IMDb > Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Cool Hand Luke
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Cool Hand Luke (1967) More at IMDbPro »

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Cool Hand Luke -- Trailer for this classic starring Paul Newman
Cool Hand Luke -- A man refuses to conform to life in a rural prison.

Overview

User Rating:
8.2/10   91,343 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Donn Pearce (screenplay) and
Frank Pierson (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Cool Hand Luke on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1 November 1967 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
"What we've got here is failure to communicate." See more »
Plot:
A man refuses to conform to life in a rural prison. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won Oscar. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Not just a prison film, but an excellent film about not being able to conform in a world that requires it See more (250 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Paul Newman ... Luke

George Kennedy ... Dragline

J.D. Cannon ... Society Red
Lou Antonio ... Koko

Robert Drivas ... Loudmouth Steve

Strother Martin ... Captain

Jo Van Fleet ... Arletta

Clifton James ... Carr

Morgan Woodward ... Boss Godfrey

Luke Askew ... Boss Paul
Marc Cavell ... Rabbitt
Richard Davalos ... Blind Dick

Robert Donner ... Boss Shorty
Warren Finnerty ... Tattoo

Dennis Hopper ... Babalugats
John McLiam ... Boss Keen

Wayne Rogers ... Gambler

Harry Dean Stanton ... Tramp (as Dean Stanton)

Charles Tyner ... Boss Higgins

Ralph Waite ... Alibi

Anthony Zerbe ... Dog Boy
Buck Kartalian ... Dynamite

Joy Harmon ... The Girl
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Joe Don Baker ... Fixer (uncredited)
James Bradley ... (uncredited)

James Gammon ... Sleepy (uncredited)
Norman Goodwins ... Stupid blonde (uncredited)

Chuck Hicks ... Chief (uncredited)

Rance Howard ... Sheriff (uncredited)
James Jeter ... Wickerman (uncredited)
Kim Kahana ... Convict (uncredited)
Robert Luster ... Jabo (uncredited)
Donn Pearce ... Sailor (uncredited)
John Pearce ... John (uncredited)
Cyril 'Chips' Robinson ... Ben (uncredited)
Eddie Rosson ... Luke's Nephew (uncredited)

Rush Williams ... Patrolman (uncredited)
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Directed by
Stuart Rosenberg 
 
Writing credits
Donn Pearce (screenplay) and
Frank Pierson (screenplay) (as Frank R. Pierson)

Donn Pearce (novel)

Produced by
Gordon Carroll .... producer
Carter De Haven Jr. .... associate producer
 
Original Music by
Lalo Schifrin 
 
Cinematography by
Conrad L. Hall (director of photography) (as Conrad Hall)
 
Film Editing by
Sam O'Steen 
 
Art Direction by
Cary Odell 
 
Set Decoration by
Fred Price 
 
Costume Design by
Howard Shoup 
 
Makeup Department
Gordon Bau .... makeup supervisor
Jean Burt Reilly .... supervising hair stylist
 
Production Management
Arthur S. Newman Jr. .... unit manager (as Arthur Newman)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Hank Moonjean .... assistant director
 
Art Department
John Barton .... assistant property master (uncredited)
Craig Binkley .... set dresser (uncredited)
Don Miller .... assistant property master (uncredited)
Wes Webb .... carpenter (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Larry Jost .... sound
Dan Wallin .... sound re-recording mixer (uncredited)
 
Stunts
M. James Arnett .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Hicks .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Jordan Cronenweth .... camera operator (uncredited)
Thomas Del Ruth .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Michael A. Jones .... assistant chief lighting technician (uncredited)
Michael A. Jones .... rigging gaffer (uncredited)
Harry Sundby .... chief electrician (uncredited)
Robert C. Thomas .... assistant camera (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Barney Kessel .... musician: guitar, soundtrack (uncredited)
Tommy Morgan .... musician: harmonica soloist (uncredited)
Dan Wallin .... scoring mixer (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Wayne Fitzgerald .... title designer (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
126 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Australia:M | Canada:A (Nova Scotia) | Finland:K-16 | France:-12 | Ireland:15 | Ireland:12 (blu-ray) (2008) | New Zealand:PG | Norway:16 | Portugal:M/12 | Singapore:PG | Spain:7 | Sweden:15 | UK:15 | USA:PG | USA:Approved (certificate #21450) | USA:GP (re-rating) (1970)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
A Southern prison camp was built for this movie just north of Stockton, California. A dozen buildings were constructed, including a barracks, mess hall, warden's quarters, guard shack, and dog kennels.See more »
Goofs:
Anachronisms: Dollar bills seen during egg eating contest is Sixties-era money, not that of decades-earlier period in which movie takes place.See more »
Quotes:
[Discussing a new prisoner who has to spend the night in the box]
Dragline:He ain't in the box because of the joke played on him. He back-sassed a free man. They got their rules. We ain't got nothin' to do with that. Would probably have happened to him sooner or later anyway, a complainer like him. He gotta learn the rules the same as anybody else.
Luke:Yeah, them poor old bosses need all the help they can get.
See more »
Soundtrack:
Plastic JesusSee more »

