Down by Law

Down by Law

Jim Jarmusch (1986)

15 Certificate


Our Score
Jim Jarmusch's uneven but stylish comédie noire is an astute mixture of prison picture, road movie and downbeat screwball. Posturing hard men Tom Waits and John Lurie find themselves sharing a cell after they are framed for transporting a corpse and corrupting a minor respectively. Their petty feuding is interrupted by chatty new cellmate Roberto Benigni, who soon devises an escape plan. As the excellent soundtrack testifies, Waits and Lurie are more effectively paired as songwriters than performers, but they offer solid support to the brilliant Benigni, whose pidgin prattling is a joy.


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.

Cast & Crew

Zack Tom Waits
Jack Romano John Lurie
Roberto Roberto Benigni
Nicoletta Nicoletta Braschi
Laurette Ellen Barkin
Bobbie Billie Neal
Gig Rockets Redglare
Preston Vernel Bagneris
Julie Timothea
LC L C Drane
Detective Mandino Joy N Houck Jr
Young girl Carrie Lindsoe
Detective Ralph Joseph
Cajun detective Dave Petitjean
Uniformed cop Adam Cohen
Corpse Alan Kleinberg
Prisoner Archie Sampier
Detective Richard Boes
Director Jim Jarmusch
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteTheatrical distributor: Palace PicturesGuidance: Swearing.Available on: video, DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 12 Sep 2014