Released 1975 (USA)
American, in English
Director – Milos Forman
Stars – Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Will Sampson (plus a lot of people I never knew were in this film, including Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd, Brad Dourif, Vincent Schiavelli, and others; look them up on IMDB to see who they played)
When chronic troublemaker R.P. McMurphy (Nicholson) lands in prison yet again, he fakes insanity to get what he thinks is going to be an easy stint in a mental institution. Once he’s been committed, he butts heads with ice-queen Nurse Ratched (Fletcher) and befriends deaf-mute Native American Chief Bromden (Sampson).
Blue language (lots of f-bombs); sexual innuendo/situations; the kind of violence you’d expect in a mental institution; very brief male nudity (butt only).
Everybody always talks about how evil Nurse Ratched is, but she didn’t seem especially evil to me until the end of the film. I spent the whole movie expecting her to be worse than she was, which left me a little disappointed. I suppose maybe that’s the fault of the people who talk about this film, rather than a fault of the film itself. Ultimately, I don’t have a lot of complaints, though. The ending was pretty depressing but I knew that going in.
The acting was really good. Nicholson was kind of meh; he played the same character he always seems to play. But everyone else was great. I especially enjoyed DeVito (as Martini) and Dourif (as Billy Bibbit). If I hadn’t looked at the cast list beforehand, I might not have recognized either of them.
I enjoyed the sweetness of Nicholson’s character. He was a screw-up, but he was a good-hearted screw-up. He wasn’t malicious. He cared about the other men on his ward & wanted to help them. I liked the friendship & trust that he built with Chief. In a movie with so much underlying sadness, it left me feeling like perhaps things weren’t so sad after all.
I expected to find this movie depressing but ultimately it didn’t get me down like I thought it would. I wouldn’t say that it’s enjoyable or gripping, but it’s certainly interesting. I see why many people who love film count it amongst their favorites. It’s not one of my favorites, but it’s a good flick nonetheless.
I give the movie 4 stars.