Bob Marley put his home island of Jamaica, and reggae music, on the international map. Despite his death in 1981 of cancer at just 36, he is as famous now as at the height of his short career. A new biopic tells the story of those heady years.
Robert Nesta Marley was born in rural Jamaica in 1945 but grew up in the poor working-class housing projects of Trenchtown in the capital Kingston. He started making music with friends and in 1963 The Wailers, as they were called, had a local hit with "Simmer Down". But once they signed to Island Records in 1972, their music became a phenomenon around the world with songs like “No Woman No Cry,” “Exodus,” “Jamming,” and “Redemption Song”.
The new biopic, produced by two of Marley's children, focuses on the years of fame against a background of political strife in Jamaica. It shows the 1976 assassination attempt that led to Marley's temporary exile, and two major concerts designed to promote peace and unity, the Smile Jamaica concert, in which Marley performed despite his injuries from the assassination attempt, and the One Love concert in 1978, when he invited the country's major political rivals to share the stage.
Check out the trailer:
Bob Marley and his wife Rita are played by British actors of West Indian descent, Kingsley Ben-Idir and Lashana Lynch. Rita is shown encouraging Bob in the path of Rastafari, the pan-African religion which began in Jamaica in the 1930s.
Ben-Adir, along with producers Ziggy and Cedella Marley and director Reinaldo Marcus Green, discusses the challenge of playing Bob Marley in this short video.
Bob Marley: One Love
On general release 14 February 2024
Don't miss: A downloadable B1+ resource on Marley and the film.
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