Raising Arizona Movie Poster

Trivia for Raising Arizona

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  • The lullaby that Ed sings to Nathan, Jr. is the song "Down in the Willow Garden", a folk song about a man sentenced to death after brutally murdering his fiancee.
  • Fifteen babies played the Arizona quintuplets in the film. One of the babies was fired during production when he learned to walk. The mother went so far as to put her baby's shoes on backwards in order to prevent him from walking.
  • Randall 'Tex' Cobb was not familiar with riding motorcycles prior to filming. While shooting the scene where he rides up to inspect the hole where Evelle and Gale had escaped from prison, he actually crashed into the hole on one of the takes.
  • When Nathan Arizona is being interviewed one of the microphones has "KOIN" written on it. This is a reference to the filmmakers, the Coen brothers.
  • Kevin Costner auditioned for the role of H.I. McDunnough three times.
  • When the cops chase H.I. through a house, Nathan Arizona's Unpainted Arizona commercial seen earlier in the film is playing on TV.
  • The Coen brothers wrote Holly Hunter's character specifically for her.
  • The $30,000 that Leonard Smalls talks about as "1954 dollars" would be equal to just over $120,000 in 1987.
  • Florence, Arizona is the site of a State Prison...and also the name of the mother of the quints in the movie.
  • Although the letters POE and OPE (a reference to Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove) are shown reflected in the mirror in reverse, the writing on the "We aim to please..." sign on the same wall is not reversed. Later, when the Biker breaks down the door, you can see that the sign is actually printed in reverse lettering.
  • Edgar Wright's favorite film.
  • Nathan, Jr. doesn't cry at all throughout the entire movie. But all the other main characters do at some point.
  • Director Trademark: [Kubrick] The acronyms "P.O.E" and "O.P.E." spray-painted in the washroom and shown in reverse in the mirror are references to the Stanley Kubrick films Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) and The Shining (1980). The soundtrack prominently features the 9th Symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven, also used memorably in A Clockwork Orange (1971).
  • During the chase scene through the grocery store, the movie's theme can be heard playing on the store's music system.
  • The cigar-smoking bird tattoo was originally the logo of Clay Smith Cams in 1950s, a company making high performance engine parts. The logo, with the trademark clenched cigar, represents Smith himself and is known as "Mr. Horsepower". Smith closed the business in the 1960s and the logo was adopted by what is now Tenneco for their Thrush muffler line.
  • The prison counselor at the beginning of the film wears a Chai on his necklace. Chai is a Hebrew word and symbol that means "life," and is pronounced as if you were saying "hi" in English. Nicolas Cage's character "H.I." is called "Hi" throughout the film.
  • The opening credits are not shown until 13 minutes into the movie and when they are shown, they only mention cast members.
  • At the end of the sequence where H.I.'s dream of the lone biker forms into the reality of Mrs Arizona discovering she is one baby short, the camera skims along the ground and jumps a child's bike, a car and then a fountain, before shooting up the ladder into the bedroom. This sequence seems to be a reference to the condensed career of motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel, who jumped bikes, cars, buses and then spectacularly crashed after jumping the fountain at Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas.
  • There really is a Farmers & Mechanics Bank (though note that in the film it's Farmers and Mechanics Bank, with "and" instead of an ampersand) in Galesburg, Illinois. But there was a bank of the same name (relationship to the Illinois bank unknown) in the Coen Brothers' home town of Minneapolis. The bank no longer operates in the Twin Cities, but its 1942 building is considered historically significant and is now a hotel.
  • Kate Capshaw turned down the role of Ed McDunnough, a decision she regretted.
  • When Ed tells H.I. not to cuss around Nathan, he responds with "He don't know a cuss word from Shinola". In the American South, to "not know shit from Shinola" (an old brand of shoe polish) means to be incredibly clueless.
  • H.I.'s work uniform logo shows he works for Hudsucker Industries, which became the setting of a later Coen movie, The Hudsucker Proxy (1994).
  • This is one of the few Coen Brothers movies to not be edited by the brothers themselves (under the pseudonym Roderick Jaynes) along with Tricia Cooke. Michael R. Miller was the editor.
  • The news article H.I. reads early in the film about the Arizona Quints contains the following text: "Their father is unpainted furniture tycoon Nathan Arizona, who is reportedly pondering a run for Congress in the 4th district. Pete Peterson, Republican incumbent in the 4th, dismissed the birth of the quints as 'a cheap publicity stunt' in a news conference Thursday. He characterized Nathan Arizona as an 'unprincipled media hog and a loud hectoring nitwit', but conceded that 'Trey Wilson', the actor portraying him, as a 'very nice fellow with a distasteful job to do.'" [sic]
  • Ed's maiden name, visible on her police uniform name tag, is Hucket.
  • Both O.P.E. and P.O.E. are spray painted on the door of the gas station rest room. This is a reference to Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), as the recall code is O.P.E. and General Ripper is obsessed with P.O.E. (as it stands for both "Peace on Earth" and "Purity of Essence").
