WATCH: Paul Newman's Iconic Performance of "Plastic Jesus" in Cool Hand Luke

"Plastic Jesus" is an American folk song originally penned by Ed Rush and George Cromarty in 1957. The song, often mistakenly attributed to Ernie Marrs, who recorded his own version in 1965, has a rich history and numerous covers. However, one of the most memorable renditions is by Paul Newman in the 1967 film, Cool Hand Luke.

In Cool Hand Luke, Paul Newman's character delivers a poignant performance of "Plastic Jesus" while strumming a banjo. This scene stands out for its raw emotion and has become an iconic moment in cinema history. Newman's melancholic interpretation of the song adds depth to the narrative, reflecting the protagonist's despair and resilience.

Ed Rush revealed that the inspiration for "Plastic Jesus" came from a religious radio station in Del Rio, Texas, known for its eccentric broadcasts by a dentist and religious fanatic. This peculiar station advertised outrageous items with claimed magical healing properties, contributing to the song's satirical tone.

The song's versatility and enduring appeal are evident through these varied renditions, but Newman's version in Cool Hand Luke remains a definitive interpretation. His soulful performance encapsulates the essence of the film and leaves a lasting impact on viewers.

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