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One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest [DVD] 
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Milos Forman's acclaimed adaptation of the Ken Kesey novel. After being imprisoned for statutory rape, an unrepentant Randle Patrick McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) is transferred to a state mental hospital. Here he sets about leading his fellow inmates (including Brad Dourif, Danny DeVito and Christopher Lloyd) in a revolt against the cold and inflexible Nurse Ratchet (Louise Fletcher) and the hospital's systematic oppression of its patients. The film won five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Nicholson, Best Actress for Louise Fletcher, Best Director for Milos Forman, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Lawrence Hauben.
A big Oscar winner in 1975, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest still holds up remarkably well. Ken Kesey's novel, an allegory of repression and rebellion set in a mental hospital in the early 1960s, is cannily adapted by Czech director Milos Forman into a comedy drama with a cool, unassuming, near-documentary look. Jack Nicholson has his most jacknicholsonian role as Randle P McMurphy, a livewire troublemaker who unwisely cons his way out of prison and into a mental institution without realising he has switched from serving a sentence with a release date to being committed until adjudged sane by the same people he is winding up on a daily basis. Louise Fletcher, in a career-defining turn, is Nurse Ratched, the soft-spoken sadist who represents the worst type of matronly authoritarianism and clashes with Randle all down the line.
Taking another look at the picture after all these years, it's a surprise that all the unknown actors who seemed like real mental patients have graduated to becoming prolific character actor stars: Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd, Vincent Schiavelli, Brad Dourif, the late Will Sampson, Sidney Lassick, Michael Berryman. Unlike many Best Picture Oscar winners, this deals with profound subject matter without seeming self-important: Forman's approach and all-round great acting make it play as a small character story as well as a Big Statement about the human condition. Full marks also for Jack Nitzsche's musical saw-based score.
On the DVD: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest comes to DVD in a two-disc special edition with a great-looking anamorphic 1.85:1 print and 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack, plus tracks in French and Italian and optional subtitles in half a dozen languages. Disc 2 has the trailer, about 13 minutes of deleted scenes (mostly from the first third of the film, and all pretty good) and a making-of retrospective documentary with interesting material from producers Michael Douglas (who inherited the rights from Kirk) and Saul Zaentz, Forman, screenwriter Bo Goldman and many cast-members (though not Nicholson). There's also a commentary track by Forman, Douglas and others which repeats a few things from the documentary but also goes into more scene-specific detail about the development and shooting. --Kim NewmanSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
What an unbelievably brilliant piece of work.
I wonder whether Nicholson has even yet had full recognition for the truly great actor he is (how many people have even seen The King of Marvin Gardens, for instance?) His screen presence is enormous, magnetic and menacing. He combines outsize testosteronic individuality with the ability to get inside a character, and an electric sense of threat with a real power to tug at the heart-strings. Bad he may be, but unsympathetic never. He is a very big little guy, but he is still the little guy against the system. It must be impossible, surely, to upstage that?
Incredibly, no. The ultimate star in a film that has no shortage of up-and-coming luminaries as well as Nicholson (D de Vito for one) is Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched. I am never going to forget that mask-like expressionless face and that ever-rational, implacable, ever-modulated voice mouthing those soulless, uncomprehending, the-system-is-right banalities. Above all, I am never going to forget that hair. Among the many touches of genius in this production, that hairstyle is the ultimate. I simply could not take my eyes off it. The name is effective too, and I shall continue to believe until someone proves me wrong that it was an inspired borrowing from Jane Eyre -- the dreadful and sadistic Miss Skatcherd brought up to date and given a 20th-century twist.Read more ›
The stage is set in a mental hospital of which Randall P. McMurphy (Jack Nicholson, in his finest role) is admitted to, as a volunteer. Yet his rambunctious ways and rather short temper mean that from the second he walks into the place he is on a collision cause with the cold-hearted authoritarian Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher) who insists on keeping order. Something that Randall is not at liberty to adhere with.
With Randall using his over the top views to influence the other loonies he establishes a lot of trust between the inmates and himself, and even forms an unlikely friendship between himself and a huge, supposedly mute indian chief. But eventually the it all ends in dilemma as Randall ends up the victim of the cold, prison like institution's system, of which Nurse Ratched is happy to see.
This film is slow, often cheerful but overall the tender moments between the chief and Randall, and the classic scenes in which Randall relates with his fellow nutters are priceless.
With an unbeatable cast of Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Christopher Lloyd and even Danny DeVito. The director Milos Forman (who seems to add subtleness to a film that would look a whole lot different, and may have been ruined if someone else had made it) uses the actors to great effect and has earned a bag full of oscars and the respect he so rightly deserves - Everybody seems to agree that five stars is justifiable. Yet I think it deserves more than that, as it is one of the best films of the 70's.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Absolutely brilliant film that Blu-ray has made even better. Watch it you won't be disappointed!Published 5 days ago by Overclockers Heaven
Fantastic this film I saw years ago and it still makes me laugh and tears running down my face this film is great if anybody out there has not seen it you must buy it must be one... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Terence