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Starring: Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, LaKeith Stanfield, Delroy Lindo, Regina King, Danielle Deadwyler, Edi Gathegi, RJ Cyler
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Netflix western drama directed and co-written by Jeymes Samuel. The Harder They Fall (2021) centers on outlaw Nat Love (Jonathan Majors), who after discovering that his enemy Rufus Buck (Idris Elba) is being released from prison, rounds up his gang to track Rufus down and seek revenge. Those riding with him include his former love Mary Fields (Zazie Beetz), his right and left hand men, hot-tempered Bill Pickett (Edi Gathegi), and fast drawing Jim Beckwourth (RJ Cyler), and a surprising adversary-turned-ally. Rufus has his own fearsome crew, including Trudy Smith (Regina King), and Cherokee Bill (LaKeith Stanfield), and they are not a group that knows how to lose.
Our Favorite Quote:
'A rock and a hard place is what we call Monday.' - Trudy Smith (The Harder They Fall) Click To Tweet
Nat Love: What possesses a man to paint a scorpion on his hand?
Jesus Cortez: Excuse me?
Nat Love: A snake, I understand that. The Garden of Eden, the Bible, etcetera. But a scorpion? Well, that puzzles me.
Jesus Cortez: And who are you?
Nat Love: Just a man. Here to kill the Scorpion.
Nat Love: [after he kills Cortez] This is a wanted man. Turn his body in, and you’ll get five thousand dollars for your church.
Father Esparza: Why aren’t you taking him in yourself?
Nat Love: I’m worth ten.
Monroe Grimes: Be patient!
Jim Beckworth: I hear patience is a virtue. But I ain’t never been able to wait to see if the m**herf***er true or not.
Clyde Grimes: Jim Beckwourth.
Jim Beckworth: Brothers Grime.
Clyde Grimes: It’s Grimes with an S, you egotistical piece of s**t.
Jim Beckworth: But we’re not going to die. Because I’m lightning with the blam-blams. Admit it.
Bill Pickett: You know, you might could be, but I hearsay there’s a quick draw more lightning than you, go by the name of Cherokee Bill.
Jim Beckworth: Cherokee Bill. You hearsay. You don’t see-say. So I say, f*** Cherokee Bill.
Mary Fields: I said leave.
Nat Love: What was that kiss for then?
Mary Fields: To remind you of what it was.
Mary Fields: [punches Nat in the face] That’s to remind you of what it is.
Mary Fields: The only thing I need to hear coming out your mouth is, “Goodbye, Mary.”
Nat Love: The one thing you’ll never hear me say again.
Mary Fields: Till the next time you hear tell of the whereabouts of some man that done you dirt.
Nat Love: Ain’t none of them left.
Nat Love: Mary, the only thing that mean anything to me in this world now is you.
Mary Fields: [to Nat, referring to Rufus] As long as that man draw breath, your spirit is going to be cursed and wild as it ever was.
Mary Fields: I made things. I built things. And I ain’t going to risk all that just because you decide to come trotting back.
Nat Love: Trotting?
Mary Fields: Yeah.
Nat Love: You got the worst timing in the history of timing.
Bill Pickett: Oh, y’all was making sex? I apologize.
Monroe Grimes: Half that take was his. And you fools took his money.
Nat Love: You think Rufus Buck was going to let you keep half that money. And you calling me a fool?
Monroe Grimes: I guess I am.
Train Driver: What the hell are you doing? That ain’t no way to board a train, you damn stupid ni…
Cherokee Bill: [Trudy shoots the conductor] You know, he might could’ve said nincompoop.
Trudy Smith: We ain’t no nincompoop. If they say something that even start with N, they’re going to meet the same fate.
Cherokee Bill: My name is Cherokee Bill. Now let it be known that I don’t particularly enjoy violence. That being said, you are currently in the company of extremely violent individuals.
Big Man On Train: Get off this train now, you motherless scum.
Cherokee Bill: You must be the hero. Great Spirit, why is there always one? You’re rude. I might actually enjoy inflicting violence on you. But who knows? Maybe you’ll win. Let’s see.
