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Critic's Pick: 'The Harder They Come'

Times critic Kenneth Turan suggests the 40th anniversary reissue of the Jamaican classic, which stars Jimmy Cliff and which introduced reggae to the wider world.

September 05, 2013|By Kenneth Turan
  • Jimmy Cliff in the 1973 film "The Harder They Come."
Jimmy Cliff in the 1973 film "The Harder They Come." (New World Release )

Can it really be 40 years since "The Harder They Come" made its American debut? It can be so, and it's a pleasure to have an anniversary reissue of this Jamaican epic playing at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica. Directed by Perry Henzell and starring Jimmy Cliff as a country boy who gets into trouble in the big city, "The Harder They Come" is the film that introduced reggae to a wider world. Featured artists on the soundtrack include Cliff, the Maytals, the Slickers and Desmond Dekker singing soon-to-be classics such as "You Can Get It If You Really Want," "Rivers of Babylon," "Sweet and Dandy," "Johnny Too Bad" and the title song. A great destination for a hot summer night.

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