Call it, Friendo: All About the Coen Brothers' Films

By: Maria Trimarchi

On which film did the Coen brothers make their directorial debut?

"Blood Simple," which premiered in 1984, was their directorial debut.

How many babies played the "Arizona quints" in Raising Arizona?

There were 15 babies who played the quintuplets.

Which movie did the Coens pen during a bout of writer's block while writing "Miller's Crossing?"

The Coens wrote "Barton Fink" while they were working on the script for "Miller's Crossing."

Which actor has been in the most feature-length films by the Coen brothers?

And the actor in the most Coen-directed movies is Frances McDormand, who appears in eight. Steve Buscemi and John Goodman both appear in six, and Holly Hunter appears in three.

Which film does Frances McDormand not appear in?

McDormand doesn't appear in "The Hudsucker Proxy."

Dashiell Hammett's novel, "Red Harvest," inspired the name of which movie?

The title of Dashiell Hammett's novel, "Red Harvest," inspired the title of "Blood Simple."

The brothers were executive producers on which movie directed by long-time collaborator John Turturro?

The Coens were executive producers on Turturro's film, "Romance & Cigarettes."

Which Oscar-nominated editor is really Joel and Ethan Coen?

Roderick Jaynes is the pseudonym Joel and Ethan Coen use when they edit their own films.

Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, known for "Raise the Red Lantern" and "House of Flying Daggers," remade "Blood Simple" in 2009. What is his movie called?

"A Simple Noodle Story," internationally known as "A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop," is the name of Zhang Yimou's 2009 film inspired by "Blood Simple."

What's the name of the run-down hotel where Barton and Charlie live in "Barton Fink?"

Barton and Charlie are both staying at the Hotel Earle.

What working title did the Coen brothers give to their film, "Miller's Crossing?"

The Coen brothers called the movie "The Bighead," while they were writing it.

Which movies are included in what Joel Coen called the "Numskull" trilogy?

"O Brother, Where Art Thou?," "Intolerable Cruelty" and "Hail, Caesar!" are the lightheartedly nicknamed "Numskull" trilogy.

What is Norville Barnes asked to deliver to Sidney J. Mussburger in "The Hudsucker Proxy?"

Hold on, we're express to the top floor! Norville is asked to deliver a "blue" letter to Mussburger.

Which composer is featured on the soundtrack to "The Man Who Wasn't There?"

Ludwig van Beethoven's piano sonatas are featured in the film.

What song do the professor and his crew pretend to play in "The Ladykillers?"

They pretend to play Boccherini's Minuet (3rd movement) from String Quintet in E major, Op. 11 No. 5.

What is the name of the fictional movie within the movie "Burn After Reading?"

A fictional movie in the movie is called "Coming Up Daisy."

Who is the bartender at Ann's 440 in "The Hudsucker Proxy?"

Steve Buscemi plays the Beatnik bartender at Ann's 440. Martinis are for squares, man.

How many Coen brothers movies are, at least in part, inspired by Homer's story of "The Odyssey?"

The brothers' two movies with inspiration from "The Odyssey" are "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and "Inside Llewyn Davis" (did you notice the cat's name is Ulysses?).

Who is Marylin quoting when she says, "Dismiss your vows, your feigned tears, your flattery / for where a heart is hard they make no battery," in "Intolerable Cruelty?"

Marilyn Hamilton Rexroth Doyle Massey is quoting from Shakespeare's poem, "Venus and Adonis."

Who was the inspiration for the character of Llewyn Davis?

Llewyn Davis is, at least in part, inspired by the "musical mayor of MacDougal Street," American folk singer Dave Van Ronk.

Joel Coen has a cameo in which John Landis comedy?

Joel Coen has a cameo in "Spies Like Us." The film is packed with cameos, including Bob Hope, Terry Gilliam, Sam Raimi, B. B. King and Ray Harryhausen.

What's the name of the law firm in both "Burn After Reading" and "A Serious Man?"

The law firm of Tuchman Marsh is used in both films.

Actor Jon Polito played the character "Johnny Caspar" in "Miller's Crossing," but what role did the Coen brothers originally have in mind for him?

The Coen brothers originally envisioned Polito as the Eddie Dane character. But Polito wanted to play Johnny Caspar -- and won them over.

Where does the title of "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" come from?

The title is a nod to the fictional movie that fictional director John L. Sullivan wants to make in the Preston Sturgess comedy "Sullivan's Travels."

Which of their movies did Joel Coen call "the 'Lawrence of Arabia' of hayseed movies"?

Joel Coen has called "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" the "'Lawrence of Arabia' of hayseed movies."

What real-life writer and director, at least in part, is "The Big Lebowski's" Walter Sobchak character based on?

The "Walter Sobchak" character was inspired by the real writer and director, John Milius. Jeff "The Dude" Dowd was the inspiration for "Jeff 'The Dude' Lebowski."

"The Dude abides" is a nod to what Bible verse?

"The Dude abides" is a nod to Ecclesiastes 1:4, "One generation passes away, and another generation comes: but the Earth abides forever."

What stamp did Norm Gunderson's mallard get picked to be on, in "Fargo?"

Norm Gunderson's mallard was picked for the three-cent stamp.

Which of the Coen brothers' movies is one of the most nominated films never to win at the Academy Awards?

"True Grit" was nominated for 10 but won 0 Oscars.

Where does The Dude live in "The Big Lebowski?"

According to his checks, The Dude lives at 609 Venezia Avenue, Venice, California.

What state is the city of Fargo in?

Fargo, on the border of Minnesota and North Dakota, is in North Dakota.

Is Fargo based on a true story or not?

Says Ethan Cohen, "You don't have to have a true story to make a true story movie." Despite the opening titles, Fargo is not based on one true story. However! The part about the fraudulent serial numbers is true. (And so is the woodchipper scene.)

What kind of pomade does Ulysses Everett McGill use in "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

Everett doesn't want Fop. He's a Dapper Dan man.

What lane number do Donny, Walter and The Dude bowl on?

The Dude, Donny and Walter always bowl on lane 23.

Which of the brothers' films was selected to be preserved through the Library of Congress' National Film Registry?

"The Big Lebowski" joined the elite class of "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" films in 2014 when it was added to the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.

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About This Quiz

Do you know which Coen brothers' film inspired a religion? And would you shop at a store called Unpainted Huffhines? Whether you prefer their film noir work or can't resist a screwball comedy, see how much you know about their movies.

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