Cuffee: Oh, no need to show me that star. I know who you is. In here though, I be the sheriff, and that make Miss Mary the marshal. And the marshal say, “Don’t nobody come in here gunned up, or they might could get gunned down.”
Bass Reeves: My badge begs to differ.
Nat Love: So how you plan on taking me in, Marshal? Staring me to death?
Bass Reeves: How about just death?
Nat Love: You know I don’t rob banks, Marshal.
Bass Reeves: But you rob them that do, which is all the same to me.
'Loyalty is a virtue. Till it ain't.' - Trudy Smith (The Harder They Fall) Click To Tweet
Nat Love: I was in Texas at the time of that robbery.
Bass Reeves: How you know when it took place?
Nat Love: Whenever any bank robbery took place, I was in Texas. Unless, of course, the robbery took place in Texas.
Nat Love: Now, why you sitting here monologuing, drinking up my whiskey, when you should be out rounding up your little deputies, Marshal?
Bass Reeves: Because he been pardoned, Nat. Rufus Buck been absolved of his countless depredations. But seeing as I’ve been scouring the terrain looking for bank robbers and such, that particular piece of news failed to reach me.
Wiley Escoe: Rufus Buck. Look at you. Relic of yesteryear, with nothing. And you think you can roll into my town and take what belong to me? Who the f*** you think I am, huh? Ain’t nobody scared of you and ain’t nobody running. I’m a sinister m**herf***er too. One click of my finger and you disappear. So I suggest you leave, before I finish my steak.
[we then see he’s practicing to himself]
Rufus Buck: [after he’s beat Wiley] Now, I ain’t going to kill you, Wiley. You and I were friends once. But know this. Redwood will never be yours, never. Never. Matter of fact, you ain’t welcome here no more. Now, I want you to vacate immediately, or die where you lay.
Bass Reeves: Now you teaming up with a marshal to bring him in.
Nat Love: I ain’t bringing him in. I’m bringing him down. And we ain’t teaming up, old man. Your life’s expendable, Marshal. My gang’s ain’t. S**t, since we’re out here, I ought to tell you, I was fixing to kill you, when you and your fellas brought in Rufus.
Bass Reeves: Well, a lot of men be fixing, son. They always seem to die before they get the job done. And just for the record, I took Rufus in alone.
Nat Love: Ain’t no coming back from this. Now get out of here. All of you. This ain’t your fight.
Mary Fields: You take on the Devil himself, you’re going to need more than just you and the marshal.
Bass Reeves: I seen the Devil, and Rufus Buck ain’t him. Devil’s white.
Jim Beckworth: Like they say in the Book of Clarence, “No man out-speed me.”
Bill Pickett: Out-speed ain’t a word, and Clarence ain’t no book. I’m kind of hoping Cherokee put a bullet in your a** just to shut you up.
Mary Fields: What y’all waiting around for? You think destiny is coming to you?
Trudy Smith: Loyalty is a virtue, Rufus. Till it ain’t.
Rufus Buck: You loyal to me?
Trudy Smith: See these folk here? Either they can’t see it, or they don’t want to. But I believe in what you’re doing. This place can be the promised land for us. And as long as that so, ain’t nothing I won’t do to see it through.
James: You got us between a rock and a hard place.
Trudy Smith: How long you been alive in this country? A rock and a hard place is what we call Monday.
Rufus Buck: [to James] You think I made Redwood for myself? To what end? Redwood ain’t a hiding place, because I don’t hide. It ain’t a dream. I don’t dream. You know what it is? It’s an example. It’s an example for others to follow. And you, you are an enemy of progress.
Wiley Escoe: I ain’t got nothing to rob.
Jim Beckworth: But I got somebody to shoot.
Jim Beckworth: I say we kill him. And we take the rest of them teeth.
Wiley Escoe: You ever shot a sheriff, boy? A mayor? Little harder than shooting regular folk. And I’m both.
Bass Reeves: You both alive and dead because Rufus don’t like loose ends. Law don’t find a man like Rufus Buck, unless you got inside information. Ain’t that right, Wiley? If I had my way, you’d be right up under the jail next to Rufus. But you cut yourself a deal, wound up wearing a badge instead.
