Taglines: A comedy beyond belief.
Convenience store robber Herbert I. “Hi” McDunnough (Nicolas Cage) and police officer Edwina “Ed” (Holly Hunter) meet after she takes the mugshots of the recidivist. With continued visits, Hi learns that Ed’s fiancé has left her. Hi proposes to her after his latest release from prison, and the two get married.
They move into a desert mobile home, and Hi gets a job in a machine shop. They want to have children but Ed is infertile, and they cannot adopt because of Hi’s criminal record, despite the fact that Ed is a police officer. Devastated, Ed resigns her job. The couple learns of the “Arizona Quints,” sons of locally famous furniture magnate Nathan Arizona (Trey Wilson); Hi and Ed kidnap one of the five babies, whom they believe to be Nathan Junior.
Hi and Ed return home and are soon visited by Hi’s cellmates, Gale and Evelle Snoats (John Goodman and William Forsythe), who have just escaped from prison. Under the brothers’ influence, Hi is tempted to return to his felonious ways. Their problems get worse when Hi’s supervisor, Glen (Sam McMurray), proposes wife swapping and Hi assaults him.
That night, Hi decides to steal a package of diapers for the baby, but gets carried away and starts to rob the convenience store. Ed sees this and, furious, drives off without him. Hi is then forced to flee on foot from the convenience store, chased by two police officers and two armed cashiers, who attempt to shoot him down, as well as a pack of neighborhood dogs, but he manages to outrun and lose them. Ed eventually picks him up, leading to a tense ride home.
At the McDunnough residence the next day, Glen approaches Hi to fire him, and reveals that he has deduced Junior’s identity because of the newspaper article he read about Junior missing, and blackmails Hi, threatening to turn him over to the police unless Glen and Dot get custody of Junior. Gale and Evelle overhear this conversation and turn on Hi, tying him to a chair and taking Junior for themselves. Gale and Evelle leave with plans to rob a “hayseed” bank with Junior in tow.
When Ed comes home, she frees Hi and the two arm themselves and set out together to retrieve the child. En route, Ed suggests that they should end their marriage after recovering the boy. Meanwhile, Nathan Arizona Sr. is approached by the bounty hunter Leonard Smalls (Randall “Tex” Cobb) who offers to find the child for $50,000. Nathan Sr. declines the offer, believing that Smalls himself is his son’s kidnapper. Smalls decides to recover the child anyway to sell on the black market. He begins tracking Gale and Evelle and learns of their bank robbery plans.
Raising Arizona is a 1987 American crime comedy film directed, written, and produced by the Coen brothers, and starring Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, William Forsythe, John Goodman, Frances McDormand, and Randall “Tex” Cobb. Not a blockbuster at the time of its release, it has since achieved cult status.
In a manner typical of Coen Brothers fare, the movie is replete with symbolism, visual gags, unconventional characters, flamboyant camera work, biblical references, pathos, and idiosyncratic dialogue. The film ranked 31st on the American Film Institute’s 100 Years…100 Laughs list, and 45th on Bravo’s “100 Funniest Movies” list.
Raising Arizona (1987)
Directed by: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, Trey Wilson, John Goodman, William Forsythe, Sam McMurray, Frances McDormand, Lynne Kitei, Warren Keith, Sidney Dawson
Screenplay by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Production Design by: Jane Musky
Cinematography by: Barry Sonnenfeld
Film Editing by: Michael R. Miller
Costume Design by: Richard Hornung
Set Decoration by: Robert Kracik
Art Direction by: Harold Thrasher
Music by: Carter Burwell
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: March 6, 1987