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Raising Arizona (1987)

tomatometer

90

Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 50
Fresh: 45 | Rotten: 5

A terrifically original, eccentric screwball comedy, Raising Arizona may not be the Coens' most disciplined movie, but it's one of their most purely entertaining.

63

Average Rating: 5.8/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 3

A terrifically original, eccentric screwball comedy, Raising Arizona may not be the Coens' most disciplined movie, but it's one of their most purely entertaining.

audience

85

liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 86,674

My Rating

Movie Info

Combining influences from Tex Avery cartoons to Sam Raimi horror movies to 1940s B-movies, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen followed up the stylish film noir of their debut, Blood Simple (1984), with this frantic screwball comedy. H.I. "Hi" McDonnough (Nicholas Cage) is a philosophical but slightly dim career criminal who has been arrested so often that he gets to know "Ed," short for Edwina (Holly Hunter), the officer who takes his mug shots. Hi takes a shine to Ed and promises to go straight if she

PG-13,

Comedy

Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Aug 3, 1999

20th Century Fox

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All Critics (50) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (45) | Rotten (5) | DVD (13)

Raising Arizona is no big deal, but it has a rambunctious charm.

January 14, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

To their old fascination with Sunbelt pathology, to their side-winding Steadicam and pristine command of screen space, the Coens have added a robust humor, a plot that keeps outwitting expectations and a...dollop of sympathy for their forlorn kidnapers.

March 13, 2009 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The cartoon vision of southwestern tackiness doesn't cut very deep, but the mise-en-scene is packed with clever clutter.

November 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While film is filled with many splendid touches and plenty of yocks, it often doesn't hold together as a coherent story.

November 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety | Comments (9)
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Starting from a point of delirious excess, the film leaps into dark and virtually uncharted territory to soar like a comet.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Like Blood Simple, it's full of technical expertise but has no life of its own.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times | Comments (3)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The immense joy of this is in the realization that, for all their precision, Joel and Ethan Coen are essentially comic barnstormers rather than frigid ironists

March 21, 2010 Full Review Source: CinePassion
CinePassion

Sharp, inventive and hilarious, with a marvellous cast of Coen regulars.

March 13, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

An entertaining, energetic, and stylish comedy about a simple but loving couple who long to be parents.

November 6, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

In a shrewdly calculated move to show their versatility, the Coens made this madcap comedy right after Blood Simple. If their debut was slow and spare, this one has breathneck pacing and hopping banter by terrific Holly Hunter and Nicolas Cage.

October 31, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

This is one of the funniest things I've ever seen!

March 10, 2005
Moviehole

Raising Arizona... is an explosively clever and riotously funny exploration of fertility, homemaking, and the working class in the prisons and trailer parks of the desert southwest.

January 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

The film is loaded with marvelous slapstick sequences and quirky character humor. While some viewers may find it too eccentric or too ready to make fun of blue collar America, most will find its comic surprises and unpredictable narrative to be most fulfi

October 14, 2004

A highly original and funny film.

August 27, 2004 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Nic Cage may never be better.

June 18, 2004
New Times

It's funny, but is it good? Like all the Coen brothers' work, it somehow lords itself over its audience.

March 11, 2004

Great early film from the Coen Brothers. Hilarious, and some of Cage's best material.

March 20, 2003
eFilmCritic.com

The slapstick energy of a Road Runner cartoon, raised to the level of near-art.

December 4, 2002
Flipside Movie Emporium

[T]his kidnapping farce from Joel and Ethan Coen is a deft nod to classic screwball comedy.

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Netflix
Netflix

[W]hile this is one of their lesser films, it's still an amusing if uneven comedy.

September 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Montreal Film Journal
Montreal Film Journal

Audience Reviews for Raising Arizona

Mix Looney Tunes, Sam Raimi's 'horror film camera moves', 40s B-movies, and a bit of The Road Warrior, and that's pretty much what you get here with this profoundly absurd farcical comedy from Joel and Ethan Coen.

H.I. McDonnough is a non-violent stick-up man who falls in love with mugshot photographer Edwina "Ed". When they find out she's unable to bear children, the two decide to kidnap 1/5 of a set of quintuplets belonging to an unpainted furniture mogul named Nathan Arizona.

What follows is a mad cap romp, especially when a set of swingers, two of H.I.'s prison buddies, and an apocalyptic biker get thrown in the mix. The film is absolutely ridiculous and absurd, and the whole is less than the sum of its parts, but it is cohesive in and of itself.

It's also really weird, but quite funny, too. This is easily the wackiest film that the Coens have made, and the highlight is an extended chase involving cops, dogs, a nutty soundtrack, and lots of frenetic camerawork, all because of a case of stolen Huggies.

The casting is deliriously perfect, and Nicolas Cage is a lot of fun as H.I. Holly Hunter is very funny and sweet as Ed, John Goodman and William Forsythe are a delight as the prison buddies, and Frances McDormand is an overacting hoot as one of the swingers. Randall "Tex" Cobb is also great as the biker.

All in all, this is a good film, but not a great one, at least not to me. It's uneven, and really nutty, but any film that had a major influence of My Name is Earl is worth checking out. Oh yeah, and of course the music and cinematography are dynamite as well. But since it's a Coen Bros. film that should go without saying.
June 7, 2013
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Clearly, this isn't the most realistic story ever told. Opening up, the film seems almost serious, a description that very rarely fits its creators. Come fifteen minutes, it's as if we've just opened up Pandora's box. Everything is hectic and bizarre, dare I say enough that such latter works as Fargo and The Big Lebowski appear contained, bright walks in the park. Additionally, pacing is just about nonexistent, and the slight formula the Coens frequently use to craft subplots is somewhat identifiable, but only a skeptic would dare tear apart the film for these flaws. We're not looking at a David Lean or Cecil B. DeMille epic that aspires to do nothing but change the world. A believer would merely accept it at that and enjoy the maniacally well executed fun.
October 15, 2012
spielberg00

Super Reviewer

One of the most criative and entertaining Coen's brothers film.
September 14, 2012
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

Though I'm not as much of a fan of this as most Coen Bros. fans, there's no denying the great lead performances and the creative nature of this slapstick comedy.
July 22, 2012
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

    1. Glen: Mind you don't cut yourself Mordecai.
    – Submitted by Ross B (17 months ago)
    1. Hayseed in Pick-Up: Son... you've got a panty on your head.
    – Submitted by Ross B (17 months ago)
    1. Evelle: Do these balloons blow up into funny shapes at all?
    2. Feisty Hayseed: Well no....unless round is funny.
    – Submitted by John M (19 months ago)
    1. Evelle: Hi...you're young and you got you're health...what you want with a job.
    – Submitted by Erik L (19 months ago)
    1. Nathan Arizona Sr.: Just tell me why you did it.
    2. H.I. McDonnough: We can't have one of our own.
    3. Nathan Arizona Sr.: Well, look. If you can't have kids, you just gotta keep tryin'and hope medical science catches up with you, like Florence and me.
    – Submitted by Nandu J (20 months ago)
    1. Feisty Hayseed: Well, which is it, young feller? You want I should freeze or get down on the ground?
    – Submitted by Brandon J (21 months ago)
View all quotes (13)

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