Film: Cool Hand Luke, 1967
From the opening scene of Paul Newman as a late night drunken mess chopping off parking meters…you’ll be hooked. (By the way, I so want to take some inspiration from Paul myself on this opening scene. $54 now for an expired parking meter? C’mon Los Angeles!!).
Cool Hand Luke directed by Stuart Rosenberg is one of the pioneers in establishing the anti-hero concept which was quite the rage during the ‘riot period’ of the 60s. Paul Newman’s role perfectly fit into the decade where the rebel is the protagonist versus authority.
In this prison flick, we witness Newman give one of the best performances of his acting career, as a carefree, aimless renegade, who defies the law on a whim. And he does it with uber believability without even saying a thing; just a mere mischievous grin or wink, and he has the audience captivated.
Luke’s anti authority and defiance lends him to be in the same vein as characters such as Winston Smith from Nineteen Eighty-Four, Randle McMurphy from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and Jake Holman in The Sand Pebbles.