7.8/10
39,881
95 user 74 critic

Down by Law (1986)

Two innocent people are arrested. An interesting third person, with broken English, joins them in their cell. On his idea, they decide to escape from the prison. Their journey is the rest of the movie.

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Writer:

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Billie Neal ...
Rockets Redglare ...
Gig
...
Timothea ...
L.C. Drane ...
L.C.
Joy N. Houck Jr. ...
Detective Mandino (as Joy Houck Jr.)
Carrie Lindsoe ...
Young Girl
Ralph Joseph ...
Detective
Richard Boes ...
Detective
Dave Petitjean ...
Cajun Detective
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Storyline

DJ Zack and pimp Jack end up in prison for being too laid-back to avoid being framed for crimes they didn't commit. They end up sharing a cell with eccentric Italian optimist Roberto, whose limited command of the English language is both entertaining and infuriating. More useful to them is the fact that Roberto knows an escape route. Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's not where you start - It's where you start again.

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

30 October 1986 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Bajo el peso de la ley  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,100,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$49,840, 28 September 1986, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,436,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to director Jim Jarmusch's DVD commentary, actors Tom Waits and John Lurie often played pranks on Roberto Benigni, heavily on his poor command of English. See more »

Goofs

Zack writes the number of the days that he's spent in cellar on the wall. Before he fights Jack for the first time, he angrily writes two big lines (two days). In the next scene with Roberto they are normal length. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jack: Julie, what're you doing out here?
Julie: Just watching the light change.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Serial Mom (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Jockey Full of Bourbon
Written and Performed by Tom Waits
from his 'Rain Dogs' album
Courtesy Island Records, Inc.
(opening title)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant in every way
29 July 2005 | by See all my reviews

I first saw Down By Law when it first came out, and loved it. I watched it again recently, and it really hasn't aged at all. In fact, it has gotten even better. I'm not sure there's another movie like it (unless the other Jarmusch ones are -- I haven't seen them). There are very few movies that spend so much time on character development that still have great plots. Like the "Big Easy" where it is filmed, this one takes its time but has an easy charm once the plot gets where it was going. The dialogue is wonderfully written, and better acted. Each scene is like a work of art in how it is staged. The soundtrack uses one of the best albums ever recorded, "Rain Dogs" by Tom Waits, who stars. One of my all time favorites.


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