If you are love Jamaican culture then you must take the time to watch films that are based on the lives of people living in Jamaican and abroad. Unfortunately not all of them are well received by fans and critics. This list contains 30 of the best and worst over the last 40 years base on critics and viewers review on IMDB.
30 Rude Boy (2003) - 4.5
Julius, a young man who has his eyes set on becoming a famous deejay like Bob Marley, is desperate for a chance to go to L.A. and further his music career. Julius agrees to become a drug mule for Jamaican Crime lord Crown and his henchman Gargon in exchange for a passport and visa. Once in L.A. and trying to go straight Julius is still struggling and excepts a job as a hit-man for the drug lord Biggs. Before long, he finds himself immersed in a world and crime and is caught up in a war between the Jamaican gangs and the L.A. gangs without any hope of escape.
29 King of the Dancehall (2016) - 5.1
A young man from Brooklyn gets caught up in Jamaica's lively Dancehall music scene. You would think this would make for an interesting story about the Dancehall scene, unfortunately that is not the case. Although it does prove great visuals, the plot and acting was not great. There are documentaries and videos on Youtube that provide a better look at the Dancehall culture.
28 How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998) - 5.7
Stella is a highly successful, forty-something San Francisco stock broker who is persuaded by her colorful New York girlfriend Delilah to take a well deserved, first-class vacation to Jamaica. While on the trip she met a young Jamaican man who is younger and started a romantic relationship. Unfortunately, this movie was not easy to watch and definitely panned by by Jamaicans because of the fake accents that were used by the actors.
27 Yardie (2018) - 5.8
British crime drama film directed by Idris Elba based on the novel of the same name by Jamaican-born writer Victor Headley. Recently reeling from his brother’s death in a shooting when he was a child, Dennis Campbell, aka “D”, is hired by Jamaican crimelord and reggae producer King Fox to deliver a package of cocaine to Jamaican gangster Rico who resides in the Borough of Hackney in London. But when Dennis finds out that the man who killed his brother years ago is also living in England, he is torn between revenge against the murderer and the duty he was sworn to do.
There are many things to like about this movie regardless if the critics weren't kind to it. The acting was on point, the plot, direction and pace was good. For a Jamaican, this movie represent a part of a life some once lived.
26 Sprinter (2018) - 6
A boy separated from his mother who has moved to the U.S. for a better life, is set to be Jamaica's next track-and-field sensation. This movie has heart and it is a good sports movie that helps to tell the story about what a lot of people from the caribbean have to endure for the sake of living a better life.
25 The Lunatic (1991) - 6
The story of a village madman, Aloysious, who has the amazing ability to talk to anything, including trees, cows and cricket balls. Portrayed from a Jamaican prospective with an acute eye for the authentic dialect of the land. Aloysious meets Inga, a German nymphomaniac, who uses her 'pum pum power' to capture his heart.
This is a well reverred Jamaican movie and loved by most. Paul Campbell plays and absolutely fantastic "Madman" who hears voices.
24 Belly (1998) - 6.2
Two young friends involved in organized crime and drug dealing in Queens, New York, find that their priorities differ. Tommy asks Sincere to help him sell a new form of heroin. Sincere, who has begun having second thoughts about his life of crime, reluctantly agrees. Tommy then visits Ox, a wealthy Jamaican drug lord played by the now deceased Louie Rankin, who agrees to obtain the heroin on the condition that Tommy repay him with a favor at a later date.
This movie was a hit in the urban community, except for the unexpected climax that took a huge turn. There are several quotable scenes performed by DMX and Louie Rankin that viewers repeat now in their daily venacular.
23 Klash (1995) - 6.2
A Reggae-soaked noir film about a photographer who falls in love with a dancehall girl and her world of crime. Stepped in the human atmosphere of Jamaica, and set against a classic, pulsating score, KLASH combines the hard-edged style of ''THE HARDER THEY COME'' with the sultry intrigue of film noir. A world-weary photographer past his prime comes to Kingston to photograph the Klash, an electrifying battle of the world's best Reggae and Dancehall performers and sound system.
