Essay about Theological Symbolism in "Cool Hand Luke"

Essay about Theological Symbolism in "Cool Hand Luke"

Length: 1336 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In the 1967 prison film Cool Hand Luke, directed by Stuart Rosenberg, there are many examples of theological symbolism and religious themes. Most of the symbolism alludes to Jesus Christ, which is often utilized in film to add depth to the protagonist in the story. Such Christ figure symbolism can also be seen in films such as the 1999 hit The Matrix and the original Star Wars film (1977). Along with these visual suggestions, there are also thematic elements that underlie Cool Hand Luke which involve Biblical allusions and metaphysical questions.
The film revolves around a man named Lucas Jackson, portrayed by the legendary actor Paul Newman, who is sentenced to two years in a small suburban jail. He is convicted for destroying public property, and being intoxicated while doing so. Before his conviction, Luke was in the Army and attained the rank of Sergeant. However, he was demoted when his service was up, and is seemingly running into trouble no matter where he goes. At the jail, the warden asks him about his carelessness and impulsive actions, to which Luke replies “…it’s something to pass the time”.
From the first day at the jail, Luke stands out amongst the inmates. Most of them follow and bend to every rule that is made by the warden and prison guards, while Luke sneers at the establishment. The prisoners also follow the rules of the biggest inmate, Dragline, who is portrayed by George Kennedy. Still, Luke does not take the excessive rules and regulations seriously, which gets him into trouble. Dragline challenges Luke to a boxing match, and they meet out in the court yard. Due to Dragline’s large stature and strength, he beats Luke into a pulp. What was initially a large crowd cheering on the fight, turns into a sad spe...


... middle of paper ...


...ons also served to help bring a new light to old scriptures. Taking the values and lessons of Biblical accounts and placing them into the context of a film work to reinforce the good values and wisdom passed down from generations ago. In no way did this film carry an anti-religious sentiment or offensive remarks. If you take the entire context of the film, it was in fact an encouragement to pursue religious and spiritual endeavors.
I personally thought this was a great film, although initially I thought it might be boring. Once I got past the older production quality and immersed myself into the story, I enjoyed it. I can see why this film is a cinematic classic, especially with the memorable dialogue. My favorite lines came from Carr, the floor walker. He seemed to know his job like the back of his hand. “Any man loses his spoon; he spends the night in the box”.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Movie Analysis : Cool Hand Luke

- 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....   [tags: Human rights, Rights, Cool Hand Luke, 1960s]

Strong Essays
1558 words (4.5 pages)

Film Review : Cool Hand Luke Directed By Stuart Rosenberg Essay

- Being a prisoner has more restrictions than one may believe. Prisoners are told when they should participate in daily activities and what they are allowed to say or do on a daily basis. This is not a life anyone is determined to experience during any period of time. However, all though for most prison life is just a depiction in a movie or on television, it is a reality for many. Their crimes and behaviors brought them into a world of being stripped of their freedom. Those who oversee the prisoners must control order within the brick walls....   [tags: Prison, Penology, Cool Hand Luke]

Strong Essays
1488 words (4.3 pages)

Essay on Nonconformity in "Cool Hand Luke"

- Mahatmas Ghandi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the South Africans all have used disobedience in order to change an unjust norm or law(s). The most common form of disobedience which have been used in history is to simply not obey the officials of higher authority and protest in order to get the point across. These protests have been successful because of the mass numbers of supporters but also because they set out to change an unjust rule or norms. In the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke featuring Paul Newman, Lucas (Luke) has been sent to jail for "beheading" parking meters while intoxicated....   [tags: Film Review]

Strong Essays
1188 words (3.4 pages)

Analysis Of The Movie ' Cool Hand Luke ' Essay

- The movie, Cool Hand Luke, tells a story of a man named, Lucas Jackson, who is confronted with the challenges of authority after being wrongfully convicted of crime too petty and insignificant to equate to the large sentence he had received. Throughout the entire length of the film, Lucas is faced with tremendous physical and emotional torture in numerous and inhuman ways. Despite the astounding punishments Luke is able to endure throughout the film, he manages to gain the respect of the prisoners and guards’, as well as utilizing his tenacity, charisma, and wits to not only influence the prison chain-gang, but to gain the power in order to unmask and expose the authority around them....   [tags: Milgram experiment, Stanford prison experiment]

