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- Story -
Randall McMurphy is a criminal who believes he can get an easy ride and instead of doing hard labour in prison, he pretends to have mental health issues and is sent to a mental asylum, where he attempts to fit in but will he be found out and what impact will being in such a place have on him? will the head nurse put up with his rather challenging comebacks - will he end up being shipped back to jail and what about the other patients - is everything as it seems? you'll have to watch the movie to find out.
- Thoughts & Opinions -
This is a classic movie held in high regard by alot of critics I believe so I thought it was about time I checked it out.
Its undeniable that Jack Nicholson provides a pretty stellar performance as Randall McMurphy, a petty criminal and convicted statutory rapist who's pretty good at getting the other patients on his side, using it to his advantage and, moreso, eventually to create rebellion within the ranks (this I'll expand on a little bit later).
At first I couldn't see why nurse Ratched was seen as a hate figure as on the outside, things seem as they should be, I hazard to say but then Randall learns a home truth later on, which changes things. Much like 'Girl, Interrupted', this movie offers a/some social commentary of its time, being set in the early 60s - with black people doing the menial jobs as janitors and security staff (one or two even threatening violence towards patients if they didn't comply), the head nurse as the matron figure and the ocassional disturbing scene such as one involving involuntary electric shock 'therapy', which was used at that time. There are many scenes of daily group meetings which provide an insight into the patients and their issues/backgrounds - Randall finding most of these somewhat amusing and presumably below him to start with.
Watching through the film, its also undeniable that the story provides some highs, such as the unauthorised and impulse fishing/boating trip, as well as the rather inevitable lows. The characters all have their own quirks and are somewhat likeable in their own way, during the group meetings when we catch a glimpse of their backgrounds we want to see them do well etc. and when they break out and get to spend a bit of time basically unsupervised on a boat, its rather poignant as Randall, if I remember right, addresses them that in this moment, their not crazy, their normal men simply enjoying a fishing trip, or words to such effect. One particular character that stood out which Randall seemed to see something in perhaps moreso than some of the others is a particularl tall/large native American man known as 'Chief' (played by Will Sampson who, according to IMDB, was apparently a victim of the Poltergeist curse passing away in the 1980s after complications following surgery, after filming the Poltergeist sequel - spooky!), who Randall is told by one of the other patients that he's deaf and dumb but he tries to involve him, to get him to accomplish some small tasks, such as demonstrating how to 'shoot a hoop' in the basketball court outside. Even though he is labelled as deaf and dumb, there does seem to be a friendship/relationship between the two of them which is rather touching and thats a sub-plot which was quite interesting and made for good viewing. I should perhaps also mention that another patient is played by Danny DeVito, he plays a man called Martini and Christopher Lloyd also appears, portraying Taber.
Generally the dialogue is quite poignant at times, another ocassion saw Randall support his 'colleagues' while in 'the farm' (the hospitals nickname) by reassuring them that their no crazier than the average joe walking along the street out there.
I felt that this was a very engrossing movie, it was interesting to see Randall speak frankly to Dr. Spivey, who can see through Randall's 'agenda' it seems and to see how he changed during his time in 'the farm' including the change in the group dynamics. As previous mentioned, all the characters are different and have their own role to play, I feel and the outcome isn't too obvious (unless you've read the book that this film is based on that is). Nicholson gives a very 'human', emotional performance and as much as you may wonder why we'd care about such a person and the outcome, I personally found it very engrossing. I think its symbolic of what went on at the time, with there being quite a clear emphasis or message about society not being prepared to deal appropriately with people who have don't quite 'fit in' or whose behaviour isn't entirely to their liking - also particularly revealing is/was the scenes featuring the doctor and other doctors/psychologists plus nurse Ratched discussing what to do with Randall, not really questioning whats right for him or anything, they claim he's a dangerous person and nurse Ratched claims that she thinks they can help him at 'the farm', which I'm not sure I entirely follow, unless by 'help' of course they mean something rather sinister.
The character development and performances are spot on and it really 'reels you in', I feel. There are 1 or 2 plot twists and the ending I found to be rather unexpected, its not what you may have guessed.
Also, some plot elements, involving the (rather loose(!)) women I may question but otherwise, overall I agree with the critics who label this as a real classic movie - it is a rather hauning movie and no doubt was a socially important film of its time in terms of the story and what it highlights. It seemed very well made, I genuinely was quite glued to the TV watching it - although I would warn potential viewers to barein mind it features some very strong language and some moderate to strong, ocassionally graphic and bloody violence, hence the 18 rating. I'd suggest that the content in terms of violence and language is somewhat similar to the movie Green Mile, if that helps and in terms of the story and the social commentary/messages it portrays, its kind of a mix of The Changeling and Girl, Interrupted I suppose.
- Would I Recommend It? -
Yes I'd recommend this movie as its very engrossing with good characters and performances, especially from Jack Nicholson, who won many awards from this performance.
Thanks for reading my review, I hope you found it useful and thanks for any and all rates and comments.
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is a cinematographic classic, a masterpiece that belies its 35 years and can still disturb shock, entertain and chill the viewer. Only the second of three films to ever win the top five Oscars (best Picture, Actor, Actress, Director and Screenplay), this was the film that propelled the wonderful Jack Nicholson into the public consciousness and simultaneously showed us one of the most memorable, yet unlikely movie villains of all time.
