One of the things I have done with this series is that after I complete a film I go to the net to see what the perception of the film is. “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is regarded as one of the great films in American cinema by the media and apparently by a good number of other people judging by the scores it receives on IMDB and on Rotten Tomatoes. It was only the second film in history to win the big five academy awards (Picture, Actor, Actress, Director, Screenplay). So is it deserving of all the accolades and the lofty place it has been given in cinema history?
Should this film be considered a classic? I’m just going to jump right out and say it, I hold a particular world view and this film’s (and I assume the 1962 book upon which it was based) sole purpose for existing was to spit in the face of that world view and call it repressive, backwards, and ultimately destructive. Even though I had never seen this movie and I really knew nothing about it, it was clear from the first twenty minutes of the film that it was a soapbox for the free love, drugs, and sex movement of the 60s and a statement about their rebellion against what they perceived to be old fashioned and repressive rules about society. The film is an obvious social commentary and I believe the only reason why it is considered a classic and continues to be seen as a great piece of American cinema is because most of the people in the industry agree with the world view espoused by the film. So, would I consider this film a classic? No, and not just because I disagree with the world view it portrays. While the film contains some incredible performances and is undeniably well made, it is not among the best of the best. I think it is largely considered a classic because people like the ideology of the movie and less because of the overall quality of the film.
Would I own this film? Nope. One time watching it was enough. I found the film to be very preachy and it ultimately presents a philosophy about the world that is totally false and only seems tenable for the naive college students of generations from the 60s on. Once people get out into the real world they discover that many of those “repressive” rules are necessary for the continued functioning of society. There is a time and a place for challenging rules, but the rules this movie chose to challenge history has already seen to be self-destructive thanks to the drug induced haze that too many stumbled through the 60s and 70s and glorify a lifestyle that is both selfish and unwise. On a side note, did anyone else have a problem with the “hero” of the story being a child raping pedophile?