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Arizona Dream is a 1993 film directed by Emir Kusturica and starring Johnny Depp, Jerry Lewis and Faye Dunaway.


Axel (Johnny Depp) has a dream about an Eskimo who catches a rare halibut and brings it back to his family in an igloo. Axel's cousin Paul (Vincent Gallo) coaxes Axel from his job tagging fish in New York Citymarker to Arizonamarker to attend his Uncle Leo's (Jerry Lewis) trophy wedding to a much younger woman (Paulina Porizkova). His uncle tries to persuade him to stay permanently and take over the family business of selling Cadillacs. Axel resists at first, but he decides to give it a try. There he encounters two strange women: Elaine (Faye Dunaway), a woman who always had a dream of building a flying machine, and Grace (Lili Taylor), Elaine's stepdaughter who is jealous of Elaine and dreams to kill herself and be reincarnated as a turtle. Axel starts lusting after Elaine and decides to help make her dreams come true. As he and Elaine build the machine day by day, Grace starts destroying the contraption. Axel then rebuilds. Leo and Paul arrive at Elaine and Grace's house to encourage Axel to come back, but Elaine threatens them with a shotgun. Axel and Elaine complete the machine and test it, but it crashes in a tree. Axel then decides to put both Elaine and Grace out of their misery. He starts with Grace but can't do it. Grace then has the idea to play Russian Roulette with him. Axel is scared at first, but when it his turn comes for the second time, he pulls the trigger multiple times. The gun doesn't fire. Axel, Elaine, and Grace come to Paul's talent show. He decides to play Cary Grant's role from North by Northwest with the famous crop duster scene. Paul receives the score of 1. Uncle Leo's fiancee then approaches them to say there's something wrong with Leo. Axel realizes that Uncle Leo is dying and calls an ambulance. Uncle Leo passes away. Few months later, the day before Elaine's birthday Axel and Paul finally comes back to Elaine and Grace's house. Elaine is mad at Axel for not contacting her, but she forgives him. The next day on Elaine's birthday, Elaine is given an airplane as a present. The four celebrate Elaine's birthday by beating a piƱata, but a storm soon begins. As the others dry off inside, Grace remains outside to free her turtles, telling them to "Go play," Axel goes upstairs with Grace to wrap the presents and gives Axel a globe, telling him that she wants him to have the world. Alex tells Grace that Elaine has changed and that he is not in love with her any more. He makes a promise with Grace to go to Alaska. Axel, Elaine, Grace, and Paul talk about how they want to die. Grace says she's going to sleep and walks upstairs, dressing herself in a white shift and a hat with a veil. As she walks outside, Axel and Elaine see her through the window and run outside in an attempt to stop her. Grace shoots herself, and a lightning bolt destroys Elaine's airplane. Sometime after Grace's death Alex breaks into Uncle Leo's abandoned Cadillac store at night and goes to sleep on top of a Cadillac with a cat that has just had her litter. The film ends with Axel and Uncle Leo as Eskimos in Axel's dream. They catch the halibut and discuss it. It flies from their hands into the sunrise.


Many of the Arizona scenes were filmed in Douglas, Arizonamarker.

Box office

Although filmed in 1991 and released throughout Europe in 1993, Arizona Dream was not released in the U.S. until September 9, 1994. Its total U.S. gross, in three theaters, was $112,547 in limited release.


Although shown theatrically in the U.S. at its full length, the TV prints and VHS versions run 119 minutes.

DVD and HD DVD Releases

This film has yet to be released on any format other than VHS in the U.S., although Studio Canal has released the film in Europe on both DVD and HD DVD.



  • It features a recreation of the Sherman & Sherman song, "Doll On A Music Box" originally from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
  • In an angry February 2006 voice mail message to the producer of a documentary of her life, which was widely circulated on the Internet, Faye Dunaway complained that she "was brilliant in" Arizona Dream (which in the message she refers to as "the Kusturica film") and that the film was "not well sold in this country" despite that it was "the hit of all Europe and Cannesmarker." She was unhappy that the documentary made no mention of her work in this film or in Don Juan DeMarco, which also co-starred Johnny Depp.


  1. Entry on, updated on January 4, 2007
  2. review

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