35 Cool Hand Luke Quotes From This Classic 1967 Crime Movie

Here are 35 Cool Hand Luke quotes that’ll help you better understand what this crime movie is about.

Paul Newman was the actor behind Luke Jackson, a war veteran sentenced to two years in prison for drunkenly breaking parking meters. Being locked up in jail could easily tear down a man’s resolve. Yet, Luke remained high-spirited and willful; he became somewhat of an idol for his fellow inmates.

Throughout the movie, Luke tries to escape multiple times and constantly breaks the rules set upon him by the authorities. After all, he believed some of those imposed on them weren’t righteous.

Cool Hand Luke might have been considered a criminal, but make no mistake; he offers fans notes for self-help that can’t be found in books. Learn more about him and his morals through this list of quotes!

And don’t forget to check out these Joe Dirt quotes and Nacho Libre quotes.

Best Cool Hand Luke Quotes

1. “Is that your answer, Old Man? I guess You’re a hard case, too.” – Luke Jackson

2. “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.” – The Captain

3. Arletta Jackson: “Why, we always thought you was strong enough to carry it. Was we wrong?”

Luke Jackson: “I don’t know. Well, things are just never the way they seem, Arletta; you know that. A man’s just gotta go his own way.”

4. Dragline Slidell: “Stay down. You’re beat.”

Luke Jackson: “You’re gonna hafta kill me.”

5. “Love me, hate me, kill me—anything. Just let me know it.” – Luke Jackson

6. “Well, you know. Small town, not much to do in the evenings.” – Luke Jackson

7. “I never planned anything in my life.” – Luke Jackson

8. Dragline Slidell: “Nothin’! A handful of nothin’. You stupid mullet head, he beat you with nothin’, just like today when he kept comin’ back at me, with nothin’.”

Luke Jackson: “Yeah, well, sometimes nothin’ can be a real cool hand.”

9. “Them clothes got laundry numbers on them. You remember your number and always wear the ones that have your number. Any man forgets his number spends a night in the box. These here spoons you keep with you. Any man loses his spoon spends a night in the box.” – Carr

Cool Hand Luke Quotes That Are Deeper Than They Seem

10. The Captain: “You gonna get used to wearin’ them chains after a while, Luke. Don’t you never stop listenin’ to them clinking. ‘Cause they gonna remind you of what I been saying. For your own good.”

Luke Jackson: “Wish you’d stop being so good to me, Captain.”

11. Boss Paul: “Sorry, Luke. I’m just doing my job. You gotta appreciate that.”

Luke Jackson: “Nah, calling it your job don’t make it right, Boss.”

12. “I always hoped to see you well fixed. Have me a crop of grandkids to fuss around with.” – Arletta Jackson

13. “You got a grudge against another man; you fight him Saturday afternoon.” – Carr

14. “I’m just standin’ in the rain talking to myself.” – Luke Jackson

15. “John-boy, lemme tell you something. You know, them chains ain’t medals. You get ’em for making mistakes. And you make a bad enough mistake, and then you gotta deal with The Man. And he is one rough old boy.” – Luke Jackson

16. “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 nothin’ to do with that. It would probably have happened to him sooner or later anyway, a complainer like him. He gotta learn the rules the same as anybody else.” – Dragline Slidell

17. “You try to run again, we gonna kill ya.” – Boss Paul

Profound Cool Hand Luke Quotes to Ponder On

18. “That’s my darling Luke. He grins like a baby but bites like a gator.” – Dragline Slidell

19. “You ain’t alone. Everywhere you go, I’m with you. John too.” – Arletta Jackson

20. “Don’t hit me anymore. Oh God, I pray to God you don’t hit me anymore. I’ll do anything you say, but I can’t take anymore.” – Luke Jackson

21. “Oh, come on. Stop beatin’ it. Get out there yourself. Stop feedin’ off me. Get out of here. I can’t breathe. Give me some air.” – Luke Jackson

22. “He’s a natural born world-shaker.” – Dragline Slidell

23. “You know, sometimes, I wished people was like dogs, Luke. Comes a time, a day like, when the bitch just don’t recognize the pups no more, so she don’t have no hopes nor love to give her pain. She just don’t give a damn.” – Arletta Jackson

