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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Jack Nicholson
Danny DeVito
Brad Dourif
Louise Fletcher
William Redfield
Will Sampson.
Directors
Milos Forman.
Screenwriters
Bo Goldman
Lawrence Hauben.
Running Time
133 minutes

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One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
Masterpiece from Milos Forman starring Jack Nicholson as Ken Kesey's mental patient with a healthy disrespect for authority.


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Plot
Ken Kesey's blistering attack on American society as viewed through an insane asylum where R.P. McMurphy (a career-best Jack Nicholson) is sent for "evaluation treatment".


Review
The first movie since Frank Capra's It Happened One Night to sweep the big five Oscars (director, screenplay, actor, actress, film), Cuckoo's Nest remains an unlikely and inspiring triumph.

The dream-like novel was considered unfilmable, the co-producer was a TV actor with a famous dad, the Czech director was still largely unknown outside Europe and every 'name' actress in Hollywood had turned down the role of callous Nurse Ratched. And yet, as soon as Jack Nicholson signed on the dotted line, everything fell into place.

He may be a huge, red-headed Irishman in Ken Kesey's book, but the live-wire misfit Randle P. McMurphy, who turns the mental institution upside down, was the role Jack Nicholson was born to play. With or without shock therapy, Nicholson is simply electrifying.

But this is far from a one-man show, and indeed, even the non-speaking parts make an indelible visual impression. As direct and simple as it is funny and moving, this is a masterpiece of dramatic naturalism.


Verdict
Oscars went to Nicholson, Louise Fletcher as castrating Nurse Ratched, producer Michael Douglas and Milos Forman's unblinking direction. Cuckoo spent 14 years in development limbo but remains the most radical film to emerge from mainstream Hollywood. Too many classic set pieces to mention but keep your ears cocked for that immortal line "Mmmm, Juicy Fruit." Certified brilliance.


Reviewed by Colin Kennedy

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
Empire Star Rating

Juicy Fruit

Appearing on pretty much every best-of list on IMDB and being constantly recommended by every television/ filmic media publication you'd care to mention, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest may occasionally divide opinion, but it is rare anyone contests its' brilliance. Jack Nicholson's performance is stellar, as is Louise Fletcher as the cold, calculating Nurse Ratched. Every line of dialogue is memorable, every shot feels classic, and upon any number of viewings of the film, the image of Nicholson... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 13:01, 28 June 2012 | Report This Post


One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest: Good But Not Great.

After watching the film for the first time I thought it was a good film but not a great film. Jack Nicholson was fantastic as usual and the adaptation was not far off. I think it was very lazy of the film makers to change what was a very interesting point of view in the book to the main characters point of view in the film as it showed no new creativity and no risk taking, don';t get me wrong I think it worked well but I think it could of worked better from the Chief's point of view. I love who... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by LUCASLITTLEWOOD at 13:18, 27 May 2010 | Report This Post


One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is not a movie, is an experience. And, believe me, you will not easily get this one out of your head.

Sordidly bitter and cruelly funny. The maniacally impressive performance by Nicholson (I think that this is Jack's best performance, by far) and the irritating and brutally great performance by Louise Fletcher (God bless her for this amazing piece of acting) are two of the best performances I've had the luck to see. This is one of those films that you can't forget days after seeing it. This is A Great Movie! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 04:32, 15 April 2010 | Report This Post


Masterpiece

Nicholson gives the greatest performance of his career in this masterpiece. Surely deserves an Empire essay! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by krisjcummins at 22:36, 13 April 2010 | Report This Post


A true classic.

