7.8/10
47,022
112 user 82 critic

Down by Law (1986)

Trailer
1:37 | Trailer
Two men are framed and sent to jail, where they meet a murderer who helps them escape and leave the state.

Director:

Jim Jarmusch

Writer:

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

Videos

Photos

Edit

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
Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Nicoletta Braschi plays the Italian woman in the film whose character's name is Nicoletta. The actress was born in Cesena, Italy and the character she plays was also born in Cesena. Her character in the film plans to marry Roberto Benigni's character named Roberto. Five years after the film was released, Nicoletta Braschi and Roberto Benigni marry. See more »

Goofs

When Roberto is drawing a window on the wall, an indistinct impression of the same drawing of a window can already be seen, presumably drawn during an earlier take and later erased. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in United States of Tara: Bryce Will Play (2011) 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 »

User Reviews

 
A Pure Joy
16 January 2014 | by gavin6942See 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.


23 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 112 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

USA | West Germany

Language:

English | Italian | French

Release Date:

30 October 1986 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Down by Law See more »

Filming Locations:

Louisiana, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$1,100,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,435,668

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,504,286
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 »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page



Recently Viewed