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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars enthralling bleak realism with reggae twist
This bleak tale set in Jamaica grabs hold of you and does not let go.
The story is of a young man Ivan, based loosely on a real life newspaper story of the time, who comes from the country looking for work in the city. He finds only rejection and dishonesty, and is lured to a life of crime through having no other options. The oppression of poverty and corruption of...
Published on 8 July 2005 by Mr. Stephen Kennedy

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Classic film - misleading release
I have to agree with Christopher below - I bought this DVD because it was tagged as an anamorphic release, and Revolver's excuse as mentioned by reggaedefender sounds pretty weak - many thousands of films have been successfully converted into anamorphic widescreen for DVD release and look all the better for it. The film is an undoubted masterpiece, and the included...
Published on 18 Jun 2008 by Mark Angus


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars enthralling bleak realism with reggae twist, 8 July 2005
By 
Mr. Stephen Kennedy "skenn1701a" (Doha, Qatar) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Harder They Come [DVD] (DVD)
This bleak tale set in Jamaica grabs hold of you and does not let go.
The story is of a young man Ivan, based loosely on a real life newspaper story of the time, who comes from the country looking for work in the city. He finds only rejection and dishonesty, and is lured to a life of crime through having no other options. The oppression of poverty and corruption of the city oppresses him (and us the viewer) until he snaps, and embarks on a violent revenge to get what he feels he deserves. In the end, all he gets is a defining moment of violence in the final moments of the film. Westerns were popular in Jamaica at the time, and this is reflected in the moments of the Django movie we see Ivan watch with his friends, one of the few moments of pleasure we see him have. That movie moment is echoed effectively in the final scenes in helping us realise Ivans detachment from reality at that point.
The camerawork and locations are simultaeously obviously low budget and yet often brilliant. The hand held camerawork combines with some often excellent cinematographic eye for creating a canvas, portraying a real and vivid Jamaica that you don't see in the travel brochures. The locations were largely what they could use for little cost, and yet every one effective in adding to the tale and the background colour, often making this feel like a documentary of life in Jamaica.
The realism is helped immensely by the cast, most of whom you get the feeling are potraying real vignettes from their lifes and situations they can relate to. Jimmy Cliff is raw and full of the youthful energy his character is supposed to have.
The music is one of the defining characterisitics of the picture, and even not being a reggae fan, the music and the way in which the scenes are shot long before music videos existed take hold of you and don't let you be tempted to push the fast forward button.
Admittedly the film is dated, and the transfer to film is without any restoration and so appears washed out and full of scratches and marks - but somehow this just adds to the feeling of poverty and once you get past it, does not detract from the enjoyment of the movie.
Rent this not for a blaxpoitation movie or easy viewing, but for a defining moment in 70's cinema, in Jimmy Cliffs career, and in reggae music.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How can you love cinema or Reggae and NOT have this DVD, 25 Sep 2011
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How can you love cinema or Reggae and NOT have this DVD?
One of the greatest movies - gritty, sharp and very uncomfortable.
Jimmy Cliff is brilliant, the music is awesome and the way that Jamaica and the politics of the time are presented is painfully accurate.

A work of real genius.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!! Hard hitting realism at its Best!!, 25 Mar 2002
Ivan, who is sick of the countryside and the hardship there, decides to move to Kingston with the dream of becoming a singer. However, he finds that the hardship situation is no better than in the countryside, and turns to ecoming involved with cannabis smuggling.
The film explores the life of the ordinary people in Jamaica in the 70s,and the gritty realism of life on the streets.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive release of a classic film, 29 Nov 2007
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Whilst Christopher may be technically correct (see earlier review), I feel his review is very harsh. In fact I nearly didn't buy this DVD because of it. Thankfully I did and I'm very pleased with it. As he said the sound quality is excellent and the soundtrack is also supplied on a separate CD. As for the picture quality in my view it is also excellent. It's certainly far superior to my VHS copy (obviously) and leagues better than my 2001 BMG DVD release. With all the additional features as well I think it's fair to describe this release as the definitive version of this great film.

I actually contacted the company that released this DVD (Revolver) asking them about Christopher's comments and they responded with this very helpful reply; "The Harder The Come is fundamentally 4x3 (which is 1,33:1) as that is the way it was shot. However, for Revolver's release the 4x3 image is in a 16.9 format frame. Because of this, when watching it on your television it will appear with black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. Handily enough, this means on a widescreen telly, you can do a "movie expand" and blow it up so that it loses both these bars and appears as 16x9. The only way to make the actual film 16x9 full frame (aka FHA -1,78:1) is to arc it, which is extremely costly and you also risk losing some of the original image. It would not be of any real benefit in this instance because of the way it was shot...plus the same effect can be achieved by using the options available on a widescreen TV."

