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Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Cool Hand Luke


126 minutes

Classics / Crime / Drama

Directed by Stuart Rosenberg


Paul Newman as Luke Jackson
George Kennedy as Dragline
J.D. Cannon as Society Red
Lou Antonio as Koko
Robert Drivas as Loudmouth Steve
Strother Martin as Captain
Jo Van Fleet as Arletta
Clifton James as Carr
Morgan Woodward as Boss Godfrey
Luke Askew as Boss Paul
Marc Cavell as Rabbitt
Richard Davalos as Blind Dick
Robert Donner as Boss Shorty
Warren Finnerty as Tattoo
Dennis Hopper as Babalugats
John McLiam as Boss Keen
Wayne Rogers as Gambler
Andre Trottier as Boss Popler
Dean Stanton as Tramp
Charles Tyner as Boss Higgins
Ralph Waite as Alibi
Anthony Zerbe as Dog Boy
Buck Kartalian as Dynamite
Joe Don Baker as Fixer
Joy Harmon as Lucille

Paul Newman plays Luke Jackson, who is taken into custody for destructing the parking meters after a night of partying. He is sent to prison for two years as well as spending time in a Florida camp, ran by a ruthless Captain. The prisoners at the camp recognize Luke as a World War II veteran and are known to them as “Lucas War-Hero.” Luke does not follow his name, for he immediately comes into conflict with the main prisoner there, Dragline. They fight one another with everyone watching, including the guards. Luke puts up a good fight, even though Dragline is twice his size. Dragline even gives up on the fight, since Luke will not back down. Although Luke is severely beaten, he wins the respect of Dragline and everyone else. He even gets the nickname “Cool Hand Luke” by Dragline after winning a poker game on a bluff. After winning Luke says, “sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand.”

Luke starts to become more positive after his mother visits him in prison. Even though the prison life is harsh, full of hard work and time being spent in a brutal confined space for misbehaved prisoners, Luke shows an optimistic attitude, inspiring the rest of the prisoners. He even wins a spontaneous bet where he eats fifty eggs in one hour. Luke repeatedly bypasses the orders of the Cap'n and his care free attitude and aptitude rub on the rest of the prisoners. His leadership skills are tested when he leads a crew on a preposterous assignment to finish a road-paving job all in one day against all odds. When he finds out about his mother’s death, he is locked up in 'the box' by the Cap'n, for he fears Luke might try to flee the prison to go to his mother’s funeral. This motivates Luke to escape the prison more than ever. He manages to escape during a Fourth of July event, but is found by the police and confined to leg irons so he won’t try to escape again. When Luke returns back to the prison, the Cap'n informs the rest of the prisoners. “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” Luke tries to escape again and this time it leads to his death. He is forever remembered by his inmates.

Memoriable Quotes:

Dragline: He's a natural born world-shaker.

Dragline: He was smiling... That's right. You know, that, that Luke smile of his. He had it on his face right to the very end. Hell, if they didn't know it 'fore, they could tell right then that they weren't a-gonna beat him. That old Luke smile. Oh, Luke. He was some boy. Cool Hand Luke. Hell, he's a natural-born world-shaker.

Dragline: [watching sexy girl wash a car] My Lord, whatever I done, don't strike me blind for another couple of minutes.

Dragline: That's my darling Luke. He grins like a baby but bites like a gator .

Luke: Well that oughta be easy for a genuine son of a bitch.

Boss Paul: That ditch is Boss Kean's ditch. And I told him that dirt in it's your dirt . What's your dirt doin' in his ditch?
Luke: I don't know, Boss.
Boss Paul: You better get in there and get it out, boy.

[Why he was cutting the heads off parking meters]
Luke: Small town, not much to do in the evenin'.

Dragline: Anything so innocent and built like that just gotta be named Lucille.

Carr: Any man playing grabass or fightin' in the building spends a night in the box.

Carr: Them clothes got laundry numbers on them. You remember your number and always wear the ones that has your number. Any man forgets his number spends a night in the box. These here spoons you keep with you. Any man loses his spoon spends a night in the box. There's no playing grab-ass or fighting in the building. You got a grudge against another man, you fight him Saturday afternoon. Any man playing grab-ass or fighting in the building spends a night in the box. First bell's at five minutes of eight when you will get in your bunk. Last bell is at eight. Any man not in his bunk at eight spends the night in the box. There is no smoking in the prone position in bed. To smoke you must have both legs over the side of your bunk. Any man caught smoking in the prone position in bed... spends a night in the box. You get two sheets. Every Saturday, you put the clean sheet on the top... the top sheet on the bottom... and the bottom sheet you turn in to the laundry boy. Any man turns in the wrong sheet spends a night in the box. No one'll sit in the bunks with dirty pants on. Any man with dirty pants on sitting on the bunks spends a night in the box. Any man don't bring back his empty pop bottle spends a night in the box. Any man loud talking spends a night in the box. You got questions, you come to me. I'm Carr, the floor walker. I'm responsible for order in here. Any man don't keep order spends a night in...
Luke: ...the box.
Carr: I hope you ain't going to be a hard case.
Luke: [Smiles, shakes head] .

