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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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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

Bassist for The Clash, Paul Siminon, was inspired by this film when he wrote the song The Guns of Brixton. Siminon explicitly references the film in the lyrics "You see he feels like Ivan, born under the Brixton sun. His game is called surviving, at the end of The Harder They Come". The song appears as the 10th track on their groundbreaking 2LP London Calling. See more »

Quotes

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 »

Alternate Versions

In the original, pre-Midnight Show, unrated version, when Jimmy Cliff is lashed for slicing his antagonist, there are shots of frontal nudity when he is strapped over the barrel, making his urination explicit. See more »

Connections

Referenced in This Is England (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Johnny Too Bad
Performed by The Slickers
Composed by Hylton Bexford, Winston Bailey, Sydney Crooks and Derric Crooks
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A deep film about poverty, ambition, ego, and community
29 May 2004 | by joehopfieldSee 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.


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