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Cool Hand Luke (1967)

PG  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  1 November 1967 (USA)
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 109,216 users  
Reviews: 257 user | 92 critic

A man refuses to conform to life in a rural prison.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Frank R. Pierson) , 1 more credit »
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Title: Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Cool Hand Luke (1967) on IMDb 8.2/10

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Top 250 Movies #149 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Lou Antonio ...
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Marc Cavell ...
Richard Davalos ...
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Warren Finnerty ...
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Storyline

Luke Jackson is a cool, gutsy prisoner in a Southern chain gang, who, while refusing to buckle under to authority, keeps escaping and being recaptured. The prisoners admire Luke because, as Dragline explains it, "You're an original, that's what you are!" Nevertheless, the camp staff actively works to crush Luke until he finally breaks. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

On the chain gang, they'd seen every kind of man...but Luke became a legend. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 November 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La leyenda del indomable  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Truckloads of Spanish moss were shipped from Louisiana to the set in California to hang in the trees around the prison. See more »

Goofs

When boss Godfrey shoots the bird from the sky, the wire pulling it down can be seen. See more »

Quotes

Luke: Oh come on. Stop beatin' it. Get out there yourself. Stop feedin' off me. Get out of here. I can't breathe. Give me some air.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Highway (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Cotton Fields
Written by Huddie Ledbetter (as Leadbelly)
Performed by Harry Dean Stanton
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
No Failure To Communicate
2 June 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Spoilers Ahead:

As an earlier excellent reviewer wrote the film is about conformity and Luke's inability to fit in the role cut out for him. He says,"I tried Arletta...," but it is much more than this: it is the voice of the counterculture whose hero Luke is. Like Dirty Harry, Luke looks at 'the man's world,' and sees nothing that interests him. A modern, much lesser parallel is Coppola's RUMBLE FISH. Rourke is like Luke; he just cannot find anything that is offered that appeals to him. His rebellion is existential; he simply has a being in the world that will not work anywhere. So, he becomes nihilistic like Motorcycle Boy. Both Harry, Luke and Motorcycle Boy have great courage but they were born in the wrong place and the wrong time. Boredom consumes Luke; the egg eating contest, besides providing the only levity in the film, delineates the depth of Luke's nihilistic rebellion. He vents at the Deity; on the road and in the church daring Him to let me have it," you there Old Man?"

It must be seen for what it is at its core; like all films it is a product of its zeitgeist. Here, it is the 60s, get the man. Like Harry, the system is stupid, broken and cruel. Luke sneers contemptuously at the boss and says,"saying its your job don't make it right boss." The other target is the hypocrisy of his keepers protecting their tender consciences from the cruelty they are subjecting the prisoners too. I love,"I wish you'd stop being so good to me captain." This provokes Strother Martin because they all need to hide in the 'man's game' of putative rehabilitation instead of sadistic punishment which is what it is. Luke's strength that wins the hearts of all the others is also his fatal flaw. Luke cannot stop his rebellion; it is inherently nihilistic like Motorcycle Boy's. He wishes to die; after Arletta goes the last tether to existence is cut. He goes down a death spiral. Dragline looks at him befuddled; why does he not stop?: because he can't.

Yes, like both of Rosenberg's prison movies this and BRUBAKER they are about the cruelty of prison. Yet, COOL HAND Luke is a study of an existential drop out; the world simply has no place for him. It is an error to attack the movie as not really a movie but a series of episodes. These episodes: egg contest, dragline fight, escapes, all function to reveal Luke's Dasein or being there. Luke is escaping but from life; he does not really grasp it himself. Arletta's death is the final straw; as he sings PLASTIC Jesus, that is how the world is to him; an empty, phony facade full of rule making hypocritical liars. He wants no more of it; they break him, but the pull downward is ineluctable. He cannot help himself. The last sneering mockery that brings about his death is the quintessence of Luke: he vomits back their lying hypocrisy. We see astonishment on his face; the world he never really was in destroyed him.

It is a sad, dark often sacrilegious film; it may deviate from my beliefs that does not make me honor it any less. PAUL NEWMAN'S BEST MOVIE. Watch what society does to deviants; it is not a pretty picture.


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