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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie is one of the most remarkable movies to ever be made.
Spectacular performances by Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Danny
DeVito, and basically just every single person in the cast. This was
probably the greatest cast for a movie ever assembled in terms of work
the actors needed to perform in order to make the movie truly
believable. The difficulty of creating such a variant cast gave the
movie its perfection.
The last ten minutes of the film were true triumph. I won't go so far to say that it was the best ending of all time but it sure did have a very nice finishing touch. The movie assembled a good view of the 1950s medical scene with a twist of character and plot to give it Hollywood appeal.
Lobotomy was a very serious procedure which had became barbaric later after the introduction of Thorazine in the late 50s. The procedure itself had attained a poor reputation and eventually had ceased by the early 70s basically during the same time as the release of this movie in 1975. This movie didn't necessarily push the abandoning of the procedure but rather sported as a great piece of cinema and history of the medical society.
Enough of the history facts though, I must get back to saying how spectacular the acting was. Jack Nicholsons best performance ever to say the least puts the butter back in the popcorn only to shine strong with the power the film has conveyed. Not only was it Jack Nicholsons best it was also Milos Forman best directorial performance who's known for other well known movies like Man on the Moon, Amadeus, The People vs Larry Flynt.
In end this film has become the chief in our little tribe of a landmark films and nothing more can be said other then it was a unforgettable classic.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I will not hesitate in saying that "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is
one of the most powerful and emotionally provoking movies in existence.
It is something that truly cannot be ignored. While I will am sure that
I have not even come close to seeing all of the great movies in
existence, as of right now "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is indeed
one of the most entertaining, moving, and brilliant movies that I have
In the beginning of this movie we are given an outside view of the mental hospital that will serve as the main setting of the movie. After the introductory credits we are give a look inside the hospital, and we are then introduced to a whole new community, the patients in the ward. Soon after we are given an introduction to the character that will truly start off the entire movie, Randall Patrick McMurphy.
Jack Nicholsons performance as McMurphy is without a doubt not only one of Nicholsons greatest performances, but one of the greatest performances of all time. McMurphy is a fairly sane criminal in the movie who is jailed for charges of assault and statutory rape. Pleading insanity, McMurphy hopes to serve out his jail sentence with comfort inside of a mental ward. What Nicholson brings to McMurphy is the ultimate anti-authority character, with a sly pranksters sense and someone who will try to change the environment around him, probably by causing trouble. What is McMurphy trying to change and rebel against? It all lies within the mental hospital.
Inside the mental hospital resides a slew of mental patients, headed by the ever-controlling Nurse Ratched. Here lies even more great performances, particularly the one of Nurse Ratched, who is played by Louise Fletcher. She is a woman who enjoys being in control, mainly because she believes that what she does is what is best for her patients. Mentioning the patients, they are among the most memorable characters in cinema history. Whether it be the stuttering Billy Bibbit(portrayed by Brad Dourif) or the seemingly intelligent Harding (played by William Redfield), each of the patients that the movie focuses on are wonderfully crafted by the actors who portray them.
Among these patients McMurphy tries to stir a rebellion against the dominating Nurse Ratched, though that is where I will stop in my description of the movie. I will say, though, that this movie shows just how important acting is in the movie, and this movie features some of the best.
"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is one of the most compelling, shocking, and perhaps tragic movies that I have ever seen, and, to top it off, one of the greatest.
"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is about the triumph of the human
spirit, but it's depressing as hell.
Jack Nicholson gave the last of his great performances before he started playing parodies of himself, and Louise Fletcher plays one of the screen's greatest villains, the only role this forgotten actress was really ever known for. Their battle of wills in a mental institution symbolizes the battle of humanity against oppressive authoritarianism, and if Nicholson's character happens to lose this particular battle, the movie implies, humanity is determined to win the war.
Looked at now in historical context, this film was one of the last gasps of anti-establishment film making. Vietnam was ending, American political corruption was starting to fade into memory, and the boom years of the 1980s were not far away. "Cuckoo's Nest" stands as one of the supreme examples of what made 1970s film making great.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is not just a good film for fun and
entertainment; for people watching it for its funny script and great
Nicholson performance, but it's also a great film as it contains
numerous clever conventions and tricks that really help you zone in on
the situation and ultimately, put you there in the film with everyone
Although set in a mental institution, I never really got the feeling the bulk of these people were, indeed, 'crazy'. The group that we are presented with seemed fine, just a little socially inept perhaps apart from the character of Martini (De Vito) whom was a little odd. I first had this suspicion when I saw them all playing cards with one another to reasonable success although McMurphy's (Nicholson) expertise in card playing later on only emphasises the incorrectness from earlier on. Martini's so pleased to be finally playing cards correctly that he just keeps exclaiming: hit me, hit me, hit me. This idea of having a comic and often dramatic film set inside one of these places makes for pure gold.