Strong Essays
1279 words (3.7 pages)

Cool Hand Luke: Failure to Communicate Essay example

- Released in 1967, “Cool Hand Luke” continues to be one of the most popular movies in American history. (Belton, 2008) The movie starred famed actor Paul Newman and was based on the trials and tribulations occurring inside a Florida prison camp. One of the main reasons why Cool Hand Luke continues to be relevant today is due to its incisive observations regarding the criminal justice system. While the movie was released over forty years ago, the relevance of Cool Hand Luke continues today. This paper will provide a synopsis of the movie and character analysis of Cool Hand Luke; in addition, the paper will analyze the movie from the perspectives of someone unfamiliar with the criminal justice...   [tags: Paul Newman, criminal justice system]

Strong Essays
2794 words (8 pages)

Essay on Analysis Of The Movie ' Cool Hand Luke '

- Cool Hand Luke is a film that starts off with the main character Luke. Luke has done crimes and has to go to prison while there he tries to escape three times before he dies. During this film, there are signs of the three social psychological themes which are conformity, non-conformity, and obedience to authority. In this essay, I will be explaining all these three themes with their examples from the film. To understand these themes in the film, it is essential to understand what each team really means....   [tags: Social psychology, Milgram experiment, Leadership]

Strong Essays
1126 words (3.2 pages)

Social Influence and Persuasion in Cool Hand Luke Essay

- The late 1960’s famously introduced the idea of the “anti-hero”, which is defined as an individual with heroic qualities who is not in the position of an archetypal hero. One such example is the movie Cool Hand Luke, from 1967 starring Paul Newman. The movie surrounds a prisoner named Luke Jackson who refuses to comply or conform to the norms of the prison. The powerful Captain and the mysterious prison guard, whose silver reflecting sunglasses was the inspiration for one of the main prison guards in the popular Stanford prison experiment, tested his acts of defiance....   [tags: obedience, conformity, hero]

Strong Essays
777 words (2.2 pages)

Superheros of Hope: Brubaker and Cool Hand Luke Essay

- Brubaker and Cool Hand Luke are different men on the same mission. Despite their separate approaches, they stand for the same thing: reform and hope. Brubaker and Cool Hand Luke come across differently, by their actions, their positions, and their affiliation to the other prisoners. As the new warden of the prison, Brubaker could have been seen as just another person trying to inflict suffering and punishment onto the prisoners. Luke, being the new guy, is easily just another Newcock. The difference between these men and all the others is the hope of a better tomorrow....   [tags: filmography, 1960's movies]

Strong Essays
872 words (2.5 pages)

Essay on Frank Stuart Rosenberg 's Cool Hand Luke

- A quintessential element in the preservation of societies social order is a combination of social influences to conform and be obedient. The social influences help to control the individual psyches of entire populations to create a more cohesive environment. Conversely, there are also those who seek to challenge the social controls of society through non-conformity and disobedience. Each of these social psychological themes, obedience to authority, conformity, and non-conformity, are present in director Stuart Rosenberg’s 1967 film, Cool Hand Luke....   [tags: Sociology, Social psychology, Milgram experiment]

Strong Essays
1165 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on Resistance to Power in Cool Hand Luke, Afterschool, and The Matrix

- Throughout the semester, we have watched three films all in which there has been some sort of resistance to power. Cool Hand Luke, directed by Stuart Rosenberg in 1967, was a movie in which the main character, Luke, played by Paul Newman, has been forced to conform to a life in prison. Afterschool, directed by Antonio Campus, is about a boy named Robert, played by Ezra Miller, who is a sophomore in a prep school who happened to catch two girls overdosing on video. The Matrix, directed by Andy Wachowski in 1999, is about a guy named Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, who is a computer programmer by day and a hacker by night....   [tags: prison, control, resistance]

Strong Essays
587 words (1.7 pages)