24. “Any man playing grabass or fightin’ in the building spends a night in the box.” – Carr

25. “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 gonna beat him. That old Luke smile. Oh, Luke. He was some boy. Cool Hand Luke.” – Dragline Slidell

26. “You run one time, you got yourself a set of chains. You run twice, you got yourself two sets. You ain’t gonna need no third set, ’cause you gonna get your mind right.” – The Captain

27. “To smoke, you must have both legs over the side of your bunk. Any man caught smoking in the prone position in bed spends a night in the box. You get two sheets. Every Saturday, you put the clean sheet on the top. The top sheet on the bottom and the bottom sheet you turn in to the laundry boy.” – Carr

28. “We got a couple of men here doing 20 spots. We got one that’s got all of it. We got all kinds, and you gonna fit in real good. Of course, unless you get rabbit in your blood and you decide to take off for home. You give the bonus system time and a set of leg chains to keep you slowed down just a little bit, for your own good. You’ll learn the rules. Now, it’s all up to you.” – The Captain

More Cool Hand Luke Quotes for Paul Newman Movie Fans

29. “You’re an original; that’s what you are. Them mullet-heads didn’t even know you were foolin’.” – Dragline Slidell

30. “Now, I can be a good guy, or I can be one real mean son of a bitch. It’s all up to you.” – The Captain

31. Luke Jackson: “I can eat 50 eggs.”

Dragline Slidell: “Nobody can eat 50 eggs.”

Society Red: “You just said he could eat anything.”

Dragline Slidell: “Did you ever eat 50 eggs?”

Luke Jackson: “Nobody ever eats 50 eggs.”

32. “Hey, Lord, whatever I done, don’t strike me blind for another couple of minutes.” – Dragline Slidell

33. Dragline Slidell: “Why you got to go and say 50 eggs for? Why not 35 or 39?”

Luke Jackson: “I thought it was a nice round number.”

34. Dog Boy: “Well, lookie here. I knew they’d get you. Them chains and a bonus of a couple of years. Your running days are over forever, boy. Hell, I’d like to see you try to run again. You know, you getting so you smell so bad I can track you myself.”

Luke Jackson: “Yeah, well, that ought to be easy for a genuine son of a bitch.”

35. “Boy, you’re new meat. You’re gonna have to shape up fast and hard for this gang. We got rules here. In order to learn ’em, you gotta do more work with your ears than with your mouth.” – Dragline Slidell

In Your Opinion, What’s the Most Heart-Shaking Quote From Cool Hand Luke?

Luke Jackson met an untimely end in the movie when he was shot. For most, it might seem that he lived a regretful life and wasn’t able to do what he wanted to do. However, as Dragline says, Cool Hand Luke smiled his signature smile till the end.

He was smiling not because he was sarcastic or crazy; Luke smiled because he could beat the system and find his freedom. For many, especially the prisoners he was with, Cool Hand Luke was their hero. He stood up to the authorities and strived to find justice for the inmates.

Inmates are often treated as less than human beings. However, no matter how wrong, it’s just shrugged off as part of the job. However, when has oppression and injustice become something we should glorify?

Prisoners are in jail to reflect on their actions and try to improve themselves. If they’re surrounded by even more violence and discrimination, how would they ever change their views on life? Remember, no matter what mistake one has made, he’s still human and should be given a chance to redeem himself.

Let Cool Hand Luke and his determination lead you to a better understanding of your purpose in life. Never let yourself be blind to injustice and inequality, especially if the ones being wronged are innocent and powerless!

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Karen Danao

Hi, I’m Karen, a content curator and writer for Quote Ambition; I’m also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, I’m someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics I love writing about! However, my true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.

With the many places I’ve been to, I found that love, inspiration, and happiness are some things that bring people together. No matter how different we are on the outside, I’m a true believer that our emotions don’t lie; if you dig deep into our psyche, we’re all the same inside.

This belief was further amplified when I joined Quote Ambition. Through the quotes I’ve read, collected, organized, and written about, I found that humans are resilient, creative, and compassionate.

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