Directed By: Milos Forman
Written By: Lawrence Hauban and Bo Goldman
Staring: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Brad Dourif, Christopher Lloyd, Danny DeVito, Will Sampson, William Redfield, and Dean R. Brooks
I’m not saying they killed him. They just worked on him. The way they’re working on you. -Chief
Without Question, One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest is one of the greatest American Film creations of all time. In one of Nicholson’s most notorious performances as the the wild rebel, he and the ensemble make movie magic in this melancholy tale about freedom, loss, and hope. Nicholson the freedom, Dourif the loss, and Will Sampson the hope. Director Milos Forman claims this tale has many political connotations, and the likeness between the institution and soviet Russia at the time cannot be denied.
When McMurphy is on camera there is nothing in the universe that will divert your attention elsewhere. His brash and wild personality is bright colored paint on a plain wall. There is no rhyme or reason to his outrageous behavior, but when he walks in it’s clear nobody has riled up the institution quite like him before. Nicholson is a colorful actor and had distinguished himself prior to this, but he won an Academy Award for this performance and rightfully so. Today it remains one of the best male performances of all time.
Like McMurphy, the character’s surrounding him are suddenly enigmatic and entrancing played by great actors beginning their careers. The domineering and sadistic Nurse Ratched is the spoiler of all good, and represents all evil. Louise Fletcher picked up this role after actresses like Angela Landsbury, Ellen Burnstyn, and Anne Bancroft turned it down. It was her first film role and she was born to play it. The cold and heartless Nurse Ratched will forever be imprinted on all those who have seen this film.
One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest is a powerful film that has the ability to touch on serious political innuendo, but also emote a very personal tone that anybody can connect with. It’s story is amazing, and it’s character’s incredibly profound. It will make you laugh and cry. It is truly one of the greatest movies ever.