Entertainment Weekly - 05/23/2003
"...Movie aficionados appreciate it as the definition of tuffer-than-tuff gangster cool..."
Mojo - 12/01/2004
"[The film] also works as a scathing attack on police corruption, organised religion and the reggae industry."
Rolling Stone - 09/07/2006 4 stars out of 4 -- "Perry Henzell's 1972 classic made Jimmy cliff a star for his iconic portrayal of Ivan Martin..."
Total Film - 07/01/2007 4 stars out of 5 -- "It's elevated to greatness by one thing...an unmatchable reggae-tastic soundtrack."
Reggae music serves as both soundtrack and plot element in THE HARDER THEY COME, a groundbreaking classic starring music legend Jimmy Cliff. Such hits as "You Can Get It If You Really Want," "Many Rivers to Cross," and "Sitting in Limbo," punctuate the film's action, introducing reggae and its Jamaican roots to a worldwide audience. Here, Cliff plays Ivan Martin, a poor country boy who goes to the city to make money, becoming a street rebel and a pop idol overnight. In Kingston, Ivan finds nothing but corruption. The record company offers him a mere $20 to release his single, "The Harder They Come." Ivan takes to the streets, where he is ensnared by crime. After brutally knifing a man, he serves a prison sentence. Once free, he supports himself by selling marijuana, protecting himself from legal persecution by giving the cops a cut. But that doesn't keep him from getting mixed up in a police raid. Ivan quickly develops a reputation as a Kingston criminal, and when his single "The Harder They Come" is finally released, it fuels his bad-boy notoriety, culminating in a tragic conclusion. Perry Henzel's 1973 film has become a cult classic and was an important factor in bringing reggae music to the fore. The movie served as a device for promoting Cliff's album and bringing him visibility as a primary Jamaican artist, on a par with Bob Marley.