Seeing as I am on a 1970s movie kick, I opted last night for one of the greatest ’70s films of all — indeed, a movie many consider one of the greatest ever made.

If you haven’t seen it, you must. Long before Jack Nicholson became a caricature of himself, he played the cocky resident of a mental institution, a petty criminal who scammed his way into the place because he couldn’t follow the rules in prison and figured serving his time in a nutbin would be easier. Unfortunately, he hadn’t bargained on the miserable hag in charge of his ward, Nurse Ratched, played with chilling brilliance by Louise Fletcher, who won a best actress Academy Award for the role in the 1975 film.

Nicholson, perfecting the swagger that made him so famous, won best actor, Milos Forman won best director and the film itself won best picture. It also won the best adapted screenplay Oscar.

Cuckoo’s Nest is hilariously funny — among the lunatics we find a very young Danny DeVito and a wild-eyed Christopher Lloyd — but in the end, it’s profoundly sad and disturbing. Produced by Michael Douglas — yes, that Michael Douglas, who should have stayed on that side of the camera instead of horrifying us with his saggy ass in “Basic Instinct” — Cuckoo’s Nest is a film that will stay with you a long, long time, and one of the most iconic movies of its generation.

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