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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A disheartening, heartwarming, and joyous classic about a serious subject matter.

Author: Hassan Ilahi (hassan-ilahi) from Toronto, Canada
20 May 2011

Not many films have stunned me over the years. There's been some great ones and then some brilliant ones, but no film really 'did' it for me. I have my favorites like 'Forrest Gump' and 'The Shawashank Redemption', but again, that's not a lot. Cuckoo just did it for me.

It's been about 30 years (if not exact) to when this masterpiece came out. As a mainstream success, it won many awards, including 5 Oscars. One of those 5, was for Best Picture. That was why I decided to see this film. It came on this website as a high-rated classic. To that point, I was not surprised at how much this film affected me.

'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' is an unforgettable classic that affected me lots. It contains fascinating performances, an excellent screenplay, and great direction, not to mention a joyous soundtrack.

The performances in this film are so worth the watch. Jack Nicholson gives his career-best performance as 'McMurphy'. He delivers his soul towards his masterful performance and demonstrates an advanced understanding towards this film. His other films don't reach the heights of this one. Loise Fletcher, on the other hand, gives a brilliant performance as the 'nurse'. She lawfully is completely different, self disciplined and serious. Both these performances cause a dramatic on- screen battle. For me, its Jack Nicholson who wins.

An excellent screenplay is orchestrated throughout this film. Michael Douglas hasn't ever done such a wonderful job. This film, however, is disheartening at times, but also heartwarming, forming a nice combination. When a film deals with a serious subject matter, but has a hilarious tone to it, not to make it depressing.

Lastly, the soundtrack of this film is highly praise. The joyous moments of this film flow very well this soundtrack. Unbelievable, indeed...

Overall, this film is certainly worth the watch. If you haven't seen it, you've missed out on a film that changed my life. The ending of this film may seem abrupt, but I got over it, so no worries.


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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Nicholson's Best and a Masterpiece of American Cinema

Author: Tduma91 from United States
27 April 2011

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is one of the most famous novels in American literature, it also happens to be one of the most successful adaptations in American cinema. Sweeping the major awards at the Oscars (at the time it was one of only 2 to do so) the film propelled itself into a cult classic status and has transpired through generations onto top films lists from people of all ages. Nicholson turns in what I would consider his best work in a long list of incredible performances. His supporting cast isn't too shabby either. Louise Fletcher, Will Sampson, Brad Dourif, Christopher Lloyd, Danny Devito, William Redfield and Sydney Lassick turn in brilliant performances to help craft Milos Forman's beautiful vision for this classic tale of Man vs. The System.

The film is incredibly funny and at the same time stunningly compelling, heartwarming and sad. It combines these aspects so well that you're able to sympathize with characters throughout the film, hate Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher) and laugh along with the patients on the ward all while rooting for our hero McMurphy (Jack Nicholson).

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Jack Nicolson, enough said

Author: CaseyIMDB from United States
27 April 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Jack Nicoloson is probably one of my favorite actors. He always says something that doesn't need to be said or something that shouldn't be said. This movie, when i saw it i was surprised at how much i liked it. Jack in all movies always seems to be playing mind games with people that will always fall for it. His acting is unbelievable and the camera scenes and the filming was amazing too. If you look at it from my perspective, you can kind of tell its an older movie, but if your someone who likes movies (before 1950, and has watched a lot of them) this movie looks very new. This is one of my favorite movies of all time and Jack does a great job acting.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

movie review

Author: b-gallagher2 from United States
14 April 2011

This was a crazy movie. Jack Nicholson plays the protagonist, a man who ends up in a mental health facility. They believe he's not crazy at all, that he's just doing all this to get out of working a job. But only watching the movie can tell you what happens. All I can say is that it was crazy. As far as technical work goes, the movie had very omniscient and interesting photography. The movie also had a few good subjective shots. But what really made this movie was how round Jack Nicholson's character was. This movie was a combination of a psychological thriller and a horror movie combined. The story progression on top of Nicholson's character just made a crazy dramatic thriller. Also every nurse in the movie was so cold and eerie, especially nurse Ratchet, she was so cold and had such an eerie personality, it just helped build the overall uneasiness of the movie. This was a good movie.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A definitive New Hollywood film

