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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

  Directed by: Milos Forman
Written by: Bo Goldman, Lawrence Hauben, Ken Kesey
Starring: Louise Fletcher, Jack Nicholson
Links: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest on the IMDb, Buy the Book, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 9.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) is also mentioned in mino's review of About Schmidt (2002).

"One of Nicholson's finest" - a review by pearly

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is truly a classic. Not showing its age some 30 years after its release, it is the story of a mental hospital that's carefully balanced workings are disturbed when a new patient, Randle Patrick "Mac" McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) arrives.

Mac has been in jail for canoodling with a minor, but, not wanting to have to do his time, he has convinced the guards that he is crazy. This, he figures, will get him over to the hospital, wherein he can live out his sentence with ease. But Mac hasn't counted on the awesome powers of Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher).

One of the things that makes this film so fantastic, is that the story reveals itself little by little, so that when it begins, it all seems quite straight-forward, and you don't see what's coming next until it arrives. It's not that the story contains many twists, though; the storytelling technique is not structured so as to have a surprise around every corner. It's more that each occurance is a logical flow-on from the last, but the film is put together very cleverly, and it is like turning the pages of a book to find out what happens next, rather than skipping ahead to the last page.

Yet another wonderful element to this film is the complexity of the characters. Mac is a bad guy - he's done some bad things in his time, and he doesn't try to make things easy for himself or for those around him. But you love the rascal anyway; he's just taking a chance and seeing where things take him. And Nurse Ratched, well, she's evil. Or is she? Your opinion will probably change numerous times while watching the film. It's great to watch something where the characters are so three dimensional, and you actually care about what happens to each one of them.

And, of course, you can't have complex characters without great actors to play them. Nicholson won his first Oscar for this role, and you can see why. He embodies this character and does such a terrific job with it: try picturing any other actor as Mac. You just couldn't imagine anyone doing it better. Likewise, the restrained fire of Ratched (which earnt Fletcher the Oscar also) is a thing to behold. What she manages to convey with simply the nod of a head, or the positioning of that stupid nurse's hat, is amazing. Chills down the spine, let me tell you.

We can't forget the supporting cast either, and there's a lot of familiar faces in the bunch. The stand-outs are Danny DeVito (back when he had hair) as the bizarre Martini, Christopher Lloyd as the enigmatic Taber, and Will Sampson as the silent giant Chief, who is one of the film's lynchpins.

If you haven't seen One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, what are you doing sitting there reading this stupid review of it? Go out and see it, my good man!

pearly gives this movie 9 out of 10.
Review created on Wed 19 Jan 2005

Movie review statistics

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Reader comments

  1. This movie is outrageous!!

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Hilary Duff on Fri 08 Apr 2005 05:38 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 10.00 (1 rating)

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