The Netflix Western Epic With Marvel Stars Turns The Genre Upside Down

By Charlene Badasie | Published

The 2021 Western film The Harder They Fall, directed by Jeymes Samuel from a script he co-wrote with Boaz Yakin, is available to stream on Netflix. The movie features a star-studded cast, including Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Regina King, Delroy Lindo, Lakeith Stanfield, RJ Cyler, Danielle Deadwyler, Edi Gathegi, and Deon Cole.

The Harder They Fall Features Jonathan Majors

jonathan majors

A rarity in the Western genre, as it boasts a principal cast of Black actors, The Harder They Fall draws inspiration from real-life figures, cowboys, lawmen, and outlaws from the American West in the 19th century. The story begins when an eleven-year-old Nat Love (Chase Dillon) witnesses the brutal murder of his parents at the hands of Rufus Buck (Idris Elba) and his accomplice Cortez (Julio Cesar Cedillo).

An Update Of The Classic Western

The Harder They Fall picks up two decades later with Nat Love (Jonathan Majors) determined to avenge his parents. Accompanied by his skilled partners, Bill Pickett (Edi Gathegi) and Jim Beckwourth (RJ Cyler), they ambush a gang called the Crimson Hood, stealing ill-gotten gains that tie back to Rufus Buck. As the past resurfaces, Love visits his former girlfriend, Mary Fields (Zazie Beetz).

Yes, There’s A Climatic Showdown

Buck, now incarcerated, is forcefully freed by his ruthless gang led by Trudy Smith (Regina King) and Cherokee Bill (Lakeith Stanfield). Their mission is to wreak havoc on Redwood City, which is corruptly governed by Sheriff Wiley Escoe. Buck’s demand for a hefty ransom plunges the town into chaos, setting the stage for a major showdown in The Harder They Fall.

Everything You Love About The Wild West

U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves (Delroy Lindo) apprehends Love, who realizes Buck is no longer behind bars. Reeves proposes an alliance, offering Love a chance for revenge. Love’s gang, including Mary Fields and her enforcer Cuffee (Danielle Deadwyler), join the fray. Redwood City becomes a battleground, with Love facing off against Buck before a shocking truth is revealed.

Streaming On Netflix

The Harder They Fall premiered at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2021. Following a limited release, the movie became available for streaming on Netflix about a month later. The film received positive reviews from viewers and critics. Audiences appreciated its fresh take on the Western genre, stylish visuals, and the energetic performances of the cast.

Critics Praised The Harder They Fall

Critics praised The Harder They Fall for its originality, strong character development, and engaging storytelling. The movie was particularly lauded for its representation of Black characters in a genre not traditionally known for diversity. While it took inspiration from historical figures like Nat Love and Rufus Buck, the story blended actual events with fiction to create an entertaining narrative.

Fans Love The Film For The Outstanding Cast

The Harder They Fall holds an 88 percent critics score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes alongside a 93 audience rating. The site’s critics’ general consensus says that although the film is not as audacious as its characters, the story impressively injects style, vitality, and an outstanding cast into a familiar framework.

One Of The Best Westerns On Netflix

The cast of The Harder They Fall went on to prosper in their already successful acting careers following its release. Jonathan Majors starred in Devotion, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Creed III, and the Disney+ television series Loki. Idris Elba and Regina King have been working on various upcoming projects, such as Heads of State and Shirley, respectively.