The Harder They Come (1972) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • 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.

  • Jamaica. A young man from the country, Ivanhoe "Ivan" Martin (played by Jimmy Cliff) heads into the city after his grandmother dies. He tries to get work, with little success, but his dream is to become a music star. He gets a single recorded but, though the song is popular, he doesn't get much out of it - the record company has the upper hand. In desperation he turns to crime.

  • Ivanhoe Martin comes to the city to make it big singing Reggae. However, he finds life in the city to be harder than he thought, and is taken advantage of by both the record producer and the marijuana boss he later starts dealing for. When he kills a police officer, events start escalating that make him the Jamaica's most wanted man, and a momentary hero to all the oppressed Jamaicans. This is based on a true story.

  • A poor Jamaican, a 1970s anti-hero, tries to make it with a hit record but finds that payola rules. His record will only be played if he signs away his rights. He turns to dealing marijuana and runs afoul of the law. As an underground fugitive, he becomes a political hero. An outstanding reggae soundtrack underscores the plot, in particular the lines from the title song: "I'd rather be a free man in my grave than living as a puppet or a slave."

  • 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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