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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Year:
1975
Country:
USA
Genre:
Drama
IMDB rating:
8.7
Director:
Milos Forman
Peter Brocco as Col. Matterson
Dean R. Brooks as Dr. Spivey
Alonzo Brown as Miller
Mwako Cumbuka as Warren
Danny DeVito as Martini
William Duell as Jim Sefelt
Josip Elic as Bancini
Lan Fendors as Nurse Itsu
Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched
Nathan George as Washington
Ken Kenny as Beans Garfield
Mel Lambert as Harbor Master
Storyline: McMurphy has a criminal past and has once again gotten himself into trouble and is sentenced by the court. To escape labor duties in prison, McMurphy pleads insanity and is sent to a ward for the mentally unstable. Once here, McMurphy both endures and stands witness to the abuse and degradation of the oppressive Nurse Ratched, who gains superiority and power through the flaws of the other inmates. McMurphy and the other inmates band together to make a rebellious stance against the atrocious Nurse.
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Reviews
** 1/2 (Out of four)
Foreign directors tend to create films with disturbing subject matter. Czech auteur Milos Forman is no exception. His films have taken on issues of freedom underneath even the vilest of expressions, whether they be pornography or mental wards. "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is set in the latter, and its tale of a recently-indoctrinated inmate who inspires the other "lunatics" is noble. Yet great art is not always determined by courageous ambitions. Ironically Forman, unlike most of his foreign colleagues, has a Hollywood touch which proves condescending to his material yet rewards him when the Oscars come calling. "Cuckoo's Nest" is a prime example of Oscar-bait, assuming a certain knowledge on the human condition yet remaining hollow in the center.

Jack Nicholson plays Randall P. McMurphy, mental inmate extraordinaire, able to get withdrawn Indians speaking and stuttering momma's-boys laid. As the movie begins, McMurphy enters the domain of Nurse Ratchet (Louise Fletcher), a blue-eyed orderly with a heart of stone. Soon enough, he's able to bond with his fellow inmates (including promising up-and-comers Danny DeVito and Christopher Lloyd and Forman regular Vincent Schiavelli) through evening poker runs, basketball games, fishing trips and drunken defiances of authority. Indeed, the man's so inspiring that it's a wonder Robin Williams didn't snag this movie for his own.

And therein lies the problem. McMurphy, it is clear from the outset, is not even a character. He's a symbol, enacting Bugs Bunny-esque guard smooching and still possessing his abilities to score women despite his current mental condition. This is no accident, because Forman and his screenwriters make an effort to set McMurphy apart from the ragtag group of nutjobs by contrasting their white uniforms with his snow cap and blue jacket. This plunges the heart out of Ken Kesey's original novel, which illustrated the bond between McMurphy and the other characters. Jack Nicholson, however, plays him as if he were a religious artifact, smirking all the while like he knows he's a pedestal above each and everyone else in the sanity department. The subtlety of character emotions exerted in real-life is altogether lacking in many scenes, such as McMurphy's over-the-top rendition of watching the World Series. Indeed Nicholson seems here to be pleading for the Academy Award from his acting peers (which he ultimately, and predictably, won) which was only understandable after years of Roger Corman trash-pics and four Oscar nominations with absolutely nothing to show for it. His performance here was the first of many where he decreasingly lost touch with the subtleties of his profession and decided to go for comedic, crowd-pleasing broke simply by playing off his own stereotype.

If there is one performance to note here, it belongs to Louise Fletcher. Cold, calculating, but always protruding her frigid qualities with nothing more than a stare, Fletcher's portrayal of Nurse Ratchet earns its spot on the cinematic hall of fame.

