The Harder They Come


Action / Crime / Drama / Music

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 89%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 83%
IMDb Rating 7 10 4490


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October 17, 2015 at 12:32 AM



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810.57 MB
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1hr 43 min
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1hr 43 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Jason Forestein ([email protected]) 8 / 10

They shot Pedro's wife...

Like most "important" films, "The Harder They Come" is a flawed masterpiece whose inextricable link to a specific time and place and heavy-handed thematics are both its greatest strengths and its greatest weaknesses.

The film follows Ivan Martin, almost quite literally, as he transforms himself from a country bumpkin into an urban outlaw cum reggae star. There are precious few frames missing the amazing visage of Jimmy Cliff, but that is no shortcoming, despite the singer's lack of acting experience. He lends an immediacy to Ivan, and a impish charm, that completely wins us over, as it does almost everyone he meets in the film. The characterization of Ivan isn't particularly deep, but it does not need to be. With a few broad strokes, we understand this man.

As an anthropological exploration of early 1970s Kingston, the film also works particularly well. The squalor and desolation we see, though perhaps exaggerated, is not forced or factitious. You could not make this poverty up.

That said, this film is not timeless. It is tied so much to that specific time--the popularity of the radio DJs, the burgeoning reggae scene, the anti-authoritarian themes--that the film does seem a little quaint.

Nor is the outlaw as folk-hero tale anything new to American audiences. The film makes no pretense that it should seem unique, though, as it clearly draws our attention to its debt to the Hollywood western.

Nevertheless, the film is an incredible success. The acting, especially by Jimmy Cliff, is exuberant as are the sights that unfold before the audience. And this energy is of course paralleled by an amazing score. If you cannot appreciate the joy and sweat that has gone into this music, your ears are closed. Look to the scenes of Ivan recording his hit song--and the other scenes of artists recording their works--and you will find something sublime that no amount of acting could create. Its immediate and visceral and on its own is enough to recommend this film.

I have a friend who has studied filmwriting in school and dislikes this movie immensely because, he claims, the movie lacks the techniques one usually finds in well written and well made films. Though I understand his point of view, I think it is too much skewed by mechanics. A film can have an aura and atmosphere that can overcome any number of technical faults. I believe this is one of those films.

Reviewed by divergent-thinking 10 / 10

slightly pornographic title, but great film!

This film is a perfect example of the Jamican city struggle, this film is a real depiction of Jamaican people. Technically it is poorly shot and edited, but if you can look past these issues you will have a greater understanding of Jamaican people, the struggles faced and a realization of how the ghettos developed. I lived in Kingston Jamaica in the 80s as a youth, through innocents I loved every part of Jamaica the music, food, people, beaches and weather but not the history or politics which a later learned more about. Jamaica has developed a society through mislead innocents of the youth, selfish politicians who cared for money and power created what Jamaica is today. Imagine coming in from the country as so many did in the 60's & 70's and learning the only work you could find was selling drugs or robbing, Oh no you wouldn't do that? but when a human being begins to starve they will do almost anything to survive it is instinct. This movie is about exactly that survivalist instinct and tendencies.

Reviewed by rina deych 10 / 10

awesome, timeless film

amazing film. i'd seen it in the movies when it first came out. this is the film that really introduced me to reggae music. for a film that was obviously made on a limited budget, it has everything. it touches every emotion and teaches many life lessons with a beautiful backdrop of real and raw Jamaican life. the plot is basically a poor boy who dreams of becoming famous through his music - regardless of the price. to me it represents the epitome of human nature. i think it also typifies the music industry worldwide and the frustrations and obstacles artists must overcome. i've recently purchased the film on DVD and now, years later, it's just as awesome as the first time i saw it!

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