íThree Amigos! is a 1986 John Landis comedy film starring Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, and Martin Short as a trio of actors who are hired to protect a small Mexican village from bandits, Magnificent Seven-style — the villagers don't realize they're just actors, and the Amigos don't realize it's for real until it's too late. Hilarity Ensues.Distinct from the trope called Three Amigos.
This film contains examples of:
Actor Allusion: At one point Steve Martin's character has to recite a magic phrase consisting of gibberish. The last two syllables are "Hoff-HARR", which is how you pronounce the last name of Steve Martin's character in The Man With Two Brains.
Affably Evil: El Guapo may not be much to look at, but he treats his men as equals for the most part. He's actually a really likable, articulate guy, too, except for the whole pillaging thing.
And You Thought It Was a Game: The actors playing the Amigos completely misunderstand a desperate plea for help as an offer to make a personal appearance with one of the biggest actors to come out of Mexico.
Asshole Victim: The womanizing cowpoke who assaults Carmen and Rodrigo is the first to be gunned down when The German shows up at the saloon.
Bad Guy Bar: The bandito-filled Mexican bar where the protagonists perform the "My Little Buttercup" number.
Bandito: The villains. Thick Mexican accents, sombreros, ponchos, bandoleers of ammunition. Thick mustaches and stubble.
Batman Gambit: Invoked. Carmen knows a desperate plea to noble heroes will send them rushing to her aid immediately, and that they will refuse to accept any money for their heroics. So, she sends a brief telegram begging for their help and offering reward money she doesn't have. Unfortunately, she doesn't realize that the Amigos are actors who interpret her plea as an appearance request with a good payday.
Becoming the Boast: Ned brags about flying a biplane. When the other Amigos need him to fly them to safety, he admits that it was actually his stunt double who was a pilot. But he flies the plane anyway.
Becoming the Mask: Three washed up actors must decide to live their lives in obscurity or become their characters for real. Guess which they pick?
Benevolent Boss: El Guapo - he even loves the sweater that his men get him for his birthday. An example only to his underlings, though.
Lucky Day: Not so fast, El Guapo! Or I'll fill you so full of lead, you'll be using your dick for a pencil. El Guapo: What do you mean? Lucky Day: I don't know. Jefe: I think he means that if you... El Guapo: SHUT UP!
Bilingual Bonus. "El Guapo" means "The Handsome One," revealing El Guapo's vain, villainous personality. "Jefe" means "Boss," as he's apparently the overseer of the bandits and second only to El Guapo. The village's name, Santo Poco, means "Little Saint," a riff on the Mexican custom for naming locations after saints, and of course the village's size.
There's also a scene where the Three Amigos are hiding from two of El Guapo's guards, who are discussing a recipe in Spanish.
Bling Bling Bang: The Amigos' movie costumes are sequin-encrusted mariachi outfits, despite the fact their characters are supposed to be heroes of the common man. In the characters' backstories, they're altruistic nobles.
Broken Pedestal: The German quick draw artist idolized Ned's gun skills, but then learned about trick photography. Ned denies ever using it...and proves it.
Captain Obvious: "My guess is that this is the Singing Bush." This statement does come after a few minutes of trying to ask a bush whether or not it was the Singing Bush. (It refused to answer because it was singing.)
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: After being dangerously incompetent for the first 80% or so of the movie, the amigos suddenly display not only Improbable Aiming Skills, but Improbable Quick Draw Skills and Improbable Knife Outline skills, followed shortly thereafter by Improbable Biplane-Flying Skills. The buildup to the event emphasized their incompetence, making it that much more awesome (and funny).
Dead Man's Trigger Finger: Parodied. When El Guapo's men desert him he calls out "Come back, you cowards! You traitors!" His second-in-command Jefe says "I'm still here, El Guapo!" and is shot off his horse. He ends up on his feet, fires one shot in the air, and falls on his face, dead.
