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Lunch » Tags » Movies » Reviews » One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (movie) » User review

Worthy of its rating

  • Nov 9, 2007
  • by
Rating:
+5
This has been buzzing around my ears among my friends and without a doubt; it is one of the best films of all time. Mixing mental health with humor is a tough brand to sell; come to fine out it took several years for this movie to be made. Kirk Douglas had bought the rights hoping to star in it himself, but struggled to find a studio who would produce it; his son Michael eventually did it, but had the foresight to stay off the screen. When you watch it, it's not hard to work out why no-one would touch it - it's subject matter was just too quirky and controversial for Hollywood in the 60s. The film was ideal for representing a burgeoning discontent with society during the post-Vietnam malaise; its audience, like its characters, was feeling enormous dissatisfaction with rules, authority, government and the stupefying way it was treating its people. No wonder that it struck such a chord with cinema-goers.

Many liberties that we take for granted are explored within the narrative of the film: communication (in therapy sessions, where the nurse leads the discussion) freedom (during the 'escape') alcohol (during the party) sex (Billy's turn with the hooker McMurphy imports). The reactions of Nurse Ratched and the orderlies symbolize the reactions of authority when we digress from its designated path; the response of the inmates is to return to the routines and drudgery they entail. The analogy with the restrictive nature of society is glaring.

Enter Randle McMurphy, no respecter of rules or routines, a man who is riotous but also unselfish. Brilliantly played by Jack Nicholson (a masterly piece of casting) McMurphy challenges the established norms and routines of the hospital in pursuit of fun, which irks and then aggravates Nurse Ratched. The positive impact on the other patients is clear and noticeable; it suggests that there is value in breaking away from social expectations, in being spontaneous, in occasionally pursuing personal pleasure or individual goals beyond those authority grants to you. The conclusion suggests that those in authority will do anything to silence those who challenge the social order, but that freedom *is* ultimately accessible, whether by death (McMurphy) or escape (Chief Bromden).

Social analysis aside, the movie is great fun: there are a lot of laughs, a lot of thought-provoking moments, and a few tears. It's certainly one of the finest moments in cinematic history - it came at a time when it was drastically needed by the viewing public, but its content and themes are no less relevant and interesting to us today.

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review by . May 15, 2009
This is, without doubt, one of the greatest movies ever produced. Milos Forman won best director for his magnificent work on the adaptation of Ken Kesey's novel by the same name. But this movie is so much more than that. The acting was flawless - considering the roles, that is not an easy feat. In the beginning we meet Randle P. McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) who was sentenced to prison for inappropriate relations with a fourteen year old, finds his way onto a work release program. He finds himself an …
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Milos Foreman's ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, based on the novel by Ken Kesey and the play by Dale Wasserman, presents a biting and ultimately tragic satire about mental institutions and the human spirit. A disturbing, witty, and electrifying drama, the film won the 1975 Academy Award for Best Picture. R.P. McMurphy (Jack Nicholson), a misbehaved con who shirks authority, finds himself in an asylum after faking insanity to get out of work detail in prison. The vivacious troublemaker soon finds himself in a worse kind of prison--one presided over by the repressed, terrifyingly quiet Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher), whose set of rules and regulations are meant to suppress patients' psychotic outbursts, and their spirits. It's not long before McMurphy is reaching out to his new inmates, trying desperately to bring life to an otherwise dead atmosphere. To Ratched, however, Nicholson's free spirit is as dangerous as a schizophrenic impulse. ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST is brilliantly acted by an ensembl...
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