R. P. McMurphy gets thrown into a mental institution for being purely lazy and rebelling against authority. He tries to lighten the spirits of the mental patients by playing cards, basketball, sneaking out of the asylum, etc. His attempt at creating a more enjoyable experience inside the place is constantly repressed by head nurse Ratched.
Entertainment Value - B
This was an alright show (if you like Cool Hand Luke, there's a chance you'll like this one). I don't know why this got all the acclaim it has received, I didn't think it was outstanding (I'm going to guess it has something to do with the cinematography like Citizen Kane). Jack Nicholson's character doesn't seem to change from one movie to another, maybe he just gets casted well. If you want to see this because it is highly acclaimed (like I did), you might be a little disappointed.
Moral Value - Failure to Communicate? - 2
I thought some of the themes were very similar to Cool Hand Luke: A man gets imprisoned for not caring much, gains the affection of his inmates, gets broken, ends tragically.
Not sure why nurse Ratched is one of the most popular screen villains. She is extremely indifferent and cold, but you'd have to be in order to keep your sanity working in a mental institution. Her handling Billy at the end was awful; knowing his suicidal tendancies and then threatening to report him to his mother was a deathly mistake.
McMurphy and the other patient's pressure to get Billy to sleep with McMurphy's friend was completely childish and stupid. There are glimpses of McMurphy's "good" side throughout the film and you think that he might turn out to be a blessing to the place, but ends up just a curse.
Chief Bromden (not sure if Chief is his first name) should not have killed McMurphy at the end. I know it was supposedly a good act, maybe could be considered euthanasia of some sort (for those who think euthanasia can be good). Chief didn't want to leave seeing McMurphy in his broken condition. To Chief, McMurphy was a type of hero, and he imagined them escaping the place together. Since that was no longer possible in McMurphy's condition, this act of "liberation" was symbolic of the two of them leaving together - possibly meant to be poetic, but I thought it was kind of twisted.
The one good thing that came out of McMurphy ending up in the asylum was his attempt to get all the patients in the place to pretend like they weren't there. Anytime the nurses reminded them of their condition/location, McMurphy would rebel and end up lifting the spirits of those around him (a classic scene is the baseball game). McMurphy eventually ended up getting carried away and realized too late that he had gone too far. There are responsibilities that must be taken in our lives, especially when we interact with others and most importantly when they hold us in high regard. We are a light on a hill whether we want to be or not. Others look up to us, and most importantly God has high hopes that we will realize and fulfill our great potential as part of the human family.