FAQ

How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
Does Luke die at the end?
Why did Luke destroy the parking meters?
See more »
174 out of 197 people found the following review useful.
Not just a prison film, but an excellent film about not being able to conform in a world that requires it, 10 February 2004
Author: clydestuff from United States

Having had the advantage of reading Donn Pearce's novel about a year before seeing Cool Hand Luke, it was with great anticipation that I awaited it's transfer to the big screen. I was not disappointed.

Cool Hand Luke could easily be classified by the misguided as just a prison yarn, but it is so much more than that. It is the story of a man who refuses to be nailed down or conform to the rules and regulations of a society that he has never craved to fit into. When Lucas Jackson is arrested for cutting heads off parking meters, his explanation to the prison captain(Strother Martin) is "Small Town, not much to do in the evening", which would have us believe he was just being drunk and stupid. Later, to one of the other inmates he mutters the same answer, but importantly adds "just settlin some old scores". It is a brief but important point in helping to define the character of Luke beyond just being drunk and damaging public property. As a service man, we also discover that Luke won a bronze star, achieved the rank of sergeant but came out as a private. Again, early evidence that Luke is unable to conform to any body's rules but his own. Yet, we are given clear evidence that Luke knows what is right in principal and what is wrong. At one point in the film when they are putting Luke in the box under less than reasonable circumstances, he tells the boss, "calling it your job don't make it right, Boss." In a visit from his mother Arletta(Jo Van Fleet), Luke says plenty about his own character by telling her, "A man's got to go his own way" or as he also puts it, "I tried to live always free and above board like you but I can't seem to find no elbow room".

As Luke enters the prison that will supposedly be his home for the next two years, we meet the other inmates. Some of them wear chains, some of them do not. It is a point early in the film that director Stuart Rosenberg, emphasizes. We understand quickly that sooner or later you conform. You either walk the line the way the bosses tell you to, or they will find the means to get you to walk the line. As the Captain reiterates, "for your own good, you'll learn the rules" A point driven home often.

What we discover about their crimes is minuscule. One is jailed for manslaughter after hitting a pedestrian with his car, another is a paper hanger, another new inmate is charged with breaking, entering and assault. The nature of their crimes is unimportant to us. It enables to view these prisoners as men, and while we don't feel any genuine sympathy for them, feeling disgusted by their crimes would have been a distraction from the true purpose of Pearce's story, and Luke as the focal point.

Because of his individuality, it doesn't take Luke long before he unexpectedly becomes a hero to the other inmates. It is not a role he chooses, or even wants. It unexpectedly imposes the burden on him of having to live up to the expectations of others. He never truly understands the nature of this hero worship, and would be just as happy if he didn't have to deal with it. He is still trying to find his way in the world, and if there is any real purpose for his existence.

Another principal character is Dragline(George Kennedy). It is he who finally establishes the fact that Cool Hand Luke is a man who can not be beaten. Dragline's admiration for Luke seems to extend from the fact that he(Dragline)has learned the rules on how to get by, but yet regrets having lost some of his own individuality in the process. He is the rest of the inmates in microcosm. I can't remember a role that George Kennedy has ever been better in, and he deservedly won the best supporting actor award.

Cool Hand Luke is not without it's humorous moments especially in the early going. It is these moments that help move the film from the early stages to the darker more despairing later stages. Perhaps, for that reason alone we are even more effected by Luke's dilemma.

In translating his novel to the screen Donn Pearce along with Frank Pierson, has managed to bring the heart and soul of his nove to the big screen. Lalo Shifrin's memorable score emphasizes often the repeated drudgery of working on the chain gang. Director Stuart Rosenberg made more good films after Cool Hand Luke, but in my opinion never achieved the same degree of perfection that he does here.

As Cool Hand Luke, Paul Newman give one of the most memorable performances in a long distinguished career. It is not an easy task portraying a man who travels the road from being a sincere individualist, to a man who may be beaten and defeated, yet in the end is still unwilling to accept that fate. Although Rod Steiger won the best actor award that year, one could argue that Newman's role was more difficult, as it required substantially different subtle ranges in character. As for the failure of Cool Hand Luke to achieve a Best Picture nomination, I'm at a loss to explain that malfunction, especially when the likes of Doctor Doolittle and Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, far lesser efforts than this were nominated.

Cool Hand Luke is a true classic in every sense of the word. It is a film that will long be remembered.

My grade: A+

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