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  • Writer's pictureRonny Duncan Studios

Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Updated: Oct 16, 2022

Plot Summary: When petty criminal Luke Jackson (Paul Newman) is sentenced to two years in a Florida prison farm, he doesn't play by the rules of either the sadistic warden (Strother Martin) or the yard's resident heavy, Dragline (George Kennedy), who ends up admiring the new guy's unbreakable will. Luke's bravado, even in the face of repeated stints in the prison's dreaded solitary confinement cell, "the box," make him a rebel hero to his fellow convicts and a thorn in the side of the prison officers.

*Recognition: Nominated for Best Actor (Paul Newman), Adapted Screenplay, and Original Score; Won for Best Supporting Actor (George Kennedy); 2005 National Film Registry; In 2003, AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes & Villains rated Luke as the 30th greatest hero in American cinema, and three years later, AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers: America's Most Inspiring Movies rated Cool Hand Luke number 71.

What is this movie is about?: Forced Nihilism - "I've never planned anything in my life"

Best Performance: George Kennedy/Paul Newman

Best Minor Performance: Conrad Hall (Cinematographer)/Strother Martin

Most Charismatic Award: Paul Newman

Best Scene: Breaking Luke/Failure to Communicate

Favorite Scene: 50 Eggs

Most Indelible Moment: 50 Eggs

Best Line:

Luke: What we have here is a failure to communicate....

Honorable Mention:

Boss Paul: Sorry, Luke. I'm just doing my job. You gotta appreciate that.

Luke: Nah - calling it your job don't make it right, Boss.

Funniest Line:

Dragline: Why you got to go and say fifty eggs for? Why not thirty-five or thirty-nine?

Luke: I thought it was a nice round number.

The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 6.25

Impact/Significance: 6

Novelty: 7.5

Classic-ness: 7.25

Rewatchability: 4.75

Audience Score: 9.5

Total: 36.5

Remaining Questions:

  • What did Luke do in the war that he was awarded for?

  • Why is he trying to escape in the first place?

  • Why did he send the photo if he was going to be annoyed by it?

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