Wiley Escoe: You got your reasons you want Rufus gone, and I got mine. Ain’t the enemy of my enemy my friend?
Nat Love: [to Wiley] Alright, look here. You made a deal with the Devil. Now he come to collect.
Jim Beckworth: Listen, Marshal. I’m faster than any weapon. You can trust in that.
Cuffee: I seen faster.
Jim Beckworth: Alright. Where?
Cuffee: In the mirror.
Cuffee: I’d rather ride into a gun battle on a dark horse over a golden stallion.
Jim Beckworth: F*** that mean?
Cuffee: Shiny s**t get shot.
Jim Beckworth: What you think about that, lawman?
Bass Reeves: I think y’all going to die.
Nat Love: That’s the ring my father gave my mother. I was going to give it to you back in Douglas.
Mary Fields: But you didn’t.
Nat Love: I am now.
Mary Fields: I used to hate feeling helpless over you. Those days are over now.
Nat Love: Mary.
Mary Fields: When the dust settles, we’re going to go our separate ways, for good. But not till the dust settles. I’m here till then.
[she kisses him]
Angel: Are you a resident of Redwood, ma’am?
Mary Fields: You don’t own a gun confident enough to ask where I reside.
Angel: Well, this gun say answer the damn question.
Mary Fields: Well, this gun don’t talk.
Trudy Smith: Stagecoach Mary.
Mary Fields: Ghastly Gertrude Smith.
Trudy Smith: I prefer Treacherous Trudy myself, but I’ll take it.
Mary Fields: The mere mention of my name brings forth good business to any establishment attached, whereas, with all due respect, but the name Rufus Buck instils fear.
Trudy Smith: You done rode all the way over here to get yourself killed. And for what? For love?
Mary Fields: Love is the only thing worth dying for. But you wouldn’t know anything about that.
Trudy Smith: [to Mary] You know, I actually admire your bravery. But I’m afraid the outcome is still the outcome. Hope must die. But not yet.
Trudy Smith: You here for your damsel in distress?
Nat Love: You don’t look hard of hearing. So I’m going to ask you again. Where’s Rufus Buck?
Trudy Smith: Well, clearly, you don’t know me. Tell your men to go, but you stay. Maybe your damsel will live a little longer.
Jim Beckworth: I hear you so fast that your opponents ain’t got time to draw before you put two in their back.
Cherokee Bill: No, that ain’t me. I’m the Cherokee Bill that shoots men in the mouth that talk too much.
Cherokee Bill: Is that what you think this is? “Who the quickest draw in the West”, type thing?
Jim Beckworth: It all comes down to who fast and who ain’t, right?
Cherokee Bill: No, it all comes down to who’s alive and who’s dead.
Nat Love: I’m going to kill them all.
Rufus Buck: You familiar with Napoleon? He said, “I am driven towards an end that I do not know. As I reach it, as I shall become unnecessary, an atom shall suffice to shatter me. Until then, all forces of humankind can do nothing to stop me.” That’s a man who knew exactly who he was. Most importantly, he knew that his time would come to an end.
Rufus Buck: You know why I gave you that scar?
Nat Love: So I’d remember you.
Rufus Buck: No. No, I gave you that scar so I can know your face when you come back to me.
Rufus Buck: Nat Love, the outlaw who robs outlaws. The angel of death who hunts down those who trespass against him with no mercy. I know who you are. And I see the line that you won’t cross. See, I know what’s on the other side.
Jim Beckworth: [as Cuffee reveals she’s a woman] I thought I was falling for a fella for a little bit. That’s why I didn’t say nothing. Well, I ain’t the only one. It wasn’t just me. It wasn’t just me.
Bill Pickett: It was just you, Jim.
Nat Love: You walk worse than you ride, Cathay.
Cuffee: Mr. Love, my momma always told me to respect my elders, so I’m not going to say what I’m thinking.
Nat Love: That’s alright. I can read your mind.
Cuffee: Then I’m sorry you had to hear that.
