72. 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' (1975)
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Perhaps thinking "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" had something to do with
the nursery rhyme from which its title is taken, my mom mistakenly took me to
see this movie when I was seven years-old. After seeing Jack Nicholson as the rebellious mental patient
who leads an ill-fated revolt against Louise Fletcher's nefarious nurse, I knew
that my life would be given over to film. Nicholson inherited the iconic role of
R.P. McMurphy from Kirk Douglas, who played the character in a 1963
Douglas wanted to make the film, but he aged out of the role, and eventually
Nicholson was cast, but not until several other actors were offered the part.
Director Milos Foreman wanted Burt Reynolds for McMurphy, and the role had been
offered to James Caan, Marlon Brando, and Gene Hackman. Although Nicholson immortalized
McMurphy in what is arguably the best performance of his career, I really want
to visit the alternate universe where Hackman took the role. Author Ken Kesey
was critical of the film adaptation of his novel before filming even began, and
went to his deathbed claiming he'd never seen the movie. If that's true, it's
kind of sad, because even though Foreman's narrative differs considerably from
the novel, Kesey missed seeing one of the greatest American movies of all time.
— David Walker Get more MSN Movies on Twitter and Facebook.
Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"/©Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)