One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (1975) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: McMurphy has a criminal past and has once again gotten himself into trouble with the law. 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. Runtime: 133 mins Release Date: 20 Nov 1975
Both uplifting and disheartening, sometimes both at once (by pyrocitor)
I went into this film with the knowledge that it had been the second film in history to win the 'top five' Oscars for Best Picture, Best actor, Best actress, Best director and best screenplay and has been praised as "one of Jack Nicholson's finest roles" and "one of the classics of the 70's". Naturally, after hearing all this, I had high expectations for One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest. But nonetheless, I was surprised at how easily the film surpassed my expectations and easily led me to understand how it merited all that praise.Based on the novel by <more>
Ken Kesey, the story follows Randle Patrick McMurphy Jack Nicholson , who, in an attempt to get out of spending more time in prison, pleads insanity for his crime, and is therefore sentenced to time in a mental institution. This was McMurphy's intention, as he believes the conditions in a "crazy house" will be significantly easier to contend with than another harsh stay in prison. However, he quickly finds out that surviving the institution with it's desolate patients including Christopher Lloyd, Danny DeVito, Vincent Schiavelli and an absolutely brilliant Brad Dourif as the stuttering Billy Bibbit and the monstrously repressive Nurse Ratchet Louise Fletcher, in a career defining role is considerably harder than he imagined. McMurphy plays pranks, horseplay, and is generally defiant to the rules of the institution in an attempt to raise spirits. His constant optimism and reckless defiance to the out of date rules in the institution can be very uplifting, and often quite funny as well, but much of the movie can be very depressing - the generally decrepit state of the institution is a consistently and intentionally bleak background to a superb story with a truly bittersweet ending.Jack Nicholson is at his best here, head and shoulders above other excellent performances such as in 'Chinatown' or 'As Good as it Gets'. McMurphy is an apparently unquenchable optimist, refusing to succumb to the defeated spirit of all the other patients. His livewire antics, inspiring the patients are generally uplifting, and when his indomitable spirit is finally broken, we really feel for him and his fellow patients. Nicholson conveys the essence of McMurphy to perfection, demonstrating his excellent understanding and interpretation of the character. When McMurphy announces that he is going to lift a huge stone fountain and hurl it through the window to escape, the other patients are so caught up in his intoxicating spirit of freedom that they honestly believe he can do it, despite the fact it would be impossible for a man much stronger than him. When McMurphy finally discovers that despite his best efforts, he cannot lift the fountain, he is so openly crushed that we can't help but feel for him. Beneath the frequent profanities and livewire antics, there are real human emotions, which come across as truly touching.What can be said about One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest which hasn't already been said? It has an excellent storyline, top notch acting, painfully bleak visuals, perfectly setting the tone for the movie, and alternates between being truly uplifting to devastatingly depressing. It features perhaps the most memorable film ending ever, next to a man on his horse riding off into the sunset, and leaves the viewer beaten down by the conflicting emotions, unaware what to think of the picture next to reveling in it's glorious entirety. It's hard to produce a final outcome any better than this.-10/10
Touching and moving, a great cinematic experience (by TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews)
Jack Nicholson is a great actor. No, not a great actor, a spectacular actor. This is a film from fairly early in his career, as well as it is for several other actors in this film, who later have had long, great careers too, including Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd and Brad Dourif. The film has some unforgettable moments... who could forget Louise Fletcher's icy stare, Jack Nicholson's smart-aleck remarks or Will Sampson's impressive, almost entirely silent performance? The film portrays the horrible truth about how patients were treated in mental institutions back then, and <more>
tells the story of someone who desperately wanted to break out, to rebel, to change things, for himself and for the others. I was compelled by this film, from the very first frame. I never took my eyes off it, and I will definitely be thinking about this film for a while. I thought it was great the way one of the very first frames depicted the institution as something far more similar to a prison than a hospital. Milos Forman did a great job of making that contrast very powerful to the viewer. The film is very moving and a truly beautiful cinematic experience. Every single actor gives a stellar performance, every single character is perfectly written, every single line, every single frame is absolutely perfect. I wouldn't change a thing in this film. It has a great pace, you never lose interest, but it never seems to be rushing to get through it, either. It's simply perfect. I have not read the original book, but if I ever come across it, I might check it out. I have only seen this film once, but I will definitely watch it many times in years to come. I recommend this amazing piece of great cinema to anyone who has at least a slight interest in the drama genre, or any fan of any of the actors, as they are all in their absolute prime in this film. 10/10
Poetic - Powerful - Simple: The Greatness of Cuckoo's Nest. (by Don-102)
