The Harder They Come (1972)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Music  |  5 August 1977 (Denmark)
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Reviews: 40 user | 53 critic

Wishing to become a successful Reggae singer, a young Jamaican man finds himself tied to corrupt record producers and drug pushers.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Janet Bartley ...
Carl Bradshaw ...
Ras Daniel Hartman ...
Basil Keane ...
Bob Charlton ...
Winston Stona ...
Detective Ray Jones
Lucia White ...
Volair Johnson ...
Pushcart Boy
Beverly Anderson ...
Clover Lewis ...
Market Woman
Elijah Chambers ...
Prince Buster ...
DJ at Dance
Ed 'Bim' Lewis ...
Bobby Loban ...


With dreams of becoming a successful Reggae singer, a young Jamaican man finds corruption from his record producers and the drug pushers they're connected to. Rather than fail his dreams Ivan lets nothing stand in his way, not even the law. Written by Daniel Jos. Leary

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


dem a loot, dem a shoot, dem a wail in shanty town (British DVD tag-line) See more »


Crime | Drama | Music


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

5 August 1977 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Balada Sangrenta  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TV)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The movie is in Jamaican Patois, a creole language which can be understood to some extent by English speakers. There are subtitles in English for much of the movie on the original theatrical print. See more »


Ivan Martin: [title song] and the oppressors are trying to keep me down /T rying to drive me underground / And they think that they have got the battle won / I say, "Forgive them, Lord, they know not what they've done," / For as sure as the Sun will shine / I'm going to get my share now, what's mine and the harder they come, the harder they fall, one and all.
See more »


Shanty Town
Performed by Desmond Dekker
Composed by Dacres aka Desmond Dekker
See more »

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User Reviews

A deep film about poverty, ambition, ego, and community
29 May 2004 | by (los angeles, ca) – See all my reviews

Though the low budget of this film is obvious, it is an amazing story, nonetheless so because it's based on a true one! It's also sometimes quite beautifully filmed.

What seems like it will be a simple country-boy-makes-good-in-the-city fairytale turns into a darker story of ego, searing poverty, class warfare, and a lust for fame. At first we're drawn to the Ivan, then gradually repulsed.

The compelling plot is built on a fantastic set of characters that weave a chillingly accurate portrayal of Jamaica in the late 60's -- a tapestry of desperately poor but infinitely resilient people.

To those IMDb reviewers who thought the story immoral - would you say the same thing about Bonnie & Clyde, Scarface, or Cagney's Public Enemy? This movie examines the effect of despair, desperation, and ambition. It's not a fairytale -- grow up.

29 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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