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Cool Hand Luke (1967)

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



(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Frank R. Pierson) | 1 more credit »
2,145 ( 591)
Top Rated Movies #159 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marc Cavell ...
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


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 November 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La leyenda del indomable  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$3,200,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


No less than three cast members would later appear in James Bond films: Joe Don Baker (The Living Daylights (1987), GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)), Anthony Zerbe (Licence to Kill (1989)), and Clifton James (Live and Let Die (1973), The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)). See more »


During the fight scene with Dragline, Luke is knocked down into the dirt many times and is covered with black soil by the end. When the long shot shows Dragline walking away towards the barracks Luke has suddenly lost most of the black soil that was covering his sweat-soaked body. See more »


Luke: Anybody here? Hey, Old Man. You home tonight? Can You spare a minute. It's about time we had a little talk. I know I'm a pretty evil fellow... killed people in the war and got drunk... and chewed up municipal property and the like. I know I got no call to ask for much... but even so, You've got to admit You ain't dealt me no cards in a long time. It's beginning to look like You got things fixed so I can't never win out. Inside, outside, all of them... rules and regulations and bosses. You made ...
See more »


Referenced in Mod Squad: The Teeth of the Barracuda (1968) See more »


Just a Closer Walk With Thee
Sung by Harry Dean Stanton
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

real cool
29 January 2001 | by (madrid, spain) – See all my reviews

Now that it has become sort of fashionable to speak or write badly about the films of the 60s and 70s, saying that people stopped going to the movie theatres during that fruitful period (which is not true), we must -more than ever-rate a flick as "Cool Hand Luke" as it really deserves. The rebel spirit of the lead character (played to perfection by the excellent Paul Newman) against that brutal and -most of the times- unfair "establishment" represented by the prison guards is a subject that remains as topical as ever. If this picture had been made today, it could also probably be good, but it would undoubtedly be much more unpleasant and filled with four-letter words. Besides, who could match the performances of Newman, George Kennedy (the deservedly Oscar-winner who has kept on making a brilliant career -do you remember him as "The Blue Knight"?), Strother Martin, J.D.Cannon, etc.? Jo Van Fleet´s character as Luke´s mother seems a sort of slightly-aged version of her role as James Dean´s mum in "East Of Eden", and it is really worthwhile. The scene of the hard-boiled eggs is a classic and a gem, but my favourite scene in the movie is that of the car-washing girl so wonderfully played by Joy Harmon (who is really a Joy for any man´s eyes); that character truly says a lot of things without speaking -her gorgeous body speaks for her! I must say that it´s not only one of the sexiest scenes I´ve ever seen in a film but also a very significative one: there is an enormous contrast between the image of the lass moving and shaking in complete and absolute freedom (even in her way of dressing) and the imprisoned men-at-work who watch her as something extremely desirable but, alas, completely out of reach. (The viewer can really feel like a prisoner too!). All in all, this is a fine film of the 60s, but also of the 70s, the 80s, the 90s, the 21st century and whatever God wants it to come.

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