Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Conformity, Government, Authority, Management, Cinema, Film, Power, Prison

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2021/02/03

The Issues of Authority, Conformity and Non-conformity

Films set in prisons are about to dramatize the issues connected with criminals personalities and crimes committed. Moreover, such a scenery gives the filmmakers a wide range of juxtaposes that demonstrate the hidden life of people in closed institutions and the complicated relationships that emerged among them. In this essay, I will analyze the film “Cool Hand Luke” that is rich with the presentation of authority, conformity and non-conformity concepts as well as their role in life of a formed complex personality. This film has collected all the hidden film themes, such as rebellion, obedience and disobedience, conformity and non-conformity, drugs, nudity, sexuality and homosexuality and revealed them to the public. Here we see the contrast between the prisoners and imprisoners that supports the detriment of the latter if not praises the former. The film perfectly demonstrates the main theme of 1960s that the one cannot trust the government authorities and their definition of justice, the conformity us seriously spitted and the repressions are nationalized.


The main value of the film represents its deeper analysis when studying it as the example of authority demonstration, as well as conformity and non-conformity. Here, all these issues are closely connected with power. According to David Bell, each aspect has to be observed in terms of communication as distinctive of the other. The researcher defines these three psychological issues as the ones that evoke the non-standard innovative ideas (Bell, 1975). For sure, the film is about the rebel and the spirit of rebellion. This film is a perfect illustration of that period in the American history. The opened non-conformity was never more popular than in 1960s. It can be perfectly seen win the scene when Dragline cones in and comes to the understanding of the real nature of Luke – the man that cannot be beaten.
Luke Jackson comes as a new member of the Division of Corrections, Road Prison 36 for a two-year imprisonment. His high inner strength is supported by his past – Like is a former combat hero. He gets to the social environment and successfully opposes the regime as the real hero. The conformity is seen in the other members of the institution that do not understand the real reason of Luke opposing and non-conformity.
His incarceration comes after Luke gets drunk at night and spoils the municipal property -0 an excellent example of non-conformity to the authority. However, the hero gets back under even more severe pressure in the prison. This can be seen in the world of beefy guy Carr that says: “Any man forgets his number spends a night in the box Last bell is at eight. Any man not in his bunk at eight spends a night in the box”. The authority here is unmotivated, rude and harsh. This is a type of outside force that tries to defeat the personal identity of a man (Blass, 2009).
The prison authorities try to make incarcerated people act like they want them to and think about what they are supposed to. This is not the institution for correction of the individual – they here try to kill the individuality and create an obedient slave. This is how the nature of obedience is demonstrated in the film. Obedient criminals behave like the animals in circus. They are not more the masters of their life. They are in constant stress, they cannot formulate their thoughts in a right way and therefore they do not have enough strength to oppose.
The inner power and the ability to pose the authority is the main specific feature of the main character. Luke is not ready to play in accordance with somebody’s rules. He sees the weak nature of the regime and wants to destroy it. He believes in the natural freedom of the individual and it can be seen in the moments when he tries to fight against the prison officers. However, the film also depicts the positive side of authority and non-conformity, when Luke opposes against the authority of Dragline. There is a boxing fight between them and Dragline seriously beats Luke, the traumas are nearly fatal. But even being nearly to death, Luke does not want to submit. Such inner strength that allows the hero to show non-conformity creates a basis for the emergence of strong friendship among the two men (Haltom, 2014).
Luke is instantly opposing the Captain and the guards, and his non-conformity is perfectly followed by an excellent sense of humor and undying optimism somewhere in his soul. He wins the spur of the moment as he eats fifty boiled eggs within the hour that inspires his friends and gives them hop for the better, for the ability to win the fight against ht repressing authority. The scene in the film when Like suddenly becomes the header of the crew that has to do the job that sees mot be impossible. However, he motivates his friends to finish the road-paving works and they succeed in completing the job in one day. This scene is another demonstration of the inner power of the main hero and his readiness to oppose the authority of the guards and the whole prison. He is not afraid to demonstrate non-conformity that spread on previously obedient prisoners and therefore they become able to beat the authority that diminishes them.


Within the film it is possible to observe the power of non-conformity and its influence on the authority and the conformity of the environment. Luke comes to prison and changes the life order within the institution with the power of his character.
He succeeds in opposing the other prisoners and wins their respect with the power of non-conformity. This feature is the key to all Luke’s achievements. The power of non-conformity appears to be one of the main themes of the movie. The string and well-formed personality has to be able to oppose any oppression of the authority. Such issues were especially popular in 1960s and therefore the film was made in accordance with the traditions of the time.
Moreover, the film observes the reaction of both the self-confident and wise leader and the unstable and weak one. These tows are Dragline and Captain. While the first respects Luke’s strength of character and becomes his friend, the other one tries to kill the inner light of the disobedient criminal. This result in the emergence of more complicated relationships with the rest of incarcerated men and the conflict gets deeper and involves more people. However, previously obedient and passive people follow the example of their unbeaten friend and they also seek for power to oppose the regime. Therefore, non-conformity is an antidote to conformity and passiveness that spreads like a virus and involves more and more people.


Bell, D., V., J. (1975) Power, Influence, and Authority : An Essay in Political Linguistics New York : Oxford University Press,.
Blass, T. (2009). Obedience to Authority: Current Perspectives on the Milgram Paradigm. NJ: Laurence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Haltom, W. (2014). The Laws of God, The Laws of Man: Power, Authority, and Influence in ‘‘Cool Hand Luke’’. The University of Puget Sound Journal. Retrieved from: http://www.pugetsound.edu/faculty-pages/haltom/cool-hand-luke/

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WePapers. (2021, February, 03) Cool Hand Like Essay. Retrieved July 14, 2024, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/cool-hand-like-essay/
"Cool Hand Like Essay." WePapers, 03 Feb. 2021, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/cool-hand-like-essay/. Accessed 14 July 2024.
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WePapers. Cool Hand Like Essay. [Internet]. February 2021. [Accessed July 14, 2024]. Available from: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/cool-hand-like-essay/
"Cool Hand Like Essay." WePapers, Feb 03, 2021. Accessed July 14, 2024. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/cool-hand-like-essay/
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"Cool Hand Like Essay," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 03-Feb-2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/cool-hand-like-essay/. [Accessed: 14-Jul-2024].
Cool Hand Like Essay. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/cool-hand-like-essay/. Published Feb 03, 2021. Accessed July 14, 2024.

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