The 1973 U.S. launch of The Harder They Come led to four decades of smoke-filled late night college campus screenings and love-ins for reggae music fans and Jamaicans around the world. When Bob Marley and the Wailers first toured America later that year, they appeared in many of the same theaters that had screened The Harder They Come.
For 40 years, critics and audiences from all walks of life have sung the praises of Perry Henzell’s gritty, groundbreaking masterpiece that brought roots reggae music to the international stage, helped make Jimmy Cliff a worldwide star, and showed that music and art can change the world. This uniquely homegrown Jamaican film has gone on to become one of the best regarded indie film features of all time.
Rated among AMC’s top 50 all-time cult classics, The Harder They Come’s six year run at The Orson Welles Theater in Boston is the second longest continuous theatrical run in American history (behind only the film’s Midnight Movies cousin – The Rocky Horror Picture Show).
Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff stars as Ivan, an aspiring young singer who leaves his rural village for the capital city of Kingston hoping to make a name for himself. Robbed of his money and possessions his first day in town, Ivan records a song for an unscrupulous music mogul, Mr. Hilton, who controls the local music business. When Ivan’s song becomes a hit but he sees none of the money, the simple country boy turns outlaw. At war with both the police and rivals in the ganja trade, Ivan rises quickly to the top of the pop charts ...and the most-wanted lists.