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“The Harder They Come isn’t just a film, it’s an experience…. after you’ve seen it, you’ll know what all the fuss is about.”

The 1973 U.S. launch of The Harder They Come led to four decades of smoke filled late night-screenings around the world. When Bob Marley and the Wailers first toured America later that year, they appeared in many of the same theaters that were screening The Harder They Come.

This uniquely homegrown Jamaican film has gone on to become one of the best regarded independent features of all time. 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 (second only to the film’s Midnight Movies cousin – Rocky Horror Picture Show).

For 40 years, critics and audiences from all walks of life have sung the praises of Perry Henzell’s gritty, groundbreaking masterpiece that brought reggae music to the international stage, helped make Jimmy Cliff a worldwide star, and demonstrated that music and art can change the world.

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 exploits naïve young artists because he controls the 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.



It was 1972 at the Orson Welles Theater in Cambridge, when Perry Henzell introduced the world to reggae music and his homeland – Jamaica. Blessed with one of the greatest soundtracks of all time, The Harder They Come propelled Jimmy Cliff to international stardom. Today, 40 years later, the film lives on as proof that an authentic story well told can captivate a global audience.