The Lower Depths

Synopsis: In medieval Japan, aging Rokubei, his younger wife of four years Osugi and her uncle run a tenement complex at the bottom of a cliff, the complex which from the naked eye at the top of the cliff looks like nothing more than a rubbish heap. The tenants are a group of down-and-outers with some who operate on the far side of the law. Nonetheless, the tenants are close knit community in wallowing in their collective misery, those who care who know their lives will never get better as long as they stay there. The landlords have no compassion for the tenants, they mockingly only stating that the tenants will be given a favorable standing in a future life for any good deeds done around the tenement. The recent arrival of Kahei, a mysterious elderly man, affectionately referred to as Grandpa, who spins tales of the unknown, provides at least hope that there is a better life out there somewhere. Sutekichi, a thief who arguably is the leader among the tenants, and Osugi are carrying on an affair
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Akira Kurosawa
Production: Criterion Collection
  5 wins.
Rotten Tomatoes:
137 min



Produced by


Screenplay by


Based on Maxim Gorky's

Lower Depths

Photographed by KAZUO YAMASAKI

Art Direction by YOSHIRO MURAKI


Lighting by SHIGERU MORI

Music by














Directed by


It's just an old rubbish heap.

Yeah, and so?

Like I said, I've had it

with the housewife business.

What are you moaning about?

It's ridiculous.

Even if his family was stinking rich,

I'd never...

You're a liar.

- What?

- I said you're a liar.

Aren't you getting hitched

to Deputy Shimazo?

That's all you live for.

Damn it! Quit poking me!

There you were,

daydreaming again,

so I just woke you up.

Leave me be.

I'm not bothering you.

There you go again.

Cut it out.

Lay off the stupid dreams.

You're just a two-bit,

slam-bam whore.

Stop imagining

you're some kind of virgin.

All women are liars.

They even lie to themselves.

Shut up! Look who's talking!

Your wife's out of service,

so you're sniffing

all the bottoms like a dog.

What the hell!

On the money, huh!

- Bitch!

- Darling.

Another day of fighting, is it?

Please don't shout.

There you go, whimpering again.

Day in and day out.

Can't you at least let me

die in peace?

Our racket's not gonna interfere.

Why do you put up

with this scoundrel?

Leave me alone.

Just leave me alone.

I mean it. You were too forgiving

for your own good.

Does that feel a little better?

Hey, Otaki, time to go

or we'll lose our spot.

Want some candy?

You're sweet,

but don't waste it on me.

Oh, go ahead.

Candy soothes your throat.

Sorry. It's our merchandise.

I'll leave it here.

Hey, Your Excellency.

You scoundrel!

Who socked me last night?

What does it matter?

Oh, it matters, all right.

Who was it?

You cheat at gambling,

you get it in the face, all right.

Oh, I remember.

Damn it! Ouch!

Just you wait.

You really will go to hell.

Don't be ridiculous.

How can you go to hell

if you're already there?

What the...

Get down from there

and start scrubbing.

It's my lord's turn today.

Hey! My lord!

Who's got the time?

I'm hitting the road with Otaki.

I don't give a rat's ass.

It's your damned turn to clean up.

I refuse to do anybody else's work.

If you won't,

the princess has volunteered.

Of all the nerve!

Off we go, Your Excellency.

Feels awful heavy today.

One helluva lord, he is.


My turn again.



I'm all set.

You help yourself.

Aren't you going to eat?

There's no point.

But you've got to work.

Don't brood like that.

It's not like you're...

I've had it.

Won't be long now.

Help yourself.

I swear it's true.

I can't risk breathing dust.

Doc's orders.

"Your bitol organs are

poisoned with alcohol."

You mean "vital organs."

That's right, my bitol organs.

It's definitely gone to your tongue.

Another six months

and you'll have full-blown palsy.

Don't be ridiculous.

I'm serious here.

It's just that my bitol organs

have alcohol poisoning.

It's just... that, huh?

That's right.

In other words, I can't clean

because I'll breathe dust.

They say, "A little sake

may longevity assure,

but taken to excess..."

What the hell is that?

A little ditty. I know more.

"The sycophant flatters

with forked tongue."

What the hell was that?

Don't know. Forgot.

Then why spout 'em?

You got a point.

All to say,

I'm sick and tired of clichs.

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Maxim Gorky

Alexei Maximovich Peshkov (Russian: Алексе́й Макси́мович Пешко́в or Пе́шков; 28 March [O.S. 16 March] 1868 – 18 June 1936), primarily known as Maxim (Maksim) Gorky (Russian: Макси́м Го́рький), was a Russian and Soviet writer, a founder of the socialist realism literary method and a political activist. He was also a five-time nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Around fifteen years before success as a writer, he frequently changed jobs and roamed across the Russian Empire; these experiences would later influence his writing. Gorky's most famous works were The Lower Depths (1902), Twenty-six Men and a Girl, The Song of the Stormy Petrel, My Childhood, Mother, Summerfolk and Children of the Sun. He had an association with fellow Russian writers Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov; Gorky would later mention them in his memoirs. Gorky was active with the emerging Marxist social-democratic movement. He publicly opposed the Tsarist regime, and for a time closely associated himself with Vladimir Lenin and Alexander Bogdanov's Bolshevik wing of the party, but later became a bitter critic of Lenin as an overly ambitious, cruel and power-hungry potentate who tolerated no challenge to his authority. For a significant part of his life, he was exiled from Russia and later the Soviet Union. In 1932, he returned to USSR on Joseph Stalin's personal invitation and died there in June 1936. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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"The Lower Depths" STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 15 Dec. 2019. <>.

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