Author: Red-Barracuda from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
4 April 2011

On occasion the Academy gets it spot on. When this movie won the top five Oscars for film, director, actor, actress and screenplay it wasn't in the least bit undeserved. In fact, it should have picked up another one for Brad Dourif's incredible support performance as the troubled Billy Bibbet. But in this instance the Academy played it traditionally and gave that statuette to the elderly George Burns in an act of sentimentality. Still five out of six isn't bad.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is an example of the type of film that the major studios used to turn out back in the days known as the Hollywood Renaissance. In those halcyon days a number of challenging and provocative pictures were released by the big studios. It was a golden time for cinema and auteurs. This film is prime example, seeing as it is clearly aimed at an adult audience and it is not afraid to be shocking. Despite having an uplifting finale, Cuckoo's Nest is anything but a happy film. There is a great deal of humour but it's interspersed with a lot of bleakness and downright depressing scenes. It's not afraid to take risks with its audience; it ultimately respects them enough to do so. For instance, if this film was to be made today, do you honestly think the central hero would be a man jailed for statutory rape with an underage girl? Its details like this that mark out this feature as something designed to challenge its audience.

Acting is universally magnificent, with Jack Nicholson truly in his element as the charismatic R.P. McMurphy. It's one of the all-time great examples of screen presence. But really there are no weak links in the rest of the cast at all. Louise Fletcher of course won the other acting gong and deservedly so with a cold unglamorous role that she nailed to a tee. The aforementioned Brad Dourif was perhaps the best performer of all though, his Billy Bibbet is truly an incredibly skilled creation. Everybody else was great too.

Serious dramas don't really get a lot better than this. It you haven't seen it you really owe yourself the pleasure of experiencing this magnificent film for the first time. And if you have seen it, read the novel it was based on by Ken Kesey, and see the whole story from the slightly different perspective it was originally conceived with. I'm sure you won't be disappointed with it, it's a literary masterpiece. It's one of those rare times when both book and film attain the very highest standards.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Don't watch this movie if you cry too damn easily.

Author: John H. from Australia
28 March 2011

Wow, and I mean wow. This movie really got me deeply. It's one of those movies where you feel like the characters are ones you just want to love. Jack Nicholson was far beyond the boundaries of amazing with his performance. Randle Mcmurphy is one of the best characters of all time, and Jack Nicholson was perfect for the part.

Okay, so the movie takes place in a mental institute because Mcmurphy pretends to be crazy so he can go to a mental institute instead of going to jail. He doesn't realize that the institute is in fact worse than prison itself. However, he does make friends with patients of the institute. He soon makes friends with The Chief (Not that other guy from Halo), the only Indian throughout the whole movie. I don't want to spoil anything about the character but he is just as amazing as Mcmurphy in terms of character and likability.

I'll stop there in terms of the plot. Watch the movie to truly understand how gorgeous this movie really is. This movie could possibly make you cry, so get tissues just in case. Maybe this movie could help promote mental institutes being horrible Nazi-like places.

P.S. If you thought PIXAR movies could really get to you big time in terms of emotion, WATCH OUT, 'cause this nearly breaks the emotional barrier of PIXAR movies. It breaks your heart.

Gorgeous movie. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves good character development and grade A+++ script and A+++ tear-jerking.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Existence is defiance ... Thinking is subversion ... "One Flew" is inspiration ...

