W: Donn Pierce & Frank Pierson [bassd
on the novel by Donn Pierce]
DP: Conrad L. Hall
Mus: Lalo Schifrin
PD: Cary Odell
Cos: Howard Shoup
Paul Newman (Luke Jackson), George
Kennedy (Dragline),Lou Antonio (Koko), Robert Drivas (Loudmouth Steve), Strother Martin (Captain), Jo Van Fleet (Arletta), Clifton James (Carr), Morgan
Woodward (Boss Godfrey), Luke Askew (Boss Paul)
"Sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand."
Paul Newman delivers one of his career best performances
as Luke, a petty criminal doing two years hard labour with a chain gang and rebels against the system, inspiring the other convicts, until the system finally does break him.
Allegedly a Christ allegory, the film can be taken on both
levels, with the perfect mix of drama, comedy, adventure and tragedy.
There's many memorable and classic moments, including the
famous egg-eating contest, but the film is arguably best remembered for the excellent performances of Paul Newman, George Kennedy and Strother Martin as the dastardly captain who finally
breaks Luke with his memorable line "What we got here is failure to communicate."