Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff stars as Ivan Martin, an aspiring young singer who leaves his rural village for the capital city of Kingston, Jamaica hoping to make a name for himself. Robbed of his money and possessions on his first day in town, he finds work with a self-righteous, bullying preacher and an unscrupulous music mogul who exploits naive hopefuls. In desperation, the simple country boy turns outlaw, at war with both the police and his rivals in the ganja trade. Ivan’s dream of stardom soon becomes a reality as he rises to the top of the pop charts and the most-wanted lists. This gritty, groundbreaking film brought reggae music to the international stage, made Jimmy Cliff a star worldwide, and demonstrated that music and art can change the world.
“While the distinct island sounds remain forever lodged in the public consciousness, it would be a shame to forget the corrosive and politically radical vehicle that brought them there…. While it was ultimately the songs —’You Can Get It If You Really Want,’ ‘Many Rivers To Cross,’ ‘Pressure Drop,’ and the title track, among other classics — that carried the day, THE HARDER THEY COME remains a powerful testament to their meaning.” —Scott Tobias, The A.V. Club “The reggae soundtrack throbs and crunches and shudders in concert with the raw energy of Henzell’s storytelling and Cliff’s performance, but this doesn’t preclude a shrewdly self-aware debate about representation.” —Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian