7.4/10
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82 user 41 critic

Arizona Dream (1993)

A young New Yorker goes to Arizona where he finds freedom to both love and dream.

Director:

Emir Kusturica

Writers:

David Atkins (story), Emir Kusturica (story) | 1 more credit »
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4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Johnny Depp ... Axel Blackmar
Jerry Lewis ... Leo Sweetie
Faye Dunaway ... Elaine Stalker
Lili Taylor ... Grace Stalker
Vincent Gallo ... Paul Leger
Paulina Porizkova ... Millie
Michael J. Pollard ... Fabian
Candyce Mason Candyce Mason ... Blanche
Alexia Rane Alexia Rane ... Angie
Polly Noonan Polly Noonan ... Betty
Ann Schulman Ann Schulman ... Carla
James R. Wilson James R. Wilson ... Lawyer
Erik Polczwartek Erik Polczwartek ... Man with Door
Kim Keo Kim Keo ... Mechanical Doll
Patricia O'Grady Patricia O'Grady ... MC / Announcer
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Storyline

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 <gpribyl@isd.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | France

Language:

English | Spanish | Inuktitut

Release Date:

9 September 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Arrowtooth Waltz See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$106,658
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

Since the movie took about a year to shoot, Axel's hair length changes drastically throughout the film. In the beginning, when he talks to Paul up until when they arrive at Leo's house, his hair is longer than in the next few scenes when he spends time with his uncle. It's long again when he starts staying at Elaine's house. See more »

Quotes

Axel Blackmar: I wasn't falling in love, because I never felt any weight, because I was flying in love for the first time in my life.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits read: "Any reference to Cadillac dealerships or dealers is purely fictional. The Cadillac automobile was selected for the film because it was and continues to represent the epitomy (sic) of American automobile design." See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally released in Europe at 142 minutes. The USA version was cut down to 119 minutes but the complete version was also released theatrically. Only the short version is available on video in the USA. See more »

Connections

References Rocky (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Doll on a Music Box
Written by Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman
Performed by Richard M. Sherman
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Surreal perfection
28 May 2004 | by RosearSee all my reviews

It's very rare that I see a movie that is truly, in all aspects, perfect.

For example, while The Princess Bride ranks pretty high on my list of movies I'd want to spend the rest of my life watching, I fully realize that the camera angles and special effects of that movie are just plain bad. And while Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas gets a perfect 10 from me, it still completely lacks plot. And so on.

Arizona Dream, however, is different.

The last movie I saw that was truly, in all aspects, perfect was Dog Day Afternoon, a 1975 true story starring Al Pacino and Chris Sarandon. For the longest time, it's been my obsession, my movified bible, everything other movies should aspire to be. And as of today, Dog Day Afternoon finally has competition in my personal top ten: Emir Kusturica's masterpiece very near surpasses Lumet's vision of captivating dialogue, insane details, and dodgy man-groping.

Let's change the subject for a bit. Do you know the scene in Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys, where Bruce Willis is in his cage, and a hamster is running inside a wheel in the corner? Don't say yes, because you don't. It's inaudible. It's impossible to see. But it's there. Kusturica, much like Gilliam, is willing to make his world more detailed than your wildest dreams. His backgrounds are filled with symbolism and surrealism, his dark corners filled with soft puppies. And like Gilliam, he can make you cry with laughter, your only worry in the world being, 'how will I remember all these great quotes in the morning?'

But unlike Gilliam, Kusturica has the power to, barely a scene after the happy happy joy, make you sit there in stunned silence, your number one worry in the world being, 'how will I get my brain to understand the sheer tragedy that is unfolding here?'. Your will find yourself thinking, 'how do I get my mind to comprehend how perfectly this music fits the dialogue?'. Your eyes will follow the camera angles, the expressions of the insanely lovable characters, the many things happening in foreground and background-and you know, you just KNOW, that you will have to watch the movie again, and again, and again.

If you're a fan of movies such as Big Fish and Amélie, movies about people finding happiness and warmth in a world of surreal ambition, Arizona Dream will be your next obsession. But even if you think massive explosions and a grunting Bruce Willis are the only thing that can make a movie worth watching, you will still want to give this movie a chance- for the 'explosions' it causes will far, far surpass anything you've EVER experienced before.

10/10.


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