Captain, Road Prison 36: Now, I can be a good guy, or I can be one real mean sum-bitch.

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 me like I am. Now just where am I supposed to fit in? Old Man, I gotta tell You. I started out pretty strong and fast. But it's beginning to get to me. When does it end? What do You got in mind for me? What do I do now? Right. All right.
[Gets on knees, closes eyes and begins to pray]
Luke: . On my knees, asking.
[Peeks up with one eye, waits. Then opens eyes and crosses arms]
Luke: . Yeah, that's what I thought. I guess I'm pretty tough to deal with, huh? A hard case.
[Clicks tongue]
Luke: . Yeah. I guess I gotta find my own way.
[Headlights shine through windows, backs up]
Dragline: Luke?
Luke: [Shakes head and smiles] Is that Your answer, Old Man? I guess You're a hard case, too.

Captain, Road Prison 36: What we got here is... failure to communicate.

Captain, Road Prison 36: You run one time, you got yourself a set of chains. You run twice you got yourself two sets. You ain't gonna need no third set, 'cause you gonna get your mind right.

Arletta: Ya know, sometimes I wished people was like dogs, Luke.

Boss: Sorry, Luke. I'm just doing my job. You gotta appreciate that.
Luke: Nah - calling it your job don't make it right, Boss.

Captain, Road Prison 36: What we've got here is... failure to communicate. Some men you just can't reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it... well, he gets it. I don't like it any more than you men.

Captain, Road Prison 36: You gonna get used to wearin' them chains afer a while, Luke. Don't you never stop listenin' to them clinking. 'Cause they gonna remind you of what I been saying. For your own good.
Luke: Wish you'd stop bein' so good to me, cap'n.

Luke: I can eat fifty eggs.
Dragline: Nobody can eat fifty eggs.
Society Red: You just said he could eat anything.
Dragline: Did you ever eat fifty eggs?
Luke: Nobody ever eat fifty eggs.
Prisoner: Hey, Babalugats. We got a bet here.
Dragline: My boy says he can eat fifty eggs, he can eat fifty eggs.
Loudmouth Steve: Yeah, but in how long?
Luke: A hour.
Society Red: Well, I believe I'll take part of that wager.

[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.

Dragline: Where'd the road go?
Luke: That's it. That's the end of it.
Convict: Man, there's still daylight.
Dragline: About two hours left.
Convict: What do we do now?
Luke: Nothin'.
Dragline: Oh Luke, you wild, beautiful thing. You crazy handful of nothin'.

[Discussing God and the rain ]
Luke: Let him go. Bam, Bam.
Dragline: Knock it off, Luke. You can't talk about Him that way.
Luke: Are you still believin' in that big bearded Boss up there? You think he's watchin' us?
Dragline: Get in here. Ain't ya scared? Ain't ya scared of dyin'?
Luke: Dyin'? Boy, he can have this little life any time he wants to. Do ya hear that? Are ya hearin' it? Come on. You're welcome to it, ol' timer. Let me know you're up there. Come on. Love me, hate me, kill me, anything. Just let me know it.
[He looks around]
Luke: I'm just standin' in the rain talkin' to myself.

Luke: Oh come on. Stop beatin' it. Get out there yourself. Stop feedin' off me. Get out of here. I can't breathe. Give me some air.

[Luke won a game of poker on a bluff]
Dragline: Nothin'. A handful of nothin'. You stupid mullet head. He beat you with nothin'. Just like today when he kept comin' back at me - with nothin'.
Luke: Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.

[Alone in a church, talking to God, as police lights begin flashing]
Luke: Is that your answer, old man? Well, I guess you're a hard case too.

Dog Boy: Look Cap'n, look what he done to Blue. He's dead, he's dead. he run himself plum to death.

Arletta: Why, we always thought you was strong enough to carry it. Was we wrong?
Luke: I don't know. Well, things are just never the way they seem, Arletta, you know that. A man's just gotta go his own way.

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.

[Dragline has repeatedly knocked Luke down during a boxing match]
Dragline: Stay down. You're beat.
Luke: You're gonna hafta kill me...
[struggles back to his feet]

[Moving through the crowd , all excited about the record breaking egg eating about to take place]
Dragline: Alright, stand back you pedestrians, this ain't no automobile accident.

Luke's Nephew: [on visiting day] Uncle Luke? Why can't *you* have chains?
Luke: John-boy, lemme tell you something. You know, them chains ain't medals. You get 'em for making mistakes. And you make a *bad* enough mistake, and then you gotta deal with the Man. And he is one rough old boy.

Actors: Joe Don Baker, Dennis Hopper, George Kennedy, Strother Martin, Paul Newman, Ralph Waite
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Matinee Classics - Cool Hand Luke starring Paul Newman, George Kennedy, Strother Martin, Dennis Hopper, Ralph Waite
Matinee Classics - Cool Hand Luke starring Paul Newman, George Kennedy, Strother Martin, Dennis Hopper, Ralph Waite

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