The softly-spoken Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher) couldn't be further removed from the kind of movie villains we expect to see. Despite this, there has rarely been a more emotionless, icy and callous portrayal of a character in film. Ratched is a control-freak of the worst kind, whose relentless bullying and manipulation of the men she purports to be trying to help serves only to re-enforce their own insecurities.
What sets her apart, however, is that the fact she's not inherently evil; in general, she seems to genuinely believe that what she's doing is for the best for the men. This makes her a more complex and interesting character. Her downfall is her self-righteousness that leaves her unable to see the harm she is doing.
Similarly unlikely as a hero is Randall McMurphy (Jack Nicholson); a violent, disruptive and aggressive career-criminal sentenced to jail for statutory rape.
McMurphy feigns insanity in order to serve out his time in a mental institution rather than doing "hard time" in jail. It is here that he encounters the Nurse and discovers, in seeking the supposed easy option, he may have made the biggest mistake of his life.
It is a classic encounter that seems destined to end in tragedy; the impulsive, reckless and carefree criminal against his controlling, manipulative and seemingly emotionless jailer. McMurphy attempts to lead his fellow inmates in rebellion against Ratched's strictly controlled regime, and becomes a role model of sorts for them.
In turn, McMurphy forms a genuine liking for this unlikely group, in many ways to the detriment of himself. This affection is tempered however by the frustration he feels in knowing them many of them are there voluntarily and can leave any time they choose.
The battle of wills that ensues turns the institution and the life of its inmates upside down and leaves the viewer uneasily questioning what insanity really means.
Some of these battles take the form of seemingly trivial mind-games. In one memorable scene, McMurphy asks Nurse Ratched to break from office protocol by allowing the men to watch the World Series on TV. The Nurse, confident in her control over the men, allows a vote. She realises, as does McMurphy on a much deeper level, that the vote is about much more than watching a baseball game. This is a question of her authority. Can McMurphy get these men, apathetic, drugged and indifferent to their own lives, to make a stand against this figure of hate?
This is seen by many as Jack Nicholson's film, and it certainly is a performance of the very highest calibre. McMurphy is a charismatic force of nature, an emotional and caring individual who seems the very antithesis of his nemesis, the calculating Nurse. Jack is a true old-fashioned "film-star"; maybe there have been better actors, but I struggle to think of anyone who can captivate attention as well as he can.
In a lesser film, such an iconic performance may have overshadowed the story-line and the rest of the cast. Not so OFOTCN, there are star turns everywhere you look. In addition to Louise Fletcher's Oscar-worthy portrayal, we have the stammering Billy Bibbit (Brad Dourif) with his insecurities and deaf and dumb red-Indian "Chief"(Will Sampson), both of whom form unlikely and endearing friendships with McMurphy. There are fantastic, believable and subtle performances all round.
It is the believability of these performances that can make this occasionally uncomfortable viewing. Whilst this film is suitable for the vast majority of adult viewers, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who finds watching the portrayal of mental health illnesses difficult.
In many ways, the film has lost some of its relevance. The points it makes about mental healthcare, in particular the brutal "care" dished out to the men in terms of lobotomies and electroconvulsive therapy have largely become redundant. However, the resounding theme that is just as relevant today is that of the individual against authority.
In parts laugh out loud funny, in others moving, emotional and tragic, OFOTCN is, in my opinion, one of the best films ever made. Better than the original book (Ken Kesey) on many levels, the contrasting yet brilliant acting performances leave the viewer hooked. The ward is like a ticking time-bomb, the unpredictable cast of characters are impossible to second-guess, leaving the film with a tangible air of suspense.
The movie is understandably bleak in terms of colour and atmosphere but manages to avoid becoming depressing. It is an outstanding piece of work from Director Milos Forman who relied heavily on reaction shots. Nicholson's reactions to dialogue were filmed even when he wasn't involved in it personally. One of Fletcher's most withering looks was in reaction to Forman's direction but was used as part of the film.
The vast majority of the film is shot within the confines of the institution. Ironically, the only scene outside is one which let's the film down somewhat. McMurphy instigates a break-out in order to take his new friends on a fishing trip. This somewhat dilutes the atmospheric nature of the movie, and also turns the inmates into caricatures for the first time in the film. I find the scene unnecessary, and taking the film to a fairly lengthy 133 minutes, it could easily have been left out with no detriment to the story.
Luckily, this scene does not overshadow the film as a whole, which leads slowly but inexorably towards an unforgettable climax that I consider one of the best in film history.
Kirk Douglas owned the rights and planned to star in it himself, but son Michael actually started the project.
Jack Nicholson was third choice after Gene Hackman and Marlon Brando. Milos Forman wanted Burt Reynolds to take the role.
Will Sampson only got the role because he was the only Native American that could be found of sufficient size. He wasn't actually an actor at all.
Many of the extras were real mental patients
Rated 18 for some strong swearing and violence. Fairly mild by today's standards but not one for the kids.
Widely available online and in shops, I got mine for £3 from HMV.
Almost universally acclaimed with 8.9/10 on IMDB and 79% on Metacritic
None on my particular DVD.
One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest is one of those rare "must-see" films. Each character is believable and three dimensional, which is testament to the high quality of writing as well as the fine acting performances. Add to this Milos Forman's fine, tight directing and the minimal and understated score, this is a movie that ticks all the boxes and deserves every accolade it received.
