The Harder They Come
With a Piece in His Hand He Takes on the Man!
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- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 38 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: January 14, 2002
- Originally Released: 1973
- Label: Xenon
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
- Dolby Digital 5.1 - English
- Dolby Digital Mono - English
- Additional Release Features:
- Featurette - 1. "Hard Road To Travel" - Original 1972 Making-of Documentary
- Audio Commentary - 1. Perry Henzell - Director
- Filmmakers Interviews
- Music Video
- Interactive Features:
- Interactive Menus
- Scene Access
Performers, Cast and Crew:
|Performer:||Basil Keane, Toots & the Maytals, Carl Bradshaw, Ras Daniel Hartman & Janet Barkley|
|Directed by||Perry Henzell|
|Edited by||Richard White, Seicland Anderson & John Victor Smith|
|Music by||Toots & the Maytals & Jimmy Cliff|
|Screenwriting by||Trevor Rhone & Perry Henzell|
|Produced by||Perry Henzell|
|Director of Photography:||Peter Jessop, David McDonald & Frank St. Juste|
The Harder They Come is always exuberant, and sometimes strong, as casually surprising and effortlessly sinister as the blade sliding out of a gravity knife. Full Review
The themes present in the film remain particularly relevant in today's climate. Full Review
Ian Thomas Malone
...Movie aficionados appreciate it as the definition of tuffer-than-tuff gangster cool...
Perry Henzell emerges a director with a solid visual flair who can mix action and inchoate rage sans excess to give the film a taut pacing and use the local color and a basically predictable tale with a few new twists. Full Review
[The film] also works as a scathing attack on police corruption, organised religion and the reggae industry.
Rating: 2/5 -- Atrocious acting, amateurish camerawork and a hackneyed story line all make for one painful slog. Full Review
4 stars out of 5 -- It's elevated to greatness by one thing...an unmatchable reggae-tastic soundtrack.
Description by OLDIES.com:
A powerful piece of anti-government propaganda, a poignant slice-of-life movie about the streets of Jamaica, and an action-packed story of a gun-slinging pop star, all set to a classic unforgettable reggae score. Jimmy Cliff plays a renegade musician from the country who arrives in Kingston to pursue his dreams of stardom. Instead, he ends up doing literal battle against a corrupt police department, a crooked music industry and swindling dope dealers. This violent, vital and ground-breaking film brought reggae to the international stage, made Jimmy Cliff a star, and demonstrated that music and film can change the world.
Reggae music serves as both soundtrack and plot element in THE HARDER THEY COME, a groundbreaking classic starring music legend Jimmy Cliff. Such hits as "You Can Get It If You Really Want," "Many Rivers to Cross," and "Sitting in Limbo," punctuate the film's action, introducing reggae and its Jamaican roots to a worldwide audience. Here, Cliff plays Ivan Martin, a poor country boy who goes to the city to make money, becoming a street rebel and a pop idol overnight. In Kingston, Ivan finds nothing but corruption. The record company offers him a mere $20 to release his single, "The Harder They Come." Ivan takes to the streets, where he is ensnared by crime. After brutally knifing a man, he serves a prison sentence. Once free, he supports himself by selling marijuana, protecting himself from legal persecution by giving the cops a cut. But that doesn't keep him from getting mixed up in a police raid. Ivan quickly develops a reputation as a Kingston criminal, and when his single "The Harder They Come" is finally released, it fuels his bad-boy notoriety, culminating in a tragic conclusion. Perry Henzel's 1973 film has become a cult classic and was an important factor in bringing reggae music to the fore. The movie served as a device for promoting Cliff's album and bringing him visibility as a primary Jamaican artist, on a par with Bob Marley.
- THE HARDER THEY COME screened at the 1972 Venice Film Festival.
- The film was made on a shoestring budget of $400,000.
- The soundtrack includes four songs by Jimmy Cliff as well as music by the Melodians, Toots and the Maytals, the Slickers, and Desmond Dekker.
- The film, which includes heavy violence and many gun fights, was seen by some as anarchist propaganda.
- The police attempted to stop the production of the movie several times during its making.
- THE HARDER THEY COME was reportedly the first Jamaican feature film to be made by Jamaicans.
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