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The Three Caballeros is a 1944 animated feature film, produced by Walt Disney and distributed by RKO Radio Pictures. The seventh animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, that plots an adventure through parts of Latin America, combining live-action and animation. This is the second of the Disney package films of the 1940s.

The film was produced as part of the studio's good will message for South America, but is less obviously propagandistic than others. The film again starred Donald Duck, who in the course of the film is joined by old friend José Carioca, the cigar-smoking parrot from Saludos Amigos (1942) representing Brazil, and later makes a new friend in the persona of pistol-packing rooster Panchito Pistoles, representing Mexico.The music of the Mexican part was written by Mexican composer Manuel Esperon, who wrote the score for over 540 Mexican movies in the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema. Walt Disney, after having seen his success in the Mexican movie industry, called him personally to ask him to participate in the movie. The main song for the Mexican part is "Ay Jalisco, No Te Rajes!", one of Esperon's most famous songs.

Several Latin American stars of the period appear, including singers Aurora Miranda (sister of Carmen Miranda) and Dora Luz, as well as dancer Carmen Molina.

The film is plotted as a series of self-contained segments, strung together by the device of Donald Duck opening birthday gifts from his Latin American friends.

The film premiered in Mexico Citymarker on December 21, 1944. It was released in the USAmarker on February 3, 1945. It was re-released in the USA on April 15, 1977.

The film received two Academy Award nominations for Original Music Score and Best Sound.


It is Donald Duck's birthday. He receives three presents. The first present is a film projector, which shows him a documentary on birds. The next present is a book given to Donald by José Carioca himself. This book takes them to Bahia. The third present is a piñata given to Donald by Panchito Pistoles. In the piñata, there are many surprises. The celebration ends with Donald Duck being fired away by firecrackers in the shape of a bull (the firecrackers are lit by Jose with his cigar).

Throughout the film, we see a voiceless character called the Aracuan Bird at random moments. He usually pesters everyone, sometimes stealing Jose's cigar. His most famous gag is when he re-routes the train by drawing new tracks. He returns three years later in Disney's Melody Time.

Film segments

The film's segments include:

  • The Cold-Blooded Penguin involved a penguin named Pablo, reproducing images of the penguins of Punta Tombomarker in Argentinamarker along the coast of Patagonia, "Pablo the penguin" is so fed up with the freezing conditions of the South Polemarker that he decides to leave for warmer climates.

  • The Flying Gauchito involved the adventures of a little boy from Uruguaymarker and his winged donkey, Burrito. It is believed the donkey is modeled after hefty Latin lover Don Juan De Gama.

  • Baia involved a pop-up book trip through Baia the capital of the Brazilian state of Bahia, as Donald Duck and José Carioca meet up with some of the locals who dance a lively samba and Donald starts pining for one of the females, played by singer Aurora Miranda .

  • Las Posadas was the story of a group of Mexican children who celebrated Christmas by re-enacting the journey of Mary, the mother of Jesus and Saint Joseph searching for room at the inn. "Posada" means "inn", and they are told "no posada" at each house until they come to one where they are offered shelter in a stable. This leads to festivities including the breaking of the piñata, which in turn leads to Donald Duck trying to break the piñata as well.

  • Mexico: Pátzcuaro, Veracruz and Acapulco Panchito gives Donald and Jose a tour of Mexico on a flying sarape. Several Mexican dances and songs are learned here. A key point to what happens later is that Donald seems to be a "wolf" to the ladies again, hounds down every single one he sees, and tries to gain return affections, but fails.

  • You Belong To My Heart The skies of Mexico result in Donald falling in love with a singing woman. The lyrics in the song itself play parts in the scenarios as to what is happening as well.

  • Donald's Surreal Reverie A kiss, or several to be exact, lead to Donald going into the phrase "Love is a drug." This scene is similar to "Pink Elephants on Parade," for being a major "drunk" scene. Donald constantly envisions sugar rush colors, flowers, and Panchito and Jose popping in at the worst moments. The scene changes after Donald manages to dance with a girl from the state of Oaxaca, from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The two dance to the song "La Sandunga." The girl begins by singing the song, with Donald "quacking" out the rest of the chorus. The "drunkness" slows down for a moment, but speeds up again when a Mexican girl uses a conductor's stick to make cacti do just about anything while dancing "Jesusita en Chihuahua", a Mexican Revolution trademark song. This is a notable scene for live action and cartoon animation mixing, and well animation among the cacti. The scene is interrupted when Panchito and Jose spice things up, and Donald ends up battling a toy bull with wheels on its legs. The catch is that it's loaded with firecrackers and other explosives.



The Agustín Lara's song "You Belong To My Heart" was featured in a Disney short called Pluto's Blue Note (1947). It was later recorded by Bing Crosby. The Ary Barroso's song "Baia" and the title song became popular hit tunes in the 1940s.

Some clips from this film were used in the "Welcome to Rio" portion of the Mickey Mouse Disco music video.

Don Rosa wrote two sequels in 2000 and 2006. Maybe as a result, as of September 2006, Panchito and José Carioca, have returned at Walt Disney World where they used to appear for meet and greets. They can only be found outside the Mexico pavilion in World Showcase at Epcot. Donald also appears with them.

Cast and characters


Worldwide release dates

Home video

  • Walt Disney Home Entertainment 1982
  • Walt Disney Home Video 1987
  • Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection 1994
  • Walt Disney Gold Classic Collection 2000
  • Combo pack with Saludos Amigos 2008

Other media

They also appear in some of Disney's themed resorts, such as Disney's Coronado Springs Resortmarker where one can find topiaries of the trio, and Disney's All-Star Music Resortmarker where a fountain depicting the trio is the centrepiece of the Guitar-shaped Calypso Pool.

In April 2007, the film became the basis for a ride at the Mexican pavilion at Walt Disney Worldmarker's Epcotmarker named Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros.

See also


External links

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