Author: ElMaruecan82 from France
6 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Looking at the gray screen, R.P. Mc Murphy comments an imaginary baseball game with such enthusiasm the images seem to come alive. All the inmates of the Mental Institution are laughing, cheering and shouting, while the head administrative Nurse, Mildred Ratched, asks for silence. But for one brief instant, they're free, and this freedom, as illusory as it is, has never been so palpable, it was freedom to challenge the authority, to transcend the limits of a blanked out TV set… this short but powerful moment perfectly illustrates the philosophy of Milos Forman's masterpiece "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest". One of the all-time greatest films and most inspiring invitations to rebel against the tyranny of establishment.

In fact, the greatness of the film exceeds the context of the story, but I think what makes it so impacting is the presence of a clear antagonism through the interactions between two polar opposite sides of human nature : order and rebellion. Order is represented by one of the most iconic and despicable cinematic villains ever: Nurse Ratched, perfectly portrayed by Louise Fletcher. A woman, whose soft voice, cold eyes, and passive aggressive attitude is the incarnation of the cold tyranny of rules, as sterile and unproductive as they are. Doesn't this ring a bell? You know, where every thing must go the way it has always been, for no other reason than that the opposite reality would be dangerous. What deviates, what is different disturbs and must be brought back to the road, or eliminated. Fascism? Not so far. Anyway, this tyranny does have a castrating effect on the inmates, all males. And the liberation will come from the protagonist, R.P. Mc Murphy, Jack Nicholson at the peak of his career, playing his most inspiring and unforgettable role. McMurphy as the character who best defines Nicholson.

McMurphy, with his inseparable beanie, malicious eyes, pornographic cards and foul-mouthed (body) language, is not just the hero of the film, he's also a tragic icon of New Hollywood, a wave that provided one of the greatest films of history. Almost a Christ-figure, this is a man who will sacrifice many opportunities to be free, in order to free other inmates from an unfair perception. From the dictatorship of a society that treats them as outcasts, as people who deserve to be domesticated, to repress their nature, if they want to become or to be considered as normal. This is the ultimate freedom, the one of the spirit, almost Nietschian: to accept yourself instead of trying to be accepted by society, and screw society if she labels you as crazy. It's your freedom of thought and any form of thought is subversive. This defiance is taught by McMurphy as soon as he enters the lives of this world made of weird faces, funny attitudes, and unpredictable reactions, after discovering the masquerade. They are this way, because they're asked to follow some rules whose only purpose is to give a pseudo meaning to their lives, because life is supposed to be guided, to be punctuated with rituals and cycles, it's the lobotomizing effect of routine: medication time, music, exercises, the so-called therapy where they have to share their problems, highlighting the true sadistic behavior of the Nurse. They don't even realize how alienated they are, and how this monotony will never solve anything but just keep them away from the rest of the world, maintaining a normality in microcosm.

McMurphy breaks this routine, making Nurse Ratched his enemy. His free-spiritedness grows on the inmates who start talking, raising their hands, challenging the power: the ultimate rebellious attitude. And another strength of the film is the ambiguity of McMurphy's character who might as well be perceived as a rebel who just want to make a mess, while Ratched is the one who tries to maintain some order. Those who label Ratched as fascist will probably face the pro-Ratched who'll consider McMurphy as an anarchist. But this is an intellectual debate while the movie deserves to be taken on a more emotional level to understand how Ratched is the true villain of the film. Her irresponsible sadistic behavior will provoke one of the saddest cinematic death, not because she deliberately wanted to kill but she was so coldly heartless, she didn't find another way to assess her power. She obviously regretted the act when it was too late, but she pushed the level of respect and obedience to the extreme, twisting the concept of order into dictatorship.

