One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest is a 1970s anti-authority type of movie. It has become a classic and a well-loved movie of many people. Most of the movie takes place in a mental hospital. It was filmed at Oregon State Hospital, in Salem Oregon. The film won the academy award in all five top categories.
The main character is Randle McMurphy, played by Jack Nicholson. McMurphy has been in and out of jails, numerous times. He is convicted of statutory rape and does not receive a long jail sentence. However, it is on a prison farm. He will have to work the whole time. He comes up with a plan. If he can get himself committed to a mental hospital, he can have an easier time. He interviews with doctors. They are a bit skeptical about his mental condition. Finally, he convinces them to commit him.
He arrives at the mental hospital. He looks around and sees an environment that he can control. The men seem meek and institutionalized. However, he runs into opposition. That opposing force is Nurse Ratched, played by Louise Fletcher. She rules with an iron hand. She uses intimidation and guilt to get the men do as she wishes. She seems more interested in controlling people than healing them.
Life in the mental hospital is dull. McMurphy decides to liven up the atmosphere. He plays poker with the men. He takes their cigarettes and spare cash. This does not impress Nurse Ratched. In one scene, he lobbies the men top vote for a television show. The World Series is on television and he wants to watch. There is only one TV and he must have a majority of votes to turn the channel. He gets a unanimous vote for the ballgame. Nurse Ratched refuses. She wants everyone to vote, even the ones out of touch with reality. He has to go to them and ask for votes. When he finally gets enough votes, she tells him that he is too late. Unable to do anything about it, he decides to watch an imaginary baseball game. It scores big with the men.
Later McMurphy bets the men that he can lift a giant water machine. He groans, struggles, and finally fails. As he walks off, the is proud of the fact that he tried. The men appreciate his effort and look up to him.
McMurphy also takes a bus. He and the men go deep-sea fishing. They have an enjoyable time. They finally return and get into a fight with orderlies. As punishment, he and others get shock therapy.
At one point, McMurphy finds out most of the inmates are there by their own choosing. This does not apply to him. Nurse Ratched can make him stay there indefinitely. He decides to behave better. Nevertheless, he cannot resist antagonizing her. They struggle for power all through the movie. You may be surprised at the ending.
One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest is well worth watching. It has good acting and is well written. Newcomers Danny Devito and Christopher Lloyd go on to successful careers.