Ivan is an innocent country boy who travels to Kingston in the hope of finding fame and fortune, only to be ripped off and churned out in the big city, drifting into poverty and crime before plotting a bitter, violent revenge. Perry Henzell’s raw, reggae epic was based on real events and reportedly reflected the way many artists were treated when making music in Jamaica in the 1970s.
The Harder They Come remains an uncompromising thrill, with Jimmy Cliff at its centre. He is electrifying as Ivan, and the songs he contributed to the film are part of a legendary soundtrack. (Notes by Michael Hayden.)
This film is screening as part of Rock&Roll, the final of our three-month season dedicated to excess, presenting examples of how cinema has taken on sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll in Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll.