Movie Review

Cool Hand Luke

Reviewed by: Frederick Jones
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
13 to Adult
Genre:
Drama
Length:
2 hr. 6 min.
PG

Starring: Paul Newman, George Kennedy, J.D. Cannon, Strother Martin, Jo Van Fleet, Richard Davalos, Dennis Hopper, Anthony Zerbe | Director: Stuart Rosenberg | Writer: Donn Pearce

“Cool Hand Luke” is an excellent movie with deep philosophical underpinnings. The movie centers around a single man working his way through the ranks of a chain gang society in the south during the 1960s (before I was born). I have seen it six times in the past ten years and I can still watch it again.

Luke (Paul Newman) defies all authority during the movie. He starts with local authorities (cutting off the heads of parking meters), then the “alpha male” of the chain gain, then the bosses overseeing the men, then finally God.

His character is the incarnation of the hubris in the carnal mind—epitomizing the longing in the heart of every man since the Fall: to be a god. Nietzche’s ubermensch comes alive.

The amazing thing about this movie is that Luke constantly fails yet the men remain loyal to him through it all.

There is no nudity in the film. A pretty graphic fight scene with blood (nothing gratuitous though). One scene where a farm girl allures the men from afar—mild in comparison with Soap Operas. There is also a small amount of cursing involved.

Year of Release—1967

Viewer Comments
I am really surprised that in your review for this movie you did not mention the obvious Jesus tale being told. It is played out symbolically in many different scenes. Watch this with an eye towards a biblical interpretation. My Ratings: [4½/5]
—Jeremy Higgins, age 29, non-Christian