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Playing crazy to avoid prison work detail, manic free spirit Randle P. McMurphy is sent to the state mental hospital for evaluation. He fits in frighteningly well, and his different point of view actually begins to cause some of the patients to progress.
Watching this again, I am less inclined to regard Nurse Ratched as a simple villain, despite her vindictive humiliation of poor, shy Billy, and more like a professional who refuses to be bullied by a bunch of men.
Whatever you make of the counterculture sentimentalism in the film's story of a rebellious mental patient, [Nicholson's] performance is superb, a showcase both for his wolfish glints and for his more subtle abilities.
Viewed 30 years after its release, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest remains a very good motion picture, although one that perhaps just misses the pinnacle of greatness where its reputation suggests it resides.
One Flew over the Cuckoo 's Nest is an earnest attempt to make a serious film. But in the end the movie backs away from both the human reality and the cloudy but potent symbolism that Ken Kesey found in the asylum.