Some may think that the rating is an indication that the movie was somewhat good. Unfortunately, Jamaican viewers disagreed and completely loss memory of its existence.
22 Third World Cop (1999) - 6.2
A police officer returns to his neighborhood in Kingston, Jamaica to find himself in conflict with his childhood friend who is now the right-hand-man of the local gang-lord in a gun-running racket.
In comparison to Klash, this provided a raw look at police and criminal life and how they interwine because of friendships. It is one of Jamaica's highest-grossing film to date.
21 Shottas (2002) - 6.2
The movie about Wayne and Biggs who grew up together on the tough and dangerous streets of Kingston, Jamaica. Eventually moving to Miami, they begin a ruthless climb to the top of a criminal enterprise as they aggressively take control of the Jamaican mob.
The movie became popular due to unauthorized bootleg sales prior to its official release in 2002. Although there were significant differences between the early cuts on the bootleg version, viewers still love and enjoy the official cut. Hence the reason it is now a cult classic alongside "Scarface".
20 Better Mus' Come (2011) - 6.2
The film follows warring political factions in 1970s Jamaica as they enlist the support of gangs to enforce their policies, and advance their political agenda. It is a fictionalized dramatization of real historical events, specifically, the Green Bay Massacre, where the government finally tracked down these gangs and had systematically wiped them out.
19 Jamaican Mafia (2015) - 6.3
Jamaican Mafia is a gangster-thriller movie in the vein of Goodfellas and Shottas, which follows Zoolian Anderson (Zoo-Zoo), a frustrated Car Salesman who desperately desires riches and respect, and discovers he's the nephew of a powerful crime-boss when he decides to quit the corporate world to join the illicit organization better known as the 'Jamaican Mafia'.
Its amazing how this movie has a better ratings than Shotta's even though it was ten times better. Besides Paul Campbell the acting in this one was dreadful. Still can't make it through 20 minutes of the movie.
18 One Love (2003) - 6.4
A rasta musician meets a gospel singer when they both enter a music contest in Kingston Jamaic. They fall for each other but are kept apart by the Girl's father the Pastor, who wants her to marry into the church.
17 Inna De Yard (2018) - 6.5
A portrait of a group of pioneering reggae musicians, 'Inna De Yard' captures the ongoing relevance of reggae and its social values, and the music's passion to revitalize an older generation while passing it on to younger listeners.
16 Home Again (2012) - 6.5
Three Jamaicans, who are deported from the U.S., Canada, and England, must make their way in a land that they are not familiar with. These characters are victims of circumstances which is all too real for people who are currently living through situations like this. It is definitely a good representation of the Jamaican experience.
15 Smile Orange (1976) - 6.6
Smile Orange is a 1976 satirical film set in Jamaica. It follows the day-to-day life of Ringo, played by Carl Bradshaw, a smooth-talking waiter and con-man. The film explores the tourism industry in the Caribbean and seems to suggest there are similarities to slavery in that industry.
This was one of the original Jamaican dramatic comedies that were once a pride of the country. Carl Bradshaw and company provided a realistic dramatization of the industry that is still the main source of revenue for the island to this day.
14 Rent a Rasta (2006) - 6.6
When white women flock to Jamaica for a little fun in the sun, the R&R they're often looking for is not "Rest and Relaxation" but to "Rent a Rasta".
This is a good documentary that bring to light the thriving sex tourism that is not often talked about in Jamaica.
13 Countryman (1982) - 6.7
Countryman is a 1982 action/adventure film directed by Dickie Jobson. It tells the story of a Jamaican fisherman whose solitude is shattered when he rescues two Americans from the wreckage of a plane crash. The fisherman, called Countryman, is hurled into a political plot by the dangerous Colonel Sinclair.
