Raising Arizona (1987) Poster


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Fifteen babies played the Arizona quintuplets in the film. One of the babies was fired during production when he learned to walk.
Nathan, Jr. doesn't cry at all throughout the entire movie. But all the other main characters do at some point.
The Coen brothers wrote Holly Hunter's character specifically for her.
Edgar Wright's favorite film.
During the chase scene through the grocery store, the movie's theme can be heard playing on the store's music system.
H.I.'s work uniform logo shows he works for Hudsucker Industries. Hudsucker Industries would be the company in the Coen Brother's "The Hudsucker Proxy" seven years after "Raising Arizona".
Kevin Costner turned down the lead role.
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.
The $30,000 that Leonard Smalls talks about as "1954 dollars" would be equal to just over $120,000 in 1987.
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.
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.
The opening credits are not shown until 13 minutes into the movie and when they are shown, they only mention cast members.
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.
Although the letters POE and OPE 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.
When the cops chase H.I. through a house, Nathan Arizona's Unpainted Arizona commercial seen earlier in the film is playing on TV.
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.
Florence, Arizona is the site of a State Prison...and also the name of the mother of the quints in the movie.
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.
Kate Capshaw turned down the role of Ed McDunnough.
The $30,000 that Leonard Smalls talks about as "1954 dollars" would be equal to just over $250,000 in "2013 dollars".
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.
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.

Director Trademark 

Joel Coen, Ethan Coen:  [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).


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

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 saves the production company a few coin.

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