This brings me onto the character of McMurphy. Obviously the audience watching this film aren't as crazy and (hopefully) aren't as socially inept as the characters we focus on in this film so that means we're going to relate to him the most as he's the most like us although some may swerve more to Billy (Dourif). Although brilliantly acted by Nicholson, he is further emphasised through the fact he's not wearing plain white like the rest of the inmates, meaning he stands out. McMurphy's reactions to what was going on, especially during the group therapy sessions, also stood out as they were pretty much my reactions also! I was smirking and looking confused at what was happening; McMurphy even gets restless with these people, something we all would feel after a while in that situation.
Also, watching McMurphy's relationship and friendship build up with the character of the Chief (Sampson) is just as fun as it is fascinating. There's this huge, native American who's supposedly dumb and deaf yet McMurphy gives him all the time in the world to try and develop him. The basketball game scene is particularly memorable in its hilarity and the way in which it shows Chief engaging and succeeding in what it is he's been told to do. Remember: we think he's dumb and deaf.
Another piece of clever film-making is the Chief himself. In a way, I think the Chief is perhaps supposed to represent the audience in the sense that if the audience was a character, they'd be the Chief. He doesn't talk or do much (similar to what an audience does when they watch a film), he helps McMurphy out when he gets involved in a fight with a guard (Whilst I was watching, was praying someone intervened and it just happened to be Chief) and we even see things from his point of view (the only time it happens in the film) as McMurphy winks at him to show he's OK. So this is very much putting the audience in the film as one of the characters; of course this is played with later on when certain things are revealed and regarding whether or not people escape: I find it very symbolic who does and who doesn't.
In conclusion, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is just one of those films that is funny, engaging, entertaining and is actually a very smart film considering what I think it does regarding all the characters and everything. This twinned with the character of Nurse Ratched (Fletcher) who I stress isn't so much as evil as she is doing her job, still looms every now and again threatening privileges. I am not surprised this film won so many Oscar's as it would still do today a great and very memorable film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Nichilson gives it his all, in this hard hitting, gripping emotional
drama set within a mental institute. Winner of 5 academy awards- Best
actor in a leading role, Best actress in a leading role, Best Director,
Best picture and Best screenplay. And this has only ever been achieved
twice. The other being The Silence Of The Lambs in 1991. After reading
some reviews on the internet about this much acclaimed film, i sat down
with my three brothers and watched one of the greatest films in living
film memory. After watching the film i couldn't believe how great and
sad it was, funny and compelling in all ways. And i could definitely
understand why people cried, because it is emotional. The characters
who do have mental disabilities all make you understand how hard and
frustrating it is.
The end was very very sad and hard hitting. Milos Forman has done an exceptional job in creating the atmosphere and situations the people in the film face.
To summarise my view, One flew over the Cuckoos nest is stupendous and brilliant, cunning and sad, funny and clever. This can't be mist by anyone.
This film was a total surprise for me as I became more reserved with
much applauded older movies (like Citizen Kane and Zorba the Greek)
which did not really live up to the expectation.
The acting of Jack N. is absolutely superb; the story unfolds slowly and builds up the necessary tension until the last minute. The continuous blending of the crazy and normal worlds is so well done that in the end I was no longer sure which was which. This is a serious drama but every now and then there are genuine hilarious moments, of which a few are simply brilliant.
It's a film worth re-watching periodically. For me it means an opportunity to reflect on our "normal" society/lives and fight prejudice of any kind.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There are a fair few people who commented on this film that don't
understand the ending. This is understandable, as when you watch the
film the only conclusion you can make is that the chief is putting
McMurphy out of his misery. This is not the intention I perceived the
book to mean, but this is a review of the film.
In all, this is a rather empty film. There isn't a lot of subtle change in the characters, which is a shame, as the more obvious changes leave the audience feeling confused (due to the lack of noticeable time lapse). This film also leaves questions unanswered, such as McMurphy's initial bet that he could break the big nurse within a week, and the doctor's love of fishing. There was also too much concentration on the board group, who really didn't do anything, and not enough development put into the Chief, the narrator of the whole story (originally).
The character of Billy was the only emotional input into the film and maybe Harding's anger. The directors choice of condensing the story so a number of major events happen at once was questionable, but it worked well overall.
My advice is not to judge the story based on the film. It really doesn't do the book justice and I recommend it to everyone.
One Flew Over the Cukoos Nest had a deep impact on me, especially the
ending which of course I will not reveal.
Randall Patrick McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) pretends to be crazy in order to get out of prison and work. He is sent to a mental institution instead, and this is where we meet the other patients in the ward. This movie had a lot of actors that would go onto long careers in film. Danny Devito, Christopher Lloyd, and Brad Dourif were all a part of this phenomenal movie, and they all gave incredible performances.
