Cool Hand Luke
written by Donn Pierce & Frank Pierson

Luke has just entered an abandonned church.

Luke:Anybody here? (walks down, looks up toward ceiling) Hey old man, you home tonight? (continues walking) Can 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 an' drunk and...chewed up municipal property and the like, I know I got no call to ask for much, but even so, you gotta admit you ain't dealt me no cards in a long time...From here, it looks like, you got things fixed so I can never win out! Inside, outside, all them...rules, and regulations, and bosses. You made me like I am! So just, where am I supposed to fit in? Old man, I gotta tell ya...I started out pretty strong and fast. But it's beginning to get to me. When did it end? What do ya got in mind for me? What do I do now? (beat) All right. All right. (kneels) On my knees, asking...(closes eyes, prays, after a while, he opens one eye, looks up half-smiling). 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.
(Dragline (George Kennedy) emerges from the door)
Dragline: Luke?
(Luke looks up and addresses one last aside to God, still grinning slightly, knowing he's in trouble.)
Luke: That's your answer ol' man? I guess you're a hard case too.
Dragline: Luke? You all right? They got us, boy. They're out there, thicker than flies. Bosses, dogs, sheriffs, more guns than I've ever seen in my life. You ain't got a chance. They caught up with me right after we split up. And they was aimin' to kill ya. But I fixed it. I got 'em to promise if you give up peaceful, they won't even whip ya this time...Luke, you gotta listen to me. All ya got to do is give up nice and quiet. Just play cool.
Luke: Cool?
Dragline: (confused):
(Luke emerges from the church and looks out on the Boss and other sheriffs, all after him. Never broken by the powers-that-be, with his always-cool smile, he mocks the Boss with the famous final line)
Luke: What we've got here is a failure to communicate!
(Luke is shot by the Boss. He dies on the way to the hospital.)
(Surrounded by other chain-gang inmates, Dragline ends the movie, telling the story and remembering the now-legendary figure -- a voice-over over images of Luke from the film)
Dragline: They took him right down that road.
Convicts: (eager, overlapping) What'd he look like, Drag?...Yeah, what'd he look like?..He had his eyes opened or closed, Drag?
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.

(This monologue is, without a doubt, my favorite piece on my page. It was one of the first to be included and was added to on this date, February 11, 2000)

[ please return to the main movie monologue page ]