Arizona Dream


An Innuit hunter races his sled home with a fresh-caught halibut. This fish pervades the entire film…

Release Year: 1993

Rating: 7.3/10 (19,155 voted)

Emir Kusturica

Stars: Johnny Depp, Jerry Lewis, Faye Dunaway

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.

Writers: David Atkins, Emir Kusturica


Johnny Depp

Axel Blackmar

Jerry Lewis

Leo Sweetie

Faye Dunaway

Elaine Stalker

Lili Taylor

Grace Stalker

Vincent Gallo

Paul Leger

Paulina Porizkova


Michael J. Pollard


Candyce Mason


Alexia Rane


Polly Noonan


Ann Schulman


James R. Wilson


Erik Polczwartek

Man with Door

Kim Keo

Mechanical Doll

Patricia O'Grady


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

Release Date: 9 September 1994

Filming Locations: Douglas, Arizona, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $19,000,000


Gross: $106,658

Technical Specs




Did You Know?


The first cut of the film was about 4 hours long. Emir Kusturica gave Johnny Depp a copy of the version.


Axel Blackmar:
Elaine, I was trying to tell ya the other night: Eskimos believe that even though you die, you're never really dead.

Elaine Stalker:
What are you then?

Axel Blackmar:
Uh, you're Infinity. See they believe that when the physical suit of skin dies, it becomes apart of the Earth. But your soul, keeps going, y'know? Into other things like uh, trees or fish or rocks. Or even other people who're actually at that point you.

Elaine Stalker:
What if you don't like what you've turned into?

Axel Blackmar:
You just wait. You wait a few years and then you'll turn into something else.

User Review

Surreal perfection

Rating: 10/10

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

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

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.