Raising Arizona (1987) - Rotten Tomatoes

Raising Arizona (1987)



Critic Consensus: 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.

Raising Arizona Trailers & Photos

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 marries him. She accepts, and they move to the Arizona desert, where Hi holds down a factory job and blissfully watches the sunsets with Ed. Their serenity is shattered when the couple decides that they want a child and discover that, as Hi puts it, "Ed's womb was a rocky place where my seed could find no purchase." (One of the film's many delights is Hi's unexpectedly flowery dime-novel narration.) Ed goes into a severe depression until she sees an item in the news. Nathan Arizona (Trey Wilson), owner of a chain of unpainted furniture stores, has become the father of quintuplets, and he and his wife joke that they now have more children than they know what to do with. In what seems like a perfect "helps you, helps me" situation, Hi and Ed kidnap one of the Arizona infants, figuring that they'll have a baby and the Arizonas will have less of a burden. ~ Mark Deming, Rovimore
Rating: PG-13 (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 3, 1999
20th Century Fox


Nicolas Cage
as H.I. McDonnough
Trey Wilson
as Nathan Sr.
T.J. Kuhn
as Nathan Jr.
Lynne Dumin Kitel
as Florence Arizona
Lynne Dumin Kitei
as Florence Arizona
Peter Benedek
as Prison Counsellor
Mary Francis Glenn
as Payroll Cashier
Warren Keith
as Younger FBI Agent
Charles "Lew" Smith
as Nice Old Grocery Man
Sidney Dawson
as Ear-Bending Cellmate
Richard Blake
as Parole Board Chairma...
Troy Nabors
as Parole Board Member
Mary Seibel
as Parole Board Member
John O'Donnal
as Hayseed in PickUp
Ruben Young
as `Trapped' Convict
Dennis Sullivan
as Policemen in Arizona...
Dick Alexander
as Policemen in Arizona...
Rusty Lee
as Feisty Hayseed
James Yeater
as Fingerprint Technici...
Bill Andres
as Reporter
Richard Alexander
as Policeman in Arizona...
Carver Barnes
as Reporter
Margaret H. McCormac...
as Unpainted Secretary
Bill Rocz
as Newscaster
Mary F. Glenn
as Payroll Cashier
Jeremy Babendure
as Scamp with Squirt Gu...
Bill Dobbins
as Adoption Agent
Ralph Norton
as Gynecologist
Henry Tank
as Mopping Convict
Frank Outlaw
as Supermarket Manager
Todd Michael Rogers
as Varsity Nathan Jr.
M. Emmet Walsh
as Machine Shop Ear-ben...
Robert Gray
as Glen and Dot's Kid
Katie Thrasher
as Glen and Dot's Kid
Derek Russell
as Glen and Dot's Kid
Nicole Russell
as Glen and Dot's Kid
Zachary Sanders
as Glen and Dot's Kid
Noell Sanders
as Glen and Dot's Kid
Cody Ranger
as Arizona Quint
Jeremy Arendt
as Arizona Quint
Ashley Hammon
as Arizona Quint
Crystal Hiller
as Arizona Quint
Olivia Hughes
as Arizona Quint
Emily Malin
as Arizona Quint
Melanie Malin
as Arizona Quint
Craig McLaughlin
as Arizona Quint
Adam Savageau
as Arizona Quint
Benjamin Savageau
as Arizona Quint
David Schneider
as Arizona Quint
Michael Stewart
as Arizona Quint
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Raising Arizona

Critic Reviews for Raising Arizona

All Critics (50) | Top Critics (8)

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

Full Review… | January 14, 2013
New Yorker
Top 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.

Full Review… | March 13, 2009
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | November 6, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | November 6, 2007
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

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.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


One of the most criative and entertaining Coen's brothers film.

Lucas Martins
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.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

Raising Arizona Quotes

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– Submitted by Ross B (3 years ago)
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