'The Harder They Fall' Reviews: What Critics Say About Regina King and Idris Elba's Movie

The reviews are in for Netflix's new genre-challenging Western—and most critics love it.

The Harder They Fall features a predominantly Black cast with the likes of Idris Elba, Regina King, Jonathan Majors and LaKeith Stanfield playing outlaws in the old West.

The brainchild of first-time writer and director Jeymes Samuel, The Harder They Fall was also produced by Jay-Z and James Lassiter.

The cast, the cinematics and—inevitably—the soundtrack of the movie are all singled out for praise, while Samuel has been credited with reinventing a tired genre.

The movie held premiered at the BFI London Film Festival on Thursday night, and those in attendance were quick to share their reviews.

Here's what the critics are saying about The Harder They Fall.


Whelan Barzey from British cinema magazine Empire gives the "wildly entertaining" The Harder They Fall four stars. The movie is "a flip, fun, flashy corrective," he writes, to a genre usually the "domain of grizzled white men both in front of and behind the camera."

Barzey notes that director Jeymes "The Bullitts" Samuel borrows techniques and style from Quentin Tarantino "but finds some nifty licks of his own."

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Regina King dominates in "The Harder They Fall" on Netflix. David Lee/Netflix


Deadline's Valerie Complex highlights Majors and Kong's performances; Majors "radiates charm and is leading-man material," while King is "scarily on point as an antagonist."

It might not be perfect, she adds, but the film is "vicious, unapologetic, and has moments of levity to balance out the brutality."

The Guardian

Not everyone is as glowing about the movie as esteemed film critics.

Peter Bradshaw awards it three stars in The Guardian.

Everything in the movie is "combat-ready and garishly tensed for violence," but he felt let down by the ending, with a "diminishing return" on all the violence.

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Jonathan Majors, Delroy Lindo and RJ Cyler in a scene from "The Harder They Fall" on Netflix. David Lee/Netflix


The script writing and soundtrack are standouts for IGN's Hanna Ines Flint.

"Not every shot fired is a bullet," she writes, "Sometimes, it's a punchline, and it's often used to defy expectations of how a tense confrontation might play out."

The soundtrack—featuring reggae and afrobeat bangers and a new Jay-Z track—help "reinforce the Black experience in this usually white-dominated genre," she added.

IGN award the movie nine out of 10.

The Wrap

"Star-Studded Black Western Isn't Always Fully Loaded," read the headline to Robert Adele's review in The Wrap.

Despite the "style, audacity and marquee names" there's not enough characterization within."

Adele praises the cast, but yearns for more depth. In particular, he wishes King and Zazie Beetz' characters "were more thought-out beyond symbolizing tough businesswomen who can fight."

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Zazie Beetz and Regina King star in "The Harder They Fall" on Netflix. David Lee/Netflix
The Harder They Fall Jonathan Majors
Jonathan Majors shown "leading man quality" in "The Harder They Fall" on Netflix. David Lee/Netflix

Evening Standard

"Wow" writes The Standard's reviewer Charlotte O'Sullivan, who also singles out King's performance for praise.

Meanwhile, Elba's performance as the "complicated" Rufus Buck makes the character "so easy to fall for."

The soundtrack helps to "punctuate the action" and "the eclectic sounds sum up a project full of imaginative leaps," she adds.

Black Girl Nerds

The movie is perfectly cast and the actors imbue each criminal with humanity, according to Black Girl Nerd writer Cassondra Feltus.

While she notes that the "action scenes are thrilling even when the bullets run out," director of photography Mihai Malaimare Jr. captures "visceral scenes in sweeping and overhead camera shots, employing a few call backs to old Westerns and grindhouse films."


Samuel makes "one hell of an impression in his feature debut," writes Eric Elsenberg, who hails an "exciting, history-bending adventure."

The movie succeeds in "both dark and violent and laugh-out-loud funny," he adds.

The Harder They Fall will be available to watch worldwide on Netflix from Wednesday, November 3.