"The first time I met Ed was in the county lockup in Tempe, Arizona. The day I'll never forget"
- H.I. (Nicolas Cage), in voice-over
"When they was no meat we ate fowl, when there was no fowl we ate crawdad. And when there was no crawdad to be found, we ate sand."--Cellmate (Sidney Dawson) "You ate what'"--H.I. "We ate sand."--Cellmate "You ate sand'"--H.I. "That's right."
"So, why do you use the word 'trapped''"--Prison Counselor "Huh'"--Prisoner (Ruben Young) "Why do you say you feel 'trapped' in a man's body'"--Prison Counselor "Well, sometimes I get the menstrual cramps real hard."
"You're not just telling us what we want to hear'"--Parole board member #1 "No sir, no way."--H.I. "Cause we just want to hear the truth."--Parole board member #2 "Well, then I guess I am telling you what you want to hear."--H.I. "Boy, didn't we just tell you not to do that'"--Parole board member #1 "Yes, sir."--H.I. "Okay then."
- Parole board member #1
"Me and Dot went in to adopt on account of somethin' went wrong with my semen and they said we had to wait five years for a healthy white baby. I said, 'Healthy white baby' Five years' Okay, what else ya got'' Said they got two Koreans and a negra born with his heart on the outside...It's a crazy world."--Glen (Sam McMurray) "Someone oughta sell tickets."--H.I. "Sure, I'd buy one."
"...But the doctor explained that her insides were a rocky place where my seed could find no purchase."
- H.I., in voice-over
"Ed felt that havin' a critter was the next logical step."
- H.I., in voice-over
"So come on down to Unpainted Arizona where you can get the finest selection in fixtures and appointments for your bathroom, bedroom, boudoir. And if you can find lower prices anywhere...my name ain't Nathan Arizona!"
- Nathan Arizona (Trey Wilson)
"I think we got the best one."
- H.I. to Ed (Holly Hunter), regarding the baby, Nathan Jr.
"He's an angel. He's an angel straight from heaven!"
- Ed to H.I.
"You...busted out of jail'"--Ed "No ma'am, uh...we released ourselves on our own recognizance."--Evelle (William Forsythe) "What Evelle means to say is, we felt that the institution no longer had anything to offer us."
- Gale (John Goodman)
"Nathan Jr. accepts me for what I am, and I think you better had too. You know honey, I'm OK, you're OK. That there's what it is!"
- H.I. to Ed
"Right, you hayseeds, it's a stick-up. Everybody freeze. Everybody down on the ground."--Gale "Well, which is it, young feller' You want I should freeze or get down on the ground' I mean to say if'n I freeze, I can't rightly drop, and if'n I drop, I'm gonna be in motion. Ya see."--Feisty Hayseed (Rusty Lee) "Shut up!"--Gale "Okay then."
- Feisty Hayseed
"Do these blow into funny shapes and all'"--Evelle "Well, no...unless round is funny."
- Elderly grocer
"Son, you got a panty on your head."
- Hayseed in the Pickup (John O'Donnal) to H.I.
"Gimme that baby, you warthog from hell!"
- Ed to Leonard Smalls (Randall "Tex" Cobb)
"I'll be taking these Huggies and, uh, whatever cash you got."
"It just ain't family life."--Ed "Well, it ain't Ozzie and Harriet."
- spoken by many characters throughout the film
Sight and Sound - 06/01/1987
"...Wonderfully funny....Joel Coen is an original..."
Variety - 03/04/1987
"...Quirky humor and off-the-wall situations....As a director Coen demonstrates an assured technical touch..."
Los Angeles Times - 03/20/1987
"...RAISING ARIZONA is miraculously adept technically....Nicolas Cage has crammed every ounce of sweet earnestness into Hi..."
USA Today - 04/30/1996
"...Still one of its year's best movies..."
A childless couple unable to adopt decide that a couple who just had quintuplets won't mind if they steal one of the babies. Thus begins the Coen brothers' madcap romp RAISING ARIZONA. Holly Hunter stars as Ed, a cop who is devastated when she learns that she cannot get pregnant. Nicolas Cage is her husband, H.I., an ex-con who wants nothing more than to make his wife the happiest woman in the world. So if she wants a baby, she's going to have a baby, one way or another.
Heading up the supporting cast of bizarre characters are John Goodman and William Forsythe as crazy cousins who have just busted out of prison, Sam McMurray and Frances McDormand as Ed and H.I.'s swinging friends, and Randall "Tex" Cobb as a motorcycle madman hired to rescue the baby. RAISING ARIZONA is the Coen brothers' most consistently funny film. Carter Burwell's score, replete with infectious yodeling, is relentless, Barry Sonnenfeld's cinematography is beautifully wacky, and the manic dialogue is the brothers' most quotable. The film is a treat for the ears and the eyes, a one-of-a-kind sensation from a marvelous pair of filmmakers.
RAISING ARIZONA is a surreal, hyperactive farce in which a bumbling petty thief and the lady cop who keeps arresting him fall in love and decide to start a family. When they discover they can't have babies, they steal one from a furniture mogul who has just sired a set of quintuplets. The joys of parenthood are soon marred, however, by the difficulties of raising an infant on the run. The none-too-bright couple must flee across the southwestern desert in order to elude the villainous biker that has been hired to retrieve the tyke.
Cult Film |
Essential Cinema |
Kidnapping And Missing Persons |
Scams And Cons |
Theatrical release: March 6, 1987 (New York City); March 20, 1987 (Los Angeles).
Filmed in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe, Arizona.
Associate producer Deborah Reinisch also served as the second assistant director.
Fifteen babies were used during the shooting of the film.
Randall "Tex" Cobb was formerly a professional boxer.
John Goodman also appears in the Coen brothers' BARTON FINK, THE BIG LEBOWSKI, and O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU', and he voices the newsreel announcer in THE HUDSUCKER PROXY.
Frances McDormand, who is married to Joel Coen, also appears (uncredited) in MILLER'S CROSSING and stars in FARGO and BLOOD SIMPLE.
M. Emmet Walsh, who also appears in BLOOD SIMPLE, makes a cameo as a talkative factory worker.
H.I. has a Woody Woodpecker tattoo on his arm; Leonard Smalls sports the same tattoo, as well as one that announces, "Mama didn't love me."
One of the main characters in OF MICE AND MEN is named Lennie Small, which is awful close to Leonard Smalls, the "warthog from hell."
When H.I. Is working in the factory, he is wearing a Hudsucker Industries shirt--that company was the main company in THE HUDSUCKER PROXY.
The letters OPE and POE in the gas station bathroom where Gale and Evelle are cleaning up are an homage to the letters that Jack D. Ripper is obsessed with in DR. STRANGELOVE.