Cool Hand Luke

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Warner Bros. Released 1967

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9.0
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Movie Summary

Director:
Stuart Rosenberg
Released:
1967
Rating:
PG

Luke Jackson runs into trouble with the local police when he decaptates the town's parking meters with a large wrench one drunken night. The judge sentences him to two years on a chain gang under the watchful eye of the Captain. Luke doesn't care for the prison hierarchy any more than he cared for the pecking order in society and soon finds himself at odds with Dragline, leader of the prisoners. The two fight as the prisoners and guards look on. Though he takes a beating, Luke refuses to give up and wins the respect of Dragline and the others. Luke's relentless optimism and his great talent for "playing it cool" in the harshest of situations gets him branded a trouble-maker - but he keeps on escaping, and keeps on defying the authorities and he won't be broken by the system. The Captain, a sadist under his calm front, becomes determined to break his spirit somehow, but, even in the face of death, Luke plays a very cool hand. This 1967 film won an Academy Award for George Kennedy's supporting role, gave Paul Newman one of his most iconic star parts and was a big box-office winner.

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Metacritic Score

  • 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Luke is the first Newman character to understand himself well enough to tell us to shove off. He's through risking his neck to make us happy. With this film, Newman completes a cyc...

  • 88

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    Cool Hand Luke is a metaphor for the social climate in which it germinated. Luke represents that segment of the population who will not submit, no matter how viciously they are bea...

  • 75

    Slant Magazine Bill Weber

    Newman remains watchable and glamorous throughout, bloody, muddy or coated in torso-flattering sweat, but the film's efforts to sentimentally humanize him by psychological revelati...

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More Info About This Movie

Categories

Drama

Themes

Classics, Crime