The Harder They Come

The Harder They Come

Perry Henzell (1972)

X Certificate


Our Score
Jamaica's first indigenous feature became something of a cult hit and made a huge star of Jimmy Cliff, whose own experiences, to a degree, inform the plot of this crime drama. After a hard-hitting opening, however - in which keenly observed documentary detail captures both the exotic and ugly sides of Kingston - this reggae reworking of the old rags-to-riches story disappointingly descends into banal blaxploitation. The struggle to make it in the music business is convincingly depicted, but director Perry Henzell loses his way when Cliff resorts to cop killing to boost his record sales. Whatever the film's shortcomings, though, the music is superb.


Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff stars in this poignant Jamaican drama about a naive country boy who visits Kingston in search of reggae stardom, only to get involved in the shady world of drug dealing as his musical career takes off. With no other option but to go on the run, he fights back against the system which forced him into a life of crime and becomes a political hero in the process. With Janet Barkley, Carl Bradshaw and Bob Charlton.

Cast & Crew

Ivanhoe "Ivan" Martin Jimmy Cliff
José Carl Bradshaw
Preacher Basil Keane
Elsa Janet Bartley
Police detective Winston Stona
Record company manager Bobby Charlton
Pedro Ras Daniel Hartman
Newspaper editor Adrian Robinson
Housewife Beverly Manley
Rupert Man-i-Hartman
Director Perry Henzell
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Other Information

Language: +subtitlesColourTheatrical distributor: Lagoon Assoc ProdsGuidance: Contains violence, swearing, drug abuse and nudity.Available on: video, DVD and Blu-ray