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Down by Law (1986) - movie overview

Down by Law (1986)

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Quotes (5)
Trivia (2)
Plot Description
Shooting Locations

Release Date
Sep 20, 1986 (USA)
DVD Release Date
ē R1: Oct 22, 2002

Budget USD 1,100,000

MPAA Rating

Running Time
1 hour, 47 minutes

Country USA, West Germany

Studio Black Snake, Grokenberger Films, Island Pictures

More info on

Other Titles
• Down by Law

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Genre: Drama, Comedy, Prison, Escape, On The Road, Buddies, Cult Classic

Tagline: It's not where you start - It's where you start again.

Plot: Jim Jarmusch's quirky follow-up to his groundbreaking 1984 debut, STRANGER THAN PARADISE, is a comic fable about finding the American dream in the most unlikely of places. After being thrown out of the house by his girlfriend, Zack (Tom Waits), an out-of-work DJ, takes a job driving a stolen car with a body in the trunk across the state line. He is arrested and put into a cell with Jack (John Lurie), a pimp who's been busted for recruiting a minor. The trio is completed when Roberto (the always hysterical Roberto Benigni), an Italian tourist who is arrested for killing a man while playing cards, joins them in their cell. Eventually, Roberto succeeds in convincing Zack and Jack to break out of jail with him. But when they do, the escapees find themselves lost in the bayou with no salvation in sight. It isnít until they land at the small home of an Italian immigrant (Nicoletta Braschi) that Zack, Jack, and Roberto learn to appreciate the beauty the world has to offer. Robby Mullerís gorgeously contrasted black-and-white photography adds an artistic dimension to Jarmuschís film, which only heightens the performances by the three leads.

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 Directed by
Jim Jarmusch
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, Dead Man, Broken Flowers
 Written by
Jim Jarmusch
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, Dead Man, Broken Flowers
Tom Waits
Dracula, Mystery Men, The Outsiders
Roberto Benigni
Life Is Beautiful, Night on Earth, Coffee and Cigarettes
Ellen Barkin
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Drop Dead Gorgeous, The Fan
John Lurie
Wild at Heart, The Last Temptation of Christ, Paris, Texas
Nicoletta Braschi
Life Is Beautiful, Mystery Train, The Sheltering Sky
Billie Neal
Gridlock'd, Mortal Thoughts, Consenting Adults
Rockets Redglare
Big, Desperately Seeking Susan, Trees Lounge
 Music By
John Lurie
Get Shorty, Excess Baggage, Clay Pigeons



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Executive Target (1997)
Letters from a Killer (1998)

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