McMurphy soon becomes a hero of sorts for the patients and helps them to improve their psychological well being. Of course soft spoken Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher) doesn't like this as it starts to affect her domineering control over the patients. She is truly one of the most evil villains of all time and deserved her Oscar just as much as Nicholson deserved his.
This movie was well directed and well acted. I don't think any other movie actors could've made it even half as good. The movie's pacing was excellent, and it also contained some funny moments, but the one thing I didn't like about the movie was that it was one sided towards the patients. With the exception of Scatman Crothers as the night orderly, all the workers, doctors, and nurses seemed inhuman and hateful in this film. We never got any other sort of view of them. Maybe that was the point of the movie, but it still left me a little uncomfortable. After seeing this movie, I don't think I would ever want to be committed to a mental institution ever. So I'll give it a solid 9 out of 10.
Excellent film in all aspects. as a viewer, i felt that i was a patient myself. it was interesting to see how the patients became all self conscious about who they were.jack being able to persuade them to change their routine schedule was proof that not all patients need the sort of therapy mental institutes provide.If not in some cases mental institutes help patients worsen their condition due to over medication and irrelevant conversations initiated by the nurses. it was interesting to see for every opportunity the patients had to escape, something always retained them to stay. for most of them, the institute was their home. they would not be able to function in society and may face rejection by others due to their stigmas. their fear of rejection is what kept them isolated in the hospital, not the barbed fence and secured windows. their only family was the ones inside the institute. Jack brought awareness to each individual in the hospital and made them realize they had a voice. when he died, a part of them died with him!the native Chief represents an important factor in this film. natives are the most discriminated people of our history.we see that he to is afraid to escape into the real world because of the racism. when he observes what is done to Jack in the end of the film, he knows he is better off out in the real world. He takes the risk so he can go to Canada where most of the reserves for natives are held. there he will be accepted. Billy killing himself expresses how the doctors and nurses had power to fear and control the patients using their weaknesses in character and personality. it is a sort of brainwash and manipulation tactic hospitals use to overpower their patients. taking away their freedom of speech, will to live is was really makes the patients ill. taking away their self- consciousness and alienating them of their existence. one normal man awakens the ones who are asleep and shows them they have freedom of speech and a chance for change. when his actions begin to work, the doctors fear him, so they shock him until he is a vegetable.this is a great metaphor on how the government has control over the citizens using tactics to manipulate us. making us believe everything we see even if it is not the truth. we as humans live in high secure society, but don't realize it.more and more are political systems are taking control of our freedom to live in order to have complete control our way of thinking and living. this resembles the metaphor behind this film. a good example is president Jfk who was assassinated because he wanted change and good for the society. Same with jack, he is assassinated from his essence as a great human being,to be left with no more identity and self awareness of himself.it easier for the government to stuff patients with pills so they don't interfere with the ideal society they are trying to construct with perfect flawless people.this film expresses how sometimes for some people, illness is socially constructed and not biological related. pressures from the ideal society is what makes them sick. two thumbs up for the written script and performances in this epic film!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is the essential landmark triumph of
all cinema. It is the standard by which other movies are judged.
Nothing will ever surpass this film for its acting, directing, plot
development, and the best landmark scenes in any film, period! My own
family when acting dysfunctional often quotes scenes and phrases from
this film!!!! Who doesn't know this story? Randle P. MacMurphy fakes
mental illness to get out of a work farm jail sentence for statutory
rape. He is sent to an asylum for a psychiatric evaluation. Being the
fun rebel that he is, he sets out to challenge the hospital's
no-nonsense rules and regulations overseen by the cold-hearted,
controlling head nurse Mildred Ratched. (Or "Nurse Rat-Sh*t" as I like
to call her!) Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher deliver some of the
greatest lines and scenes in movie history. MacMurphy inspires the
other patients to instill confidence in themselves, and to rebel
against Nurse Ratsh*t so that they can try to get some of their
freedoms and dignity back. But she continues to demand that her
authority and rules are never to be questioned, constantly belittling
her patients with negativity by making them feel uncomfortable in HER
MacMurphy leads a revolt against the system in several brilliant scenes. The gem is trying to persuade Nurse Ratsh*t to allow the schedule to be changed so that the patients can watch the World Series! (Hysterical comedy here, as well as throughout the movie.) But some scenes are painful to watch, such as a patient's suicide and Nurse Ratsh*t's vindictive cold remarks that the patients should just ignore it as if nothing happened and "go on with the day." This callus comment prompts MacMurphy to attack Nurse Ratsh*t in a scene that will leave you cheering! But as punishment, MacMurphy gets lobotomized in a heartbreaking conclusion that you will remember for the rest of your life.
This movie was filmed at a real psychiatric hospital in Oregon. Most of the extras were authentic mental patients. The actor who played the Admissions Doctor, Dr. John Spivey was a real doctor, and head director at the hospital where the movie was filmed. Several of the admissions interview lines with Nicholson were improvised.
This is the movie experience of a lifetime! Probably several lifetimes!
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