12 Made In Jamaica (2006) - 6.7
Made in Jamaica (2006) 120 min | Documentary, Music. A powerful portrait of the leaders of the reggae music Movement, and how Reggae has become a worldwide phenomenon. The film showcases performances by the best Reggae and Dance Hall artists ever assembled.
11 Ghett'a Life (2011) - 6.8
A ghetto teenager battles against the odds to become a boxing champion. The movie is set in the backdrop of political division among garrison communities run by Dons who are often given the reins by politicians in order to secure this political stronghold.
10 The Harder They Come (1972) - 6.9
Wishing to become a successful Reggae singer, a young Jamaican man played Jimmy Cliff finds himself tied to corrupt record producers and drug pushers. It displays the influence of westerns on the gunman culture later celebrated in poor communities in Jamaica.
The film was enormously successful in Jamaica, and also reached the international market and has been described as "possibly the most influential of Jamaican films and one of the most important films from the Caribbean".
9 Dancehall Queen (1997) - 6.9
A single street vendor disguises herself for a dance contest, and pits her enemies against each other. One would think a movie that is music driven especially made in Jamaica would be heavily focused on music. Fortunately, this movie strayed from that trap and stayed on the substance of the plot, acting and direction. Overall it is a good movie that you got to watch.
8 Cool Runnings (1993) - 7
Leave it to Disney to take a real life story and dramatize it for the screen and done it good enough hardcore Jamaicans couldn't contest it. It tell the of a Jamaican sprinter who was disqualified from the Olympic Games. To continue his Olympics dreams he enlists the help of a dishonored coach to start the first Jamaican Bobsled Team. The result, a funny and dramatic sports movie deserving for its somewhat good representation of Jamaicans when it comes to sports.
7 Babylon (1980) - 7.2
The movie centers around Brindsley Forde's character Blue. He fronts a reggae sound system based in west London. The movie captures the trials and tribulations of young black youths in troubled London in the early eighties.
6 Glory to Glorianna (2006) - 7.4
The rags to riches story of a young country girl, Gloria Minto who was determined to makes the most of life. She came from humble beginnings and with the help of those around her and the will of only a Jamaican woman, she fought her way to success and prosperity.
5 Kingston Paradise (2013) - 7.4
Life on the streets of Kingston, Jamaica is about frantic survival for small-time hustler Rocksy—a taxi driver/part-time pimp—and Rosie, a prostitute, his roomie and business investment. They dream of something different, another life with a future. The hustler's journey into chaos to steal a car and his lady friends dream for peace from a painting, forces a crime that changes their lives forever.
4 Life and Debt (2001) - 7.5
Life and Debt is a documentary film directed by Stephanie Black. It examines the economic and social situation in Jamaica, and specifically how the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank's structural adjustment policies have impacted the island. It takes an opposing look at the effects of globalization on Jamaican industry and agriculture.
3 Rockers (1978) - 7.6
Horsemouth sets himself up in business selling records but when gangsters steal his bike things start to turn nasty. As tensions build, Horsemouth and friends plot to end the gangsters reign of terror and restore justice to the people of Kingston.
Rockers was originally intended to be a documentary but blossomed into a full-length feature showing the reggae culture at its peak. The film features authentic culture, characters and mannerisms. The main rocker Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace, for example, is shown living with his actual wife and kids and in his own home.
2 Out The Gate (2011) - 7.9
After a turn of unfortunate events in Jamaica, Everton leaves his home to make it big in the music business in America. Everything is not a bed of roses in Hollywood, but with struggles and perseverance he finds love and success, only to have it all threatened when the Don of LA (Paul Campbell) wants his dues.
1 Marley (2012) - 8
A documentary on the life, music, and legacy of Bob Marley. It spans the life and musical career of legendary singer, mainly as seen through the eyes of those who knew him and contributed to the documentary, including Bunny Wailer, Rita Marley, Lee "Scratch" Perry and many others.
If any Jamaica film that should be top rated it had to be one about the prolific singer songwriter.