The first movie since Frank Capra's It Happened One Night to sweep the big five Oscars (director, screenplay, actor, actress, film), Cuckoo's Nest remains an unlikely and inspiring triumph. The dream-like novel was considered unfilmable, the co-producer was a TV actor with a famous dad, the Czech director was still largely unknown outside Europe and every 'name' actress in Hollywood had turned down the role of callous Nurse Ratched. And yet, as soon as Jack Nicholson signed on the dotted line, everything fell into place. He may be a huge, red-headed Irishman in Ken Kesey's book, but the live-wire misfit Randle P. McMurphy, who turns the mental institution upside down, was the role Jack Nicholson was born to play. With or without shock therapy, Nicholson is simply electrifying.
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