Raising Arizona

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox Movie

Raising Arizona is a quirky, offbeat, and humorous 1987 Coen Brothers film starring Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter. William Forsythe, John Goodman, Frances McDormand, and Randall Cobb are also featured. Not a blockbuster at the time of its release, it has since achieved the status of a cult film. Typical Coen Brothers fare, the movie is replete with pseudo-symbolism, visual gags, and sardonic dialogue.

Plot synopsis

Arizona recidivist petty criminal H.I. (Hi) McDonnough (Cage) and police officer Edwina (Ed) McDonnough (played by Hunter) fall in love and get married when H.I. promises to reform.

After serious attempts, Ed discovers that she is unable to bear children. The couple cannot adopt because of H.I.'s criminal record. Upon learning of the birth of the "Arizona Quints", H.I. and Ed kidnap one of the quints, Nathan Jr. Finding police efforts to recover his baby inadequate, Nathan Arizona Sr., the quints' father, retains the services of beefy, menacing biker Leonard Smalls (played by Cobb) to perform the task.

H.I.'s new family life goes well until he is visited by his former prison inmate chums Gale (played by Goodman) and Evelle. Under Gale and Evelle's influence, H.I. reverts to his felonious ways. After this, Ed and H.I. begin to see that they are not very well suited to each other. Ultimately, Leonard Smalls tracks down H.I. and tries to kill him. H.I. accidentally pulls the pin from a hand grenade attached to Smalls' ammunition belt and the biker is killed.

Gale and Evelle return to jail and H.I. and Ed return Nathan Jr. to his parents. In the end, as H.I. sleeps, he has a dream in which he and Ed have been happily married for many years and the movie ends with a rousing rendition of Bob Nolan's folksong Way Out There.


  • H.I.:The doctor explained that her insides were a rocky place, where my seed could find no purchase.
  • Dot: You take that diaper off your head; you put it back on to your sister.
  • Smalls: Name's Smalls. Leonard Smalls. My friends call me Lenny...only I ain't got no friends.
  • Smalls: You wanna find an outlaw, you call an outlaw; you wanna find a Dunkin' Donuts, call a cop.
  • Evelle: Awfully fine cereal flakes ya got, Mrs. McDonough.
  • Gale: So many social engagements, so little time.
  • Gale: Ma'am, we sure never meant to influence anybody. Evelle: And if we did, we're sorry.
  • From H.I.'s dream: And it seemed real. It seemed like us. And it seemed like well ... our home . . . If not Arizona, then a land, not too far away, where all parents are strong and wise and capable, and all children are happy and beloved.... I dunno, maybe it was Utah.

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