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Cool Hand Luke Reviews

Page 1 of 211
Carlos M

Super Reviewer

September 29, 2013
What elevates this engaging drama to a remarkable ode to nonconformity is definitely Paul Newman's intense performance and its taut, compelling script, which both compensate for the story's exceedingly slow-moving pace and Rosenberg's inept direction.
familiar s

Super Reviewer

January 6, 2009
While the movie seems to have worked wonders for most, I wasn't so lucky to be one of those. That's not to say that I didn't like it altogether. Just didn't enjoy it enough as expected. Found it mediocre in almost every major department, be it scripting, acting, dialogues or screenplay. Give it a shot; may turn out to be worth your while. Even otherwise, it's not an absolute waste. Watch it (of course, at your own risk) and arrive at your own sound verdict.
Graham J

Super Reviewer

March 28, 2012
Though the film has flaws, the performances by Newman and the whole cast are just amazing.

Super Reviewer

August 27, 2011
The problem with Luke is that he's so "cool" that you can't really care for him, or his antics. I guess this is suppose to be a statement about sticking it to the man, never giving up or something like that. Sorry but Luke is no Kowalski, and he's not driving a bad ass car.
Dan S

Super Reviewer

October 7, 2007
Without a doubt one of the best movies from the 60's, thanks in large part due to a couple of admirable turns from both Paul Newman and George Kennedy. This is really just an impossible movie not to like - Newman's character is introduced under somewhat mysterious circumstances, and thus he captures the attention of his fellow inmates before winning their affection thanks to a very memorable fight scene between him and Kennedy. This is just a classic film in every sense of the word. Newman has never been better, the the twists this story pulls gives it a magnetic quality. The ending is ultimately somewhat predictable but I wouldn't have it any other way. This is just a perfect film that accomplishes being funny, touching, and exciting all in one package.

Super Reviewer

March 8, 2011
"What we have here is failure to communicate" is not only a famous piece of dialogue from this film, but also sums up director Stuart Rosenberg's film Cool Hand Luke. While the story provides so many moments to really dive into the hearts and minds of these characters, Rosenberg only takes advantage of a few. Instead, he substitutes depth with whimsy and we are left with a film that really fails to communicate with the audience. Sure the film is iconic. Newsman and Kelly's performances are very absorbing and the egg eating contest is so bizarre that it has certainly left it's imprint on American cinema. Yet, although these elements make this film memorable, they cannot save the film from the emptiness that saturates many of these scenes. While that may seem harsh, the film isn't all bad. In fact, there are some really powerful scenes. One involves a moment between Luke and his mother. Rosenberg also manages to touch on themes of what makes a "criminal" and what does it mean to be free? Also, the ineffective nature of "correctional facilities" and the persistence of the human spirit.
It is definitely worth a watch and overall a fine film. Yet, it is really hard to shake the feeling that Rosenberg really missed an opportunity to make a really powerful piece of cinema.

Super Reviewer

March 1, 2007
One of the all-time icons of cinematic rebellion, Luke is thrown into a chain gang for two years when he gets drunk and decides to decapitate all of his small southern town's parking meters. His stubborn refusal to bow to the will of authority eventually makes him a hero to his fellow prisoners but a target to the brutal prison guards determined to break his spirit. Cool Hand Luke is a classic prison drama that has a strong message about subjugation and conformity and its effects on the human spirit. Luke is shown as a very likable but almost psychotically self-destructive obsessive whose total inability to defer to figures of authority (even god himself) makes him an almost legendary figure in the eyes of those less willful who vicariously experience his acts of rebellion to give them new hope. It's a character study of a man's blind rebellion against a system he did not make, always doomed to lose but unwilling to give up kicking against it. It's a film of real warmth, humour and passion, the centrepiece being Newman's fantastic performance which is one of the best of his career. Definitely up there with One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest as one the great stories of the underdog cocking a snoot at "The Man" and one of the finest prison dramas ever made. You'll never look at a boiled egg the way same again.

Super Reviewer

December 31, 2010
An incredible performance by Paul Newman and a great supporting cast as well as some fantastic scenes make this a classic you'll remember. Full review later.

Super Reviewer

January 23, 2010
Not even the clear sky itself is as blue as Paul Newman's eyes. Good Lord almighty...
I REALLY liked this! Good spirit about it! Good Never-Give-Up attitude. I think this is the greatest prison movie (maybe even above Shawshank Redemption). Great story, fun and serious, very well acted and some amazing sunset shots!! Fantastic!
Spencer S

Super Reviewer

December 9, 2008
Suave, smooth, and oh so nice, Paul Newman is a mix of Steve McQueen in The Great Escape, and Stanley from Streetcar Named Desire. The wheels in his head turn on pure hatred for his life, his sentence, his friendships however needed they may be. He's desperate from the beginning, and now jailed in some backwoods chain gang situation. Escape is the only plausible solution, and he grabs onto it for his life, pulling it to him ever the more slowly.
Jay H

Super Reviewer

July 30, 2010
A solid prison film with some great performances from Paul Newman and George Kennedy. Well worth watching.
Conner R

Super Reviewer

January 7, 2010
Incredible in every way. Paul Newman was amazing and Luke is one of my favorite characters. The story has such a powerful message about independence an hope. It's not just a prison movie, I wouldn't even classify it as that. It's a character piece, period. It shows you the soul of a man and never lets you forget it.

