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'The Harder They Fall' takeaway: Understanding the need for proper representation with Netflix's western drama

A still from Netflix's 'The Harder They Fall' (Image via Netflix)
A still from Netflix's 'The Harder They Fall' (Image via Netflix)
Shruti Kotiya

The western drama, The Harder They Fall, is now streaming on Netflix and is a must-watch not only for action film lovers but also for those who love historical dramas.

Although a fictional film, the key characters from The Harder They Fall drew inspiration from real-life Black Wild West figures like Stagecoach Mary, Trudy Smith, Nat Love, Rufus Buck and Cherokee Bill portrayed by Zazie Beets, Regina King, Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba and LaKeith Stanfield, respectively.

A story reimagined from Jeymes Samuel's perception of the old west, The Harder They Fall revolves around two rival gangs hungry for each other's blood and revenge.

It's time to understand what lesson was learned from Netflix's The Harder They Fall.


'The Harder They Fall': The importance of rightful representation

Boy, have we waited for this one? The Harder They Fall is now streaming 🐎 https://t.co/LzXQTKSEtF

The Harder They Fall opens with "While the events of this story are fictional...These. People. Existed." The film recognizes the forgotten legends of the west and feels like a shout to be heard for talking about such heroes of color. Black people in period pieces should not be considered unimportant, that's the main takeaway from the film.

Regina King, who plays Trudy Smith in the film, revealed the real reason why she decided to do this specific film:

"It was just a space that we don’t get to see ourselves in, one; and two, how often do we get the opportunity to have that big film with all of those people? You don’t hear that. Usually for us if it’s something like that—and it’s been a long, long, long time—it’s usually a romantic comedy, but it’s never a genre like western, or action or any of that nature."
A still from Netflix's 'The Harder They Fall': Rufus Buck's gang (Image via Netflix)
A still from Netflix's 'The Harder They Fall': Rufus Buck's gang (Image via Netflix)

The Harder They Fall is written by Boaz Yakin and is Jeymed Samuel's directorial debut, which assembles the infamous Black legends of the west, be it heroes or villains. As for representation and portrayal of the characters, viewers will not see a single Black slave, butler, housemaid or any other kind of servant unlike many other historical dramas where they are usually looked down upon. Even the villains are not accountable to anyone and operate according to their will without any care.

The film pushes back against decades of ignorant and weak cinematic portrayals of the industry. It throws light on the Wild West and the place Black cowboys and women held in it.

According to the director, Jeymes Sameul:

"It’s very important if you remove a piece of history — it affects all of history. Growing up, I loved Western films, but it was a very white, male-centric universe. So I have to broaden that landscape; it's important. Just because you’re a person of color and a woman, doesn’t mean you have to be subservient. It’s just being real showing life."

Give Netflix's The Harder They Fall a try, as it's bound to become a favorite western drama.


Edited by Sabine Algur

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