Dark Netflix Psychological Drama Breaks You Into Pieces

By Douglas Helm | Published

one flew over the cuckoo's nest

Every once in a while, Hollywood brings all the ingredients together to make a film that becomes an instant classic. From the cast to the screenplay to the direction, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a dark psychological drama that will stick with you well after the credits roll. If you’ve missed out on this 1975 classic or haven’t revisited it in a while, make sure to go stream it over on Netflix.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Streaming On Netflix

one flew over the cuckoo's nest

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is directed by Milos Forman and adapted from the novel of the same name by Ken Kasey. The film follows Randle McMurphy (Jack Nicholson), who is eager to transfer from his current situation at a prison farm to a mental institution, as he assumes the institution will give him some more freedom. However, he finds that the institution is worse than he could have imagined, as it is run under the abusive grip of Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher).

The Cast

one flew over the cuckoo's nest

Along with Nicholson and Fletcher, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is buoyed by a cast that includes Will Sampson, Danny DeVito, Sydney Lassick, and William Redfield, along with the film debuts of Christopher Lloyd and Brad Dourif. While the entire cast is fantastic, the antagonistic relationship between Jack Nicholson’s McMurphy and Fletcher’s Nurse Ratched is definitely the biggest draw of the movie. Nicholson gives one of his greatest performances, and Fletcher creates one of cinema’s all-time great complex villains.

Beloved By Critics

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is often considered one of the best films of all time, and it was recognized as such at the Academy Awards that year. The film was the second to win the five major Academy Awards. Meaning it won Best Picture, Best Actor for Nicholson, Best Actress for Fletcher, Best Director, and Best Screenplay.

The previous film to have the same sweep was way back in 1934 with It Happened One Night, and Silence of the Lambs would achieve the sweep years later in 1991. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was also added to the United States Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1993. However, the film isn’t just Oscar bait, and it really is well worth the watch.

The Lead Was Almost A Lot Different

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest had a pretty interesting road to getting made, too. The film was first announced in 1962, and Kirk Douglas was set to star. However, development took 13 years, and Douglas was eventually deemed too old for the role. Apparently, this caused some friction between Kirk and his son, Michael Douglas, whom he agreed to let produce the film.

Michael Douglas has since said it wasn’t his decision to recast his father, but the recasting happened all the same. Other actors offered the lead in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest included Gene Hackman, James Caan, Marlon Brando, and Burt Reynolds. Eventually, Jack Nicholson was cast, and it’s safe to say it was a good decision.

Still One Of The Greatest Films Ever

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is still a fantastic watch nearly 50 years later. If you’re looking for a great film to watch this weekend, then you can’t go wrong with this one. Head over to Netflix to stream it now.