Super Reviewer

December 8, 2009
One of the greatest Paul Newman Movies I enjoy.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 30, 2009
The ultimate anti-hero, Cool Hand Luke said a lot about the 60's and still stands up today. Fight the system, the system will probably win but at least you didn't bend over and take it!
Jennifer X

Super Reviewer

August 31, 2007
I like to think of this movie as the cool One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Paul Newman's Luke is put under the same situation as Nicholson's McMurphy, but instead of hot blooded Irishness you get a cool head and an enigmatic smile. What happens to an individual when he bites back, and the institution bits back harder. Having the woman wash the car with her boobs squooshing in and out was practically softcore porn. An inspiration to all the jail movies afterwards, including Shawshank Redemption. It's no wonder Newman became a hero to antiestablishmentarians everywhere.

Super Reviewer

August 27, 2008
"What we've got here is failure to communicate."

Luke Jackson (Paul Newman) is sentenced to a stretch on a southern chain gang after he's arrested for drunkenly decapitating parking meters. While the avowed ambition of the captain (Strother Martin) is for each prisoner to "get their mind right," it soon becomes obvious that Luke is not about to kowtow to anybody. When challenged to a fistfight by fellow inmate Dragline (George Kennedy), Luke simply refuses to give up, even though he's brutally beaten. Luke knows how to win at poker, even with bad cards, by using his smarts and playing it cool. Luke also figures out a way for the men to get their work done in half the usual time, giving them the afternoon off. Finally, when Luke finds out his mother has died, he plots his escape; when he's caught, he simply escapes again. Soon, Luke becomes a symbol of hope and resilience to the other men in the prison camp -- and a symbol of rebelliousness that must be stamped out to the guards and the captain.

Cool Hand Luke is a great film that will last the ages. Newman's portrayal of the impulsive loner with the undying will is unforgettable, and Lucas Jackson may be one of the most memorable movie characters of all time. Luke's unfaltering spirit in the face of a life that never seems to deal him a fair hand will probably win you over sooner than later. A superb supporting cast, (including George Kennedy in his Oscar winning performance and Strother Martin ("what we got heehr is...failyuh to com-municate"), along with fine direction from Stuart Rosenberg catapult this timeless story, of an individual adrift in a vast and faceless world, towards classic status.

The basic plot line follows thus: Luke is arrested for the silliest of crimes and sent to prison (where the prisoners often work on a sort of chain gang, although largely without the chains). The atmosphere of the prison camp almost immediately begins to change after Luke's arrival, though not due to any conscious effort from his part. Just because he is who he is. At first, the other prisoners are hostile but they soon warm to him. They seem to begin feeling real camaraderie--perhaps even some unity. Some of the most memorable scenes naturally stick in your mind: Luke's endless boxing match, the eggs (!), his escapes, and even when Luke is beaten by the prison captain...and, of course, the unforgettable smile. A legendary performance from Newman and a true classic.
Julie B

Super Reviewer

January 4, 2009
I can eat 50 eggs.

Super Reviewer

January 25, 2007
cool hand luke is a fun movie. it suffers from a slow pace and the complete lack of a plot, but newman is excellent as always and the end was perfect. the film also had some unforgetable moments, like the boxing match and the egg eating, cementing this as a very good film and a must see for paul newman fans.
Aaron N

Super Reviewer

March 17, 2007
Carr: 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] .

A great movie about a man unwilling to conform. Its set on a prison chain-gain, it works as a comedy drama, and its a wonderful character study.

Paul Newman gives one of his best performances as a man who became bored with life and got himself sent to prison. Here he continues his loner status, but slowly starts to develop his way into the life with his fellow prisoners, eventually becoming the man they look up to.

One of these prisoners is Dragline, played in an Oscar winning performance by George Kennedy, the head honcho and foil to Luke. He and Luke form a sort of bond during this movie that takes different forms throughout.

The other side of this story is Luke's eventual refusal to accept rules of the prison system, leading to his escape attempts.

Captain: What we got here is... failure to communicate.

There is not necessarily a solid plot structure, the movie is somewhat episodic. But that doesn't matter, because it is more of a joy just to watch these characters interact. There are tons of memorable scenes and great lines.

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.

The feel and style of this movie has since been used in other films, and there is a reason why, it's a well told tale about certain people in a unique setting.

The movie also tends to have some not too subtle religious subtext to it as well, applied to the status of Luke during his time spent in prison. This isn't necessarily a problem, but it certainly makes itself present and further expands upon Luke's unwillingness to lay down for anything unless he sees fit.

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.

The main thing though, is that the movie is very entertaining, featuring great work from Newman, a good theme, and as mentioned, a large number of great scenes throughout.

A great movie.

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.
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