The Indomitable (1967)

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German title The indomitable
Original title Cool hand hatch
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1967
length 123 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Stuart Rosenberg
script Donn Pearce
Frank Pierson
production Gordon Carroll
music Lalo Schifrin
camera Conrad L. Hall
cut Sam O'Steen

The Unyielding is a 1967 American prison drama . The film tells the story of the veteran Luke Jackson, portrayed by Paul Newman , who is sentenced to jail for property damage and tries to rebel against the brutal guards, which earns him the respect of his fellow prisoners. After a failed escape attempt, Jackson starts another. The film is based on a novel by Donn Pearce , who was also involved in the script.


Under the influence of alcohol, Luke Jackson, a soldier who was awarded a medal, beheads several parking meters, for which he is sentenced to a two-year prison term.

In prison he soon clashes with the leader of the prisoners, the loud-mouthed Dragline . He arranges a boxing match between the two, in which Luke is hopelessly inferior and is knocked down several times. Nevertheless, he refuses to admit defeat and keeps getting up to keep fighting, although he can barely stand on his feet. He later earned his nickname Cool Hand Luke by bluffing at poker and eventually winning when he had nothing in hand.

In another scene, he incites the inmates to do a job for several days - paving a road - in less than one day. Another time he bet he would eat fifty boiled eggs in an hour, which he manages. He is now admired by the other inmates; his former opponent Dragline sees him as a friend.

After the news of the death of Luke's mother arrives, he is put into the bunker as a preventive measure, because "men get the wrong ideas". Luke tells a guard he thinks this is unjust. Shortly afterwards he makes his first attempt to break out. After he was caught again, he was given ankle chains. Nevertheless, he manages a second outbreak.

After being caught again, the guards harass him until he is exhausted. He eventually collapses and begs for mercy, thereby losing the respect of his fellow inmates. As a result, he behaves cautiously and plays the errand boy for the guards.

When an opportunity presents itself, he flees again: He steals a car that Dragline also jumps on. From this he separates immediately. In a chapel he speaks to God , whose existence he had previously denied. He asks God what to do now. Police cars pull up shortly afterwards, and Dragline comes into the chapel to persuade Luke to surrender. He would have been promised that Luke would not be flogged if he surrendered.

When Luke calls out a quote from the camp commandant to the police, he is shot at by one of the guards present and seriously injured. Instead of being taken to the nearest hospital, he is supposed to be taken to a more distant police hospital - where the guards are certain that he will not survive the trip there.


The American Film Institute also recognized the film:


The film made the song Plastic Jesus very popular. Paul Newman sings the song in the film as a lament for his late mother.


“An impressively staged drama that is excellently played in the main role, which uses the example of an outsider to deal with the conflict between order and individual freedom. The possibility of examining human behavior as a 'role' is largely given away by the overly glorifying portrayal of human assertiveness and tough masculinity. "

“The hero of this perfectly made American color wide-screen ripper full of harshness and brutality is a convict of a labor camp who, after three attempts to escape, finally dies from a bullet by a warden. An interesting, exciting, socially critical drama, but also a moving character study that should stimulate general discussion. Certain weaknesses should not prevent you from visiting this film. Of course, they reserve it more for sensible and discerning adults. "


  • TV-Digital (2006) issue 23, page 82.
  1. The Indomitable. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 3, 2014 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  2. Evangelischer Presseverband München, Critique No. 141/1968.

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