Raising Arizona Movie Poster Image

Raising Arizona



Hysterically twisted tale has profanity, violence.
Popular with kids
  • Review Date: October 13, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1987
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This movie is too farcical and comedic to have any real positive messages. 


Frequent violence, often exaggerated, such as the lengthy chase of the male lead after he robs a convenience store; the chase is filled with frequent gun and rifle shots, a pack of neighborhood dogs suddenly on the loose, and a chase in which the police pursue a man through a stranger's home and a grocery store, shooting guns the entire time. Characters fistfight, wrestle. One character blows up from a hand grenade. The male lead is shown badly beaten as he is punched and thrown repeatedly in a violent beating. A bank robbery. A paint canister placed in a bag filled with money explodes while the two robbers are driving away from the bank. Knife throwing. A man is knocked off his motorcycle with a two-by-four. 


An unsympathetic character tells the male lead that he and his wife are "swingers" and offers to "wife-swap." Talk of fertility, reference to semen. A teen convenience store clerk looks at an issue of Juggs magazine. The male lead hides a copy of Playboy under a mattress. 


Usually at least one curse word in every scene: "f--k" and "s--t," "son of a bitch," "bulls--t," "s--tbox," "damn," "hell."" An unsympathetic character is fond of telling "Polack" jokes. A young child is shown scrawling the word "FART" on a living room wall. 


Cans of Budweiser. Corn Flakes. Huggies Diapers feature prominently in an extended chase scene. Bottle of J&B scotch. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Two escaped convicts drink beer and leave the empties scattered all around them. Social beer drinking. Cigarette smoking. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Raising Arizona is a classic 1987 Coen brothers film in which Nicholas Cage and Holly Hunt steal an infant from parents who recently gave birth to quintuplets after they learn they're unable to have children of their own. The main characters are kidnappers and convicts. A kidnapped baby is taken into perilous situations throughout, such as car chases, bank robberies, gunfights, and the like. One character is a bounty hunter of sorts who, in a dream sequence, destroys everything in his path, including bunny rabbits. A character blows up from a hand grenade. While the violence is often exaggerated for comedic or dramatic effect, there is an extended chase sequence in which gun and rifle fire is nonstop. Characters are shown bloodied and bruised in these fights. There is some profanity in nearly every scene -- including one use of "f--k" and variations on "s--t." A teen convenience store clerk looks at a pornographic magazine. There is some sex talk, often in the context of conceiving a baby. 

What's the story?

This early entry from the quirky Coen brothers concerns an ex-convict named H.I. (Nicolas Cage) who falls in love and marries a police officer named Edwina or "Ed" (Holly Hunter). After learning that they cannot have children, the couple decides to kidnap a baby boy quintuplet from wealthy furniture mogul Nathan Arizona (Trey Wilson). But when Arizona posts a large reward for his baby's safe return, H.I.'s two former prison buddies (John Goodman and William Forsythe) show up unannounced, and a ruthless, baby-selling bounty hunter (Randall "Tex" Cobb) attempts to hunt him down.

Is it any good?


A traditional farce, RAISING ARIZONA offers plenty of laughs but plenty of heart, too: A central theme in the movie is how hard it is to keep a family together.

Of course, car chases, gunfights, and chaos abound, and most of the time it's in the presence of a young infant. However, none of this has any more devastating an effect than when dynamite explodes in Daffy Duck's face. Indeed, this is merely a cartoon with real actors, with the the result being hilarious but only suited for mature viewers.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes this movie funny. Kidnappings and bounty hunters aren't usually treated so lightly . Why are they funny here? Can you think of other movies that make light of usually serious subject matter? Where do you draw the line between offbeat and truly tasteless territory?

  • How is setting -- in this case Arizona -- almost a character unto itself in this movie? How does that sense come through in the scenery, the secondary characters, the objects, and so on? How is this sense of place as character similar to that in other Coen brothers movies, such as Fargo and The Big Lebowski, for instance? 

  • How is this movie a parody? How do you know we aren't supposed to take it seriously? Are there ever times when the characters display humanity? 

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 1, 1987
DVD release date:August 3, 1999
Cast:Holly Hunter, John Goodman, Nicolas Cage
Director:Joel Coen
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Topics:Misfits and underdogs
Run time:94 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:language, violence.

This review of Raising Arizona was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 10 year old Written byekim March 14, 2011

Language is F-ed up

"nothing overt?" This movie is chock full of F-bombs, Sh's and GD's. Certainly worse than would be expected in a PG-13 movie
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Adult Written bythewittyman27 April 9, 2008


i would give this movie a 14+. some of the last scenes get pretty brutal, and there is a lot of shooting. they steal a baby, but to have one of their own, not for ransom, and then return him when they realize that the parents actually did miss him so that wasnt that bad. it was very funny, but prty random and wierd.
Adult Written byrickydoo85 April 9, 2008

Coen brothers classic

This was funnier than I expected


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