Arizona Dream (1992)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Fantasy  |  9 September 1994 (USA)
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An Innuit hunter races his sled home with a fresh-caught halibut. This fish pervades the entire film, in real and imaginary form. Meanwhile, Axel tags fish in New York as a naturalist's ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Candyce Mason ...
Alexia Rane ...
Polly Noonan ...
Ann Schulman ...
James R. Wilson ...
Erik Polczwartek ...
Man with Door
Kim Keo ...
Mechanical Doll
Patricia O'Grady ...
MC / Announcer


An Innuit hunter races his sled home with a fresh-caught halibut. This fish pervades the entire film, in real and imaginary form. Meanwhile, Axel tags fish in New York as a naturalist's gofer. He's happy there, but a messenger arrives to bring him to Arizona for his uncle's wedding. It's a ruse to get Axel into the family business. In Arizona, Axel meets two odd women: vivacious, needy, and plagued by neuroses and familial discord. He gets romantically involved with one, while the other, rich but depressed, plays accordion tunes to a gaggle of pet turtles. Written by Greg Pribyl <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A rebellious young man. With his own vision of the future. And his own fantasy of love.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

9 September 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

American Dreamers  »

Box Office


$19,000,000 (estimated)


$106,658 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (DVD)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Producer Claudie Ossard wanted to work with Emir Kusturica after seeing his film Time of the Gypsies (1988). See more »


Axel Blackmar: I never thought it could happen, but love hit me like an elephant and I was thrown into a jungle of dreams.
See more »


References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »


Besame Mucho
Written by Consuelo Velázquez
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User Reviews

A Fun, Dreamlike Comedy that many have yet to see!
5 August 2005 | by (Bloomsburg PA) – See all my reviews

Yugoslavian director Emir Kusterica is most well known for his critically acclaimed international films like "Time of the Gypsies" and "Underground"(1995). He did one English language film in Ameica. The film "Arizona Dream" is a highly underrated film that people have seem to forgotten. Which is a shame, since it has an amazing cast of well known actors like Johnny Depp, Vincent Gallo, Faye Dunaway, Jerry Lewis and Lili Taylor. Jonny Depp plays Axel a young twenty something dreamer. In the beginning of the film he has a dream about an Eskimo family. He works at a dock cleaning fish and often drifts away from reality to dreams. Him and his friend Paul (Vincent Gallo) drive to Arizona to visit Axel's uncle Mr. Sweetie (Jerry Lewis)who's a car salesman. I must say Depp and Lewis make a great comic duo. Axel and Paul end up staying with the wealthy Elaine Stalker and her suicidal daughter Grace (Lili Taylor). Axel starts dating Mrs. Stalker, but at the same time has strange feelings for her daughter. The film is very surreal and dreamlike. Mrs. Stalker obsessively dreams of flying, so her and Axel build a flying machine that resembles a Right Brothers style airplane. It's hilarious when the plain repeatedly malfunctions. There's also a floating fish throughout the movie, turtles, an attempted pantie hose suicide and a weird sex scene where Jonny Depp crows like a rooster (must be seen to be believed). Warner Bros. felt that the film was too European. So the film collected dust on their shelf and had a poor limited release. The film does have a magic-realist tragi-comedy style like Emir Kusterica's other Eastern European films. Co writer David Atkins later went on to write the screenplay for Novacaine. Also producer Claudie Ossard has also helped produce other bizarre films like "City of Lost Children". "Arizona Dream" is a quirky and strange masterpiece. Track down a VHS copy, or better yet the 20 minute longer international version. It's quite a cult sensation in Europe.

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