So my sister borrowed this DVD off a friend and it has been sitting in the living room for ages. I wasn't really interested in the film despite the many Academy Awards it has won. I thought it was in black and white and the fact that it was filmed a good few decades ago, before I was even born, didn't help to change my mind. However, my sister recently decided to watch it, and since I was ill and had nothing better to do, watched it too, and have to say it isn't half as bad as I expected.
Randle Patrick McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) enters a mental institution despite being perfectly normal, as he is a criminal and thinks he can spend the rest of his sentence in this more relaxing atmosphere. Upon entering, he meets a group of people he soon finds to be his friends, and is the brains to numerous rebellions and adventures the group has.
However, all is not as it seems, and McMurphy misunderstands the terms of his stay at the mental institution and must seek to break out, but will it be too late?
I was not completely inspired by the beginning of the film. Although you do wonder why McMurphy wants to enter the hospital, and it is curious what happens within, the plot just isn't enough to make this an exciting film. It was on a plateau throughout and only got more exciting towards the end.
That's not to say this isn't a good theme. I found the themes extremely interesting- the relationships, the characters and the idea of fate. Something in this movie from the very beginning made me think of "Of Mice and Men" and the ending definitely reminded me of that.
The ending and the twist that sets the ending into motion is very tragic- there is quite a lot of precursoring and ideas hinted in the beginning that happens at the end- in that way, I think this is very successful, as it manages to translate these subtle points from the book onto film.
As a movie, this doesn't do it for me in terms of enjoyability, but it's cultural context and the time of which it was released, it has significant relevance and definitely has something for everyone in here. It is almost a film made to be used as reference as there is just so much emotional and relational value.
Jack Nicholson- McMurphy
Louise Fletcher- Nurse Ratchard
Will Sampson- Chief
Also stars Danny DeVito
I thought Jack Nicholson was enjoyable to watch and also likeable but so was Nurse Ratchard- I know she was the villain but you just want to be on her side... or was that just me?
I recognised Danny DeVito but didn't know it was him- just thought he looked really familiar- but he did a good job!
The DVD can be purchased for under £5 online.
I thought the film was good but didn't really enjoy it. It was a good adaptation from the book and the themes translated very well. I thought it had great pace and the tragic end left a lasting impression. However, I just didn't find it exciting- and would divert you to "Girl, Interrupted", a more modern tale inside a mental institution, also winning Academy Awards. Though, surely, you must watch this at least once in your lifetime.
Over the years, I have heard people talking about when they read 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest' at school or how good the movie was. I never really thought that I was missing out on much, as it sounded completely uninteresting to me (bearing in mind I had no idea what the plot was).
However, I recently read a review on the movie, on Dooyoo, and was gripped by the review, which left me wanting more! So when my first Amazon voucher came, this was first in my basket.
I think I paid £3.99 from Amazon with free postage.
I don't really want to go into much detail with this part as it will ruin the movie so I'm just going to give a very basic outline.
R P McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) is a criminal who is serving a short prison sentence. In order to avoid his prison work duties, he acts 'crazy' to get himself moved to a mental insitution. Anywhere's better than prison, right?
The ward which he is committed to is run by Nurse Ratched, one of the institutions best nurses. McMurphy and Ratched do not take a liking to each other and become involved in a number of power games.
During his stay, McMurphy forms relationships with the other 'patients' on the ward and tries to bring some excitement and independance into their lives.
That's all I am going to say as, as I said before, I do not want to ruin the story.
**What I thought**
I didn't really have any high expectations for this movie as I had not heard too much about the plot, only people saying how much they enjoyed it. No one had forced me to watch it and, due to this, I had a completely open mind about it. I hate being told that a movie is incredible then not enjoying it as much, it's so dissapointing!
I know there is a serious point to this movie and I probably should have taken it more seriously, but I don't see the point in upsetting myself over a movie (even if some of the things that happened really did happen to people). I found the movie quite light hearted and there were some very funny scenes that had me giggling.
Also, I found myself getting attached to the characters and trying to will them along to do something for themselves and better their lives.
I think another fact that interested me was the way that things have changed in 'mental institutions' over the years. I worked a few placement on mental health wards and found myself pointing out things that were happening that would never be able to happen now. Similarly, seeing things in the movie that I have seen take place in my work and relating to the story.
I do think this is a great movie and will definately be watching it again, it's not very often that I see a movie that sticks in my head for a long time after (unless I am scared something from the movie is after me).
I settled down to watch this for the first time last night, and to be totally honest, I really wasn't expecting to enjoy it - perhaps because the description mentioned that it contained bad language and violence , two things I don't look for in an enjoyable movie. I was also aware that the film was made in 1975, and expected it to be very dated. Was I right ? Read on to find out!
McMurphy finds himself in prison on statutory rape charges after it is discovered that his girlfriend is not 18 as she claimed, but 15. Determined not to spend his time in prison slaving away on work duty, he attempts to convince prison guards he is mentally ill, resulting in him being institutionalised so his mental health can be assessed . While the powers that be attempt to decide whether McMurphy has genuine psychiatric problems , or is layering it on with a trowel, McMurphy finds himself straining against the routines and rules of institutional life , and particularly against the cold and unfeeling attitude of Nurse Ratched.
