45 years ago, on 11/19/75, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest had its World Premiere at the Sutton and Paramount Theaters in New York City. The film became the second-highest-grossing title of 1975 and top grosser for 1976, with a total box office of $162M worldwide. Cuckoo’s Nest was praised by critics almost universally and became only the second film at the time to win the Big 5 Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actor (Jack Nicholson), Best Actress (Louise Fletcher), Best Director (Miloš Forman) and Best Screenplay (Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman).
Mental health professionals have credited the movie with humanizing patients suffering from mental health disorders, particularly those caught in the institutional system as it had existed for decades. Cuckoo’s Nest was not subtle, relentless in pushing an anti-establishment message but delivering it through absurd and comic scenes that produced laughs over the disturbing backdrop.
“One flies east, one flies west, and one flies over the cuckoo’s nest” – A Nursery Rhyme.