  • Leonard Smalls is named after Lennie Small, one of the two main characters of the book/play 'Of Mice and Men' by John Steinbeck. In the film, "Of Mice and Men" (1992), Lennie Small was played by John Malkovich, who worked with Nicolas Cage in the film "Con Air" (1997).
  • Co-stars Holly Hunter and John Goodman would later go on to act together in Always (1989). They were also in another Coen Brothers movie, O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
  • Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
  • The Coen Brothers wanted this film to be the polar opposite of their debut, Blood Simple (1984). As such, they made it more positive and upbeat with sympathetic characters.
  • The character of Leonard Smalls was created when the Coen Brothers tried to envision an "evil character" not from their imagination, but one that Hi would have thought up.
  • Randall 'Tex' Cobb gave the Coens difficulty on set, with Joel Coen noting that "he's less an actor than a force of nature ... I don't know if I'd rush headlong into employing him for a future film."
  • The film was influenced by the works of Preston Sturges and writers such as William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor, known for her southern literature.
  • The starting point of scriptwriting came from the idea of the character of Hi, who has the desire to live a regular life within the boundaries of the law.
  • To create their characters' dialect, the Coen Brothers created a hybrid of local dialect and the assumed reading material of the characters, namely, magazines and the Bible.
  • The script took three and a half months to write.
  • The film was shot in ten weeks.
  • The relationship between Nicolas Cage and the Coen Brothers was respectful, but turbulent. When he arrived on-set, and at various other points during production, Cage offered suggestions to the Coen brothers, which they largely ignored. Cage said that "Joel and Ethan have a very strong vision and I've learned how difficult it is to accept another artist's vision. They have an autocratic nature." Joel replied that he understood why Cage would make that statement, saying that "it was a lot of fun working with Nic" but that some of his improvisations clashed with their vision and had to be edited. However, the Coens clarified that they would much prefer working with an actor who, like Cage, possessed a "fertile imagination" over one whose performance needed to be "kick started."
  • Many crew members who had worked with the Coen Brothers on Blood Simple (1984) returned for this film, including cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld, co-producer Mark Silverman, production designer Jane Musky, associate producer and assistant director Deborah Reinisch, and film composer Carter Burwell.
  • The film was screened out of competition at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival.
  • Wanting to have as many options as possible in the editing room, the Coens and their cinematographer, Barry Sonnenfeld, decided at one point to have H.I. run through the house while holding a camera towards himself. After seeing the results, they decided it was too weird.
  • Mayor Herb Drinkwater of Scottsdale, Arizona proclaimed that the film had "no redeeming social value" and that it "certainly isn't the image Arizona wants to project."
  • According to Ethan Coen, Nicolas Cage was crazy about his Woody Woodpecker haircut and that it reacted to H.I.'s stress level. The bigger the danger he's in, the bigger the wave in his hair gets.
  • The shot in which the camera moves in on Florence Arizona discovering that Nathan Jr. is gone is a direct homage to The Evil Dead (1981), a film on which Joel Coen was an assistant editor.
  • The alarm button that the clerk presses in the convenience store reads "Odegard-Trend Security." This is the name of the security company in Crimewave (1985), which the Coen Brothers co-wrote.
  • According to Sam McMurray, one day he and Nicolas Cage went out to eat at a diner and an excited female fan came over to their table. She couldn't decide if the man she was looking at was really Cage. Once convinced it was him, she asked him for an autograph. Cage wrote on a cocktail napkin 'Tomorrow you will die. Nic Cage.'
  • Richard Jenkins auditioned for a role in the film. He would later audition for Miller's Crossing (1990) and Fargo (1996) before the Coen Brothers cast him in The Man Who Wasn't There (2001), even though he didn't audition for it.
  • After the success of Blood Simple (1984), the Coen Brothers planned for The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) to be their next film. Because the budget for that movie ($40 million) wouldn't work for their producers at Circle Films, they wrote this instead.
  • The Coens came to the set with a complete script and storyboard. With a budget of just over five million dollars, Joel Coen noted that "to obtain maximum from that money, the movie has to be meticulously prepared."
  • The station wagon that Gale and Evelle steal at the gas station has a "Mondale/Ferraro" bumper sticker on the front and back bumpers. Walter Mondale and Geraldine A. Ferraro were the Democratic ticket in the 1984 presidential election against Ronald Reagan and George Bush. Early in the film H.I. partly blames Reagan for his need to rob convenience stores.
  • In the scene where Ed, Hi and Dot are sitting at the picnic table discussing raising a healthy baby, Frances McDormand' suddenly shouts at an off-camera child actor to take his sister's diaper off his head. Holly Hunter is visibly startled by this and either because of McDormand's line delivery or by this being an unexpected ad-lib, can be seen struggling to compose herself and hide a smile behind her hands.
  • One of the 15 babies that played the Arizona babies grew up to be AL Essey, a well know member of his town and humanitarian.
  • Frances McDormand and Holly Hunter were roommates at the Yale School of Drama in 1982.
