In 1962, a novel called, “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” open in book stores nationwide. The novel is about a convicted felon named, Randall McMurphy is transferred to a mental institution, pretending to be insane, in order to avoid a harsh prison sentence. Once he’s in, he befriends a few patients as he teaches them to stand up for themselves over a cold hearted nurse named, Ratched. The book earned positive reactions from critics and readers alike. A play based on the book was later adapted in 1963 with the late Kirk Douglas portraying McMurphy. Twelve Years Later, Kirk’s real life son, Michael produced the a movie based on both the book and play with Jack Nicholson headlining the movie as McMurphy.
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest was released in 1975. (the exact same year Jaws came out) It received critical acclaim from critics and movie goers alike. The film went on to win several awards at “The Golden Globes” & “The Academy Awards” including “Best Actor” (Jack Nicholson) “Best Actress,” (Louise Fletcher) “Best Director” (Miloš Forman) & “Best Picture.” “American Film Institute” (AFI for short) ranked One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest as the 20th best movie. AFI revised it for their 2007 updated list as 33rd best movie.
A prequel series titled, “Ratched” is currently streaming on Netflix. In response to Sarah Paulson (one of my favorite actresses) portraying Ratched before the film took place, I’d like to share what’s good or bad about One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.
Today’s review doesn’t contain no SPOILERS. I’m giving a lot of folks out there a chance to see it. Feel free to check out my non-spoiler article.
Stable & Unstable Elements
Stable: Jack Nicholson did an excellent for his performance as Randall McMurphy.
Louise Fletcher also did an excellent job for her villainous performance as Nurse Ratched.
Other Cast Members including then unknowns Christopher Lloyd, (his first acting role) Danny DeVito, Vincent Schiavelli (the get off my train guy from Ghost) & Brad Dourif all did a amazing job for their respective performances. Each one playing a selective patient has a personality, making their chemistry with McMurphy feel unique.
Scatman Crotchers (voice of Jazz from the original Transformers cartoon) has a role as an orderly. He & Jack later starred in Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.”
Fun Fact: Celebrities including Barack Obama, Robert Pattinson, Ethan Hawke & James Rolfe/Angry Video Game Nerd mentioned One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest as one of their favorite movies of all time.
Michael Douglas produced the film.
The late Miloš Forman (Man On The Moon, Amadeus, The People VS. Larry Flynt) did a great job directing the film.
Character Development involving McMurphy. As the film progresses, he develops a soft spot towards the patients.
Cinematography felt stable without undergoing a bad case of Shaky Cam.
The film is set in 1963. The exact same year the book was adapted into a play.
The First Two Acts of the story at first seems to fit as a comedy-drama. Until The Third Act kicks in, it becomes a tragedy. An appropriate balance between comedy & tragedy.
Without giving too much away, the ending is somewhat bittersweet. Can’t tell you why, you’re gonna have to watch for yourself.
Unstable: I couldn’t find no problems with this movie. I’m giving The Cast & Crew an Extra Point for making a flawless film as possible.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
One Flew Over The Cukoo’s Nest is arguably labeled as one of the best movies of all time. Performances, direction, character development, narrative, tone and character motivation all stand out as the main highlights on why this movie is worth your spare time. If you’re eager to watch Sarah Paulson’s new series as Ratched on Netlix, I strongly recommend the movie first, then the series. That’ll keep you busy.