The film received generally positive reviews from critics; Roger Ebert said that "Miloš Forman's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a film so good in so many of its parts that there's a temptation to forgive it when it goes wrong. But it does go wrong, insisting on making larger points than its story really should carry, so that at the end, the human qualities of the characters get lost in the significance of it all. And yet there are those moments of brilliance." Ebert would later put the film on his "Great Movies" list. A.D. Murphy of Variety wrote a mixed review as well, as did Vincent Canby: writing in The New York Times, Canby called the film "a comedy that can't quite support its tragic conclusion, which is too schematic to be honestly moving, but it is acted with such a sense of life that one responds to its demonstration of humanity if not to its programmed metaphors."
The film went on to win a total of five Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Jack Nicholson (who played McMurphy), Best Actress for Louise Fletcher (who played Ratched), Best Direction for Forman, Best Picture, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Laurence Hauben and Bo Goldman. The film currently has a 96% "Certified Fresh" rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
The film is considered to be one of the greatest American films. Ken Kesey participated in the early stages of script development, but withdrew after creative differences with the producers over casting and narrative point-of-view; ultimately he filed suit against the production and won a settlement. Kesey himself claimed never to have seen the movie, but said he disliked what he knew of it, a fact confirmed by Chuck Palahniuk who wrote, "The first time I heard this story, it was through the movie starring Jack Nicholson. A movie that Kesey once told me he disliked".
In 1993, this film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry.
The film was shown in Swedish cinemas for nearly 11 years – between early 1976 and winter of 1986/1987 – which is still a record. When Forman learned this, he said, "I'm absolutely thrilled by that... It's wonderful."
Read more about this topic: One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (film)
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Famous quotes containing the word reception:
“To the United States the Third World often takes the form of a black woman who has been made pregnant in a moment of passion and who shows up one day in the reception room on the forty-ninth floor threatening to make a scene. The lawyers pay the woman off; sometimes uniformed guards accompany her to the elevators.”
—Lewis H. Lapham (b. 1935)
“But in the reception of metaphysical formula, all depends, as regards their actual and ulterior result, on the pre-existent qualities of that soil of human nature into which they fallthe company they find already present there, on their admission into the house of thought.”
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“Hes leaving Germany by special request of the Nazi government. First he sends a dispatch about Danzig and how 10,000 German tourists are pouring into the city every day with butterfly nets in their hands and submachine guns in their knapsacks. They warn him right then. What does he do next? Goes to a reception at von Ribbentropfs and keeps yelling for gefilte fish!”
—Billy Wilder (b. 1906)