Director: Milos Forman
Writers: Lawrence Hauben (screenplay), Bo Goldman (screenplay), Ken Kesey (novel)
Starts: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, William Redfield
IMDB Rank: 15
I cannot overrate this movie. I watched it last night so I’m writing this review with it still fresh in mind. I had high expectations knowing all the rewards that rained down on it, but the film and Jack Nicholson’s performance in particular still managed to surprise me.
R.P. McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) is transferred to a mental institution for evaluation after given a short sentence on a prison farm for statutory rape charges. He tries to make the most of his suspected short stay in the hospital and challenges the head nurse (Louise Fletcher) at every chance he gets.
Anthony Hopkins has done a great intelligent psychopath, but no one does crazy better than Nicholson. I loved his performance in “The Shining” and am ashamed to say I have yet to see “As Good as it Gets” (one of three movies he won best actor Oscars for). He delivered an average performance in “The Departed” and isn’t getting any younger, but I do hope he gives us at least one more role that comes close to the show he put on in Cuckoo’s Nest. Watching his interaction with the other patients made me believe on some occasions I was seeing a comedy, but the movie quickly reminds us it can be just as depressing as it is funny.
It’s hard to find fault with “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. Louise Fletcher did a great job as the leading actress and strong performances by all the supporting characters made the movie brilliant. Good screenplay, good directing and the music by Jack Nitzsche played nicely with the film.
I’ve seen some hate about the ending, but in my opinion it couldn’t have been better. McMurthy could have jump out of the window when he had the chance and I think most of us were rooting for him to do so, but what he does next shows the strong bond formed with his odd friends inside the hospital.
The movie left me emotionally blank for a while and then I just felt sad. I’m not going to drop any major spoilers on this site as I know some of you still haven’t seen it, but it’s one of the few movies that have truly left me staring at the end credits in awe.
It ranks as one of the best in my book alongside “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Pulp Fiction”. See this movie with the highest expectations and chances are it will surpass them! (10/10)