The opening shot of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST is a bleak glance at an Oregon morning. Stirring, haunting music plays gracefully on the soundtrack and a car approaches. Inside the car is one of film history's most remarkable characters. "Randle McMurphy" is about to bring hope, humor, and a glimmer of reality to some disturbed people in a mental hospital. Jack Nicholson as "McMurphy", is something of a paradox. Is this guy crazy or is he really the lazy, conniving criminal most believe him to be? That is the magical mystery and start to a journey into mental <more>
illness and the effect this man will have on some truly messed up men.Milos Forman directs this all-time classic, which swept the Oscars deservedly, and holds up so well 25 years later. It is a simplistic film about small people living in their own small worlds. Manic moments are mixed with poignant acting all leading to an astounding climax. Not before or since CUCKOO'S NEST has a collection of different characters had such an impact on me. You could write a book report about each of the patients in the ward. The two most important people here are, of course, Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher.Nicholson has his greatest moments in this picture. One brilliant scene has him doing an imaginary play-by-play commentary of the 1963 World Series to the group, who are not allowed to watch the game on TV. It is a poetic sequence and Nicholson goes crazy with his delivery, describing baseball with colorful anecdotes and profanity. "McMurphy" immediately makes an impression on the crazies and shows them how they don't have to stick to the "normal routine". He knows their names right away, he sprays them with water, he makes impossible bets with them, he introduces them to fishing, and he even gets a suffering young kid played well by Brad Dourif a "date". Louise Fletcher plays one of the more reprehensible human beings in film as "Nurse Mildred Ratched". She is a hardened woman, one who makes the daily meetings with the group a contest to see who will win. Her stubbornness and lack of compassion for the poor guys is rather one dimensional. That's perfect because that is exactly who she is. Her strong will to keep things monotonous leads to a final showdown with the free spirited "McMurphy" in what is easily one of the most shocking and disturbing climaxes in recent memory.ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST does not try to make a statement about mental illness or how the unstable should be treated. Rather, it is a very simple portrait of the long days and hilarious scenarios that can come about when a mixed bag of suffering people are thrown together. Mental illness is nothing to laugh about, but the fact that Nicholson is not really crazy at least in my opinion allows us to be amused. He seems to love his compadres in the hospital. He is mislead, however, into thinking he can do as he pleases.There is no denying the power of CUCKOO'S NEST. The two main powerhouse performances are golden, the cinematography is morbid and gritty like it should be, the "Chief" is great as Nicholson's right hand, ah, protagonist, and you care a lot about what will happen as the film moves on. The famous, final shot ironically happens to be an exit of a major character into that bleak, Oregon morning. NOTE: I have never read the book and I find it hard to believe author Ken Kesey has never watched the filmed version. Comparing a book to a movie is impossible. They are 2 distinctly different artistic methods of story-telling.
It's tough to really judge this movie. Is it Milos Forman's greatest directorial masterpiece or Jack Nicholson's best performance. Tough to say, but the marriage between both director and actor are quite phenomenal. From the first time we see Jack Nicholson to the sad, yet uplifting ending, one cannot escape the sheer power of the film. When a film is parodied as many times as this one has been, typically, greatness can be associated. Well, greatness was achieved, and let's hope this one never falls through the cracks.
A perfect mixture of entertainment and drama. (by Boba_Fett1138)
Czech director Milos Forman seems to be obsessed with rebellious characters that don't like to go with the flow. Just think about Larry Flynt in "The People vs. Larry Flynt" or Andy Kaufman in "Man on the Moon", in the two most recent movies of Forman. The central character in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" played by Jack Nicholson is also one of those characters, that wants to break the routine and even starts a revolt against the staff and nurse Ratchett in particular, in a mental institution.The movie is perhaps more comedy and entertainment than <more>
heavy drama. Still that doesn't mean that the movie isn't filled with some powerful emotional sequences. The tension between the patients and the staff gets more and more notable and grows throughout the movie, which eventually leads to a 'wonderful' ending which I'm not going to spoil.Yes, Jack Nicholson is truly splendid in his role and it seemed like he was improvising all his lines and actions during the entire movie. It was a really Oscar worthy performances, which he also received. Another Oscar winner for her performance was Louise Fletcher, which in my opinion is a bit too much credit. She plays her role well but nothing more than that. She did not deeply impressed me or anything. This movie also marks the debut for some today well known actors such as Danny DeVito he looked so young and different! , Christopher Lloyd and Brad Dourif, who also received an Oscar nomination.Really one of those movies that you must have seen at least once in your life.9/10http://bobafett1138.blogspot.com/
The spirit of freedom vs. the spirit of legal-ism (by Wuchakk)
