7.8/10
40,178
94 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.

Director:

Writer:

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4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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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

Show more on  »

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 The Right Moves (2000) 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

 
A Pure Joy
16 January 2014 | by See all my reviews

The story of three different men (Tom Waits, John Lurie, and Roberto Benigni) in a Louisiana prison and their eventual journey.

This film is a natural progression from "Stranger Than Paradise". Lurie returns as a lead, and the music of Screamin' Jay Hawkins is replaced with Tom Waits. If Hawkins and Waits know each other, I have no idea, but their music styles are not far removed.

Although Waits is among my favorite actors (he excels at playing villains), the standout performance here is Benigni. How much English he knew at the time I am not sure, but he brings a comic mischief to the film, and is the most light-hearted despite being potentially the most dangerous.


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