Raising Arizona (1987)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

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.


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 … More

Rating: PG-13 (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 3, 1999
Runtime:
20th Century Fox

Cast


as H.I. McDonnough

as Nathan Sr.

as Nathan Jr.

as Florence Arizona

as Florence Arizona

as Prison Counsellor

as Payroll Cashier

as Younger FBI Agent

as Nice Old Grocery Man

as Ear-Bending Cellmate

as Parole Board Chairma...

as Parole Board Member

as Parole Board Member

as Hayseed in PickUp

as `Trapped' Convict

as Policemen in Arizona...

as Policemen in Arizona...

as Feisty Hayseed

as Fingerprint Technici...

as Reporter

as Policeman in Arizona...

as Reporter

as Unpainted Secretary

as Newscaster

as Payroll Cashier

as Scamp with Squirt Gu...

as Adoption Agent

as Gynecologist

as Mopping Convict

as Supermarket Manager

as Varsity Nathan Jr.

as Machine Shop Ear-ben...

as Glen and Dot's Kid

as Glen and Dot's Kid

as Glen and Dot's Kid

as Glen and Dot's Kid

as Glen and Dot's Kid

as Glen and Dot's Kid

as Arizona Quint

as Arizona Quint

as Arizona Quint

as Arizona Quint

as Arizona Quint

as Arizona Quint

as Arizona Quint

as Arizona Quint

as Arizona Quint

as Arizona Quint

as Arizona Quint

as Arizona Quint
Show More Cast

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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
Variety
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.

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cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

½

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

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Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

½

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.

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Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

Raising Arizona Quotes

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– Submitted by Ross B (2 years ago)
– Submitted by John M (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Erik L (2 years ago)

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