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Down by Law (1986) Poster

(1986)

Trivia

Roberto Benigni's rabbit soliloquy was almost entirely self-written/improvisation, based on his own life experiences. His mother actually did raise rabbits.
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Roberto Benigni's line "It's a sad and beautiful world" was the result of a misunderstanding. The script read "That's sad and beautiful music", but Benigni said "It's a sad and beautiful word", but Waits and Jarmusch misheard it and though he said "WORLD", and so, the line stuck.
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Roberto Benigni had never been to America prior to this film.
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Jim Jarmusch had intended that the shack that the fugitives find refuge in after escaping prison would have bunk beds, so as to make it look exactly like the prison cell. Incredibly, they found a shack where two bunk beds were already standing, so no extra furniture had to be added.
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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.
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Only Jim Jarmusch film made with "American money" as Jarmusch himself calls it. He says that he prefers not to have his films funded by Americans because there are too many "strings attached".
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According to director Jim Jarmusch's DVD commentary, actors Tom Waits and John Lurie often played pranks on Roberto Benigni, heavily on his poor command of English.
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Co-star Tom Waits referred to the film as "a Russian neo-fugitive episode of The Honeymooners."
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Down by law is dedicated to Pascale Ogier and Enzo Ungari. Both unexpectedly passed away a year before Down by Law was released. Pascale Ogier was a French actress, who died at the age of 25 of a heart attack after an overdose. She had starred in "Full Moon in Paris" (1984), for which she posthumously received a Cesar award. Enzo Ungari was a writer, who wrote several screenplays for director Bernardo Bertolucci, one of which was "The Last Emperor". Enzo Ungari passed away at the age of 37.
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Zack says he previously worked as a DJ at stations WWOZ, WHLO, and WAKR. WWOZ is an FM station in New Orleans, where the film is set. WHLO and WAKR are AM stations in Akron, Ohio, where director Jim Jarmusch grew up. Now featuring mostly talk and news, they were Akron's two most popular music stations in the 1960s when Jarmusch lived there.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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Pruitt Taylor Vince filmed some scenes that were cut before release.
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Director Claire Denis, most recently know for the movie Highlife with Robert Pattinson, was assistant director for Down by Law.
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Actor John Lurie, one of the three prisoners on the run, also composed the music score for this movie.
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This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #166.
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