One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) Film Review

Cuckoo's Nest 1

McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) is a criminal who has been moved to a mental institution. It seems that, perhaps he is not mentally ill, but has faked it to avoid the hard labour of prison time. There, he becomes a part of a group of patients who are seen over by the dominating Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher) and tries to raise their self-esteem and make their lives better in his own, ultimately flawed manner.

What a classic. You want to believe that the evil Nurse Ratched has her patients’ best interests at heart, yet she seems to be constantly getting the upper hand in power plays against them; most notably Billy. Then, when McMurphy comes along, she is challenged and cannot let things go until she wins. Also, McMurphy is a nasty piece of work; he just wants his own way and to have fun with little consideration of the consequences. But, being a selfish so-and-so obviously doesn’t deserve the treatment he ultimately receives.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Jack Nicholson), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Louise Fletcher), Best Director (Milos Forman) and Best Writing, Screenplay Adapted From Other Material (Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman) and was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Brad Dourif), Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing and Best Music, Original Dramatic Score.

Amadeus (1984) Film Review


An elderly Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham) sits in an asylum after attempting to take his own life. He has lived for years with the knowledge that he was behind the demise of one of the world’s greatest talents. Offloading to a priest, Salieri reveals that he,  thanks to divine intervention, became a composer, offering his music to God. When Mozart (Tom Hulce) arrives in Vienna, Salieri is excited to meet the great man who has been performing and composing across the continent since he was a small child. To his disgust, Mozart is a  repulsive man who adores drink, partying and will not kowtow to his superiors (perhaps because he does not believe he has any superiors).  Salieri attempts to ignore Mozart’s behavious, but finally takes action to rid the world and his own life of this repulsive genius.

I can never get sick of this film. Truly, it is a marvellous work of art. I hope to see it performed as a play one day, but in the meantime, I could watch this again and again. The story itself is spectacular –  ambition, betrayal, religion, sex, alcohol. As  a work of art created in the eighties, this holds up beautifully. The only thing which dates it slightly are the Billy Idol style wigs that the young composer wears, but that is total and utterly nit-picking.

Amadeus won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Lead Role (F. Murray Abraham), Best Director (Milos Forman) Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Peter Shaffer), Best Art Direction-Set Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Sound and Best Make-up. It was nominated for Oscars for Best Actor in  a Lead Role (Tom Hulce), Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing.