Best Quotes/Dialogues from Cool Hand Luke

Finch
Even though most people probably haven't seen the 1967 Paul Newman movie Cool Hand Luke, EVERYONE has heard a quote or two from it.

Cool Hand Luke is the story of a man (Luke) wanting only to find some elbow room in the world - to live free of expectations and cultural obligations. After settling a debt with an old friend (by cutting the heads off city parking meters), Luke is sentenced to time on a chain gang in Florida. What commences is a story of a man refusing to be broken by the system. He finds ways to beat the system in every way from escape to non-conformity.

The ultimate message of the movie is a mirror of the famous statement of Epictetus the Greek philosopher who said, "I was never more free than when I was on the rack." Luke, a man in prison who has had his "freedom" taken away from him and thus should act the part of a slave, refuses to give in and asserts his unbreakable will to keep himself truly free. Only in bondage can we know that which cannot be taken from us: our attitude.

The Top Ten

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

Captain: You're gonna get used to wearin' them chains after a while, Luke, but you never stop listening' to them clinkin'. 'Cause they're gonna remind you of what I've been saying' - for your own good.
Luke: Wish you'd stop bein' so good to me, Cap'n.
Captain: [lashing out with his stick] Don't you ever talk that way to me. Never! Never! What we've got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can't reach. So you get what we had here last week - which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it. I don't like it any more than you men.

2 "Just doin' my job"

Guard: [putting Luke in the box when he learns that his mother has died] Sorry, Luke. Just doing' my job. You gotta appreciate that.
Luke: Aw, callin' it your job don't make it right, boss.

3 "Yeah, them poor old Bosses need all the help they can get."

Dragline: He ain't in the box because of the joke played on him. He back-sassed a free man. They got their rules. We ain't got nothing' to do with that. Would probably have happened to him sooner or later anyway - a complainer like him. He gotta learn the rules the same as anybody else.
Luke: Yeah, them poor old Bosses need all the help they can get.
Dragline: You tryin' to say somethin'? You got a flappin' mouth. One of these days, I'm gonna have to flap me up some dust with it.

4 "Nothin' can be a real cool hand"

Dragline: [After Luke wins a poker game by bluffing] nothing'. A handful of nothing'. You stupid mullet head. He beat you with nothing'. Just like today when he kept comin' back at me - with nothing'.
Luke: Yeah, well, sometimes nothing' can be a real cool hand.
Dragline: Move over. I'm gonna sit in here next to my boy - Cool Hand Luke.

5 "Love me, hate me, kill me, anything"

Luke: [about God and the thunder] Let him go. Bam, Bam.
Dragline: Knock it off, Luke. You can't talk about Him that way.
Luke: Are you still believin' in that big bearded Boss up there? You think he's watchin' us?
Dragline: Get in here. Ain't ya scared? Ain't ya scared of dyin'?
Luke: Dyin'? Boy, he can have this little life any time he wants to. Do ya hear that? Are ya hearin' it? Come on. You're welcome to it, ol' timer. Let me know you're up there. Come on. Love me, hate me, kill me, anything. Just let me know it.
[He looks around]
Luke: I'm just standin' in the rain talking' to myself.

6 "You're gonna hafta kill me..."

Dragline: Stay down. You're beat.
Luke: You're gonna hafta kill me...

7 "World-shaker"

About Luke:
Dragline: He's a natural born world-shaker.

8 "That old Luke smile..."

Dragline: He was smiling... That's right. You know, that, that Luke smile of his. He had it on his face right to the very end. Hell, if they didn't know it 'fore, they could tell right then that they weren't a-gonna beat him. That old Luke smile. Oh, Luke. He was some boy. Cool Hand Luke. Hell, he's a natural-born world-shaker.

9 "I never planned anything in my life"

Dragline: You're an original, that's what you are. Them mullet-heads didn't even know you was foolin'.
Luke: Foolin' 'em, huh? You can't fool 'em about somethin' like that. They broke me...
Dragline: Aw. All that time, you was plannin' on runnin' again.
Luke: I never planned anything in my life.

10 "I guess You're a hard case, too."

Luke: Anybody here? Hey, Old Man. You home tonight? Can You spare a minute. It's about time we had a little talk. I know I'm a pretty evil fellow... killed people in the war and got drunk... and chewed up municipal property and the like. I know I got no call to ask for much... but even so, You've got to admit You ain't dealt me no cards in a long time. It's beginning to look like You got things fixed so I can't never win out. Inside, outside, all of them... rules and regulations and bosses. You made me like I am. Now just where am I supposed to fit in? Old Man, I gotta tell You. I started out pretty strong and fast. But it's beginning to get to me. When does it end? What do You got in mind for me? What do I do now? Right. All right. [Gets on knees, closes eyes and begins to pray] On my knees, asking. [pause] Yeah, that's what I thought. I guess I'm pretty tough to deal with, huh? A hard case. Yeah. I guess I gotta find my own way.
[Police cars arrive]
Dragline: Luke?
Luke: ...more

BAdd New Item
P