One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

  • Review Date: November 1, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1975
  • Running Time: 128 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Classic and brilliant, but violence makes it teens only.
  • Review Date: November 1, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1975
  • Running Time: 128 minutes

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The hospital psychiatric ward can be seen as a metaphor for one individual’s fight against a power-hungry, cruel oppressor. McMurphy shows the astounding difference one courageous person can make in many lives. He lifts the spirits of the weak, takes steps toward the toppling of a tyrant, and has a lasting effect on those who have been subjected to inhuman treatment.

Positive role models

McMurphy is grandly heroic. An outrageous character, he’s loud, assertive, and flaunts all rules and regulations in order to rescue those whom he sees as powerless. The positive role models are the patients, whom despite some unstable, even dangerous behavior, prove to be loyal, compassionate, and honest. In almost every instance, the ward staff is seen as enjoying unrestrained power over the mental patients. Led by the quiet evil of Nurse Ratched, they seem to delight in coercive, patronizing, and even abusive behavior towards those in their care. Senior hospital staff is portrayed as in constant denial, avoiding confrontation, and perpetuating a quiet, untroubled status quo.

Violence

Patients intermittently get upset, lose control, and have to be forcibly restrained by staff, sometimes very roughly. There are some violent outbursts, an occasional fight, including one in which a patient attempts to strangle his adversary. A sadistic nurse causes great harm to several of the patients. (Spoiler alert) There are two deaths in the film: one is a bloody victim of suicide, the other dies at the hands of a patient.

Sex

No overt sexual activity, however, there is brief partial nudity. There are several sly sexual jokes, as well numerous humorous references to masturbation. One patient discusses his sexual problems. On two occasions female "party girls" join the patients and ultimately disappear behind closed doors.

Language

Frequent swearing and obscenities including multiple uses of "Goddamn," "son-of-a-bitch," "hell," "s--t", "c--t," "crap," bulls--t," "a--hole," many forms of forms of "f--k" and more. There are several ethnic and homophobic slurs, usually delivered with a sense of humor, such as: “"Mormon a--hole," "dumb Indian," and "queer."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Patients smuggle liquor into the ward and drink heavily during a wild and unorthodox party sequence. Characters smoke cigarettes continuously.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this adult drama laced with humor deals with life-and-death issues and is set in a hospital psychiatric ward. Intense situations alternate with comic moments, and underlying all are the weighty topics of tyranny, sacrifice, and the fragility of the human mind. There are scenes of sustained cruelty, forcible restraint of mental patients, fighting, and two deaths (including a suicide). Language is strong throughout: "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "jerk off," and a multitude of other expressions, including slurs such as "queer," "dumb Indian" and more. Characters smoke constantly, drink, and get drunk in one out-of-control party sequence.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Three decades have done little to diminish the power of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST. Based on Ken Kesey's novel by the same name, the film addresses the trials of Randle Patrick McMurphy (Jack Nicholson), a petty criminal who decides to feign insanity to get out of time behind bars and into the easy life at the mental ward. Once inside the white-walled hospital, McMurphy finds himself pitted against Nurse Mildred Ratched (Louise Fletcher). While Nurse Ratched manipulates patients in group therapy and uses a regime of medication and electroshock to maintain control, McMurphy demands the right to watch baseball playoffs and takes the men outside the hospital grounds on a fishing trip. As the conflict escalates, the line between the crazy and the sane grows increasingly blurry.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Milos Forman's 1975 film adaptation of the Ken Kesey novel is a classic for good reason. Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher turn in near-perfect performances. Supporting cast members, including Danny DeVito as Martini and Christopher Lloyd as Taber, create a band of institution residents who are warm despite evidence of their insanity. Forman's direction is dead-on, as he manages to capture the monotony of routine on the ward without allowing the film to drag.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about classics. Why do you think this film has lasting appeal? Does it seem dated to you in any way? How does it compare to the book?

  • What are the messages in this movie? Are there any role models? Who is crazy in the movie?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 23, 1975
DVD release date:September 19, 2002
Cast:Danny DeVito, Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher
Director:Milos Forman
Studio:Warner Home Video
Genre:Drama
Run time:128 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:Violence and Language

This review of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous March 29, 2013
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

Not for kids at all.

Not for Kids and this 1975 Film is one of them. Some sex Scenes and There is Violence in it too. Bad Language and Drinking, Drugs, & Smoking. WARNING! There is a bad Role Models due to sex & all that Violence. I am only giving it 3 Stars.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byinstarnight786 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 
Teen, 15 years old Written byMovieBuffMan123 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 
Adult Written byTimTheTVGuy October 24, 2012
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

Not for kids,but AWESOME!

I love how much action is in this movie.It's really cool! HOWEVER,this is an R rated movie,so don't let your kids watch it.But teens and adults can watch it.

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