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

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… More

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: January 1, 1936
DVD Release Date: August 10, 2004
Add Your Rating
Rotten Tomatoes™
Critic Score
User Score

Critic Score: 88% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Time Out

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

Full review…
Donald J. Levit
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

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…
Jake Euker

The Lower Depths both gains and loses by its proximity to Renoir's later masterpieces: It's not one of them them, but the same guy made it.

Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

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

Full review…
Fernando F. Croce

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…
TV Guide

The relationship between Gabin's Pepel and Jouvet's Baron is a brilliant one -- Renoir pointing to their internal similarities by stressing their external differences.

Full review…
Michael Atkinson
Village Voice

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.


The result is powerful, if frequently uncomfortable, viewing.

Full review…

Flixster Audience Score: 80% Flixster User Reviews
Stella Dallas
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… More
danny d
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… More
Anthony Valletta
Looks good, but is missing a punch.