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The Harder They Come (1972)

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

Director:

Perry Henzell
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jimmy Cliff ... Ivanhoe "Ivan" Martin
Janet Bartley Janet Bartley ... Elsa
Carl Bradshaw Carl Bradshaw ... Jose Smith
Ras Daniel Hartman Ras Daniel Hartman ... Pedro
Basil Keane Basil Keane ... Preacher
Bob Charlton Bob Charlton ... Hilton
Winston Stona Winston Stona ... Detective Ray Jones
Lucia White Lucia White ... Mother
Volair Johnson Volair Johnson ... Pushcart Boy
Beverly Anderson Beverly Anderson ... Housewife
Clover Lewis Clover Lewis ... Market Woman
Elijah Chambers Elijah Chambers ... Longa
Prince Buster Prince Buster ... DJ at Dance
Ed 'Bim' Lewis Ed 'Bim' Lewis ... Photographer
Bobby Loban Bobby Loban ... Fitz
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Storyline

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

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Taglines:

The film that took reggae music to the world! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Music

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

Jamaica

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 August 1977 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

The Harder They Come See more »

Filming Locations:

Jamaica

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

DJ: You know, this is show *business*, Baby. No business, no show!
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Alternate Versions

The 25th Anniversary re-release cuts out the following scenes:
  • The dinner with the Minister.
  • Fixing the Bicycle.
  • Part of the movie theater scene where Ivan sees Jimmy Cagney stand off cops with empty guns.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Club Paradise (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Draw Your Brakes
Performed by Scotty aka David Scott
Composed by Derrick Harriot and David Scott
See more »

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User Reviews

Cult viewing
4 August 2002 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Ivan is a country boy in Jamaica who comes to see his Grandmother and `make it big' by recording a record. However when he finds himself exploited by a record producer he turns to drug running to make money. When he kills a cop who is in on the trade he goes on the run and finds fame as an outlaw standing up against `the man'.

I first saw this in a cinema in 1995 and it was fully subtitled, I watched it again last night and it had no subtitles. It was slightly hard to follow some of the very thick dialogue so I suggest if you have the choice that you go for the subtitles unless patwa is a very familiar dialect to you.

The plot takes swipes at the exploitative music business but also the nature of celebrity and the problems of drugs. However at it's heart it's a reggae gangster movie that is gritty and enjoyable. The story is involving but really it's the detail of the setting that carries the film. The camera allows a great sense of place and really captures the mood and place well, using crowd shots and wandering shots to music. Really the best scenes are all natural as music plays in the fore ground.

The music is one of the strongest aspects to the film – where the gangster element is sprawling and relaxed, the music allows us to accept this whole chilled out vibe as just part of the film. The cast also helps greatly by being very realistic without much effort, not trying to make the accent easier is a brave move if you want to sell the film! Cliff is easily believable and very watchable, likewise almost all the cast are great – many not being actors.

Overall the plot may wander in the way only a Jamaican can! But the music and the vibe more than make this a cult film that is well worth watching whether with subtitles or not!


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