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Cool Hand Luke (1967)

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A laid back Southern man is sentenced to two years in a rural prison, but refuses to conform.



(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Frank R. Pierson) | 1 more credit »
2,780 ( 166)
Top Rated Movies #169 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Warren Finnerty ...


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


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


Crime | Drama


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 November 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La leyenda del indomable  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$3,200,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Morgan Woodward (Boss Godfrey (The Man With No Eyes)) remained in character during breaks between scenes. He would sit in his chair, still wearing his mirrored sunglasses, and not speak to anyone. See more »


The police car shown in the opening scene and when Luke is shot is equipped with a Federal Beacon Ray Model 174. The movie is set in the late '40 and that beacon was available until 1958. See more »


Dragline: He was smiling... That's right. You know, that, that Luke smile of his. He had it on his face right to the very end. Hell, if they didn't know it 'fore, they could tell right then that they weren't a-gonna beat him. That old Luke smile. Oh, Luke. He was some boy. Cool Hand Luke. Hell, he's a natural-born world-shaker.
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Referenced in One Night at McCool's (2001) See more »


Cotton Fields
Written by Huddie Ledbetter (as Leadbelly)
Performed by Harry Dean Stanton
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

6 June 2004 | by See all my reviews

Amazing movie....watched it for the first time three or four years ago. Seen it plenty of times since......this, along with "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest", is one of my favorite films of all-time. Luke is a truly memorable character; funny, tragic, inspirational.....a lot like Randle Patrick McMurphy. Paul Newman once again proved the Academy to be full of idiots, giving a great performance deserving of an Oscar. How he only won once, when Sally Field is the owner of two statuettes, is inexplicable. His run of classic films and touchstone characters from the 60s-70s (Luke, Fast Eddie, Butch, etc) is unparalleled. George Kennedy was good, too......I mightn't be good at critiquing, but I know what I like. And I like this.

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