The Lower Depths (1936)
"Les bas-fonds" (original title)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Romance  |  10 September 1937 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 2,139 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 21 critic

A charismatic thief makes friends with a bankrupt baron who comes to live in the thief's slum. Meanwhile the thief seeks the love of a young woman, who is held emotionally captive by her slumlord family.



(play), (as E. Zamiatine) , 5 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Suzy Prim ...
Vassilissa Kostyleva
Le baron
Jany Holt ...
Vladimir Sokoloff ...
Robert Le Vigan ...
L'acteur alcoolique
Camille Bert ...
Le comte
René Génin ...
Louka - le philosophe (as René Genin)
Paul Temps ...
Satine - le télégraphiste
Robert Ozanne ...
Jabot de Travers
Henri Saint-Isle ...
Klestch - le cordonnier (as Saint-Iles)
Alex Allin ...
André Gabriello ...
Toptoun - l'inspecteur des garnis
Léon Larive ...
Felix - le valet du baron
Nathalie Alexeeff ...
Anna - un pauvresse qui se meurt


The winner of the Louis Delluc Prize as the most outstanding French photo-play of 1936, as selected by the Young Independent Critics of France (an organization and not a description.) The film treats the imprisoning hold of poverty; the disheartening odds of people rising from such social despair, and the ease in which those in the upper spheres of Society may descend. Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

10 September 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Lower Depths  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Additional awards:
  • Second Prize at the International Film Festival (USA, 1937)

  • Movie Times Award (Japan, 1937).

See more »


As Kostylev lies dead on the anvil, the shadow of the camera can be seen approaching on the ground. See more »


Vassilissa Kostyleva: One day, everything will be ours. We'll go away together. To live the good life where no one knows us.
Wasska Pepel: Stop it.
Vassilissa Kostyleva: You don't love me anymore. Why not?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The last scene zooms out and fades away to the end title: 'FIN'. See more »


Version of Donzoko (1957) See more »


Title unknown
Lyrics by Charles Spaak
Sung by Irène Joachim
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User Reviews

Strong drama
27 July 1999 | by (Cap-de-la-Madeleine) – See all my reviews

Very dark but strong drama, about a bunch of people with no faith and no hope. It's very cynical, but Jean Renoir's directions gives the movie a unique twist. Great acting by Jouvet and Gabin, and young Junie Astor.

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