  • As Hi watches the sun rise on day one with baby Nathan Jr. He says, "Sometimes it's a hard world for the little things". This is taken from Rachel Cooper's observation in The Night of the Hunter (1955) - "It's a hard world for the little things" .
  • When Matthew McConaughey was asked about the movie he watched the most times, he said Raising Arizona.
  • Sam McMurray (Glen) and William Forsythe (Evelle) would star together a few years later in the Brian Bosworth vehicle "Stone Cold."
  • Nicolas Cage and William Forsythe would later star together in The Rock (1996).
  • The baby on the international poster is the lead singer of the rock band Say Anything, whose father designed the poster.
  • Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the Top 100 Funniest American Movies.
  • The opening credits appear at 11 minutes into the film.
  • Trey Wilson and Randall 'Tex' Cobb are both native Texans, as the latter's nickname would suggest. The former appears in this film as a character who changed his legal surname to the name of the State in which he resides.
  • The address of H.I. and Ed's trailer is 4256. Pete Rose holds Major League Baseballs' all time hitting record with 4,256 hits.
  • Both Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter have played or voiced superheroes, Cage played Johnny Blaze/The Ghost Rider in Ghost Rider (2007) and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012) and did the voice of Superman in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (2018) and the voice of Spider-Man Noir in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), Hunter did the voice of Helen Parr aka Elastigirl aka Mrs. Incredible in The Incredibles (2004) and The Incredibles 2 (2018).
  • Ed's cop car is a, 1972 Chevrolet Impala.
  • Glen (H.I.'s boss) drives a, 1970 Ford LTD Country Squire.
  • Leonard Smalls rides a Honda VT 500 Custom, and carries two Rossi Overland shotguns slung across his back.
  • The place H.I. usually robs, the Short Stop grocery store, is now Circle K, 2311 West Deer Valley Road, at North 23rd Avenue, north of Phoenix.
  • The exterior of 'Maricopa County Maximum Security Correctional Facility For Men', to which McDunnough is repeatedly sent, is the 24th Street Water Treatment Plant, North 24th Street at the Arizona Canal, Phoenix, overlooked by the Piestewa Peak Park.
  • Falling in love with police officer Ed (Holly Hunter), as she repeatedly takes his mugshot at Tempe Police Station, 5th Street, Tempe, HI determines to reform, and the two are soon setting up a 'starter home in suburban Tempe', which turns out to be a trailer at Lost Dutchman State Park, 6109 North Apache Trail, Apache Junction, east of Scottsdale.
  • The striking adobe home of the Arizonas was the historic 1925 Jokake Inn, on North Phoenician Boulevard, which is now incorporated into the Phoenician Resort, 6000 East Camelback Road, at the foot of Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale.
  • The showroom of 'Unpainted Arizona', "the largest chain of unpainted furniture and bathroom fixture outlets throughout the southwest", is Home Depot, 12434 North Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek, a northern suburb of Phoenix.
  • Once HI loses his job, it's back to Short Stop, and the start of one of the funniest chase scenes ever, which takes the inept robber through the old Safeway store (since demolished) on Main Street in Mesa.
  • The section of the steakhouse which became the 'Farmers and Mechanics Bank of La Grange': Reata Pass Steakhouse, North Alma School Parkway, Arizona.
  • Escaped convicts Gale and Evelle Snoats (John Goodman and William Forsythe) set out to rob the 'Farmers and Mechanics Bank of La Grange', taking with them baby Nathan Jr. The bank was actually a restaurant, the now closed Reata Pass Steakhouse, 27500 North Alma School Parkway, south from East Dynamite Boulevard, north of Scottsdale toward Carefree.
  • It's at Reata Pass, with its distinctive water tower, that HI finally faces up to the Lone Biker of the Apocalypse.
  • A grown-up Nathan Jr plays football at the Sun Devil Stadium, 500 East Veterans Way, on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe. The stadium is also seen in the remake of A Star is Born (1976), with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, the Robert Zemeckis comedy Used Cars (1980) and in Cameron Crowe's Jerry Maguire (1996).

Spoilers

  • The shot where Evelle and Gale stop just before hitting the car seat with the baby in it was filmed in reverse, with the car driving away from the seat.
  • H.I. McDunnough's first name is revealed to be Herbert, in the letter he leaves behind for Ed.
  • While many reviews refer to Randall 'Tex' Cobb's character Leonard Smalls as a "Harley-riding biker," the motorcycle in the movie is in fact a Honda Shadow that has been subjected to the "Rat Bike" treatment along with some extra flame-emitting plumbing. The Shadow is slightly smaller than a Harley Big Twin, which would give Cobb's character a bit more stature than he already has. One must also assume that since the bike is trashed near the end of the movie, it saved the production company a few coins.
  • The cell block that H.I. is brought into every time he has been arrested and sent to jail is Cell Block 2, which is in Central Unit at Arizona State Prison Complex-Florence. It is also the same cell block that Skip and Harry are imprisoned at in Stir Crazy (1980).
  • When Ed is approaching Smalls, she calls him a warthog from hell. Later, as he explodes you can hear a pig cry.
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