25 user 13 critic

Arizona (1940)

Approved | | Western | 25 December 1940 (USA)
During the 1860s Tucson, a pioneer woman struggles to succeed in the freight and cattle business while at risk at the hands of corrupt and violent local businessmen and rampaging Indians.


Wesley Ruggles


Claude Binyon (screen play), Clarence Budington Kelland (based on the story by)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean Arthur ... Phoebe Titus
William Holden ... Peter Muncie
Warren William ... Jefferson Carteret
Porter Hall ... Lazarus Ward
Edgar Buchanan ... Judge Bogardus
Paul Harvey ... Solomon Warner
George Chandler ... Haley
Byron Foulger ... Pete Kitchen
Regis Toomey ... Grant Oury
Paul Lopez Paul Lopez ... Estevan Ochoa
Colin Tapley ... Bart Massey
Uvaldo Varela Uvaldo Varela ... Hilario Callego (as Roberto Álvarez)
Earl Crawford Earl Crawford ... Joe Briggs
Griff Barnett ... Sam Hughes (as Griff Barnette)
Ludwig Hardt ... Meyer


Phoebe Titus is a tough, swaggering pioneer woman, but her ways become decidedly more feminine when she falls for California bound Peter Muncie. But Peter won't be distracted from his journey and Phoebe is left alone and plenty busy with villains Jefferson Carteret and Lazarus Ward plotting at every turn to destroy her freighting company. She has not seen the last of Peter, however. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Turbulent Adventure in the Great West! See more »




Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


James Stewart and Joel McCrea were considered for the lead role. See more »


As the robbers are making their escape after blowing Phoebe's safe, Phoebe is seen leaving her home apparently tucking her shirt in. The next scene, she is still tied to her bed where the robbers put her before the robbery. See more »


Phoebe Titus: Now sometime before morning, I'm going to let off both barrels of this shotgun right at you. I don't know just what time it'll happen... whenever my finger gets to itching too much. But you can depend on it. You're gonna have a double hole blown clear through you. Maybe ten minutes, maybe two hours. All you have to do is sit comfortable until I think it's the right time.
See more »


Featured in The Last Round-up (1947) See more »


Battle Hymn of the Republic
(circa 1856) (uncredited)
Music by William Steffe
In the score when the Civil War begins
See more »

User Reviews

An odd but enjoyable Jean Arthur film
6 July 2014 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"Arizona" probably marks the most unusual performance by Jean Arthur. Usually, this actress is known for comedies or romance but here she's in a western. This isn't that unusual, considering she's known for her performance in "Shane". However, here in "Arizona", she plays a completely different sort of role. She's a tough-as-nails broad--one who is the equal to any man....and don't you forget it!!

The film begins in Tucson, Arizona about 1861. It's a wild town--and not even much of a town at that. The only non-Indian or Hispanic woman there is Phoebe (Arthur) and you are introduced to her when she enters the cantina and holds all of men working for Lazarus Ward (Porter Hall) at gunpoint! It seems some of them stole from her and she's going to blow their heads off unless they return the money! Watching all this is a newcomer, Peter (William Holden) and, bizarrely, he's smitten!! She soon falls for him, too. However, there's a glitch in their romance-- he's a wandering soul and is only stopping by on his way to California. When he eventually leaves town, it leaves Phoebe to deal not only with the skunk Ward but his secret partner, Jefferson Carteret (Warren William). The two weasels plan on ruining Phoebe's budding freight business and when that attempt fails, Carteret plans on something even more devious. When Peter returns from California, he sees right through Carteret and you know by the end of the film one of them will be pushing up daisies!

This is a rather sprawling film with a little bit of everything in it. While the film isn't easy to believe, the acting is quite nice. I particularly liked William--who was magnificent in playing slimy rogues. And, here he's at his slimiest! Well worth seeing if a bit silly in places--it's the sort of western that's fun to watch but difficult to believe. Plus, too often the film relied on intertitle cards scattered throughout the film instead of actually SHOWING things they should have shown instead. Good but not great overall.

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English | Spanish

Release Date:

25 December 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Arizona See more »

Filming Locations:

Cortaro, Arizona, USA See more »


Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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