Five Ways One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest Drives You Wild



  • The movie has a cast of spectacular actors, and the fact that most of them were obscure character actors at that time, who excelled in the role of the mentally challenged in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, makes the movie extremely impactful.


  • Jack Nicholson playing the pivotal role of Randle McMurphy. His demeanors of defiance, belligerence and sympathy for the asylum inmates, brings a semblance of sanity and balance to the movie. Nicholson stands as a beacon of hope among the lunatic corridors of the asylum, bringing a smile to the inmates saddled withdefault thousands of mental blocks. Its the final scene in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest where the institution finally forces him to lose his sanity which stands out as the the most poignant. Without Jack Nicholson’s presence, if we imagine, the movie would have been a disturbing drama which no one would want to revisit. Nicholson magic lights up the movie, his wit and grit challenges authority, most starkly, Nurse Ratched; McMurphy shakes, rattles and hums all the inmates and kindles their self-confidence, to let their courage transform them, and not rely on the staid, inhumane and utterly faulty control system to cure them.


  • The realism of the asylum incorporated by director Milos Forman. The film was actually shot at Oregon State Hospital in Salem, and interestingly, several of the inmates in the movie were actually not actors. The horrific ambiance in the corridors, the dormitory and the halls reverberated throughout the movie, with actors such as Danny Devito, Sydney Lassick, Will Samson and Brad Dourif (winning an academy award for his portrayal as a stammering and diffident youth) seamlessly blending in with their characters. The counseling sessions with Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher picking up an Academy award) was especially tense and humorous at the same time. The din going on behind them in the hall and McMurphy attempting to thaw the cold vibes with his occasional comments, was a treat to watch.

    • The script, namely the screenplay by Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman. Equally laudable was the original novel written by Ken Kesey (he actually didn’t approve the screenplay, and never watched the film). The story was truly inspirational and amazing, the 5 Academy Awards in all the 5 major categories bears testament to the riveting storyline which was uniquely told.


    • The crystally clear yet subtle manner in which the film attacked the establishment and its practices meted out to people who are mentally challenged. Period.

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