Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Cool Hand Luke (1967)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Cool Hand Luke (1967)

In director Stuart Rosenberg's popular prison chain-gang drama with numerous Christ references and images:

  • the imprisonment of rebel prisoner Luke (Paul Newman) for maliciously destroying municipal property (cutting the heads off of parking meters)
  • the 'rules' of the house delivered to the prisoners by Carr (Clifton James): ("Them clothes got laundry numbers on 'em. You remember your number and always wear the ones that has your number. Any man forgets his number spends the night in the box...")
  • the titillating scene of a sexy teenage girl (Joy Harmon) - the warden's daughter? - frustrating the prisoners by soaping up, pressing her sudsy breasts against the window, and hosing off herself and her car in plain sight ("drivin' us crazy and lovin' every minute of it")
Soapy and Sexy Car-Wash
Boxing Match against Dragline
Egg-Eating Contest
  • the epic brutal boxing match with boss convict Dragline (George Kennedy) in which Luke refused to give up by staying down on the ground - and thereby received a beating
  • the entertaining, one-hour long, hard-boiled egg-eating contest that Luke won by consuming 50 eggs
  • the image of the guard's impenetrable sunglasses
  • the prison visit of Luke's sick mother Arletta (Jo Van Fleet) who talked to him from the back of a pickup truck
  • the scene of Luke strumming a guitar singing the irreverent "Plastic Jesus" song following his mother's death
  • the nasty prison boss Captain's (Strother Martin) famous line to defiant Luke: "What we got here is failure to communicate"
  • the escape attempt in the concluding sequence with the final Christ-figure imagery and the smile on Luke's face as he sassed back: ("What we've got here is a failure to communicate") and was killed (and his epitaph: "he's a natural-born world-shaker")

(Paul Newman)

The 'Rules of the House"

Guard's Reflective Sunglasses

"Plastic Jesus"

"What we got here is failure to communicate"

Luke's Death


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