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One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest

One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest

4.1 41
Director: Milos Forman

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, William Redfield


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With an insane asylum standing in for everyday society, Milos Forman's 1975 film adaptation of Ken Kesey's novel is a comically sharp indictment of the Establishment urge to conform. Playing crazy to avoid prison work detail, manic free spirit Randle P. McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) is sent to the state mental hospital for evaluation. There he encounters a motley crew of


With an insane asylum standing in for everyday society, Milos Forman's 1975 film adaptation of Ken Kesey's novel is a comically sharp indictment of the Establishment urge to conform. Playing crazy to avoid prison work detail, manic free spirit Randle P. McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) is sent to the state mental hospital for evaluation. There he encounters a motley crew of mostly voluntary inmates, including cowed mama's boy Billy (Brad Dourif) and silent Native American Chief Bromden (Will Sampson), presided over by the icy Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher). Ratched and McMurphy recognize that each is the other's worst enemy: an authority figure who equates sanity with correct behavior, and a misfit who is charismatic enough to dismantle the system simply by living as he pleases. McMurphy proceeds to instigate group insurrections large and small, ranging from a restorative basketball game to an unfettered afternoon boat trip and a tragic after-hours party with hookers and booze. Nurse Ratched, however, has the machinery of power on her side to ensure that McMurphy will not defeat her. Still, McMurphy's message to live free or die is ultimately not lost on one inmate, revealing that escape is still possible even from the most oppressive conditions.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Milos Forman had proven his talent for astute social comedy in such earlier Czech films as Loves of a Blonde (1965) and The Firemen's Ball (1967), and his adept treatment of Cuckoo's Nest's metaphorically loaded conflict fulfilled the promise of an immigrant observer of American culture indicated in his first U.S. feature, Taking Off (1971). Shot on location at the Oregon State Hospital, and visually imprisoning the characters in tightly framed compositions, Haskell Wexler's and Bill Butler's cinematography underlines the psychological as well as physical confinement dogging the patients. The restrained, soft-spoken control of Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched contrasts with the thoughtful vigor of Jack Nicholson's McMurphy, further emphasizing both the need to revolt and the difficulty in doing so posed by such consistent, quiet, internalized power. For a culture battered by the chaotic rebellions of the late 1960s/early 1970s, and the serial failures of institutional authority culminating in Watergate and the fall of Saigon, Cuckoo's Nest's resigned yet hopeful portrayal of spirited non-conformity touched a nerve, turning it into one of the most popular films of 1975. The independently produced film became only the second film in history to sweep all five top Academy Awards, winning Best Picture for producers Saul Zaentz and 31-year-old Michael Douglas, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay for Lawrence Hauben's and Bo Goldman's adaptation of the Kesey novel. Shrewdly combining roustabout fervor and humor with an acknowledgement of society's different limits, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest effectively communicated the disillusionment of the waning counter-culture even as it optimistically asserted that one rebel could make a difference.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
[Wide Screen]
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

First time on Blu-ray - Completely Cuckoo, a comprehensive 87-minute retrospective in its full original length Michael Douglas, Milos Forman and Ken Kesey describe how a movie landmark was made with actors and patients lonlocation in a working mental hospital; ; Commentary by Director Milos Forman, Producers Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz providing scene-by-scene insight into the creative choices made in creating this timeless film; ; Revealing additional scenes and theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jack Nicholson Randle Patrick McMurphy
Louise Fletcher Nurse Mildred Ratched
William Redfield Harding
Dean R. Brooks Dr. John Spivey
Scatman Crothers Turkle Crothers
Danny DeVito Martini
William Duell Sefelt
Brad Dourif Billy Bibbit
Christopher Lloyd Taber
Will Sampson Chief Bromden
Vincent Schiavelli Frederickson
Delos V. Smith Scanlon
Marya Small Candy
Louisa Moritz Rose
Mimi Sarkisian Nurse Pilbow
Nathan George Attandant Washington
Alonzo Brown Miller
Phil Roth Woolsey
Michael Berryman Ellis
Peter Brocco Col. Matterson
Mwako Cumbuka Warren
Josip Elic Bancini
Lan Fendors Nurse Itsu
Sidney Lassick Charlie Cheswick
Dwight Marfield Ellsworth
Ted Markland Hap Arlich

