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. The prisoners admire Luke because, as Dragline explains it, “You’re an original, that’s what you are!” Nevertheless, the camp staff actively works to crush Luke until he finally breaks.
Though hampered by Stuart Rosenberg’s direction, Cool Hand Luke is held aloft by a stellar script and one of Paul Newman’s most indelible performances.
Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus
Major accolades received by Cool Hand Luke (1967)
- Featured in Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list.
- Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
- Selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
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