'The Harder They Come' to be re-released for 40th anniversary

Perry Henzell's cult classic "The Harder They Come" is being re-released in theaters for one night only next month to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its U.S. premiere.

Jamaican singer/actor Jimmy Cliff stars in the crime thriller as Ivanhoe "Ivan" Martin, a reggae singer-songwriter who ends up turning to a life of crime after he is swindled by a corrupt record producer.


The film, which opened in New York in February 1973, quickly became one of the most popular midnight movies around the country — including at the Nuart in West Los Angeles. The movie also helped introduce the world to reggae music.

The soundtrack featured Cliff performing the title tune plus three earlier songs he had recorded. Other reggae singers featured include the Melodians, the Slickers, DJ Scotty and Desmond Dekker.

The influential bestselling album, which paved the way for such reggae artists as Bob Marley, ranked No. 119 on Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

"The Harder They Come" has been restored and remastered and will have a special screening Sept. 3 at the ArcLight in Hollywood before it goes into wider release in major markets in the U.S. on Sept. 5. Locally, the film will screen on Sept. 5 at the American Cinematheque's Aero Theatre.

The film will be released later this year on Blu-ray.

"I knew 40 years ago we had something special with the film," said Cliff in a statement. "With the re-release of 'The Harder They Come,' combined with my upcoming tour and recent Grammy win, I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate the past, present and future."