One of the greatest films of our generation. Jack Nicholson's performance is phenomanal. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TylerDurden x at 22:41, 04 October 2009 | Report This Post


Life-affirming drama sees Nicholson in a performance that is nothing short of phenomonal ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by vermin101 at 06:01, 27 August 2009 | Report This Post


Life-affirming drama sees Nicholson in a performance that is nothing short of phenomonal ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by vermin101 at 06:01, 27 August 2009 | Report This Post


Forman's work of art...........Nicholson and Fletcher the artists

A remarkable masterpiece based on the inspiring novel by Ken Kesey. Everything about 'One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest' is done perfectly. A lot of thought has clearly been put into the script, the characters and the shooting of the film itself. Jack Nicholson is at his best in this film! And Fletcher does a truly outstanding Nurse Ratched, who you have to love to hate. The cast as a whole includes many familiar faces, all of which help to bring Ken Kesey's story to life. This film de... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by WhiteRabbit23 at 15:08, 10 August 2009 | Report This Post


TRIUMPHANT

THE BEST FILM OF THE 70S THAT DIDNT INVOLVE GANGSTERS. JACK NICHOLSON IS AT HIS MANIACAL BEST, LOUISE FLETCHER'S VILLAIN IS SO REALISTIC AND THE SUPPORT CAST IS GREAT. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by WiseGuy101 at 03:49, 05 February 2009 | Report This Post


TRIUMPHANT

THE BEST FILM OF THE 70S THAT DIDNT INVOLVE GANGSTERS. JACK NICHOLSON IS AT HIS MANIACAL BEST, LOUISE FLETCHER'S VILLAIN IS SO REALISTIC AND THE SUPPORT CAST IS GREAT. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by WiseGuy101 at 03:49, 05 February 2009 | Report This Post


Empire flew over the cuckoo's nest!

I Was Surprised At The Choice That Empire did Making It The 105 Greatest Film Ever. This Is One Of The Best Movies Ever And it Is Not Even In The Top 100 What A Load Of Rubbish ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ThePenquin85 at 23:07, 26 January 2009 | Report This Post


Empire flew over the cuckoo's nest!

I Was Surprised At The Choice That Empire did Making It The 105 Greatest Film Ever. This Is One Of The Best Movies Ever And it Is Not Even In The Top 100 What A Load Of Rubbish ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ThePenquin85 at 23:07, 26 January 2009 | Report This Post


100% CLASSIC

From the performances to the script to that classic scene where Nicholson strains his efforts to remove a supposedly unmovable sink, this is an unforgettable masterpiece. This certainly deserves its oscars, especially Louise Fletcher- name another actress who could make you hate a nurse so much (I don't mean to be sexist saying "actress") ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by !xHoTRoDx! at 17:16, 05 January 2009 | Report This Post


quite simply 1 of the best films ever ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobbyperu at 09:39, 23 October 2007 | Report This Post


quite simply 1 of the best films ever ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobbyperu at 09:39, 23 October 2007 | Report This Post


Extraordinary, just absolutely extraordinary ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by willchadwick at 19:49, 01 June 2007 | Report This Post


Extraordinary, just absolutely extraordinary ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by willchadwick at 19:49, 01 June 2007 | Report This Post


This is renowned as Jack Nicholson's film, however I think the support casting are the true stars shining here, DeVito as Martini and Christopher Lloyd as Taber particulalry stand out. In fact, I found it difficult to smypathise with Nicholson a lot of the times, due to the nature of his character. The script is great, if somewhat over-sentimental, but water-tight throughout. The scenes are kept neat and trim, no flabbyness can be found anywhere, despite the flick running over two hours which... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ukedge87 at 10:03, 15 March 2007 | Report This Post


This is renowned as Jack Nicholson's film, however I think the support casting are the true stars shining here, DeVito as Martini and Christopher Lloyd as Taber particulalry stand out. In fact, I found it difficult to smypathise with Nicholson a lot of the times, due to the nature of his character. The script is great, if somewhat over-sentimental, but water-tight throughout. The scenes are kept neat and trim, no flabbyness can be found anywhere, despite the flick running over two hours which... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ukedge87 at 10:03, 15 March 2007 | Report This Post


Masterpiece

RP McMurphay - Perhaps one of the greatest characters ever commited to screen. Nurse Ratched the ultimate embodiment of villainy. And above all a perfect blend of comedy and raw emotion, that really hits hone at the film's conclusion. Also a contender for greatest movie ending - 'nuff said! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by arfattack at 20:24, 25 April 2006 | Report This Post


Fantastic. Nicholson & Louise Fletcher gave the best performances. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by drippie929 at 14:06, 20 April 2006 | Report This Post


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