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Raising Arizona

4.6 out of 5 stars 545 customer reviews

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(Aug 03, 1999)
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Editorial Reviews

Vowing to go straight, a convenience store banditt (Nicolas Cage) proposes marriage to the police departments photographer (Holly Hunter). All is wedded bliss until they discover she's unable to get pregnant and are turned down by every adoption agency in town. It does not take long before they realize the only solution is to kidnap one of the town's celebrated quintuplets and hit the road!

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, Trey Wilson, John Goodman, William Forsythe
  • Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
  • Writers: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
  • Producers: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Deborah Reinisch, James Jacks
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: August 3, 1999
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (545 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305499128
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,005 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Raising Arizona" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
This movie is much more than an outrageous and unique comedy. One reason for its cult following has been consistently missed by the critics: repeated viewings reveal surprising layers of meaning and an intricate web of symbolism.
At the heart of this film is the timeless debate known as "nature vs. nurture": are we more a product of our genes, or of our environment? How much of an effect does our upbringing have on our likelihood to turn out as either a law-abiding member of society (a society which in this movie is of dubious merit, as represented by Hi's job and his unctuous boss) or as a criminal deviant from its norms?
The symbolism in this film is rich and evocative--while always contributing to the comedy. Note how often the adult characters cry and carry on like infants. Note the way the escaped convicts are "born" into the outside world. Note the marriage of a convict and a police officer, and the difference in their families visible in the brief wedding shot. Note the juxtaposition of milk poured over cereal with the infant's feeding bottle, as Evelle observes, "Ya don't breast feed him, he'll hate you for it later. That's why we wound up in prison." And note the frequent use of phrases such as "that's natural," as opposed to "you're not being true to your nature" or "mother didn't love me." As Hi observes, "maybe it's my upbringing, maybe it's just that my genes got screwed up, I don't know."
The quasi-biblical, poetical and aphorism-laden language the characters use in the-state-adjacent-to-Utah is both touching and funny. Every word of the film is a finely polished gem. Ed's little plan is "the solution to all our problems, and the answer to all our prayers.
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Format: DVD
I've seen Raising Arizona far more times than I can count. It is, in my humble opinion, next to Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove the most original, inventive comedy ever made.
The dialogue is absolutely razor-sharp -- plenty of examples are certainly readily available in the reviews preceding this one -- and the camera work is wonderful, as well. I'd rank Raising Arizona a VERY close second to Miller's Crossing in a list of the Coen's best films. It is admittedly not as visually stylish as Miller's Crossing (then again, very few films ever made are), and the storyline is not as cohesive as Miller's Crossing, Fargo, or Barton Fink. However, the film is so full of verbal gems that it definitely ranks as the Coen's best dialogue writing effort. Cage and Hunter are wonderful, and John Goodman and William Forsythe are absolutely perfect as the Snopes brothers.
Admittedly, the DVD is nothing very special. All you really get is the more durable medium and a widescreen format. Some kind of "The Making of..." mini-documentary, or better yet, a commentary option with two or three of the actors, the director of photography, or ideally the Coens themselves would have been a priceless addition to the DVD.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I first saw this movie on a date, and my date didn't like it...and not coincidentally, there was no second date! Now I'm married, and fortunately for him, my husband loves the movie (or at least he claims he does). Our entire family loves this movie, which is infinitely quotable--we can come up with quotes from it that suit a wide variety of situations. As my mom says (who typically thinks it's a waste of time to see a movie more than once), it is the kind of movie that just gets funnier with repeat viewings. It is absolutely hilarious, though as other reviewers have pointed out, you either love it or hate it...."Maybe it was Utah." Check it out, and who knows? Before long, you'll be quoting away!
1 Comment 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on August 27, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The one that started it all. *Raising Arizona* is the first of a string of masterpieces continuing all the way up to *O Brother, Where Art Thou?* (*The Man Who Wasn't There* has fallen short of the adjective "masterpiece", in my view.) Joel & Ethan Coen, America's very best filmmakers, sloughed off the apprentice mentality so evident in *Blood Simple* and went for broke in this film, relying on their own creativity to bring their sensibilities to the movie-going world. In this particular case, the sensibility is often akin to the classic Warner Bros. cartoons with Bugs Bunny and friends. This is most evident in the movie's style, with its exaggerated perception, off-kilter compositions, speeding Steadicam, comical close-ups, over-the-top action, and sparkling-clean, eye-watering Pop color. (The DP on this film was Barry Sonnenfeld, who has gone on to direct some very bad films. This movie remains his career-high.) *Raising Arizona* is CINEMATIC filmmaking: the Coens successfully found the fine line between static presentation and overwrought, music-video-style camera intrusion, and they've walked that line ever since. The visuals are one thing. But the Coens also invest their plot and characters with the Warner cartoons' sensibility -- or lack thereof. Chaos, daffiness, and limitlessness reign supreme here, as in the old Warner shorts. The narration is exquisitely faux-literary, by way of redneck hominess: Nicolas Cage lays on the syrup over lines like "The doctor explained that her insides were a rocky place where my seed could find no purchase.Read more ›
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