YMMV / Cool Hand Luke

  • Adaptation Displacement: Yes, this is based on a (long-forgotten) novel.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • With regards to Luke's final escape attempt - was it a spur of the moment thing as he claims later? Or was it a form of Suicide by Cop? Especially since he'd been threatened with death if he tried escaping again.
    • Dragline seems to think 'Lucille' was just an Innocent Fanservice Girl who had the bad luck of choosing to wash her car while a bunch of inmates were tarring the road outside her house. Others think she was deliberately Trolling the men.
  • Award Snub:
    • Paul Newman lost out the Best Actor Oscar to Rod Steiger for In the Heat of the Night. While a good film, Paul Newman's Luke ended up becoming more remembered as the years went on.
    • Jo Van Fleet didn't even get a Best Supporting Actress nod for her One-Scene Wonder as Luke's mother. Granted she had already won the award for a similar part in East of Eden.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: Pretty much everything Luke does. Dragline gets one when he attacks Godfrey and knocks off his glasses after he shoots Luke.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: The famous "tar sequence", which would actually be used for a quarter-century on various TV station newscasts, primarily ABC owned-and-operated stations.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Some critics thought the film made working on a chain gang seem quite appealing.
  • Fanon: Joy Harmon's character is nicknamed Lucille in the film, but her real name is not revealed, and she's just credited as 'The Girl'. Lucille is taken as her Canon Name.
  • Fetish Retardant:
    • The shirtlessness stops being titillating as the film goes on and you see how overworked the guys are. They also have to strip naked before going into The Box.
    • The car wash scene can be this if you interpret that 'Lucille' is just trying to wash her car with several lecherous men watching her.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The "tar sequence" background music has become so recognizable as a standard TV news jingle that it's quite jarring to hear in a completely unrelated context.
  • Genius Bonus: The Christ-like imagery associated with Luke continues towards the end, where Luke prays to God. It parallels the conversation between Jesus and God in the Garden of Gethsemane. What Gospel is that from? Luke of course.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Watching this after East of Eden can be quite amusing - as Jo Van Fleet played the protagonist's mother in that, and her on-screen son Richard Davalos appears in this.
  • Hype Backlash: Some, considering the film has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. At the time of its release, the direction was thought to be lacklustre, only saved by the script and performances.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "What we've got here is (a) failure to communicate."
    • The 50 eggs in an hour and derivative bets have become a memetic contest.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Joy Harmon appears for five minutes in a Fanservicey scene of a girl washing her car while the men watch.
    • Jo Van Fleet has one extended scene as Luke's mother. It's one of the more emotional parts of the movie.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Dennis Hopper is one of the prisoners (Babalugats).
  • Signature Scene: The "Night in the box" speech or the "I can eat 50 eggs in and hour" scene.
  • Stoic Woobie: Luke appears to be a Shell-Shocked Veteran who doesn't know what to do with his life. His mother is dying and passes away during the film, and it's implied he had a tense relationship with his brother John. And of course all the abuse he suffers in the chain gang. You wouldn't know it though, as he just keeps on smiling. He proves Not So Stoic in the third act.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Besides Dragline, none of the other inmates get many lines or development.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/CoolHandLuke