A nice rest in a state mental hospital beats a stretch in the pen, right? Randle P. McMurphy (Jack Nicholson), a free-spirited con with lightning in his veins and glib on his tongue, fakes insanity and moves in with what he calls the "nuts." Immediately, his contagious sense of disorder runs up against numbing routine. No way should guys pickled on sedatives shuffle around in bathrobes when the World Series is on. This means war! On one side is McMurphy. On the other is soft-spoken Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher), among the most coldly monstrous villains in film history. At stake is the fate of every patient on the ward. Based on Ken Kesey's acclaimed bestseller, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest swept all five major 1975 Academy Awards: Best Picture (produced by Saul Zaentz and Michael Douglas), Actor (Nicholson), Actress (Fletcher), Director (Milos Forman) and Adapted Screenplay (Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman). Raucous, searing and with a superb cast that includes Brad Dourif, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd in his film debut, this one soars.
The two-disc special-edition DVD offers a great-looking anamorphic 1.85:1 print and 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack. 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, director Milos Forman, screenwriter Bo Goldman, and many cast members (though not Jack Nicholson). There's also a commentary track by Forman, Douglas, and Zaentz that repeats a few things from the documentary but also goes into more scene-specific detail about the development and shooting. --Kim Newman