Yet in the end it's not enough. Not even Haskell Wexler's tight, expert cinematography and intriguingly funny bits of dialogue (as the movie went on I kept wondering why males don't use the euphemism "beaver" anymore) can save Forman's film. Of course one can easily deduce a pattern from the Czech helmer's career. From "Hair" to "Amadeus" (still his best film) to "The People vs. Larry Flynt", Forman has had no trouble plunging into the depths of certain issues which repress humanity. Unfortunately, however, one can never reach the full effect of triumph of the will when one's story is supported by a cartoon.
1999-09-19
One of my best
As Jiddu Krishnamurti said; "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

In my humble opinion 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' is an analogy of a brilliant, uncontrollable, free mind trapped in a sick society where being different is the deadliest sin. The society (insane asylum) orders you to conform and if you resist to conform you will be eliminated one way or another..

Although R.P. McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) cant win, at least he tries. "But I tried, didn't I? Goddamnit, at least I did that."

This is an extraordinarily brilliant and impressive film for all beautiful free minds.
2015-06-02
Original, exceptionally acted and simply very good.
(Originally reviewed: 05/03/2017) Original and compelling are two words that came to mind whilst watching this picture. Jack Nicholson is one of the finest actors of all time and here his performance is no exception; his range of emotions on display vary and his character is always unpredictable; you can't tell if he's going to try and escape or just sit back and crack jokes. Among the talented supporting cast are Christopher Lloyd, Danny DeVito, Brad Dourif and Louise Fletcher; each character is unique as there's plenty of different mental illnesses and plenty of believable acting within the context of having them illnesses and of course Louise Fletcher who plays Nurse Ratchet and McMurphy's (Nicholson) friend Candy Starr played by Mews Small are equally as adequate with a stand out performance from Will Sampson as Chief as well.

There's brisk pacing, solid direction from Miles Forman, some very good humour and respectable dialogue that ranges from rich to acceptable; There's also some truly brilliant sequences within the picture; one including a conversation between McMurphy and Chief that ends in a surprising plot revelation and you'll also see how they are planning an escape which is allegedly impossible. The story is nearly always unpredictable and well thought out much like the script for the most part; however I couldn't fathom the torture sequences having the right to being in the picture and even though there kept at a minimum they are also present in an ending that was far from truly satisfying. One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest is all in all a very good film; it's competently acted, original and at moments really shines; leaving some rather memorable sequences lodged in the memory.
2017-05-08
Way over-rated
I wanted to like and appreciate this film, considering it's ratings and awards but found it to be vastly over-rated. Significant story inconsistencies and a good deal of ill-logic as to what the patients/inmates are able to get away with - all to further the story, but it's forced and comes across as not credible. Didn't they have alarms on windows and doors in the 60s at such institutions? The Nicholson character being able to get over barbed wire with no injuries - not reasonable. Seems likely. Well over the top performances, especially by Jack N; not unusual. Why he got so much acclaim for overacting is hard for me to figure. Some of his roles are excellently done, but many, like this one, are just him showing off - in my opinion. In summary, an overlong, often dull and obvious story.
2010-05-19
Average.
An average effort, but a brilliant cast.

This brilliant cast consisted of Jack Nicholson, Danny Devito and Louise Fletcher.

I was expecting better- Acting was average, funny and talented in parts yet dreadfully bad in others. Fletcher certainly didn't deserve an Oscar for that. She gave the weak, feeble performance but didn't deserve an Oscar. Nicholson shouldn't have been cats in the film seeing as how supposedly good he is. He didn't shine. Nobody else in the cast shone either.

Genre- Was quite amusing in parts and dramatic in others. I thought the genre was done well and some particularly dramatic scenes were done really well, not Oscar winning but well.

Overall, a very average effort and very average results.
2006-01-15
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Review
McMurphy as played by Jack Nicholson believes that by feigning mental illness, it will enable him to serve out his time in a mental institution rather than the hard time behind prison walls. McMurphy's view of freedom comes in the form of the perceived lazy days of a mental institution rather than back breaking work at the labor camp.

Upon his initial arrival, it is evident that he believes himself to be superior to the other patients at the hospital and of sound mind. This is noted by his harsh criticism of the patients as well as his desire to wear street clothes as opposed to the patient uniform worn by everyone else. As McMurphy later learns. most of the patients were there voluntarily: Martini (Danny Divito), Sefelt (William Duell) and Bancini (Josep Elic). McMurphy finds this notion incredulous and wondering why they would choose to stay rather than have their freedom.