McMurphy makes a bet with the other inmates that 'In one week, I can put a bug so far up her ass, she don't know whether to shit or wind her wristwatch. ' and in attempting to wind her up, discovers common ground with many of the inmates, leading them in rebelling against the routines dictated to them. But the question remains - is McMurphy mentally ill, or just a sane person trying to duck out of jail time ?
As I said, I really expected this film to be quite dated, but surprisingly this wasn't the case . The mental institution was cold and clinical in design, with sparse furnishings and grey concrete walls. This was the main setting of the film, where most of the action takes place, and I think the cold clinical look was timeless - this could have been any psychiatric institution anywhere, any time .
Similarly, all the music used throughout the film was pre 1940, with no music used that would have been current at the time of the films release- and again this helped to set the feeling that this could have been anyplace, anytime.
The acting and the script were spectaxular . At first, the film moves along very gently, more a series of small individual events within the institution than a decided plot . This really helped establish the many different inmates and their individual problems, as well as their relationships to each other, and to show McMurphy gradually finding his niche within the group . Towards the end the movie does start to progress faster and to follow a storyline, with the climax to the movie, when it comes, being surprising,shocking, and sad - but a little joyous too .
The acting on all sides was fantastic . McMurphy, played by Jack Nicholson, is utterly believable as a criminal with past convictions trying to pull the wool over the eyes of those in authority. I started the film convinced he was sane, but throughout the film this was cleverly called into question on a number of occasions, and I found myself questioning my own judgement on what defined sanity.
The film also stars a young Danny DeVito, playing Mr Martini , someone who is simply a bit dim, but constantly cheerful, with very little understandin of when a situation is serious or not .
Nurse Ratched is played by Louise Fletcher, who pulls off cold and uncaring to perfection .Initially irritated by her lack of care for those under her wing, I found myself growing to really despise her with a passion, with the acting being understated yet believable .
My favourite character though, has to be the Chief, played by Will Sampson , a tall native American who is both deaf and dumb, whose silent presence fills up the screen, and whose every action, when he is moved to do anything other than just stand around being big, being an important event in the film.
Yes, there is a lot of swearing in this film, but I actually believe it was well used to set the tone of life in the institution . There is some violence towards the end, but it is actually pretty minimal, and essential to the storyline .
Overall, I highly recommend this film . A heartwarming yet disturbing tale that will make you question your perception of sanity .
RELEASED: 1975, Cert.18
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 128 minutes
DIRECTOR: Milos Forman
PRODUCERS: Saul Zaentz and Michael Douglas
MUSIC SCORE: Jack Nitzsche
Jack Nicholson as Randle P McMurphy
Will Sampson as "Chief"
Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched
Brad Dourif as Billy Bibbit
Danny DeVito as Martini
Christopher Lloyd as Max Taber
William Redfield as Dale Harding
Sydney Lassick as Charlie Cheswick
Dean R Brooks as Dr Spivey
PLEASE NOTE: This is just the film I'm reviewing, as the DVDs currently on sale have extras, which my older copy doesn't, so I'm unable to comment on them.
Back in the 1970s which for me was cinema's greatest decade, everybody was talking about this new film showing at our local ABC, the film being One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest which is based on the 1962 novel by beat poet and writer, Ken Kesey. As I've probably said lots of times, I usually prefer original novels to films made of them, with perhaps only one or two exceptions. I had tried to read Ken Kesey's One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest quite a few times, but for me it was too difficult to get into. It was suggested by some of my friends that I might find the novel easier to read after I'd seen the film - so, off I toddled to the ABC with my then husband. We armed ourselves with a couple of hot dogs, took our seats in the cinema....the lights went down, and we fixed our eyes to the screen.
For me, the opening frames of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest are always fascinating, no matter how many times I watch the film. There is no instant music....just a black screen....then the camera pans over hills, fields, forests and rivers towards a white building, and the eerie music begins quietly, gaining momentum....a somewhat plodding and unusual piece played on a musical saw with some muted, yet very pronounced percussion. This is one of those films whereby your attention is immediately captured and you instinctively know that something extraordinary is about to take place on the screen.
When rebel rouser Randle P McMurphy shirks his penitentiary duties, he is sent to a psychiatric hospital for assessment, the idea being to determine whether or not he is mentally ill.
Randle is placed on a ward where there are several other long-stay male psychiatric patients of varying ages. The ward is run by the steely-eyed Nurse Ratched, who Randle takes an instant dislike to. Nurse Ratched may speak in a gentle voice, but she is a control freak of the worst variety. After having observed the rather chilling way she patronises and belittles the patients in her care, Randle decides to try to liven things up a bit.
As time goes by, Randle continues to disrupt the smooth running of the ward to a degree whereby he has several verbal confrontations with what he sees as the domineering, borderline cruel Nurse Ratched. Each time Randle fuels Nurse Ratched's anger, it causes the other patients to admire him more and view him as some sort of hero, even a saviour from their plight, and the tension increases as Randle tries to encourage the other patients to question and react against the tightly set up regime on the ward.
Although Randle seems genuinely concerned for the other patients, and even genuinely fond of them, he is at all times on the lookout for ways to escape from the hospital. It is a great source of frustration to Randle that although he does manage to liven up the ward and get the patients to question not only Nurse Ratched's tactics, but their own reasons for remaining in the hospital - he thus sometimes gets a bit impatient with them.
