‘Cool Hand Luke’ with Paul Newman Premiered in Theaters on This Day in 1967

by Quentin Blount
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November 1st is an important date in the history of movies and film. Why? Because that’s the exact day when Cool Hand Luke first premiered.

If you are a fan of classic movies and television, then perhaps you remember the 1967 movie Cool Hand Luke. Despite airing on November 1, 1967, the movie was actually set in the early 1950s. It is based on Don Pearce’s 1965 book of the same name.

The American prison drama film starred actor Paul Newman. Newman was one of the most popular and most successful actors of his time. In addition to his role in Cool Hand Luke, he starred in several other major film roles. Some of them include The Hustler, Hud, Harper, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, The Sting, The Towering Inferno, Slap Shot, The Verdict, and the list goes on. He even voiced the role of Doc Hudson in the first installment of Disney-Pixar’s Cars. That was his final acting performance before his death. With that said, however, Newman’s archived voice recordings would be used again in Cars 3.

Just having a leading man like Paul Newman made Cool Hand Luke a hit movie. Newman stars in the title as Luke. He is a prisoner in a Florida prison camp who refuses to submit to the system. Alongside Newman, the movie featured George Kennedy in an Oscar-winning performance. It was directed by Stuart Rosenberg.

On Monday, the Retro News Now Twitter account posted a picture of the film’s cover.

“‘Cool Hand Luke’ starring Paul Newman premiered 54 years ago, November 1, 1967.”

“Released a few days before I was born,” one fan replied.

“One of the best movies EVER!” another fan said.

“Such an iconic film,” commented another user on Twitter.

‘Cool Hand Luke’ Was a Huge Box-Office Success

Once Cool Hand Luke was first released, it quickly shot up the movie charts. It received glowing reviews and was a smashing success at the box office.

Not only that, but you can argue that the success of the movie helped cement Paul Newman’s status as one of the top actors during the era. Prior to landing the role of Luke, he had really only had three other major film roles in The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963), and Harper (1966).

However, thanks to his performance in Cool Hand Luke, Paul Newman was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor. And to add to the list of already impressive accomplishments, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2005. That means that they consider the movie “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

It’s certainly hard to blame them for that assessment.

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