‘The Harder They Fall’: Release date, trailer and everything we know about the Idris Elba western

The Harder They Fall
(Image credit: Netflix)

The Harder They Fall is an example of something we don’t get very often anymore, a western. However, that doesn’t mean the Netflix film is going to be anything like a John Wayne film.

The western is one of the most iconic Hollywood genres, with it being on the same level of popularity from the 1930s-1950s that superhero movies have had for the last 10 years. We still get the occasional western these days — True Grit, Django Unchained, The Ballad of Lefty Brown being some highlights in recent years — but The Harder They Fall is differentiating itself with its all-star, predominantly Black cast saddling up and getting ready for an epic shootout.

Here is everything that you need to know about The Harder They Fall.

What is the plot of ‘The Harder They Fall’?

Per Netflix, the official synopsis for The Harder They Fall is: “Gunning for revenge, outlaw Nat Love saddles up with his gang to take down enemy Rufus Buck, a ruthless crime boss who just got sprung from prison.”

Short, simple and oh so promising considering the lineup of actors that The Harder They Fall has occupying the screen as the plot builds to what we can only hope will be an epic showdown between Nat Love and Rufus Buck. 

Point of note, there is a 1956 movie also titled The Harder They Fall. That film starred Humphrey Bogart, Rod Steiger and Jan Sterling and was a boxing movie, not a western.

Who is in ‘The Harder They Fall’ cast?

It is one impressive ensemble brought together for The Harder They Fall, headlined by Idris Elba, Jonathan Majors and Oscar-winner Regina King.

Elba stars as Rufus Buck, while King and LaKeith Stanfield (recent Oscar-nominee for Judas and the Black Messiah) are part of his gang of outlaws, playing Trudy Smith and Cherokee Bill, respectively. 

The other side of the film’s main rivalry is Majors playing Nat Love. Riding alongside him is Zazie Beetz as Stagecoach Mary.

Other cast members include Edi Gathegi, Delroy Lindo, Danielle Deadwyler, RJ Cyler, Julios Cesar Cedillo, Deon Cole, Woody McClain, Dylan Kenin, Mark Rhino Smith, Mickey Dolan, Terrence Clowe, Peyton Jackson, Sadiqua Bynum, Manny Rubio and Jacobi Howard.

Who is director Jeymes Samuel?

You may not recognize the name Jeymes Samuel, but perhaps you would know him by his music stage name, Bullits. The British musician’s film credits aren’t long, but they include some big projects, including serving as a music consultant on Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 adaptation of The Great Gatsby and writing and directing the short film Jay-Z: Legacy in 2017 that featured Susan Sarandon, Ron Perlman, Aldis Hodge, Emile Hirsch, Edi Gathegi and others.

However, his most intriguing credit is actually another western — a little seen 2013 western called They Die by Dawn. Featuring Rosario Dawson, Giancarlo Esposito, Kelly Hu, Jesse Williams, Bokeem Woodbine, Isiah Washington, Harry Lennix, Nate Parker, Clifton Powell, Shanola Hampton, Erykah Badu  and the late Michael K. Williams. The plot finds four outlaws with a bounty on each other’s head deciding to organize a shootout in an Oklahoma town, with the last man standing taking the collective bounty.

They Die at Dawn appears to be a kind of spiritual prequel to The Harder They Fall, as Michael K. Williams played Nat Love in the 2013 film, while Badu played Stagecoach Mary, both of whom will appear in the new film (played by Majors and Beetz).

It looks like you can watch They Die at Dawn for free right now on YouTube

When is ‘The Harder They Fall’ release date?

Netflix released The Harder They Fall in movie theaters on Oct. 22, but now it is available to stream on the service.

The double dipping of a theatrical run and eventual rollout on its streaming service isn’t entirely new for Netflix, they had previously done that for their award hopefuls like Marriage Story, Roma and The Irishman, per Oscar requirements. However, with the Oscars suspending the requirement for films to play exclusively in theaters to qualify for awards again in 2021, it’s interesting to see Netflix opt for theatrical plays for a number of their titles. Perhaps this is all part of the evolving theatrical window strategy that is happening industry wide as a result of the pandemic. 

Is there a ‘The Harder They Fall’ trailer?

Netflix recently released its second trailer for The Harder They Fall, which features a new, original song that Jay-Z and Kid Cudi created for the movie. Give the new trailer a watch below. 

You can also see the first trailer for The Harder They Fall, which Netflix released in June, right here

How to watch ‘The Harder They Fall’

Eager movie fans will have options for how they want to watch The Harder They Fall. First, for those who want to see it on the big screen, come Oct. 22 you can look to see if/where the film is playing at any of your local movie theaters. 

If you’re a big fan of the movie theater experience, you may want to take a look into movie theater subscription deals. With these offers, a trip to go see The Harder They Fall, or any other movie, may just be a little more affordable.

Netflix subscribers can now also stream The Harder They Fall on whatever method they watch Netflix. Of course, you first must have a Netflix subscription, which is available at a base starting price of $13.99 per month.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.