The Harder They Come

Dir: Perry Henzell
Cast: Jimmy Cliff, Janet Bartley, Carl Bradshaw
103mins   1977   Jamaica   15   English   

Part of our Black History Month programme

Ivanhoe Martin arrives in Kingston, Jamaica, looking for work and, after some initial struggles, lands a recording contract as a reggae singer.

He records his first song, 'The Harder They Come' but after a bitter dispute with a manipulative producer named Hilton soon finds himself resorting to petty crime in order to pay the bills. He deals marijuana, kills some abusive cops and earns local folk hero status. Meanwhile, his record is topping the charts.

'The reggae soundtrack throbs and crunches and shudders in concert with the raw energy of Henzell's storytelling and Cliff's performance' - Peter Bradshaw, Guardian