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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Cool Hand Luke (1967)



Reviews and Comments

"What we've got here is failure to communicate."

A precursor to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Cool Hand Luke also tells the story of a free spirit who cannot be caged, even in jail. In the 1960s, Paul Newman played a number of roles like the one he plays here, and this is one of his best. Luke is a man who makes up life as he goes. He won't conform to the system, but he's not really a rebel so much as a guy who cannot march to any drum but his own. No doubt this movie spoke volumes to audiences of the 1960s, during which society was in the midst of a spirited backlash against 1950s attitudes of conformance.

It doesn't speak so pointedly to me, one who cherishes neither extreme of this particular spectrum, but it does hit home as an entertaining story with truth in its characters. Newman is amply supported by George Kennedy, who won an Oscar for his performance, but it's the script that impresses me most, one that hits all the right notes in finding the essences of the characters.