Like the movie Girl, Interrupted; there seems to be a strong character that has a profound effect on those around them in the institution. At times this influence can be a good thing like when McMurphy befriends the Chief and teaches him to play basketball thus building his self esteem. There are times when this can be a bad thing, like when McMurphy lending Billy Bibbit his girlfriend to experience an evening woman thinking that it will help heal him. In the end it is this act that causes him great guilt and remorse as bestowed onto him by Nurse Ratched and he decides that taking his own life in the end would be less painful than having to confront his mother over his actions.

Nurse Ratched as portrayed by Louise Fletcher plays a straight laced nurse seemingly out for the best interest of all of her patients but in the end it is her desire for strict order and discipline that motivates her. While she is in a constant struggle for mind-share over the patients with McMurphy, she can't help but to get some amount of personal satisfaction when the treatment of McMurphy is escalated based on his outbursts.

In the end, McMurphy creates many chances to escape himself but like the others seems to find more comfort in the group than outside the walls. What he believed to be freedom and his eventual idea of escape was the very setting that killed him in the end gaining him the ultimate freedom.
2010-05-02
It may just be the best movie ever made...
There are a handful of films that border on being perfect. But in my humble opinion, this one tops them all. I've seen this movie more times than I can remember and it still makes me angry, happy, laugh and cry every time I watch it.

I've never read the book and I never really had the urge to after viewing the film. But my mother has and attests that the book is better than the film...and she loves the movie adaptation.

This film made so many careers and was the first movie to make me yell at the screen in frustration. Can't recommend highly enough.

"Where do you suppose she lives?"
2014-10-07
Definitely a classic from the 70's
The 1970's is a decade filled with absolute classic films! The decade brought to us movies like Godfather, Star Wars, Taxi Driver, horror movies like Halloween and the Exorcist and much more. It also brought to us One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.

For a long time, I've been wanting to watch this movie hearing all the praise its being receiving. My favorite thing about the film is the casting! Jack Nicholson, Danny de Vito, Christopher Lloyd and Brad Dourif. These are actors that I've loved from different films! I loved Jack in the Shining, De Vito in Matilda, Lloyd in Back to the Future and Dourif in Lord of the Rings and Child's Play. To see all these actors unite for this one classic film was just awesome, not to mention that Lloyd, De Vito and Dourif are about 30 years younger than I remember them!

Now, the story is an extremely interesting one. Its about a man named McMurphy who admits to being insane in order to live his life at a much more friendly place, a mental institute. Here, he begins to change the lives of all the other patients and realizes that Nurse Ratching is holding each of them back. The story may certainly start off slow, but to me, seeing Nicholson act the way he did was good enough for the whole film. I really enjoyed that. The film also spends considerably amount of time with the characters McMurphy and Chief, developing their relationship but also giving plenty of screen time to Dourif's stuttering character!

Now this 120 minute movie could've been shortened but really the way the film works is by giving the relationships between characters time to develop.

Overall this is certainly worth a viewing.
2013-01-02
reasons why I love One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
why I love One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest ?

1- Which one of you nuts has got any guts?

2- The Chief, he's got his hand up! Look!

3- The Cold Heartless Louise Fletcher

4- The Heroic Rebel McMurphy

5- first film to take all the major awards (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Actress) since It Happened One Night

6- McMurphy commenting a match on TV Closed

7- the voting

8- Nicholson convincing the boats guy that they are doctors

9- "Well I tried, didn't I? At least I did that,"

10- great supporting cast

. This is movie I wish kubrick has made this is his area : standing against Fascism
2014-12-06
Finally have seen it the third time!
The bad nurse who treats the mentally unstable without humanity was existing in reality. Not only the doctors or nurses in hospital, but also everyone within our society should show some mercy to the unfortunate people sometimes. People are very confusing when facing to themselves. We need to give each others some courage to go along life.
2017-06-14
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