As the film progresses, we see Randle befriend "Chief", one of the patients, who is a huge, broadly built, tall Red Indian man. "Chief" is apparently both deaf and dumb and spends his days pushing a broom backwards and forwards across the ward floor. This initially seems an unlikely coupling, but the friendship is peppered with intrigue, and for the most part, turns out to be the backbone of the film.
I really don't want to say any more about the storyline, as I feel to do so would spoil it for anyone who's not seen the film, yet wishes to.
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's nest is a cinematic feast of top of the tree brilliant acting, by all concerned. Although Jack Nicholson is the main character, the performances of Louise Fletcher plus the main group of patients that Randle McMurphy is part of, are truly commendable. My own personal favourite is that of the shy, stammering, seriously inadequate yet very endearing Billy Bibbit, played by Brad Dourif. This was Brad's first major acting role, and I feel that he stole the show overall, against some very stiff competition.
My own feelings on the film as a whole, are that it's hilarious in some parts, poignant in others, and tragic in others. For me one of the most amusing characters is the volatile and unpredictable patient Max Taber (played by Christopher Lloyd).
When I first saw this film back in 1975, what struck my ex husband and myself, was what we perceived as the tremendous amount of swearing it contained; we didn't find it at all offensive - just that at that point in time, although quite a few films would have an occasional "F" word peppering the dialogue, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest really pushed the boat out down Imprecation Avenue! By today's standards though, the swearing levels come across as mild to the point that they are hardly noticeable - time and our changing culture has obviously inured me to four-letter expostulations.
Despite being told watching the film would make the book easier to read for me, it has never been the case, and to this day I've still not managed to get my head around the novel....but, I do know enough about the novel to state that it is written from a different standpoint to how the film is portrayed. The novel is written through the eyes of "Chief", the big Red Indian man, and I can understand how difficult it would have been to create the film from the same angle. I thus highly commend the whole direction/production and acting team for working together and delivering a movie which stands strong and alone, despite not detracting from the book as such, but having to turn it around situationally for the purposes of making it watchable and entertaining.
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest received 5 Academy Awards - Best Leading Actor (Jack Nicholson), Best Actress (Louise Fletcher), Best Film, Best Screenplay and Best Director; it's my opinion that it more than deserved each and every one of them.
Despite this film being utterly hilarious in parts, some people may find certain aspects of it difficult to view, as it deals quite extensively with psychiatric illness, and the actors who play the roles of the patients, do so with a unique and intense realism. There are some scenes which a few people could find upsetting from the point of view of the film being so very true to life and the characters being so very believable, that it can be difficult to watch some of them being unfairly and harshly treated by Nurse Ratched. Only you can judge for yourself whether you'd be the sort of person who'd be disturbed in any way by this extremely powerful film.
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest [The Movie And More] is currently available for purchase on Amazon as follows:-
New: From £8.49 to £8.99
Used: From £2.45 to £8.99
Collectible: £9.95 (one copy only available at the time of writing)
If you've never seen One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and would like to get a taster of what it's like before purchasing, you can view short random clips taken from the movie on YouTube.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Sky Movies are currently running Jack Nicholson season, which means the charmer's films are on constantly day and night. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is one of his best performances, as the criminal who manages to get himself put in a mental institution to serve his sentence, so as to avoid the clink again.
Inside, he finds affinity with the various inhabitants of the institution, as well as a worthy enemy in the form of the calm yet determined Nurse Ratched. Believing he will serve only a number of days in there before release, he takes his situation with a brave face and attempts to liven things up. The result is a master class in acting from Nicholson, and a riveting film indeed.
One of the most impressive things about Nicholson, for me, is his voice. The delivery of his lines is always done with perfect timing and tone, gestures and facial expressions combining with it perfectly. Here, as McMurphy (Mac), he owns the majority of the dialogue and screen, Czech director Milos Forman allowing him centre stage and pretty much the rule of the roost. As a result, we get an intense psychological and analytical look not only at the human psyche and the power of therapy, but also of the claustrophobia of an institution and how willpower cannot always prevail.
The film deservedly won 5 Oscars, with one going to Nicholson for lead actor and one going to Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched. The pairing of these two was genius, her stern exterior clashing with his charismatic and flamboyantly devilish attitude. As the rest of the inhabitants find themselves locked in the middle of the two wills, showing that their existence in such a place in well decided, and the other two clearly have control of their faculties.
Mac tries to gee everyone up, by things such as the baseball World Series, or planning a basketball match, and the excitement he causes among them is a delight for the viewer to see, despite it being temporary and frowned upon by the orderlies and Ratched. It's like being given example after example of how different he is to everyone else, and a scene on a fishing boat (the only one in the film which takes place outside of the institution) is perhaps the only occasion where they all seem free to breathe and do what they want, a release, making them all seem just like regular sane people.
This sort of attacks the institute of mental health reform at the time. The building is shown as a horrible place, desolate and depressing, and gives the impression that it would make you go insane rather than prepare you for the real world should you get to the stage of eventual release. The doctors deciding on the patients' levels of sanity are rarely in the same scene as the patients themselves, and seem to be deciding things based on pieces of paper. Often, they discuss Mac, and it seems to be the main reason for the film's progression. What is curious is how his frustratioon builds here more than it would have done had he been sent to prison instead.