Technical Credits
Milos Forman Director
Mark Berger Sound/Sound Designer
Bill Butler Cinematographer
Richard Chew Editor
Michael Douglas Producer
Jane Feinberg Casting
Mike Fenton Casting
Martin Fink Associate Producer
William A. Fraker Cinematographer
Bo Goldman Screenwriter
Lawrence Hauben Screenwriter
Lawrence O. Jost Sound/Sound Designer
Sheldon Kahn Editor
Lynzee Klingman Editor
Jack Nitzsche Score Composer
Edwin O'Donovan Art Director
Fred Phillips Makeup
Aggie Guerard Rodgers Costumes/Costume Designer
Irby Smith Asst. Director
Paul Sylbert Production Designer
Haskell Wexler Cinematographer
Saul Zaentz Producer


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One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This movie is awesome!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A truly great movie, Jack Nicholson gives an outstanding performance. I have however never read the book. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Flying for the Cuckoo’s Nest Ken Kesey’s book One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was written in 1962 to tell how the treatments, in the mental hospitals, were inhumane. In 1975, the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, directed by Milos Forman, which actually shows what the treatments and conditions were like in the mental hospitals during the 1960’s. The differences between the two plot lines vary tremendously making watching the movie after the book quite confusing. I would rate the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” a four out of five based on the plot line, characters portrayed in the movie and the fact it is based on true events. The plot line in the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is similar but in many ways no the same as the novel. In the beginning of the novel R.P. McMurphy, Mack, is not on the ward, but in the movie the story starts when Mack comes on the ward for the first time. Throughout the movie many characteristics, from the book, change. In the novel Chief Bromden is the narrator, but in the movie the story line is told in mostly Mack’s point of view. Reading the novel before watching the movie may confuse some people and keep them feeling puzzled, but understanding the reason the movie was made will clear the mixed emotions a person may have. In order for a plot to be formed, a cast of actors and actresses are needed to portray the characters from the novel. In the novel the main characters are Nurse Ratched, Chief Bromden, and R.P. McMurchy (Mack). Louise Fletcher plays Nurse Ratched in the movie. Nurse Ratched, “Big Nurse”, is the main nurse on the ward; she’s a mean hard headed woman who likes things to run one way and that way only. Nurse Ratched and Mack do not get along well in the novel or the movie; the two constantly bicker for control of the ward. Mack, played by Jack Nicholson, is a character who needs to be on top and if he isn’t he will bring everyone down just to get there. Jack Nicholson plays the role of Mack almost flawlessly. In a ward, many treatments are used to try and cure the patients’ and everything that is shown in the movie was present during this time in the wards.   The use of electric shock therapy during the 1960’s was very common. Many doctors and physicians believed that an electric shock to the temple area of the head would cure the mental illness the patient may be suffering from. The author of the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey, worked on the graveyard shift of a mental hospital and witnessed the ways the institute worked. Kesey voluntarily took the drugs the patients took which were Mescaline and LSD; he called this Project MKUltra. The drugs helped the patients find their “human mind” which doctors said would help them become cured. The movie shows the treatments and how mental hospitals all around the country were treating their patients which changed the nation in many ways. The movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest shows a great deal of the miss treatments of mentally ill patients by doctors and other physicians during the 1960’s. Giving the movie a four out of five rating would be appropriate when considering the plot line, actors portrayed in the movie and that it was based on a true story. I would recommend anyone to watch this movie to show how life in the mental institutions was like.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recently watched the movie “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” and really enjoyed it. I give the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” a 5 star rating because it’s a really funny movie and I enjoyed the actors. The book One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was good to read and I recommend you to read it before watching the movie. The Author of the book One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was Ken Kessey which was published in 1962.The Movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” was produced by Miles Foremen. The book/movie is about a guy named McMurphy gets put into this asylum. McMurphy has a rival in Nurse Ratched who makes McMurphy mad because she game him electroshock therapy. McMurphy is a very funny actor and the story of the book/movie is great. I think that the actors, plot and genre are what make a movie exciting. I thought they chose really amazing actors to play in the 1975 film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. I thought they chose the wrong actor to play Nurse Rached because she looked and acted nicer than she was in the book. In the book One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Nurse Ratched seemed like she was yelling at McMurphy but in the movie Nurse Ratcheds always calm about the conversations with McMurphy. If there weren’t any skilled actors then the plot in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” would be boring. I thought the plot of the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” was excellent. I thought the story was awesome because I liked the fact