One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Upon a recommendation from my wife, who praised this film, we finally watched the Oscar winner One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. As someone who likes to watch Best Pictures, I kept putting this one off for so long. I didn’t have a reason why I did, I just wasn’t sure this movie would be enjoyable. I was wrong. 

First, I will admit how awkward it was to watch other famous actors like Danny DeVito (fifth), Christopher Llyod (first), and Brad Dourif (first) in some of their first acting roles. Known to me for so many iconic characters, I came to appreciate their performances as they began their Holly careers.

Of course, I can throw all those names out there, but the real star of the show was R.P. McMurphy, played by Jack Nicholson. Despite what flaws he had, McMurphy had all the tools to be one of the brightest people. Whether or not he lacked the desire to be that guy is really the question behind his character. Well connected and a blatant disregard for rules, McMurphy is the life of the party, really any party. It would be rude to call him crazy because he doesn’t seem like it. He’s just the fire you can never put out. His character may meet an unfortunate demise at the end, but his fiery spirit was passed on to other “friends,” including Chief (Will Sampson). 

So far, I’ve discussed how One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Writing, and Best Actor. I have yet to mention another award, Best Actress, which went to Louise Fletcher, who played Nurse Ratched. I don’t know what her competition was back in 1975, but I didn’t see why she won the award. Maybe I do not see the big picture here, or I missed the point entirely, I just didn’t like her character. It could have been her emotionless expressions or the way she conducted business, I couldn’t get behind her performance. I was more interested in the boys and their antics than her iron fist rule. 

Now that I have seen One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, I can say I’ve seen a true Hollywood classic. This film is enshrined in the Library of Congress for preservation, so it can be studied for years to come. I get that some people won’t watch it, but those are the ones missing out. 8/10


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