Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Steve's Top Ten Films: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

So, I'm cheating a little with this one as I have a very busy day ahead of me.  Previously, I wrote a review of for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for my W2WW series, and I am merely re-posting it here.  My thoughts on the film remain unchanged though.

Why watch One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest?

Well, the cast alone is reason enough to give it a once over:

Jack Nicholson, one of the most devilishly gifted screen actors of all time, as Randle McMurphy, one of the most subversive, counter-cultural characters in literature.

Louise Fletcher, a terrifically under-utilized actress, as the icy, porcelain-featured Nurse Ratched, arguably the vilest villain in cinematic history.

And the inmates of the psychiatric ward played by the best character actors working in film.  Will Sampson, Christopher Lloyd, Danny DeVito, and Brad Dourif to name a few.

There's also the score.  The movie opens and closes with the sounds of a musical saw, creating an eerie, yet playful tone that perfectly captures what the audience experiences as the story unfolds.

Oh, yes, the story!  Funny and allegorical.  Sad but uplifting.  A power struggle between freewill and submission.  Between male and female.  That offers a subjective view on sanity and dares to question the imposition of societal norms.  And an ending that will inspire debate even among the most dull-minded of movie goers.  Who wins in the end?  Is there even a way to tell?

Sweeping the top five Oscar categories and taking in a tremendous box office for the time, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is hardly an overlooked movie, the kind I try to highlight in my W2WW series.  And, I would venture to say most people who would be inclined to read this blog and pay any attention to my ramblings have already seen the movie and/or read the book.  But, good movies (and books, too) age like fine wine and need to be savored over and over throughout the years.  This is one such film and should be brought out once in a while for yet another viewing.

Released the year I was born, this gem is among my favorite movies of all time, but not for that reason.  It is nothing short of a masterpiece in filmmaking that remains every bit as compelling and powerful forty years later.

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