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585 Ratings

The Harder They Come

Directed by Perry Henzell
Jamaica, 1972
Crime, Drama


Reggae superstar Jimmy Cliff is Ivan, a rural Jamaican musician who journeys to the city of Kingston in search of fame and fortune in The Harder They Come, which brought the catchy and subversive rhythms of the rastas to the U.S. in the early 1970s.

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The Harder They Come Directed by Perry Henzell

Critics reviews

Powered by one of the most infectious scores in the history of cinema, it is also a pop classic.
August 21, 2019
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Too often dismissed as “that Jimmy Cliff film,” it might be overlooked that this 1972 slum-gangster flick cum star-vehicle was the first feature to be made in Jamaica by Jamaicans, and is a heck of a smart story… Though not particularly well received upon its release, THE HARDER THEY COME has aged well, and remains a benchmark in post-colonial cinema.
January 20, 2012
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What immediately grabs me about this rough jewel, apart from jimmy Cliff’s powerhouse songs, is the elusive and elliptical editing of the narrative away from and into stray details, the grainy color that gives a downhome rat’s-eye view of what slickness looks like to powerless people, and the raw, melodious beauty of the non-actorly voices, which evokes some of the warm vocal sounds in Renoir’s TONI.
May 01, 1975
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