Befriending the other inmates in group therapy makes it a group film, and although it's the individual element of Mac's character that is focused upon, there's also a strong element of being lost within a group and losing your individuality and humanity, becoming just another patient. Forman displays this well within his direction, allowing Nicholson the right length of rope for freedom, but making sure that as director he controls the pace and flow. Adapted from the book of the same name by Ken Kesey, I hear told that the book is far better. If that is the case, then it must truly be brilliant, as this film managed to completely keep my attention riveted to the screen. Great direction, acting and pace. The script, if it does indeed follow closely to the book, is excellently done, and I thoroughly recommend watching this one. It's an intriguing look into the human psyche, and how the tables can turn on someone, despite their confident plans. Recommended.
The film One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest has got to be one of the all time greatest films ever made. This is my opinion, probably the opinion of many others and certainly, of the critics and fans in the year of it's release (1975). The film won 5 oscars, Best Actor (Jack Nicholson), Best Actress (Louise Fletcher), Best Director (Milos Forman), Best Picture and Best Screenplay.
The plot of the story is based mainly around Nicholson's character R.P. McMurphy (Mac). He is transferred from a State Prison, to a nearby mental institute. Not understanding the reasons for this, and knowing that his release date is upcoming, he decides to have some fun. Both with the patients and staff. This includes, various escape attempts, gambling rings and parties. Mac makes many friends in his time in the institute, and the storyline predominently revolves around his relationship with them.
The way in which the relationships develop, is scripted, shot and acted immaculately. Each of the characters, whether they are major or minor, demands that you acknowledge them, yet they do not overpower one another. Throughout the film, I was aware of each and every character. Something I that I am not used to, as many fringe characters can fade away into the background as their roles diminish. Each of them has something different to offer, and as each of them has some sort of mental illness or issue there are some quite funny characters and moments. Before the arrival of Mac, the main group of patients are in dissarray, constantly having petty arguments with one another, however this soon changes as he brings them together as a group of friends. This is mainly shown through the many group therapy sessions, held by Nurse Ratched. The character, played by Louise Fletcher, is the main anti-protagonist of the film, Mac's counterpart. She demands order, whilst he attempts to wreak havoc. The two counterbalance each other perfectly, and it is no wonder they both won Oscars for their performance.
Mac's relationship, develops with all of the characters, some more than others. He is the catalyst in the start of a better life for each of the patients, and the source of anger and in some cases entertainment for the staff. As previously mentioned the reltionships between the characters seem totally genuine, as they are each portrayed perfectly. There is a major development throughout, not just from Nicholson's character, but with all of them. Martini, for example, played by Danny DeVito becomes more extrovert as the film progresses and is much less of a recluse. Confidence also comes to other characters, including Cheswick and Chief, two of the characters Mac's influence makes a massive difference to. It is a tribute to all the actors, that their characters have been portrayed in such a believable manner.
The plot, although it takes a while to develop properly, is very good. It doesn't have the traditional twists and turns, though there are small diversions, it just keeps on developing. I have not read the original 1962 book, from which it was adapted, but the film seems as if it has taken a lot from it. The way in which it keeps on developing, is generally something I would associate more with literature. It works very well in the film though. The only real twist comes towards the end. With Mac pushing Nurse Ratched to her absolute limits. As I have mentioned, there are continual developments in both characters and plot. This all adds to how well the film is made.
The main point to the plot is the battle of wills between Mac and Nurse Ratched. They are both big characters in their own right. Ratched, being the dictator-like ward sister and Mac being the rebel. Two characters destined to clash. Ratched doesn't like the fact that Mac has given the other characters a new lease of life, she seems to feel threatened by him. The director portrays this beautifully with a lot of close up shots of Nurse Ratched's face. The ways that her eyes and facial expressions change do not need to be aided by a script, they simply tell the story in their own right! Ultimately, the battle of wills has to have a victor, and we are compelled to want Nicholson's character to prevail. With Mac being the hero, bringing joy to the lives of his newly found friends and also finding friends of his own. But Ratched's regime is well established, and the other patients are torn with their loyalties.
I think that One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is a "feel good film" in disguise. We, as the audience, are touched, by the friendships and frailties of the characters. It is not generally the sort of location you would imagine to find such friendships, but there is something so touching about all of the characters. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the film from start to finish. (The biggest tribute I can give to this film, is on a personal level. I have now been with my girlfriend for over 3 years, therefore, watching our fair share of films, she had not managed to stay awake for the duration of any, until now. Given that we would generally watch a film lasting 90 minutes, and this lasts over 2 hours, it is a massive achievement. That, to me at least, shows how good this film really is!)
Overall, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is an amazing film. There is an endearing relationship between all of the characters, and essentially, this is what the story revolves around. The plot is portrayed perfectly, both through the acting and directing, and with an immaculate performance from Nicholson adding to the film's credentials, the film is a massive success all round. With a plot that does not so much twist, but continually develops it keeps you interested and watching for the duration. I would definitely recommend this film to everyone, it is worth buying without a doubt.
The extras found on the disc are.
* Cast and Crew List
* Memorial to Scatman Crothers (The actor playing on of the main members of staff)
* A 13 Year Effort (Short featurette describing how long the film took to make)
* On Location
Generally, if a film is average, I would not recommend to watch the extras. However, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is not an average film, and the extras are definitely worth a watch.
