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The Harder They Come 1972

The Harder They Come 1972

1973 · Jamaica

The Harder They Come is a 1972 Jamaican crime film directed by Perry Henzell and co-written by Trevor D. Rhone, and starring Jimmy Cliff.[2][3] The film is most famous for its reggae soundtrack that is said to have "brought reggae to the world".[4]

Enormously successful in Jamaica, the film also reached the international market and has been described as "possibly the most influential of Jamaican films and one of the most important films from the Caribbean"
Ivanhoe "Ivan" Martin is a poor Jamaican man in search of a job. He leaves his rural home after his grandmother dies to live with his impoverished mother in Kingston. He meets Jose, who takes him to see Django, a Spaghetti Western. Excited by urban life, he tries to get work but fails. He finally gets a job with a preacher, he also takes a broken bicycle frame and rebuilds it into a working bicycle, and uses it to run errands for a record producer. He gets into trouble with the preacher after he used his church for secular songs. After being fired by preacher he returned to the house to collect his bicycle, that preacher had now officially given to Ivan's colleague, the two fight after he refuses to give Ivan the cycle; Ivan slashes him with a knife, a crime for which he is sentenced to a whipping.

Ivan interests the record producer in a song he writes and performs, "The Harder They Come", but he only gets $20 for it. He dreams of stardom, but the stranglehold the producer has on the music industry condemns Ivan to work for a pittance. Eventually Jose offers him an opportunity dealing marijuana, moving the drug from the country to the city on a motorbike. When Ivan complains about the pay and conditions, Jose informs on him to the police. On his next trip, when a policeman tries to flag Ivan to stop, he panics and shoots the officer.

Next, Ivan meets a woman in a hotel. While he is in bed with her, the police surround the room and try to capture him. He shoots his way out, killing three officers. On the run, he returns to shoot and wound the girl he slept with, believing she and Jose betrayed him. He then finds Jose and pursues him, shooting at him, but Jose escapes.

Ivan returns to the countryside, but the police catch up with him, leading to another shootout and escape. Ivan seeks support from his drug-dealer friends, who help him hide out. The policeman leading the search cracks down on the drug trade, telling the dealers he will not relax the pressure until they give Ivan up. Meanwhile, the record producer re-releases Ivan's song, which rapidly becomes a hit because of Ivan's notoriety. Enamoured of his new fame, Ivan has photographs of himself made holding two guns in gangster poses, and he sends them to the press. He also steals a flashy car and drives it around a golf course.

One dealer friend advises Ivan to escape to Cuba. Seeing the ship he hoped to escape on leaving, Ivan swims out towards the speeding vessel. However, he cannot grab onto the ladder dangling off the side, and he opens his eyes to find himself beached ashore.

Ivan sleeps in the shade of a tree then awakens, alerted to the presence of policemen with rifles. He exchanges shots with the police while imagining himself being watched by an excited, applauding audience, just like the one he had watched Django with. Out of bullets, he comes out and challenges the police to draw. The police shoot him many times, and he drops. The film ends abruptly, cutting to a shot of a woman's torso gyrating to the sound of Ivan's song over the creditsJimmy Cliff as Ivanhoe "Ivan" Martin
Janet Bartley as Elsa
Carl Bradshaw as Jose
Ras Daniel Heartman as Pedro
Basil Keane as Preacher
Bob Charlton as Hilton
Winston Stona as Detective Ray Jones
Franco Nero (archive footage) as Django
Leslie Kong in a mostly non speaking role as the Record Producer
Prince Buster in a cameo role (DJ at Dance)[