Down by Law (film)

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Down by Law is a 1986 film about the arrest, incarceration, and escape from jail of three men.

Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch.
It's not where you start - It's where you start again.


  • When I get outta here, there's gonna be a white limousine. It's gonna come, pick me up. It's gonna be a Lincoln. I'm gonna step inside. And inside is bigger than you can possibly imagine it from the outside. And there's gonna be beautiful girls in there. Four of 'em and they're all gonna be naked. One of 'em's gonna offer me some coke. Won't let you say no. And I'm just gonna be enjoyin' the luxury of the car and the girls. The door is gonna close. It's just gonna go click. And there's gonna be music playin'. It's like, music I never heard before. And then the car's gonna start up and it's gonna drive slowly towards the sea. Very slowly. It's gonna be beautiful.


  • I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.
  • If looks can kill, I am a-dead now.
  • Very strange mother, my mother.
  • And now I have falled in love, at last. I have finded my new home. She has asked to me if I stay here, to live together with her forever and ever. Like in a book for children.


Jack: Julie, what're you doing out here?
Julie: Just watching the light change.

Preston: Zack! Hey man! What the fuck ya doin' here in the garbage?
Zack: [without looking at Preston] Just leave me alone, Preston. I'm in a bad mood.
Preston: Then I'm just the man you've been looking for. In fact, I've been looking for you.
Zack: That's a bad sign.
Preston: Now, Zack, baby! I got somethin' real good for you. An hour's work for a whole lotta scratch.
Zack: I ain't interested.
Preston: Then you ARE in a bad mood. You won't even let me propose it to you. Can you just listen to me for one minute, will ya? One minute of your, uh... valuable time?
Zack: [sighs in exasperation] Just fuck off, Preston.
Preston: [chuckles and acts like he's going to walk away from him, but then goes back to him] All I wanna do is pay you a grand, in exchange of a single hour of your very very valuable time. But this ain't no break in, no delivery of controlled substances, none of this stuff. It's just to drive a car, from one part of town to another, alone. That's it.
Zack: What kind of car will that be, Preston?
Preston: That will be a very nice car. A very nice, very expensive imported car, which just happens to be in between owners at the present time.
[Zack mutters to himself]
Preston: Look man, all you gotta do is drive the car across town, park it, leave it. I can pay half grand upfront, and the other half later. The whole thing's over in an hour! It's very safe, very clean, and believe me, I can get a million guys to do this for me.
Zack: Then why don't you do it yourself?
Preston: I'm offerin' a grand so I don't have to answer stupid questions like that.
Zack: Well... I might consider the grand up front... then I might think about it.
Preston: Jesus! [pause] Zack... you are in a nasty mood. So just to cheer you up a little bit, I give you 750 upfront. OK?
[Zack rises to leave him on the spot but he holds him back]
Preston: Alright, alright, Mr. All-Mighty-Hot-Shit. I'm gonna do you this favor. [he gives Zack the keys of the car]
Zack: [impressed] Oh man! A Jaguar!
Preston: I'll give you the whole thing up front. [he gives Zack the money]
Preston: Now you owe me. [long pause] Zack, you know you can buy yourself twenty girls for all of that?

Bobbie: You know, Jack, we could make some money together. Except you're always blowin' it. You know - gambling, gettin' high, showing off.
Jack: I gotta have fun, you know, baby?
Bobbie: Yeah, yeah, I know. You're always makin' big big plans for tomorrow, and you know why? 'Cause you're always fucking up today ! Look at that white girl, that Julie you started out with, she's all messed up now. All your girls are so messed up - except me. I can tell a lot of things about you. Some things you'd never put into your head. But you can't be so sure. My mom used to say that America is like a big melting pot, because she used to say that when you bring it to the boil, all the scum rises to the top. [she laughs sarcastically] So maybe there's still hope for you yet, Jack. [she suddenly stops laughing] You listening to me? [short pause] Shit. You don't understand any kind of people. Maybe that's your problem. You sure don't understand women at all. And a pimp is supposed to know about women. If you was a good pimp, you'd have hit me by now, you'd have done something. But I can just lay here, and talk forever, and you won't hear a single word. Like you don't even speak English! You're lost in your big big plans, but I know about you, Jack. Jack?
Jack: You sure can talk, can't you, baby?

Laurette: Look at you, Zack. Look what you're doin' to yourself. You're diggin' your own grave. Why can't you just stay at one station for awhile? Why do you always got to go fuck up your own future, huh? What are you so afraid of, Zack?
Zack: Yeah, well, that's right, alright. You can't live in the present forever.

Jack: Guard! I need a light here. I can't believe this. Guard! Guard! Guard! Guard! Guard! Guard! Guard! [speaking to himself] What am I doin' in here?
Zack: Can't you see? You are not the only innocent asshole in here. I was set up too. Just like you. Just like you.
Jack: I am not just like you; whatever you say. I don't even want to deal with you. You got it? As far as I'm concerned, you don't even exist. Not at all. Got it?
Zack: Well, you don't exist either. Walls don't exist. The floor doesn't exist. This stress is not here. These bunks aren't here. Bars aren't here. None of this is really here. None of this is really here at all.

Roberto: Is a sad and beautiful world.
Zack: Yeah, it's a sad and beautiful world... that's a good one. Yeah, yeah... buzz off.
Roberto: Ah, thank you, Buzz off to you too.
Zack: No... buzz off!
Roberto: Ah, "buzz off". [writing] b-u-z-z o-f-f... Buzz off... Is, uh, "is a sad and beautiful world", "Good evening. Buzz off to everybody" "Oh, thank you, buzz off to you too." Oh, it's a pleasure. Thank you.

Roberto: So, Jack. Jack, why, why are you put in this prison?
Jack: I don't know, Bob. It was voodoo or somethin', you know. - I was framed. I was completely innocent. You understand?
Roberto: Yes. You are innocent man. I understand. And you, my friend, Jack, why are you put in this prison?
Zack: I was set up, Bob. Just like Jack. I am - an innocent man.
Roberto: I see. You too are a innocent man.
Zack: So, Bob...
Roberto: Yes?
Zack: For why are you in this prison put?
Roberto: Me? I killed a man.
Zack: You killed a man, huh? What'd you do that for, Bob? The guy didn't like Walt Whitman?
Roberto: I never ask-a to dis man if he like-a de Walt Whitman.

Roberto: I am-a no criminal. I am a good egg.
Jack: I am a good egg, Jesus.
Roberto: Yes. Yeah, I'm a good egg. Yes. We are! We are a good egg. My friends.

Jack: [swapping clothes with Zack] This is how you dressed before you were in the joint, right? Sort of garbage man on parade.
Zack: You, uh, plannin' on doin' a little squirrel huntin', Jack?

Zack Well, I guess this is it.
Jack: Yeah.
Zack: I don't see a sign around or anything.
Jack: Well, she said the one on the right goes west.
Zack: She said she didn't know.
Jack: Look, man, it don't matter to me. You go - whichever way you want. Right?
Zack: Right.
Jack: And I'll go the other way.
Zack: Yeah, right.
Jack: Right.
Zack: Yeah, right.


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