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10 Best Jamaican Films Of All Time 

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Cool Runnings Poster | Jamaican FilmsCool Runnings Film Poster | Jamaican Films

By Wellesley Gayle

Jamaicans are colourful characters by nature so it is no surprise that acting chops come naturally. There are numerous Jamaican movies, many of which are now cult classics which we still watch over and over and over again.

See Also: Best Jamaican Comedy Videos


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But there are a few notable Jamaican films which continue to impact Jamaican and international pop culture today.

I'll now share my top ten (10) with you, starting with...

  1. The Harder they Come

    The tale of a man transitioning from ‘country’ to ‘town’ to make it big in the music business only to encounter unsavory characters and broken dreams.

    This 1970’s classic, which stars reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, is still a favourite of Jamaicans young and old and its lines are still go to quips.

    The soundtrack for the album is also a classic, which spawned hits such as ‘The Harder they Come’, ‘Shanty Town’, ‘By the Rivers of Babylon’ and many more.  Get it on Amazon 

  2. Third World Cop

    Come on you know this movie, you probably know every line and every scene. Who can forget the incredible and classic performance given by veteran actor Paul Campbell in his most memorable role yet?

    In this movie Campbell plays a ‘bad boy’ cop called Capone investigating how guns were coming into the island. This too is a classic movie which still receives many views. Get on Amazon

  3. Smile Orange

    Perhaps the Jamaican movie with the best one liners, Smile Orange delivers the laughs as well as the life lessons.

    Carl Bradshaw in his hilarious and cunning turn as Ringo and Glen Morrison as Cyril the Bus Boy made the movie, released in 1976, is a memorable one which is still revered among the young and old alike.

  4. Dancehall Queen

    One of the best movies to come out of this island is Dancehall Queen. This movie chronicles the life of a single mother of two who is a ‘higgler’ (street vendor) trying to make ends meet.

    She enters the world of dancehall and things start to look up until she meets a bitter rival. One of the best 90’s movies ever made and is a cult classic still watched by millions. Get the DVD here

  5. Cool Runnings

    Who can forget this movie? It chronicles the rise of Jamaica’s bobsled team which participated in the winter Olympics. Jamaicans participating in a winter sport (can you imagine?) even before watching the movie the premise alone is hilarious.

    Cool Runnings garnered international attention and was praised by critics for being inspirational. The numerous one liners and zingers made this movie stand out and is one of the go to films when referring to Jamaica’s resilience. Get the DVD here

  6. Shottas

    Kymani Marley (son of the great Bob Marley), running around with (and from) bad guys in the United States? Yes please! The cinematography and the music are what MADE this film.

    This movie is the story of resilience, determination and some grimy premises, but it is well worth the watch, a go to cult classic for Jamaicans, especially the men (this movie has some beautiful women, so of course it’s a hit with the fellas). See it here

  7. The Lunatic

    THEE legendary Jamaican actor Paul Campbell gives a memorable performance in this film. Paul plays a mentally ill man called Aloysius who has an unfortunate encounter with a German tourist. Campbell proves his mettle as an actor in this film. He is hilarious, witty and convincing in his role, it is a must see.

  8. One Love

    Kymani Marley and Cherine Anderson play two star crossed lovers from different world in this film about a Christian minister trying to keep his daughter (Anderson) away from a Rastafarian (Marley). But hold on, guess who what mega star is also plays a role in this film? IDRIS ELBA!

    Yes, you read that right! Elba play the heck out of his villainous role as Aaron (ugh, you’re really not going to like him in this film). All in all it’s a great watch! Get a DVD copy here

  9. Milk And Honey

    A film about the struggles of a migrant worker Jo, who moves from Jamaica to Canada and leaves her son behind in the process. This one definitely pulls on the heart strings, especially of working parents because is relatable to so many who make the sacrifice to leave their kids behind in search of better.

  10. Mighty Quinn

    Crime, suspense, politics and …DENZEL WASHINGTON? Yes please! A young Denzel leads this movie as a police chief in Jamaica looking into circumstances of a rich man’s demise.

    NO questions need to be asked about the quality of the acting in this film (because, DENZEL WASHINGTON, duh!). Get your copy here

Our film industry may not be as large as Bollywood, Nollywood or Hollywood, but the talent of our actors should never be brought into question.

So how many of these films have you seen? Share a comment below.

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References & Sources For Jamaican Films

  1. https://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/entertainment/20210806/9-must-see-jamaican-films

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