Looking for the 5 best Jamaican gangster movies? Everyone loves a good gangster movie, but sometimes the ruthless Italian mobster scene gets a little old. Likewise, the typical inner-city backdrop makes for a predictable outcome complete with shady drug dealers, high speed chases, and subway shoot outs. Jamaican gangster movies are a different breed, and each of these movies chronicles the other side of an island paradise, against the sounds of Dancehall, Hip hop, and Reggae soundtracks.
"The Harder They Come." Perhaps the most well-known Jamaican gangster movie, Reggae singer Jimmy Cliff plays a character based on a real-life Jamaican gangster and legend. Ivan is forced to become a “Rude Boy” when his aspirations of becoming a Reggae singer are cut short due to greedy record producers. Much of the film includes a classic Reggae soundtrack with music from artists such as Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, and Desmond Dekker. International Films (1972)
"Dancehall Queen." Dancehall music is a big part of Jamaican culture, and "Dancehall Queen" explores a street vendor, dodging Jamaican gangsters, turned anonymous dancehall queen. Marcia is a single mother struggling to support her family when she decides to disguise herself for a dancehall contest to pit her enemies against one another. Jam-packed with a soundtrack full of dancehall and reggae favorites, violent shoot outs are replaced with intense dancehall choreography. Hawk's Nest Productions (1997)
"Shottas." This low-budget cult favorite features Reggae artists Ky-Mani Marley and Spragga Benz as small-time Jamaican gangsters with big-time aspirations of becoming drug kingpins in Miami. After robbing a soda truck in their hometown of Kingston, Jamaica, Wayne and Biggs use the proceeds to fund passports so they can continue their criminal enterprising on the streets of Miami. Their journey is filled with plenty of action, and a soundtrack full of tracks from both actors as well as Reggae legends Damian Marley, Inner Circle, and Bob Marley. Access Pictures (2002)
"Belly." Featuring a mixture of Reggae and Hip Hop music, and set the New York City borough of Queens, Hype William's directorial debut is not without its fair share of Jamaican gangsters. Rappers Nas and DMX play New York-based drug dealers Tommy and Sincere, who find themselves deep in the drug trade when they get ahold of a new street drug and take over the market. When Tommy travels to Jamaica to murder a kingpin's son, he finds himself facing the wrath of Jamaican gangsters stateside. Big Dog Films (1998)
"Rude Boy: The Jamaican Don." In the shady world of Jamaican drug deals, "Rude Boy" chronicles the journey of Julius St. John, an aspiring Reggae DJ with a criminal past who makes the choice to smuggle drugs into the United States as a favor to a drug kingpin who can help him get a visa for entry into the U.S. However, hard times make it difficult for Julius to leave a life of crime, even after he has left Jamaica. Amsell Entertainment (2003)