmen picks up the Amigos and takes them to the village, where they are put up in the best house in town and treated very well.
The next morning, when three of El Guapo’s men come to raid the village, the Amigos do a Hollywood-style stunt show that leaves the men very confused. The bandits ride off, making everyone think that the Amigos have defeated the enemy. In reality, the men inform El Guapo of what has happened, and he decides to return the next day and kill the Amigos.
The village throws a boisterous celebration for the Amigos and their victory. The next morning, El Guapo and his gang come to Santo Poco and call out the Amigos, who confess that are too scared to confront him after Lucky gets shot in the arm. El Guapo allows his men to loot the village and kidnap Carmen, and the Amigos leave Santo Poco in disgrace.
Ned persuades Lucky and Dusty to go after El Guapo. They spot a cargo plane and follow it; the plane is flown by the German, who has brought a shipment of rifles for the gang. Preparations are underway for El Guapo’s 40th birthday party, and he plans to make Carmen his bride. The Amigos try to sneak into the hideout, with mixed results: Lucky is captured and chained up in a dungeon, Dusty crashes through a window into Carmen’s room, and Ned ends up stuck in the piñata.
¡Three Amigos! is a 1986 American western comedy film directed by John Landis and written by Lorne Michaels, Steve Martin, and Randy Newman. Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short star as the title characters, three silent film stars who are mistaken for real heroes by the suffering people of a small Mexican village and must find a way to live up to their reputation.
¡Three Amigos! (1986)
Directed by: John Landis
Starring: Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Martin Short, Alfonso Arau, Tony Plana, Patrice Martinez, Abel Franco, Fred Asparagus, Joe Mantegna
Screenplay by: Steve Martin, Lorne Michaels
Production Design by: Richard Sawyer
Cinematography by: Ronald W. Browne
Film Editing by: Malcolm Campbell
Costume Design by: Deborah Nadoolman
Set Decoration by: Richard C. Goddard
Art Direction by: John Marshall, Gregory Pickrell
Music by: Elmer Bernstein
Distributed by: Orion Pictures
Release Date: December 12, 1986