Duration: 133 mins
Best Price Online: £6.89 from www.sendit.com
It sometimes makes me sad that in this day and age no film has been made to rival those classics of yesteryear. Taxi Driver, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Godfather, Forrest Gump - all these films are magnificent in one way or another and inspire such emotion and personal response within their audience. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, loosely based of Kesey's book of the same name, is the creme de la creme in both film-making, narrative presentation and above all - acting performances.
Jack Nicholson gives a one-of-a-kind performance as RP McMurphy, a criminal convicted of statuatory rape after being mislead into having sex with an underage girl. He believes that his 62 day prison term can be spent in luxury and comfort if he feigns being mentally ill to become institutionalised. What he does not expect, however, is to be held captive under the dictator-esque rules of Nurse Ratched, the hospital's head nurse and the films' main villain. The supporting cast are fantastic, and without a doubt you'll be spotting familiar (albeit far younger) faces from some of the more recent Hollywood successes. Christopher Lloyd (most famous for his role of Doc Brown in Back to the future) plays the lovable Taber, a patient who has a brilliant sense of humour. A young Danny Devito also pops up, playing Martini, a patient characterized to the extreme with Devito's subtle, yet top notch performance.
The character, however, who I felt made this movie for me was not actually Nicholson. It was the late Sydney Lassick, who offers a career defining performance as Charley Cheswick, a voluntary patient who wishes, above all else, for something to be done about the wicked Nurse Ratched. Lassick blends so many different character traits together in one performance, which to me, deserved him an Oscar. Cheswick shows determination and a drive, whilst showing reluctancy in his extreme panic attacks and wildly nervous disposition.
At first, quite strangely, I thought I would not like the film. As a film student I had heard the riotous praise the movie had recieved and as I watched the first 10 minutes, I genuinely felt a sense of dissapointment. I felt the majority of the scenes dragged on too long, and without any characterisation it just felt as if I was watching a group of mental patients screaming - just to ram home the point to me that "this is a mental place, okay?" which is never a good directing approach to take. However, I suddenly realized how incorrect I was - and the very still and monotonous camera shots are perfect in making you, as an audience member, feel as if you are genuinely there with these group of people - bonding with and loving them. I can honestly say that the film is shot so well that in two hours you can genuinely understand, feel for and absolutely adore every single patient.
The only character I still have a quarrel with is Louise Fletcher's Nurse Ratched. I see she's been voted as #5 Evil Villain of All Time, and this to me just does not seem justified. I understand she's evil in the novel, and she loves the dominance over the patients at the mental hospital - but whilst I watched the film I found she was hardly given any moments in which to express her wicked ways. She is just a very mild, tame villain who seems more like a strict school-teacher than a monster with a cruel agenda. This is nothing to do with Fletcher's acting, however, I feel it is more to do with director Milos Forman's directorial interpretation of the character. To me, I was expecting more of a Kathy Bates menacing bulk of a nurse.
In conclusion - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is one hell of a film that anybody can connect with in someway or another. Even people who may deliberately watch a film just to criticize it - you will find yourself becoming truly addicted to the narrative journeys each individual patient undergoes. This is both Nicholson's and Lassick's defining performance. I thoroughly urge you to click on the "buy it here" icon at the top of this page once you have read this review - for a fiver you couldn't get anything near as perfect.
This is a cult movie that was released in 1975 and produced by Michael Douglas and is quite disturbing and very powerful. I remember watching it many years ago and again recenly and found it extremely good drama with some very hard-hitting scenes captured.
The movie itself is set in a state mental home where Randle P. MacMurphy played by Jack Nicholson is sent for rehabilitation. He is a wiseguy who is against establishments over any kind and also any type of authority. While he is there he falls under the watchful eye of sadistic nurse Ratched played by Louise Fletcher. It is not long before he stirs up a rebellion against her with he help of some of the other patients there.
It was a groundbreaking movie at the time and dealt with the problems of mental illness and the treatment that some patients got. For me this was a vey heart felt experience and there are so many characters there that you can warm to and relate to their situation. It is highly emotional and powerful. I found it hard to look away and was transfixed to see what would happen next.
The movie is filled with eccentric characters and also features a career-best performance from Fletcher as the Nurse. Jack Nicholson is of course fascinating to watch in his role and shows that he has great versaitility as an actor. He is incarceated by is such a free -spirit he just wants to be released to do as he pleases. The scenes between him and Nurse Ratched were some of the most memorable and exciting of the whole movie and were so charged up with adrenelin.
I would recommend this movie espeically if you are fan of Nicholson as he is superb.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest is sent in an asylum. Jack Nicholson has been in and out of various prisons and after much deliberation is sent to the asylum as a last resort to curb his wild behaviour.
It is evident that he is not mentally disturbed, just wild! His sole aim is to cause as much disruption as possible and his inner child breaks free, when he continually refuses to tow the line. He plays mind games with the other inmates, and Nurse Ratchett, who he loves to hate. His antics soon lead to others being punished, and he is then punished severely for the continuation of rule breaking. Hi relationship with 'Chief' is a pleasure to watch.
The film is both humerous and touching and looks at human nature and how quickly the spirit can be broken when put in a position that you cannot control. Jack Nicholson is at his best, and this film also brought Danny Devito into the limelight.
If you ever see a film before you depart this world, this is one you should see. It is one of my top 10.