Nat Love: Times have changed, ain’t they? They say robbing banks is hard work. That’s a lie. Robbing banks is easy. The hard part is doing it without killing.
Cuffee: [referring to the money they’ve robbed] That don’t even look like much.
Nat Love: Ain’t what it look like. It’s what it can buy you.
Wiley Escoe: Don’t nobody take what I got coming to me. Not even the Devil himself.
Bass Reeves: Rufus Buck is a man. Y’all best reconcile yourselves with that fact.
Nat Love: Man or devil, this going to be Buck’s last day amongst the living.
Bass Reeves: I would ask you to run go fetch your superior, but that’d be like asking you to run go fetch your daddy. It could be anybody, right?
Angel: You know, I’m willing to bet my right arm I’ve got a higher body count than yours.
Bass Reeves: That’d be a bad bet, son.
Nat Love: You always move so slow?
Cherokee Bill: You always talk so much?
Nat Love: [as Bill points his gun at him] Really? In the back? What you think, Beckwourth?
Jim Beckworth: No, he wouldn’t do that, because then I would have to put a bullet in his cranium. And we’ll never know who the fastest really is now, will we?
Cherokee Bill: I got to hand it to you, boy. You do know how to make a grand entrance.
Jim Beckworth: S**t, I didn’t even rehearse that one.
Cherokee Bill: Nat Love is a dead man walking. But you don’t have to be. Why don’t you get on your horse, get your s**t, and go back to whatever it is you call home?
Jim Beckworth: You know that’s impossible.
Cherokee Bill: Count down from five?
Jim Beckworth: Five. Four. Three…
Cherokee Bill: [as he shoots Jim in the face] Why do they always have to count so slow?
Cherokee Bill: [after he shoots Pickett in the back] You had a choice. You always got a choice.
Cherokee Bill: [in Cherokee] Being scared will only give you bad karma in the afterlife.
Cuffee: You going to shoot me in the back too? Or cheat the count?
[as they draw to shoot, she shoots Bill in the neck]
Rufus Buck: Your father, he was a good man?
Nat Love: He was. And my mother was a good woman before you cut them down.
Rufus Buck: Seems we had a different upbringing.
Nat Love: I don’t care how you was raised. Now pick up your guns and turn around.
Rufus Buck: My father was not a good man. Not a good man. He was an outlaw. Robbing banks. He liked to drink. My mother took a bottle and cut him to protect me. He lashed back at her, and just like that, she was gone. Then, like the coward he is, he took everything we had and left, leaving me with my mother.
Rufus Buck: [referring to his father] I kept looking, until I did find him. One day, lo and behold, there he was, my father, a new man. He was clean now. Sober. Man of God. Had a church. He had a pretty little wife. And he had a son, about the age of ten years-old, whose eyes blazed like mine.
Nat Love: You’re lying. You’re lying!
Rufus Buck: Killing our father was retribution, but…
Nat Love: My father! My mother!
Rufus Buck: But it weren’t enough. Letting you live, that was the true revenge. Every sin you made, every bank you robbed, everybody you killed. I mean, look at you. You everything he tried to run away from.
Rufus Buck: Buck. Changed his name to Love. You a Buck.
Nat Love: You lying.
Rufus Buck: Just like me. Just like him. But you better. You going to surpass even me, because I couldn’t kill my brother. Yet here you are about to kill yours. It’s time to take your revenge, Nathaniel Buck.
Rufus Buck: Take your revenge. Nathaniel Buck. Take your goddamn revenge! You a Buck. Nathaniel Buck.
[after which Nat shoots him several times and kills him]
Mary Fields: Is the Devil dead?
Nat Love: I don’t know.
Mary Fields: You sure the law going to believe he’s dead?
Bass Reeves: I’m the law Miss. Mary. If I say a man dead, he dead.
Mary Fields: And you? You sure this what you want?
Cuffee: I always kind of wanted to be a deputy, sheriff, marshal person.
Mary Fields: What you looking at? We got work to do, Mr. Love.
[we then see Trudy watching them from a distance as Nat, Mary, Bass, and Cuffee ride off]