Essay on Movie Analysis : Cool Hand Luke

Essay on Movie Analysis : Cool Hand Luke

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Anyone who has ever seen the 1967 classic movie, Cool Hand Luke, can agree that the main theme of the movie would be about nonconformity. The movie takes place in a southern prison, where the prisoners must participate in the intense labor of a chain gang and work everyday in the sweltering heat while serving their time. The inmates must follow the strict rules that are set, or they are punished in an almost cruel and unusual fashion. The outcast, war hero and true nonconformist is the main character, Lucas Jackson. After vandalizing parking meters, Jackson must spend two years in the penitentiary. While serving his short amount of time in the prison, the audience discovers that Mr. Jackson will do almost anything and everything in his power to challenge the authority and to see just how far he can take his rebellious actions. Because of Mr. Jackson 's rebellious attitude, the movie parallels the 1960’s and the nonconformist ideology popular during that time.
The 1960’s were a time of going against the norm, breaking the rules, acting against authority. Kenneth Walsh describes the decade as “a decade of extremes, of transformational change and bizarre contrasts: flower children and assassins, idealism and alienation, rebellion and backlash.”(Walsh) Rebelling against conformity was exactly how the character of Lucas Jackson is portrayed.“The film 's protagonist is not a recognizable figure of the era 's counterculture; he 's no free-love hippie or dedicated anti-war activist, yet younger audiences were drawn to his rebellious nature” (Nixon). Although Luke is far from a hippie, he still relates to the way the hippies were in the 1960’s. “The hippies” primary tenet was that life was about being happy, not about what others told t...


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...happy. The film relates to the unjust society that the prisoners were having to endure, to the cruel world the African American’s were having to endure during that time. Just like the Civil Rights activists, Luke finally took a stand for a just cause and fought against injustice and unfairness. Religion was huge in the sixties, and Rosenberg used symbolism and portrayed Luke as a Christ-like figure to show people of that time of breaking away from conformity was okay. Rebelling against the standards of that looked down up, and it betters the World, just as Jesus Christ did. The great classic movie was full of symbolism and in many different ways had an impact on the audience that maybe making a statement in what one feels is right, and going against the set standards that the world was setting at the time was in fact something to be proud of and something to embrace.

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