As I said I am really pleased with this definitive release of a classic film and I'm confident you will be too.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Classic film - misleading release, 18 Jun 2008
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I have to agree with Christopher below - I bought this DVD because it was tagged as an anamorphic release, and Revolver's excuse as mentioned by reggaedefender sounds pretty weak - many thousands of films have been successfully converted into anamorphic widescreen for DVD release and look all the better for it. The film is an undoubted masterpiece, and the included soundtrack is fabulous, but the DVD is a disappointment. I fiddled around for a fair while until I got an approximate full-screen image on my widescreen tv, but the quality level was noticeably low due to all that wasted bandwidth.

I'd still recommend purchasing it, but buyer beware that this is not a definitive DVD release, just the best currently available.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE LEGENDARY FILM & REVOLUTIONARY SOUNDTRACK - 2 DISC CD/DVD, 18 May 2007
THE LEGENDARY FILM & REVOLUTIONARY SOUNDTRACK - TOGETHER AT LAST!

DIGITALLY REMASTERED - 2 DISC DVD & CD

" * * * * * Only sounds more alive thirty years after its original appearance" - Rolling Stone

The Film

This is the gritty, groundbreaking and truly legendary film that tells the story of Ivan Martin, an aspiring young singer-turned-outlaw, at war with Jamaica's music industry, the police, and his rivals in the ganja trade.

His dreams of stardom become reality as he rises to the top of the pop charts... and the most wanted list.

Digitally Remastered: This is the ultimate edition of The Harder They Come brought to you from the new High-Definition transfer and with Digitally Remastered sound to give you clarity like never before and a powerful 5.1 Audio option.

The soundtrack

Before the world knew or cared about Bob Marley this was reggae's defining mix of roots rhythms and social consciousness. For the decade before Marley's best-of album Legend in 1984, The Harder They Come was nothing less than the world's best-selling reggae album.

Tracklisting:

1. You Can Get It If You Really Want - Jimmy Cliff

2. Draw Your Breaks - Scotty

3. Rivers of Babylon - The Melodians

4. Many Rivers to Cross - Jimmy Cliff

5. Sweet and Dandy - The Maytals

6. The Harder They Come - Jimmy Cliff

7. Johnny Too Bad - The Slickers

8. Shanty Town - Desmond Dekker

9. Pressure Drop - The Maytals

10. Sitting in Limbo - Jimmy Cliff

11. You Can Get It If You Really Want - Jimmy Cliff

12. The Harder They Come - Jimmy Cliff

DVD contains over 3 hours of Extras:

One and All Featurette

Hard Road to Travel Featurette

Wild Side of Paradise Slideshow

Interviews with Jimmy Cliff, Arthur Gorson and director Perry Henzell

The Harder They Come music video

No Place Like Home preview trailer
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a struggle, 21 Jun 2011
this film has really made me aware how dificult it must of been to get noticed in the music era of that time,when being unknown with such natural talent would be a loss,this guy played by jimmy cliff was the perfect role for him
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 20$ for a record man, not happenin man..., 4 Mar 2004
A true classic, the story of a working class jamaican boy with dreams of becoming a musician, but just as it is ture to life is
messed about by the music industry. But for once instead of just taking it, he goes on a publicised crime spree.
After seeing this film i was reminded of Scarface, Young man comes to a new country with nothing, tries his best at a legitimate job but is shown the world of crime to which he becomes the leader of.
Most people back this film for its outstanding soundtrack and truth be told it is a reggae classic featuring The Maytals and Jimmy Cliff himself but try and put the soundtrack aside for a second and you will witness a truly amazing piece of jamaican cinema.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An all time classic, 24 Mar 2011
I can finally retire my well worn 20 year old video of this movie having now picked up this reasonably priced DVD version. What's not to like about this movie, the soundtrack is suberb including a great visual clip of Toots and the Maytals at the time in the recording studio and a young Jimmy Cliff showing parts of Jamica that the tourist board would not like us to see. A great feel good movie,despite the tragic if totally predicable ending for our hero. Totally impossible to understand without the subtitles switched on but there are very few films that appear to have been shot on the streets as it was. A totally convincing glimpse from the great days of reggea. One of the best movie soundtracks of all time. Many rivers to cross.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brutal & Honest account of what happens to good people, 26 April 2003
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In my opinion this film gives a very brutal and honest picture of just what people are reduced to when faced with poverty, hunger, humiliation and homelessness. Don't get me wrong, I do not condone or glorify violence. But at the end of the film, I had to ask myself one question. If hunger did not force Ivan to take up with a life of crime and if the big record exec's did not rob him of his royalties, if things were different would Ivan have met such a tragic end.
Being of Jamaican parentage and having visited this beautiful island on numerous occassions, one can almost understand and sympathise with people who despair of life and take drastic measures.
The Harder they Come succintly portrays what life was like (probably still is like) trying to survive in Kingston, Jamaica. Considering most of the cast were not even actors, they all turned out a fine performance. Truly an entertaining film.
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Harder They Come (1972) (import)
Harder They Come (1972) (import) by Perry Henzell (DVD)
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