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The Harder They Come (2 Disc re-mastered Special Edition including Soundtrack) [DVD]

Jimmy Cliff , Janet Barkley , Perry Henzell    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

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The Harder They Come (2 Disc re-mastered Special Edition including Soundtrack) [DVD] + Babylon [DVD] + Rockers [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Jimmy Cliff, Janet Barkley, Ras Daniel Hartman, Carl Bradshaw, Basil Keame
  • Directors: Perry Henzell
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Revolver Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 21 May 2007
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 83,339 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Cult Jamaican classic starring reggae star Jimmy Cliff as Ivanhoe Martin, a country boy who comes to Kingston to make it big in the music industry. Hampered by payola and music industry corruption, Ivanhoe turns to ganja-dealing to try and make ends meet. Events spiral out of his control and he soon finds himself on the run from the police. The celebrated soundtrack is peppered with reggae classics by the likes of Toots and the Maytals, Desmond Dekker, The Melodians and Cliff himself who performs, among others, the title track and the timeless 'Many Rivers to Cross'.


Director-producer Perry Henzel's all-Jamaican 1973 classic The Harder They Come--one of the most beloved of all international cult favourites--fiercely expresses the live-wire Jamaican spirit when an impoverished Africa tuned to American radio. Ivan, a country boy who dreams of fame as a singer, rides into Kingston on a rickety country bus in the opening scenes, only to meet with disaster heaped on disaster at the hands of those masked as friends. In a breathless defining climax, Ivan finally breaks from his passivity and begins to wreak his revenge. Soon Kingston's music Mafia and the equally corrupt authorities are after him, but like the real-life people's hero (a man named Rhygin) on whom this character is partially based, Ivan leads them on a maddening chase eluding capture until the movie's shocking final moments. ,p.

The film incorporates an archetypal passion for "outlaw" justice common to American Westerns, which were a staple of the Caribbean theatre circuit at the time. Released just 12 years after Jamaica achieved independence, The Harder They Come also reflects the disenchantment that soon followed a massive post-independence exodus from the island's country hamlets to the tropical ghettos of Kingston, where a more grinding urban poverty awaited. Brilliantly shot, directed, written, and acted; singer Jimmy Cliff excels in the leading role and Carl Bradshaw shines as his arch-enemy, the film tells an anthemic Jamaican story to seductive rhythms of a soundtrack that became a reggae bestseller.--Elena Oumano --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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 TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
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.
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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
By Dave H
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
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 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Classic film - misleading release 18 Jun 2008
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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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
Format:VHS Tape
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful


" * * * * * 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.


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

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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Music Drama
Must see drama with great Music
Published 14 days ago by Sue
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good dvd. shame they did not make a second one
Published 1 month ago by Mrs Julie Weston
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good film
Published 1 month ago by Jah Son
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellent movie.
Published 3 months ago by Dims Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars A present that was well-received
We bought this as a gift for a family member and they were very pleased. Haven't seen it myself yet but no doubt will in the future.
Published 7 months ago by Diana at The Saker
4.0 out of 5 stars great film
In my opinion the best film out of Jamaica. Great songs, great scenery and Jimmy Cliff proves he an act as well as sing. Read more
Published 8 months ago by shirl
5.0 out of 5 stars The oldies like it lol
Not for me
Published 9 months ago by annalise
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly modern..
An old film but with a a surprisingly modern feel. Music excellent and atmosphere of the time well expressed. Surely a cult classic!
Published 9 months ago by Jan Ayre
5.0 out of 5 stars 1972 Jamaican cult classic
This 1972 Jamaican cult classic skillfully and smoothly combines drama and gangster action in a very realistic and gritty way with the best of early reggae. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Gary Selikow
5.0 out of 5 stars music
u gots to love jimmy cliff
one of my favourite albums, takes me back to when i was not even here
its fab!
Published 11 months ago by Miss C Heholt
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