"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" 1975 is a film you'll appreciate more as you mature. I saw it a few times when I was younger and, while I thought it was good, I didn't 'get' a lot of the insights the film conveys. Viewing it again recently, I 'got' it.Set in the early 60s, the story involves R.P. McMurphy Jack Nicholson and his arrival at a mental institution in Salem, Oregon where the film was shot . He plays the "mental illness" card to get out of prison time, thinking it'll be a piece of cake, but he's wrong, very wrong. <more>
Everything appears well at the hospital and Nurse Ratched Louise Fletcher seems to be a benevolent overseer of McMurphy's ward, but there are sinister things going on beneath the surface.The movie criticizes the way institutions deal with mental illnesses. Their "therapy" is futile and only makes the patients dependent on the institution itself, thereby creating its need for existence at the taxpayer's expense . McMurphy is a threat to the establishment and therefore must be "dealt with." A lot of people criticize the film by suggesting that Nurse Ratched "isn't that bad" or that "she was only trying to do her job", etc. I had the same reaction the first couple of times I saw it. This reveals an aspect of the film's brilliance: Ratched's malevolence is so subtle that the filmmakers allow the possibility for complete misinterpretation. Yes, from an administrative point of view, she seemingly does a good job, she's authoritarian without being sadistic, and she cares for the residents as long as they follow the rules more on this below . Yet she is absolutely demonic as a robotized arm of a dehumanizing system. She maintains the residents in a state of oblivion and marginalization; they are deprived of their dignity because the system sees them as subhuman.The filmmakers and Fletcher make Nurse Ratched a more effective antagonist by showing restraint. Compare this to, say, Faye Dunaway's portrayal of Joan Crawford in "Mommie Dearest," which pretty much turned her into a cartoon villain. Ratched isn't such an obvious sadist, yet she uses the rules to tyrannize the men and reduce them to an almost infantile state of dependency and subservience. Her crowning achievement is Billy Bibbit Brad Dourif .McMurphy, despite his obvious flaws, is the protagonist of the story. Although he's impulsive and has a weakness for the female gender, which got him into prison in the first place, he has a spirit of freedom and life. His problem is that he needs to learn a bit of wisdom; then he can walk in his freedom without causing unnecessary harm to himself and others.Nurse Ratched, on the other hand, represents legal-ism, which is an authoritarian spirit obsessed with laws or rules. This is clearly seen in the World Series sequence: Even though McMurphy gets the final vote he needs for his ward to watch the Series Ratched refuses to allow it on a technicality. When McMurphy then PRETENDS to watch the game and works the guys up into a state of euphoria, Ratched reacts with sourpuss disapproval. That's because legalism is the opposite of the spirit of freedom, life and joy. Legalism is all about putting on appearances and enforcing the LETTER of the law or rule . The problem with this is that "appearances" are not about reality and, worse, "the letter kills." Despite his folly and mistakes, McMurphy does more good for the guys in his ward than Ratched and the institution could do in a decade. How so? Not only because he has a spirit of freedom and life, but because he loves deeply, but only those who deserve it – the humble – not arrogant abusers. When you cast restraint to the wind and love with all your heart you'll reap love in return, as long as the person is worthy. A certain person hugs McMurphy at the end because he loves him. McMurphy set him free from the shackles of mental illness and, worse, the institution that refuses to actually heal because it needs mentally ill people to exist; it only goes through the motions of caring and healing not that there aren't any good people in such institutions, of course .No review of this film is complete without mentioning the notable character of Chief, played effectively by Will Sampson.The film runs 2 hour and 13 minutes.GRADE: A
Looking At This Famous Film Then, And Now (by ccthemovieman-1)
Like most people, when this film came out in the mid '70s, I thought it was great. Being still young and Liberal, I, too, looked at the rebel as the good guy and the authority figure as the bad guy....just as Hollywood has wanted us to do for a half century. Over the years, I watched a couple of more times and then stopped maybe 20 years ago.A funny thing happened when I looked at it again a few years ago as someone in their mid 50s: I looked at the two main characters in a totally different light.For the first time, now that my Left Wing rebel days are over, I didn't see Nurse <more>
Mildred Rachet Louise Fletcher as an evil person. On the contrary, the woman was just doing her job. I also appreciated Fletcher's performance more in here. She is outstanding, especially with her facial expressions. The only negative I could find on her was late in the film when she threatened to tell on "Billy." Jack Nicholson's character, "Randle Patrick McMurphy," was generally an obnoxious ass. He must have set the Hollywood record at that time for most usages of the Lord's name in vain. I lost count on all the GDs. But Nicholson's performance was still outstanding: that hasn't changed in my eyes. He was also the perfect actor for that role.Who could argue with either of those actors getting Academy Awards for their performances?Yes, the story was good but it was the acting in general which made this such a memorable film. Without Nicholson, Fletcher, Will Samson, William Redfield, Brad Dourif, Danny DeVito I didn't recognize him! and Christopher Lloyd, this film wouldn't have reached the heights it did.This is an unpleasant film in parts. Mental illness is not pretty, but it sure was a memorable film, I'll give it that. Unlike most reviewers, I don't love this film, but I respect it. It hasn't lost its power, either, nor is it dated.
