IMDb > Down by Law (1986)
Down by Law
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Down by Law (1986) More at IMDbPro »

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Down by Law -- Director Jim Jarmusch followed up his brilliant breakout film Stranger Than Paradise with another, equally beloved portrait of loners and misfits in the American landscape. When fate brings together three hapless men--an unemployed disc jockey (Tom Waits), a small-time pimp (John Lurie), and a strong-willed Italian tourist (Roberto Benigni)--in a Louisiana prison, a singular adventure ensues.
Down by Law -- Trailer for Down by Law
Down by Law -- Trailer for Down by Law
Down by Law -- When fate lands three hapless men—an unemployed disc jockey (Tom Waits), a small-time pimp (John Lurie), and a strong-willed Italian tourist (Roberto Benigni)—in a Louisiana prison, their singular adventure begins.


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Jim Jarmusch (written by)
View company contact information for Down by Law on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
30 October 1986 (West Germany) See more »
It's not where you start - It's where you start again.
The story of three different men in a Louisiana prison and their eventual journey. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
5 wins & 5 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Another great movie by Jim Jarmusch See more (88 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Tom Waits ... Zack

John Lurie ... Jack

Roberto Benigni ... Roberto

Nicoletta Braschi ... Nicoletta

Ellen Barkin ... Laurette
Billie Neal ... Bobbie
Rockets Redglare ... Gig
Vernel Bagneris ... Preston
Timothea ... Julie
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
Adam Cohen ... Uniformed Cop
Alan Kleinberg ... Corpse
Archie Sampier ... Prisoner
David Dahlgren ... Guard #1
Alex Miller ... Guard #2
Eliott Keener ... Guard #3 (as Elliot Keener)
Jay Hilliard ... Guard #4
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Pruitt Taylor Vince ... (scenes deleted)

Directed by
Jim Jarmusch 
Writing credits
Jim Jarmusch (written by)

Produced by
Cary Brokaw .... executive producer
Otto Grokenberger .... executive producer
Alan Kleinberg .... producer
Tom Rothman .... co-producer
Russell Schwartz .... executive producer
Jim Stark .... co-producer
Original Music by
John Lurie 
Cinematography by
Robby Müller (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Melody London 
Production Design by
Janet Densmore 
Costume Design by
Carol Wood 
Makeup Department
Donita Miller .... hair stylist
Donita Miller .... makeup artist
Production Management
Rudd Simmons .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Guido Chiesa .... second assistant director
Claire Denis .... assistant director
Art Department
Janet Densmore .... prop master
Janet Densmore .... set dresser
Roger Knight .... assistant props and sets
Sound Department
John Auerbach .... supervising sound editor
Martin Bisi .... additional sound recordist
Matthew Corey .... apprentice sound editor (as Matt Corey)
Mark Goodermote .... boom operator
Stanley Kastner .... sound re-recordist (as Stan Kastner)
Robin Katz .... second assistant sound editor
Frank Kern .... sound editor
Drew Kunin .... sound mixer
Peter Waggoner .... sound re-recordist
Sylvia Waliga .... first assistant sound editor
Camera and Electrical Department
Jack Anderson .... first assistant camera
Hank Billeaud .... best boy
Hank Billeaud .... gaffer
Theo Cremona .... second assistant camera
Paul Ferrara .... key grip
Christopher Porter .... gaffer
Michael Ruggles .... best boy
Louis Tancredi .... electrician
Louis Tancredi .... swing grip
Casting Department
Claudia Splecher .... additional casting
Alison Walsh .... casting assistant
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Lynn Simpson .... costume assistant
Editorial Department
Tim Brennan .... negative matcher
Lori Mozilo .... assistant film editor
Jay Rabinowitz .... apprentice film editor
Tom Salvatore .... color timer
John Dowdell .... hd colorist (uncredited)
Music Department
Doug Bowne .... musician: drums
Curtis Fowlkes .... musician: trombone
Tony Garnier .... musician: acoustic bass
Lisa Krueger .... music coordinator
Tom Lazarus .... music mixer
Tom Lazarus .... music recordist
Arto Lindsay .... musician: guitar
Eugene J. Moye .... musician: cello (as Eugene Moye)
Marc Ribot .... musician: trumpet and banjo
E.J. Rodriguez .... musician: percussion
Nana Vasconcelos .... musician: percussion
Other crew
Billy Bragg .... available lighting
Allison Brandin .... production assistant
Joe Catalanotto .... independent studios
Charles De Cuir .... production assistant
Sara Driver .... production troubleshooter
Peter Grand .... script supervisor
Matthew A. Handal .... production assistant (as Matthew Handal)
Kathie Hersch .... production coordinator/auditor
Eric Hoffman .... projectionist
Susan Jacobs .... publicist
Tom Jarmusch .... production assistant
Lisa Krueger .... assistant to producer
David Ross McCarty .... location unit manager
Tommy Samona .... production assistant
Stephanie Samuel .... assistant location manager
Ida Schonfeld .... intern
Phil Seifert III .... production assistant
Mary Shelton .... location assistant
Camela Smyke .... office coordinator: New York
Lynn Staats .... production controller
Alison Walsh .... assistant coordinator
Simon Brook .... special thanks
Don Donigi .... special thanks
Bill Nisselson .... special thanks
Pascale Ogier .... dedicatee
Melvin Pukowsky .... special thanks
Phil Sodano .... special thanks
Enzo Ungari .... dedicatee
Irwin Young .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
107 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Co-star Tom Waits referred to the film as "a Russian neo-fugitive episode of The Honeymooners."See more »
Continuity: 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 »
[first lines]
Jack:Julie, what're you doing out here?
Julie:Just watching the light change.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Jockey Full of BourbonSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
27 out of 53 people found the following review useful.
Another great movie by Jim Jarmusch, 28 May 2002
Author: tim_age from Europe

I've seen a couple of Jarmusch movies and except for Dead Man (which I thought was an incredible bore), they were all great.

Down By Law is probably one his best known flicks and is a very good low budget movie. It features Tom Waits, who's not only a fine musician but proves to be a decent actor as well; John Lurie, who also wrote the excellent soundtrack (Waits delivered the opening and end-credits track btw); Roberto Benigni, who nowadays is most famous for directing the Oscar-winning Italian film "La Vita E Bella".

The movie deals about three guys who meet in prison and escape. It reminded me of "O Brother Where Are Thou?" and, perhaps because of it being filmed in black and white, of old 40's movies about escaping prisoners (can't think of a good example, but you get the picture).

Three things I liked very much about this movie:

1. It's incredibly funny, especially Benigni made me laugh every time he opened his mouth - He irritated me highly in "La Vita E Bella" so that must mean something....

2. The frame of the camera is very well used. Look at the scene where Lurie counts the money and a hooker is laying behind him on the bed and the scene after that. Another example is when Benigni is dancing with a lady and the other two guys are continuing their breakfast in the back.

3. It's very hard to pinpoint when the story takes place; it's timeless in more than one way, obviously helped by the lack of color.

All in all, this one comes highly recommended.

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I don't get this part in the film peter_schilling_fan
What do you think of the acting? wanbaclone
any message? vitinha_abu
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will you join me? SisterMoon4
Kept waiting for Roberto to say sictransit1
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