that McMurphy is normal and fights with Nurse Ratched. I also like how the movie followed the book so well. McMurphy is in this mental institution because he was acting like he was crazy and fights with Nurse Rached because she thinks she can help him with his illness. Do to the light hearted nature of the plot this movie is a comedy. The genre of the movie “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s nest” is a comedy and based on a true story. I think Chief is the funniest actor in the movie. I think Chief is the funniest because while they are playing basketball Chief makes a shot and they get excited. Then on defense the black janitors made the shot but Chief grabs the net and hits the ball out and I thought that was funny. The genre is one of the 3 things you look forward to in a movie. Throughout the movie it consists of funny actors, a twisting plot and the genre is an excellent comedy. I recommend you to read the book One Flew over the Cuckoo’s nest, then watch the movie . It contains funny actors, excellent plot and a funny genre; this movie will knock your socks off.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Cuckoo Hits the Heart Flying Over the Nest The film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest” by Milos Foreman, came out in 1975 based on the book by Ken Kesey in 1962. Both the movie and the are book based on a true story of history and how one person can change the perception of perfection to reality in the setting of a mental hospital. This version of the movie would receive a rating of four out of five stars, based on the genre, actors and the ending. The first criteria I used to evaluate the film was by the genre. I feel the film is a dramatic comedy. An example would be shown through how RP McMurphy uses sarcasm to drag out a conversations and work against the head nurse. I also believe it is part comedy because of the humorous actions. These are shown through the characters Martini and Cheswick react to people's responses. The second criteria I used to evaluate the film was the actors. I feel if film doesn't contain decent actors the movie shall not be made. This movie on the other hand contains some decent acting done by Jack Nicholson who plays R.P. McMurphy. Just the way that Nicholson portrayed himself made the movie better. Since Nicholson provided eccentric acting it made the ending of the movie splendid. The third piece of criteria I used to evaluate the film was the ending. A movie with a terrible ending makes you furious! You become upset and want to cry. Here in the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” this is not the case. The movies’ ending was very touching and meaningful. I believe you will enjoy it and wish there was a sequel. So, if you're looking for a movie with a unordinary of genre with a twist on the characters, and a beautiful ending then there’s your next assignment! Go ahead I know you want to, get to it. Do the deed, learn a few life lessons and enjoy! This movie would be a fantastic movie for people in the age group of fifteen and up to give them a little history lesson. This version of the movie would receive a rating of four out of five stars, based on the genre, actors and the ending.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I Will Wring That Birdy’s Neck. The film,”One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” came out in 1975 produced by Milos Foreman. The book came out in 1962 written by Ken Kesey. The movie “ One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, is a terrible movie because it did not coincide with my thoughts of how the movie should have went. The movie deserves a .5 out of 5 stars because of the actors, how close it follows the book, and that it needs a remake. The characters that I had thought would play the roles perfectly were not included in the movie. The characters chosen for the movie were ultimately not what I had expected. I imagined Neal McDonough playing McMurphy and Meryl Streep playing Nurse Ratched. The characters chosen played the roles well, but didn’t look the roles. McMurphy didn’t have; red hair, tattoos, or huge muscles. The movie probably would have been quite long had they followed the book exactly. The movie doesn’t follow the book as closely as one would like, although we know it would call for a very long movie. There were things that didn’t match up correctly and they would have to make the movie different otherwise it would have been a long movie. At the end of the book McMurphy choked Nurse Ratched just like the movie, except the times were different and it threw me for a loop, so I at first was not aware of what was going to happen. When McMurphy stole the boat, the people were not doing some of the things that they had done in the book which made the whole thing different. I don’t believe they had the technology to do some of the things that they had to do maybe so thats why it didn’t follow the book to a tee. This movie needs a remake, one that has all the elements, possibly in a shortened time period. The graphics were a little off, the noises were still made when Washington knocked McMurphy over the head. Some of the things like the blood that covered Billy Bibbit seemed too shiny making it look quite fake. A newer version would have much better graphics which would indeed enhance the movie, making it substantially better to watch. They could also update the characters and make them all seem and fit the parts they would play. If the movie is to have higher ratings this is what it needs to have done to better keep the viewer involved; change the actors, follow the book closer, and present it in a new and improved format.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would rate the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Milos Forman a 3 out of 5 stars based on the actors who were in the movie, the plot, and how old it is. The first topic I choose to rate this movie was the actors in the movie. I believe that the actors in this movie were decent because the played there roles well. