One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher; Director: Milos Forman a jpoc movie review

A great film and Nicholson's finest hour.

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My Rating

Nine out of ten.

Nicholson is perfect and this is a great film.

My review

One day, Randall Patrick McMurphy (Nicholson) has a great idea. His prison sentence has a couple of months left to run and he gets himself assigned to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation. It means no more work detail in prison and he sees it as an amusing break.

In the hospital he runs up against his ward's boss, nurse Mildred Ratched (Fletcher). She appears nice but dominates, bullies and humiliates the men and sadistically crushes any initiative. When the doctors feel that McMurphy is swinging the lead and should be passed back to the prison service, Ratched views him as unfinished business and angles to keep him in the hospital.

For McMurphy, his holiday in the hospital seems to be going well. Despite occasional frustrations and disciplinary issues, he is enjoying himself and, from the viewer's perspective, he appears to be making a difference to the lives of some of the other patients. Nurse Ratched does not view this difference as a benefit.

Finally, McMurphy's "holiday" is interrupted when he learns that there is a big difference between the hospital and prison. He can on longer expect automatic release when his sentence is up. Far from it, he discovers that he faces a much longer stay than he expected.

Jack Nicholson is absolutely brilliant in this film. His portrayal of McMurphy is the best piece of acting that I have ever seen. The viewer is totally immersed in this character and it makes the hospital environment completely convincing. The rest of the cast do a fine job as assorted other patients. Playing a mentally ill character is never easy but they are convincing as they swing from being a collection of disturbed individuals to a bunch of guys under the influence of McMurphy.