Down by Law Down by Law

Down by Law

Jim Jarmusch

Down by Law (Criterion Blu-Ray)


1 Disc

SRP: $39.95

Criterion Store price:$31.96

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  • United States
  • 1986
  • 107 minutes
  • Black and White
  • 1.78:1
  • English
  • Spine #166

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. Described by Jarmusch as a “neo-Beat noir comedy,” Down by Law is part nightmare and part fairy tale, featuring sterling performances and crisp black-and-white cinematography by the esteemed Robby Müller.


DirectorJim Jarmusch
Written byJim Jarmusch
Director of photographyRobby Müller
MusicJohn Lurie
EditorMelody London
SongsTom Waits
ProducerAlan Kleinberg
CoproducersTom Rothman and Jim Stark
Executive producersOtto Grokenberger, Cary Brokaw and Russell Schwartz
Production managerRudd Simmons
Unit manager/LocationsDavid Ross McCarty
Set dresser/Prop masterJanet Densmore
Assistant directorClaire Denis
Production troubleshooterSara Driver
First assistant cameraJack Anderson
Sound mixerDrew Kunin
GafferChristopher Porter
Key gripPaul Ferrera
Supervising sound editorJohn Auerbach
Sound editorFrank Kern
Music recorded and mixed byTom Lazarus

Disc Features


  • New digital transfer (DVD edition); new, restored digital transfer, supervised by director Jim Jarmusch, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack (Blu-ray edition)
  • Audio interview with Jarmusch from 2002
  • Interview with director of photography Robby Müller from 2002
  • Footage from the 1986 Cannes Film Festival, including a press conference with Jarmusch and actors John Lurie, Roberto Benigni, and Nicoletta Braschi, and an interview with Lurie, featuring commentary
  • Sixteen outtakes
  • Music video for Tom Waits’s cover of Cole Porter’s “It’s All Right with Me,” directed by Jarmusch
  • Q&A with Jarmusch in which he responds to fans’ questions
  • Recordings of phone conversations between Jarmusch and Waits, Benigni, and Lurie
  • Production Polaroids and location stills
  • Trailer
  • Isolated music track (Blu-ray only)
  • Optional French dub track, featuring Benigni
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
  • PLUS: A new essay by critic Luc Sante

    New cover by Eva Wah

Film Essays


Down by Law: Chemistry Set

By Luc SanteJuly 17, 2012

Read more »

Photo Galleries




Talking with John

By Susan ArosteguyJuly 18, 2012

John Lurie reminisces about making Down by Law and Fishing with John. Read more »

Film Essays


Down by Law: Chemistry Set

By Luc SanteJuly 17, 2012

Read more »

Photo Galleries

Down by Law Polaroids

July 17, 2012

Photo Galleries

12 Great Parting Shots

July 16, 2012



Dear John

July 15, 2010

The latest artwork by Criterion friend John Lurie—saxophonist in the erstwhile “fake jazz” . . . Read more »


Jarmusch to Guest Curate ATP New York 2010

February 17, 2010

The organizers of All Tomorrow Parties in New York have tapped Jim Jarmusch to be a guest . . . Read more »


Ask Jim Jarmusch

December 22, 2009

When we released Jim Jarmusch’s films Down by Law and Night on Earth, the supplement Ask Jim, . . . Read more »


The Devil and Tom Waits

October 16, 2009

Whatever Tom Waits is up to—be it music or acting (Down by Law, Short Cuts)—is bound to be . . . Read more »

On Five

Color Me Impressed

By Lee KlineOctober 28, 2007

When I started preparing for a new transfer of The Ice Storm, I asked director Ang Lee if he . . . Read more »