One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Year: 1975
Production Co: Fantasy Films
Director: Milos Forman
Producer: Michael Douglas
Cast: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Vincent Schiavelli, Christopher Lloyd, Danny DeVito, Will Sampson, Scatman Crothers
A theme in search of a movie. Yes, it's an undisputed classic, McMurphy (Nicholson) is one of the roles of a lifetime and Ratched (Fletcher) is one of the most fearsome real life movie monsters of all time. The struggles of the inmates to assert their individuality in a system that wants to quash it out of them and make them conform is an allegory for strictures imposed upon us by an authoritarian capitalist society. But as a straightforward story, it's less exciting to watch than most.

Slacker McMurphy thinks he can opt out of the obligations of life by pretending to be insane, but when his plans works too well, he's hospitalised with a troupe of real life mentally challenged misfits. His rebellious ways soon make him a God among them, and he rallies them to adopt his agitating ways only to butt heads repeatedly with the Nazi-like nurse Ratched who's determined to erase his mind and enslave him like the rest of them.

The device of such self-assertion being passed to the chief in the final frames is nice as McMurphy lies all-but dead, Ratched's victory over him complete, but the film is one to be chalked up rather than enjoyed. It's fun to play spot the future star too, with at least five soon to be big names.

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