7.8/10
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101 user 76 critic

Down by Law (1986)

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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.

Director:

Jim Jarmusch

Writer:

Jim Jarmusch
4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Waits ... Zack
John Lurie ... Jack
Roberto Benigni ... Roberto
Nicoletta Braschi ... Nicoletta
Ellen Barkin ... Laurette
Billie Neal Billie Neal ... Bobbie
Rockets Redglare Rockets Redglare ... Gig
Vernel Bagneris ... Preston
Timothea Timothea ... Julie
L.C. Drane L.C. Drane ... L.C.
Joy N. Houck Jr. Joy N. Houck Jr. ... Detective Mandino (as Joy Houck Jr.)
Carrie Lindsoe Carrie Lindsoe ... Young Girl
Ralph Joseph Ralph Joseph ... Detective
Richard Boes Richard Boes ... Detective
Dave Petitjean 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | West Germany

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

30 October 1986 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Bajo el peso de la ley See more »

Filming Locations:

Louisiana, USA See more »

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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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

(Around 1:09:10) When Zack is talking about snakes in the forest, a crew member's shadow walks into the left side of the screen, then disappears. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in Night on Earth (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

It's Raining
Written by Allen Toussaint
Performed by Irma Thomas
Used by permission of CBS Unart catalog, Inc. and Jefferson Jazz, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
No action, all mood – but it goes down like a cool beer on a hot summer evening
17 July 2014 | by gogoschka-1See all my reviews

A cult classic - and yet still relatively little known. Jim Jarmusch is a master when it comes to creating atmosphere (and nobody uses stretches of silence to better comedic effect than he does). Shot in beautiful black and white, this tale of three prisoners who make for very unlikely companions is all mood, deadpan humour and practically no action.

Don't expect a story - just enjoy the ride, the dialogues (consisting mainly of the word 'F***' - unless it's Benigni talking: his chaotic, broken English lines are another highlight of the film) and the fantastic soundtrack by John Lurie and Tom Waits. Perhaps the epitome of a cult movie, this one goes down like a cool beer on a hot summer evening (and as with all cult movies, it is best seen with an audience that already knows and loves the film). A minimalistic comedy masterpiece. 9 stars out of 10.

Favorite Films: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls054200841/

Lesser-known Masterpieces: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls070242495/

Favorite Low-Budget and B-movies: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls054808375/

Favorite TV-Shows reviewed: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls075552387/


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