"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is not about who's crazy or who's not, after all, before the fishing scene, didn't the inmates ironically look like doctors, especially the famous Dr. Scanlon? It's about resurrection of repressed personalities, through playing poker, basket-ball, fishing, drinking, having fun, becoming ourselves, by refusing to be passive and to be the actors of our own lives. The film is driven by a wonderful supporting cast, probably the most memorable non big-star supporting cast where each character is authentic in his own way, Cheswick, Sefelt, Scanlon, Harding and the tender, fragile and suicidal, Billy Bibbit … and of course, the Chief, who like us, is the witness of this dramedy. The Chief, whose growing friendship with McMurphy will lead to one of the most heartbreaking and noblest gestures, the most inspiring movie ending, sublimated by the scream of Christopher Lloyd as Taber.

A sad ending foreseen by McMurphy in this unforgettable long close-up during the party scene, McMurphy probably figuring that this will end badly, that there's something so rotten in this world, it's better to enjoy the present without caring about tomorrow, the meaning of this close-up remains a mystery, even if the next scene brings some answer. But men like McMurphy are indispensable to prevent order from becoming an alienating force. And instead of being lobotomized by the obsessional psychological tyranny of being normal, anyone should be able to flee over his own cuckoo's nest.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

It's a Comedy in the Truest Sense: It's a Tragedy, Too.

Author: jzappa from Cincinnati, OH, United States
7 February 2011

Whether it's better or not, the persistent battle in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and whom it's between serves as a secluded epitome of the culture hostilities of the 1970s more creatively, engagingly and powerfully than Joe, Midnight Cowboy or Five Easy Pieces before it, matched perhaps only in that regard by They Shoot Horses, Don't They? The big difference is that Cuckoo's Nest is hilarious, and a comedy in the truest sense: It's also a tragedy. There's a quietly unmitigated close-up of Nicholson a little more than halfway through. We become aware of it because it hangs on warily. It shows R.P. McMurphy pensive. It comes at the match point flanked by the mirth and mischief of the previous portion of the film, and the closing deterioration into misfortune. What is he feeling? Is he plotting more insubordination? Grasp that all is hopeless? The vagueness of what McMurphy is thinking is the film's driving ambiguity. It all leads up to a late scene where he's found asleep on the floor next to an open window. Has his soul finally expired? Subdued for the post-classical '70s into a fable about society's imposition of conformism, it almost knowingly disregards the truths of mental illness so as to turn the patients into a set of snuggly characters ready for McMurphy's egging on. We learn that one is not actually mute, one doesn't have to stammer, and others need not be debilitated by introversion or dread. They'll be healed not by Nurse Ratched's medication, Muzak and counseling sessions, but by McMurphy invigorating them to be guys, to watch the World Series, go fishing, play basketball, get smashed, get laid. The memo for these miserable patients is: Be like him.

The movie's naive attitude toward psychosis is not actually a weakness of the movie, as it has no concern with being about that. It's about a freethinker in a lockstep system. Nurse Ratched, who is so uncompromising, so insipidly certain she's right, characterizes the American "cult of motherhood" at its militant maximum, and McMurphy is the local color who wants to escape from her form of society. The movie is among other things deeply afraid of women. The only two depicted optimistically are McMurphy's hooker acquaintances Candy and Rose. I mean this as an comment, not a censure.

McMurphy's backstory is inferred early on. He was sentenced to a prison farm for doing the deed with an underage girl, and has been sent to the mental institution for "evaluation." He's observably a rabble-rouser, and yet acutely egalitarian: He takes the patients head-on, treats their disorders as choices that can be reordered, and attempts by pure power of determination to break them free into a nibble of independence. The movie views them that way, too. The cinematography and editing provide reaction shots that nearly always have the same implication: A given patient's rigid expression is misconstrued thanks to the new perspective given by McMurphy. For instance, McMurphy has stolen the boat and has the group aboard. When he's interrogated, he introduces them all as doctors, and there are quick cuts to close-ups of each one looking vaguely formal like clockwork. This has nothing to do with mental illness but everything to do with slapstick.

