Les Bas-fonds (The Lower Depths) (Underground) (Underworld) (1936)

Les Bas-fonds (The Lower Depths) (Underground) (Underworld)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Voted 1936's best picture by a circle of prestigious French critics, Jean Renoir's The Lower Depths (Les Bas-Fonds) is based on the "gutter" play by Russian author Maxim Gorky. Louis Jouvet plays The Baron, forced by circumstance to give up his life of luxury and to set up residence in the slums of Paris. As Jouvet observes the passing parade, he bears witness to the frustrated romance between Jean Gabin and Junie Astor, the thwarted dreams of actor Robert Le Vigan, and the oppressive cruelties … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Romance, Art House & International, Mystery & Suspense, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Maxim Gorky, Yevgeni Zamyatin
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 10, 2004
Criterion Collection



as Wasska Pepel

as Vassilissa

as The Baron

as Nastia

as Kostileff

as Natacha

as L'Acteur

as Le Comte

as Le Vieillard

as Satine

as Felix le domestique

as Le Commissaire

as Accordeoniste

as Patron de la guingue...
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Les Bas-fonds (The Lower Depths) (Underground) (Underworld)

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (3)

Gabin and Jouvet are their usual glorious selves, though the tendency towards pessimism makes this one of Renoir's less rewarding films.

Full Review… | May 9, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

It carries some interest in its curious blend of tones and styles -- it oscillates between vaudeville turns and stark tragedy.

Full Review… | May 9, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Renoir sought out balance and humanistic sympathy, reshaping the narrative so the thief (Jean Gabin) and the Baron (Louis Jouvet) bond over their mutual rebellion against the social system.

Full Review… | August 30, 2006
Village Voice
Top Critic

Gabin did not attain the international status of American counterparts or later countryman Belmondo, though his Pepel here is a thing of beauty.

Full Review… | March 20, 2014
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

The text is Gorky's, the names and the whiskers are Russian, yet the world here is wholly French, or, rather, wholly Jean Renoir's

Full Review… | February 14, 2010

The result is powerful, if frequently uncomfortable, viewing.

Full Review… | May 9, 2007

Audience Reviews for Les Bas-fonds (The Lower Depths) (Underground) (Underworld)

it may well be a bastardization of gorky's play but i found it completely charming. louis jouvet is wonderful as the dissolute baron and jean gabin is my hero as ever. i still need to see kurosawa's version which is said to be grittier but i can't help but forgive renoir for loving his characters too much to see them suffer in the end

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer


i watched this film after i saw kurosawas japanese version, and this one was just as good. this is a french film about people who live in poverty. the characters are interesting and the story was told well. you really admire some of these people, and others come across as almost happy and peaceful despite thier circumstances. really good film.

danny d

Super Reviewer

Looks good, but is missing a punch.

Anthony Valletta

Super Reviewer

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