Would you go to a mental hospital to avoid a prison sentence? One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a story of patients in a mental hospital and how their life was changed by R.P. McMurphy. McMurphy, played by Jack Nicholson, arrived in the ward to avoid going to prison or working on a work farm and he made an impact. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a memorable story that goes down in history as one of the best. Let's start with the characters. Nicholson plays R.P. McMurphy, a criminal who has history of violence and aggression. He was sent to the asylum after acting erratic on <more>
the work farms. He isn't really mentally insane, but he fakes it to avoid going to prison. He thinks he can serve his sentence in the asylum and life will be easy. In the asylum we have Billy Bibbit, a nervous stuttering man with depression and anxiety. Cheswick is a nervous man who also struggles with anxiety. The actor who portrays him did a great job in playing the part. Danny Devito, yes little Danny Devito before he really went nuts, plays Martini, a lovable character. Then there's the Chief. Chief is a 6'5" mute who everyone thinks is dumb as a rock. He turns out to be one of the most important and influential characters. McMurphy originally goes into the ward to avoid prison but he eventually helps the patients in there. He thinks some of them could survive in the real world and he ends up giving the other patients confidence and a type of therapy. Billy eventually stops stuttering for a little bit. Harding has more self control and Cheswick learns to stick up for what he believes in. An example of McMurphy's "therapy" is the fishing trip. McMurphy climbs over the fence and steals a bus with the patients from his ward. He takes them to a fishing boat and takes them fishing. McMurphy had his own agenda but he also helps the patients. He gives them an experience a normal man would have and they have fun. One of the best aspects of this movie is the accuracy to the time period. Men with mental illnesses were put in asylums like the one we see in the film. They experienced the different types of therapy. They took drugs such as anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, and anti- depressants. Any means to help them relax and make them acceptable for society. They experienced group therapy, which we see often throughout, and something I've never seen before in hydrotherapy. Unfortunately, during this time period there were a lot of problems. If people were overly aggressive or considered dangerous they would undergo electroshock therapy. Basically, doctors tie you down and put conducting gel on your temples and a rubber mouth guard in your mouth so you don't bite your tongue. Then they literally send a shock through your temples into your brain. The idea was to reset the brain and make you more relaxed and in control. The audience witness's electroshock therapy in the film and it is a little disturbing to watch. You can see the suffering on their faces. Finally there is the lobotomy, where doctors drill into the skull or go through the nose to scrape out a piece of your brain. This turns a man into a vegetable who can barely survive on their own. It is illegal today but back then it was common. Character relationships are important for a successful movie and not many compare to the relationship McMurphy had with the vile Nurse Ratched. Nurse Ratched was the head nurse in the ward. She controlled the groups and she was in charge. Her character is difficult because I couldn't ever really tell what her intentions were. Sometimes she tried hard to help the patients and other times she acted like she wanted to make them worse. A prime example is the one therapy group when Cheswick wants his cigarettes and Nurse Ratched just ignores him. Cheswick grows a backbone and stands up for himself and Ratched tries to put him back in his place and treat him like a dog. That scene really changes the movie and the major events of the movie unfold from there. McMurphy and Ratched would clash all the time. McMurphy would get under her skin and she under his. It made the movie really entertaining and a little comedic at times. Now no movie is perfect and I did have a few problems with it. Mainly it was the ending. It was a fine ending but I feel like it was a little too drastic. I don't want to give it away but it was one of those moments where you smack your forehead and go, "you idiot." When you see the movie you will know what I mean. Also what happens to one of the patients is completely unnecessary. I understand he was upset but he didn't have to do what he did. It was a little ridiculous and I can't see it really happening. Overall, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a great movie with excellent characters, a well written script, an interesting, and entertaining storyline. It deserves all the credit it got and will go down as a career making movie for Jack Nicholson. He did a fantastic job and deserved the Oscar he won. This is not what I would call a "background movie." Meaning, it is not something you can watch casually. You need to sit down and watch it and pay full attention. That's my advice and without a shadow of a doubt, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest gets the WillyT Seal of Approval and is something I can watch again and again and enjoy every time.
Jack Nicholson may just be my favorite actor out there. I'll watch a movie just because he's in it. Which is the only reason I watched this one. I love crazy people movies though, and this one got an 8 out of 10 from me.