Nicholson's performance is one of the acmes in a lengthy career of enviable anarchists. Jack is a much-loved American presence. And if his performance is rightly praised, Louise Fletcher's, notwithstanding the Oscar, is not valued enough. This may be since her Nurse Ratched is so meticulously loathsome, and since she exemplifies so utterly the traits we all have been trained to fear in a particular variety of female authority, a woman who has fused sexuality and sympathy into responsibility and rectitude. Dressed in her distantly militaristic nurse's uniform, she is at once bondage mistress and dungeon master, followed everywhere by the petite, non-speaking nurse who is her altar assistant.

Since we react so ardently to her we barely see Fletcher's performance. Her uncanny composure, her pokerfaced "fairness," her obstinate observance of policy, as in the scene where she orders McMurphy to get a majority vote in order to watch the World Series on TV, regardless that a majority of the patients don't comprehend what they're voting on. Later, when McMurphy's ultimate fortune is settled on, note how the male overseer hesitantly proposes he be returned to the prison farm, though Ratched resolutely gainsays him.

This great human comedy stays everlastingly well-liked as a subversive fable, but realizes its triumph by thoughtfully electing to utilize the mental patients as droll exaggerations. This initiates the fishing excursion, which is simultaneously the most enjoyed, and the most deceptive, scene in the movie. It's McMurphy's noble-cheerful flip of the bird at Ratched and her breed, but the oomph of the sequence can't camouflage the anxiety and bewilderment of men who, in several instances, don't know where they are, or why. Bear in mind by contrast the understated, late-night monologue by the Chief, who talks about his father. This is a window into a genuine character with genuine and fascinating issues, and leads up to the bittersweet release of the very final scenes.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Powerful, poetic and plausible! "Wow" at the performances and "Whoah" at the message

Author: david-2829 from United States
2 February 2011

Finally watched this movie 36 years after its theatrical release. Definitely a special combo of brilliant acting, anti-establishment vigor and messages of living life and standing up to oppression.

I don't see this as a movie about mental health so much as the human spirit. Nurse Ratched is the epitome of freakish control, obeying rules no matter how inappropriate and showing an inability to see things from other people's perspectives. She truly is a scary villain... which makes McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) such a great hero.

Yes, McMurphy has problems and a criminal past, but we cheer for his spirit to break free from the frightening halls of Nurse Ratched's mental ward. That's why we forgive his breaking rules, and boisterous persona... because it's hard to sit back and watch the human spirit trampled so thoroughly as it is inside that mental hospital.

I really liked the movie, but it seems ranked a little too highly overall. Ranked #9 of all times at IMDb at the time of this writing... it just seems a tad over promoted. Perhaps nostalgia helps, of which I have none built up yet. It may also be that repeat viewings improve upon the feelings explored. But no doubt it's place on the MUST WATCH list is well warranted.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

FANTASTIC, OUTSTANDING,BRILLIANT!No words can describe this masterpiece

Author: Robbie Barlow (wwwrobbieb) from United Kingdom
23 December 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one them films that even without a repeated viewing is still a masterpiece.First off Jack Nicholson is just absolutely superb at the main character. He is just amazing when it comes to playing insane and mentally cryptic characters (refer to Tim Burtons Batman and The Shining) The basic plot is that Randall.P.McMurphy is sent to a mental institution after several charges from the police. He doesn't want to work at all and he is just lazy so he decides to fake being mentally ill so he can get out of work.

But when Randall meets the inmates he immediately connects with them despite the fact that he isn't even mentally ill. Because of him they all form a union inside the asylum against the horrible evil witch called Miss Ratchet. Miss Ratchet is played by Louise Fletcher who is brilliant and evil as she has a simple dry nature.All of the actors that play the inmates are amazing; Its like watching real people behave in a asylum. Not to mention the inmates kind of represent a society and the nurses and doctors are representing the authority of this society.

They all do some crazy things together like going fishing. Randall befriends Chief who is deaf and dumb but Randall teaches him many things like shooting hoops in basketball.

This film is amazing and has the one of the most perfect endings in the history of drama films.


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