One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Next (1975)
Director: Milos Forman
The movie takes place in an Oregon city in 1963. Randle Patrick McMurphy (Jack Nicholson), is a repeat criminal and ex-military man who decides to convince his guards during his latest incarceration that he is insane so that he can get out of hard prison duty.
Once at the asylum for the insane he instantly takes to several of the other patients, unfortunately he also meets Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher). It becomes clear to McMurphy that many of the patients might actually have improved during their time there if it weren’t for Nurse Ratched and her evil ways and overpowering hold over them.
He becomes especially close to two of the other patients, Bill Bibbit (Brad Dourif) and Chief Bromden (Will Sampson). He wants to show these two and all the other “guys” that they can have fun consequently many entertaining events occur. McMurphy takes the gang on an illicit boat ride so they can go fishing; he challenges the orderlies to a basketball game, etc. He is continually toying with Nurse Ratched and her vicious head games against the inmates. She begins to see that they are responding to McMurphy’s influence and starts to go seemingly insane herself.
Nurse Ratched does eventually continue to get the upper hand and several sad and tragic events unfold while McMurphy attempts to make a difference for his “gang”.
I hadn’t seen the movie before but had read the book several times. I thought Jack Nicholson’s character was portrayed well and really pulled me in as did many of the actors that played part of the motley crew in the asylum. I wasn’t as impressed by the portrayal of Nurse Ratched’s character. In the book she is just much more evil and the end result for McMurphy seems so much more tragic in the book than in the movie.
Anyone that has heard the term “Nurse Ratched” and not known where it came from should see the movie or read the book. Fans of Jack Nichsolson would enjoy seeing one of his earlier films.