My current Top 5

My current Top 5


Number 19: One flew over the Cuckoos' Nest (Best Picture Ranking)

In 1976, One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest became only the second movie to win the five most important Oscars (Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor, Actress) – overall, only three movies have managed this sweep and they are all very close in my ranking but this movie about life in a mental institution gets the highest position.

It’s interesting that out of the three movies that won the Top 5 Oscars, only one has two clear leads – It happened one Night. The Silence of the Lambs and One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest contain two performances that are often mentioned as borderline cases between lead and supporting – but just like Anthony Hopkins is an overpowering presence in The Silence of the Lambs, Louise Fletcher dominates One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest with her unforgettable turn as Nurse Ratched. She’s not a villain like Darth Vader or Annie Wilkes – she doesn’t kill her patients or anything like this, she is only using the little power she has to control the minds and the lives of the men she has to take care of. One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest gets most of its power from this subtle danger, from the small and almost unnoticed fights between Nurse Ratched and McMurphy, a man who pretends to be crazy to avoid a time in jail. McMurphy is, of course, played by Jack Nicholson who finally won his first Oscar for this role and his powerful performance is easily one of the highlights of his career. Apart from the two leads, all the supporting players also do wonderful work and, as Louise Fletcher said in her acceptance speech, they made being in a mental institution like being in a mental institution.

One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest may be very slow in some parts (especially the scenes on the boat) but it constantly remains a fascinating look at suppression, bureaucracy, freedom and inspiration. It shows how McMurphy defies the conventions at the institution and, most of all, the power of Nurse Ratched. It’s a drama and a comedy, incredibly moving, uplifting and shocking and Milos Forman did a wonderful job in keeping the movie’s tone perfectly balanced.


dinasztie said...

I think this one is pretty overrated.

Louis Morgan said...

I like this film, I find it watchable, but it certianly has flaws as well.

Anonymous said...

Great but overrated film.And Fletcher is SO supporting.But Adjani should've won for Best actress in 1975 anyway.

Anonymous said...

Perfect placement for this film!

Malcolm said...

Somewhat dated, but I think it's great.

Fletcher was great! So was Nicholson, of course. :)