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 fact that this film gave us one of the best soundtracks ever is only one reason why its so special.
It showed the frustrations of artists in a,at the time,corrupt music industry.All this,part of the desperation of trying to succeed in a cruel world.
Jimmy Cliff is in almost every scene,and gives a great performance.And,still today,'Many Rivers To Cross' brings a tear.
A littlle jewel of the 70's with a musical score featuring such classics as "Too many Rivers to Cross", You Can Get It If You Really Want" or "The Harder They Come" of course. Jimmy Cliff got then the role of his life, he is as credible as a country boy as a gangster impersonating the resentments of an impoverished population. Highly recommended.
This jaunty crime drama is a time capsule of Jamaican culture in the early 1970s. The infectious music is coupled with beautiful natural light and on-location shooting (no pun intended). Swift editing, swoosh pans, and shifting focus only add to the sense of realism. I knock the film down one star for the occasional tonal inconsistencies and the narrative's general improbability.
Touted as the first film by Jamaicans for Jamaicans, "The Harder They Come perfectly reflected the political climate of the times, when similar forms of anti-government movements were sweeping America and the world. Audiences were ready to identify with a film about a hero who would 'rather be a free man in my grave/Than living as a puppet or a slave.' Especially if you could dance to it." - Michael Dare, Criterion.
Definitely a classic and important film. Not just about raggae music at the height of its popularity in the 70's which came to fruition in the poverty stricken areas of Kingston but also the Rastafarian movement gaining momentum in Jamaica. It's a story of a young man who was in the midst of it all and made poor decisions because of his desire for fame and fortune which got the best of him.