Box art for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

  • Rated R


A free-spirited, small-time convict who fakes being crazy so he can get transferred from the state penitentiary to what he thinks will be a more comfortable state mental hospital.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 16
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
5 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
4 out of 5

Classic and brilliant, but violence makes it teens only.

what 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.

what 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 reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Masterful adaptation of a masterpiece novel. Nicholson deserved his Oscar.

- Shannon J. Harvey, Sunday Times (Australia), Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

2 stars

People mistaken this for a masterpiece when it's really an insane asylum movie with no purpose or intent.

- aSpaceCowboy, Sunday, September 5, 2010

5 stars

One of my all-time favorites. Jack Nicolson gives his best performence in this film and

- TheCuckooBird, Sunday, August 22, 2010

5 stars

This is an all-time classic. The acting alone is unmatched in it's superbness. I could (and probably should) say more about this, but in a way it's not really all that necessary. Most people have already done a far better job, and the film really speaks for itself anyway. I'll just bring in a small contribution by saying that this film is unbelievably accurate with its portrayal of the mental health profession and facilities of the time. I know this because I've had multiple family members who were employees (and one who was a patient) at a state hospital for years (including the time periods this was released and takes place in).

- cosmo313, Sunday, August 15, 2010