One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest is based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Ken Kesey, depicting the ins and outs of a mental asylum, replete with a cast of weird, and sometimes wonderful, characters. When the film cleaned up at the 1976 Academy Awards, it was the first to win all five major Academy Awards (Best Picture, Actor in Lead Role, Actress in Lead Role, Director, Screenplay) in over 40 years, a staggering achievement. The film recieved huge critical acclaim and is also highly ranked in IMDB's Top 250 films.
Randle Patrick McMurphy (Jack Nicholson, who won an Oscar for his outstanding portrayal) is a criminal living out a short sentence for statutory rape, but he is taken to a mental asylum, yet his mental state in fact remains dubious throughout the film - is he simply trying to avoid hard work out in the yard, or do his instances of violence point to a larger problem? He is frequently maligned by Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher, who also won an Oscar for her unforgettable and iconic portrayal), who attempts to keep the inmates in check, whilst Randle simultaneously tries to rile them into a frenzy. The inmates that Randle befriends include Billy Bibbit (Brad Dourif), a tragically suicidal, but pleasant young man, "Chief" Bromden (Will Sampson), a giant, seemingly mute Native American man, Charles Cheswick (Sydney Lassick), a man child who breaks out into fits of screaming, Martini (Danny DeVito), a paranoid dellusional, and Dale Harding, among the only educated men in the institution, and a very frustrated man as a result.
What makes this such a hallmark of American cinema is the perfect marriage of superb writing, stellar, schooled direction, and some incredible performances. It's rare that all come together so well, for even some of the greatest Best Picture winners had some merely decent performances - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest accomplishes the rare feat of having it all, and makes no apologies for this. A smart, tragic, funny, crazy ride.
The first half of "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" unfolds in fairly rudimentary, uninspired fashion, yet its second half combines stellar performances, astute allegory of the socio-political world climate, and brisk plotting to form a highly enjoyable, if overrated package.
This film has forced so many well known now actors into the spotlight all those years ago, Danny Devito, Jack Nicholson and Christoper Lloyd to name but a few, of course the plaudits should and will always go to Jack Nicholson for a superstar performance and to think, he wasn't meant to be originally cast in the role.
This film is a classic and after watching it in a Psychology lesson immediatly sought out the film to buy and so I did, it's easy to forget that this film was done almost 40 years ago now and it still lives on in memories and best film lists and is one of Nicholsons best of not the best.
The story is about a patient admitted to a psychiatric ward for inspection to see if there is anything unusual about him, he is put in a ward with 20 or so fellow patients most of whom are voluntary with a mixture of problems. Nicholson revolts against the wards doctors throughout the film which results in numerous problems for the doctors, the patients and himself.
This is a classic and so it should be.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is one of my alltime fav films. It was released in 1976 during a period when Hollywood gave directors more freedom and there were relaxed rules in censorship. As a result new 'youth' films featuring antiheros fighting establishments emerged to bring back audinces.
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest follows Jack Nicholsons character P.R.McMurthy who is facing a prison sentence. He decides its easier to face the sentence in a mental institution so fakes being crazy. While there he fights the system and with it makes friends with the other patients and tries to better their lives.
The film is well directed and composed well. The acting is fantastic and Jack Nicholson is fantastic...a really funny quirky character. The story is brilliant and very gripping. The ending is equally fantastic and does not disappoint.
This is a really classic film which is really worth a watch. There are really funny moments as well as really sad moments. It is acted well and the story is told well. A must for evryone.
Based on the critically aclaimed bestseller by Ken Kesey, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is the tale of a fast talking hyperactive jailbird, Randle.P
McMurphy (Jack Nicholson), who fakes insanity and gets put in a mental institution so as to avoid the prison work farm. He finds the ward he's on filled with quiet timid patients whose lives have been drummed into a tedious, mind numbing routine.
Mcmurphy immediately begins to undermine the routine and becomes locked in a personal battle of wills between himself and the monstrous Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher), a character voted as the most evil character in cinematic history. With the winner lies the fate of the patients on the ward, some of whom begin to realise that there is actually life outside of the institution.
The film won five Academy Awards in 1975, best picture, best actor for Nicholson, best actress for Fletcher, best director for Milos Forman and best adapted screenplay. It is a film that can make you laugh or cry in it's stark portrayal of life in a mental institution and the horrors of Electro Shock Therapy.
It also helped to launch the early careers of Christopher Lloyd and Danny Devito.
One of the key movies of the 1970s, when exciting, groundbreaking, personal films were still being made in Hollywood, Milos Forman's One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest emphasised the humanistic story at the heart of Ken Kesey's more hallucinogenic novel. Jack Nicholson was born to play the part of Randle Patrick McMurphy, the rebellious inmate of a psychiatric hospital who fights back against the authorities' cold attitudes of institutional superiority, as personified by Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher). It's the classic antiestablishment tale of one man asserting his individuality in the face of a repressive, conformist system--and it works on every level. Forman populates his film with memorably eccentric faces, and gets such freshly detailed and spontaneous work from his ensemble that the picture sometimes feels like a documentary. Unlike a lot of films pitched at the "youth culture" of the 1970s, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest really hasn't dated a bit, because the qualities of human nature that Forman captures--playfulness, courage, inspiration, pride, stubbornness--are universal and timeless. The film swept the Academy Awards for 1976, winning in all the major categories (picture, director, actor, actress, screenplay) for the first time since Frank Capra's It Happened One Night in 1931. --Jim Emerson