Dissimile: "In a way, each of us has an El Guapo to face. For some, shyness might be their El Guapo. For others, a lack of education might be their El Guapo. For us, El Guapo is a big, dangerous guy who wants to kill us. But as sure as my name is Lucky Day, the people of Santa Poco can conquer their own personal El Guapo, who also happens to be the actual El Guapo! A big nasty guy who wants to kill us!"
Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Amigo Salute concludes with the heroes thrusting their pelvis forward, turning their heads to the side and coughing, like they're getting a hernia exam.
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: In-universe. According to the German, The Three Amigos are very popular in Germany. The German particularly worshipped Ned when he was a kid and was his inspiration to learn the quick-draw. This led to Fan Disillusionment after the German learned about Hollywood trickery and wrongly assumed Ned couldn't really shoot that fast.
He's Dead, Jim: When Dusty Bottoms accidentally shoots the Invisible Swordsman.
If You Die I Call Your Stuff: The Amigos, feeling heroic, are brought back to earth when a young villager asks Dusty Bottoms if he can have Dusty's watch when he's dead. Played with at the end; Dusty, alive and well, gives the boy his watch anyway.
Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: El Guapo's men while fighting the Three Amigos in the climax. Justified in that they're confused and scared as the Amigos seem to be teleporting and multiplying, not knowing they're the villagers in disguise.
Karma Houdini: Harry Flugleman. He takes all the profits from the Amigos' films, refuses to pay the Amigos and fires them when they protest, and what does he lose besides a few (now-useless) costumes? They should've returned and busted some caps in his ass.
Keep the Reward: Invoked in-universe. The Three Amigos always refuse their reward in the films. The villagers count on the trope being used, as they offer a reward they can't afford.
Known Only by Their Nickname: We never know Lucky, Ned and Dusty's actual actor names in-universe. Ned Nederlander seems to go by his real name, but his stage name evidently was "Little Neddy Knickers" as a child star.
Lost In A Crowd: The heroes use a trick from one of their movies to distract the bad guys once they learn the townspeople can sew. El Guapo & Co find themselves trying to keep track of dozens of Amigos.
Neck Lift: El Guapo does this to Lucky Day after Lucky swings down into the yard of El Guapo's fortress.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The instructions for summoning the Invisible Swordsman specifically state to fire your gun in the air after saying the magic words. Dusty fires his off to the side, accidentally killing the Invisible Swordsman.
Paper-Thin Disguise: Dusty doesn't even bother to cover his face when infiltrating El Guapo's birthday party. It actually works for a while. (It helps El Guapo and his men were already drunk on tequila.)
Telegraph Gag STOP: The Amigos receive a telegram from Mexico. The telegraph operator charges by the letter so the villager had to trim the message to the absolute bare essentials, instead of saying "Put on a show of force" it became "Put on a show" and the message becomes very vague. The Amigos themselves confuse a "Stop" in the message for a STOP and think that "the infamous El Guapo" sent the message, as well as think "infamous" means "extremely famous" instead of "famous for doing bad things."
Telegram: Three Amigos, Hollywood, California. You are very great. One hundred thousand pesos to come to Santa Poco. Put on show. Stop the infamous El Guapo.
Testosterone Poisoning: MANLY banditos do not like CCs (i.e. sissies, but they pronounce it like "CC") and their CC guns. Never mind that a CC with a CC gun is still lethal — look at what the Germans did at the Cantina.
Turn Your Head and Cough: The final part of the Amigo's salute involves them turning their heads and coughing, simultaneous with a forward hip thrust.
Twilight Of The Old West: Apparently, life in and around Santa Poco stopped sometime during the Wild West. Although the arrival of the Germans makes it clear that those days are coming to an end.
What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to Goldsmith Pictures and Flugleman after the Amigos were fired? The Three Amigos were apparently their main franchise.
Wicked Cultured: El Guapo loves using big words and following intellectual pursuits like photography.
Wrong Genre Savvy: Poor Carmen. She assumes the Amigos will refuse the promised (but fictitious) 100,000 peso reward because she believes they are noble heroes. The Amigos, being actors, naturally plan on accepting what they think is an appearance fee. Turns out, once the Amigos finish Becoming the Mask, she's right anyway.