Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
Cool Hand Luke
What we've got here is failure to communicate.
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. Nevertheless, the camp staff actively works to crush Luke until he finally breaks.
Any man who doesn't like this movie gets a night in the box.
Paul Newman was a legendary, gifted actor, and when I hear his name the first thing that comes to mind is Cool Hand Luke. The film is more than just a prison story, it is a fantastic character study about a man whom is incapable of conforming to the rules of society, both in and out of lock up. When we first see Luke, he is intoxicated and destroying parking meters by cutting off their heads. When the police arrive his reaction makes him seem merely like a drunk making a dumb decision, but as the film goes on it is obvious he simply cannot stop himself from breaking the rules, especially when faced with the strict routine of prison life.
Brilliant performances by the entire ensemble, but Paul Newman as Luke and George Kennedy as Dragline are clearly the stars here, stealing every single scene. A great film that I had not revisited in years.
What a strange film. It's kind of like the Birdman of Animal House, or Shawshank of the Nerds. A prison film, but with the heart of a frat house comedy. I'm still not sure what to make of it.
I liked Newman a lot, though I can't say I was totally sold on some of the emotional beats that come for him part way through the film. As the quiet, but cocky, sly guy who could essentially run the joint without really saying a word, I thought he was awesome. He represents strength and hope to everyone there and you can see how invested they become in him later in the film.
There are some great sequences here, like when…
"What we've got here is failure to communicate".
Paul Newman has the bluest eyes of anyone I have ever seen. On blu ray they sparkle like diamonds just like this film. The quintessential chain gang movie this follows ex-war hero Newman on his road to self-destruction. Southern hospitality doesn't come much meaner than this as our Paul becomes the ultimate anti-hero in a cinematic landmark. Directed with aplomb by Stuart Rosenberg with a stellar supporting cast and a blistering performance from it's star man this is a wonderful film. Harry Dean Stanton,Dennis Hopper,Joe Don Baker,Anthony Zerbe and Oscar winner George Kennedy make up a cast of memorable screw-ups amid the baking southern heat. Newman brings to life one of the…
"What we've got here is failure to communicate."
George Kennedy may have won an Oscar (best actor in a supporting role) for his performance, but make no mistake, this is Paul Newman’s film. He owns every scene he is in. Newman was in fact nominated for an Oscar (best actor in a leading role), but lost to Rod Steiger who won it for In The Heat of the Night.
This film may not be the all time classic some make it out to be, but I love it. It’s not only worth seeing for Newman’s performance, but the rest of the cast is superb (which includes Dennis Hopper in a minor role).
This Stuart Rosenberg directed film, on the surface, is a film about breaking the system and comradery. That in itself is enough to sustain the movie. It’s so friendly and open to us – large in part due to Newman’s incredibly relatable performance as the titular character (Lucas Jackson – Inmate #37). No doubt, Newman’s performance was a major influence on Tim Robbins’ portrayal of Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption (as is the entire film, and an array of shots from the film). In both movies, we see man that comes in with nothing on his record (very petty in Luke’s case) – a respectable man – that sees this broken system and decides to break it in his…
"What we have here...is failure to communicate." That line embodies the rebellious nature of Luke Jackson, the film's parking-meter-defacing protagonist, in his tenure in a chain-gang. This film is an excellent example of keeping one's head up in the midst of adversity (which, in this instance, is one mean sonabitch: the warden) and if you've seen this, then you know this little blurb does the film no justice. And if you haven't seen the film, please go and correct that. It's well worth the time.
Part of my Pantheon.
NOTE: THIS REVIEW IS VERY SLOPPY.
Not as sloppy as my SNOWPIERCER review though...
Really really uninspired, boring, and repetitive direction that almost makes me not want to rewatch this movie.
But... This is a movie about the story and the characters in them. COOL HAND LUKE is the quintessential film about not conforming to the rules of society.
In all actuality, it wasn't Paul Newman whose character hit me the hardest here, it was actually Harry Dean Stanton. Stanton is one of our most under-appreciated actors living today; we look at Stanton when he is playing the guitar and the camera slowly zooms in on his mouth, and in his face, there is more raw emotion than the entire…
Cool Hand Luke is a great classic from the 1960s that combines perfectly really human and compelling drama with some hilarious comedy elements. Paul Newman is excellent delivering one of his most memorable performances in this prison film, that had many memorable parts, including the classic 50 eggs scene.
"Yeah well... sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand"
Paul Newman has the best goddamn smile i have ever seen.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
I have the privilege of spending 9 weeks every year working at a summer camp for boys. Next summer, I REALLY want to have 'Cool Hand Luke' day. We'll speed-pave a dirt road, proudly announce the taking off of our shirts, eat a ton of hard-boiled eggs, and anyone not on their bunk by second bell gets a night in the box.
"What we've got here is failure to communicate."
If there's one genre that generally impresses me, it's the prison escape film. I don't know why, something about the way the characters are handled in their situations leaves a lasting mark on me with each film. Which is why I loved films like I Am a Prisoner from a Chain Gang, The Great Escape, and O Brother, Where Art Thou. Cool Hand Luke is something I had wanted to watch for quite a while, due to the massive influence it's had over the years, even making reference in films like Toy Story 3 ("take him to the box"). And while I didn't enjoy Cool Hand Luke as much as I wanted…
Unique subdue drama about a prisoner who struggles to conform to society and is placed in a situation where conformity is the only means to survive.
I think the major struggling factor with Cool Hand Luke and modern audiences is the fact it's about a long gone era. Sure the ideas remain relevant, but it's very much about the time it was made, the attitudes towards society, rehabilitation and religion run deep today as they did back in day but the application feels slightly rugged and harder to grasp today. So it's a major standout point that Paul Newman, and his character of Lucas, is able to communicate and embody those internal turmoils so well to a modern audience. The films pacing doesn't hold up too well, but I really connected with a lot of elements in the film, well worth watching.
- 12 Angry Men
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- 25th Hour
- 3 Women
- A Trip to the Moon
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Birth of a Nation
- Les Vampires
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. An easy way of seeing how…
- The Godfather
- Seven Samurai
- The Godfather: Part II
- 12 Angry Men
most recent update - Saturday, October 18, 2014, 10:30 PM EST
The letterboxd crew has unveiled a new feature that…