Multiple reference frame motion compensation is a new feature introduced in H.264/AVC to improve video coding performance. However, the computational cost of multiple reference frame motion estimation, which is in proportion to the number of searched reference frames, is very high. In this paper, a fast multiple reference frame motion estimation method is proposed. The proposed scheme can adjust the search range of every reference frame according to the analysis of the probability of frequently occurring H.264 best reference frame and the best reference frames of neighboring blocks. The speed of the proposed method is faster than the motion search approaches in the reference software while keeping the similar video quality and bit rate. It can do benefit to the real time application of H.264 codec.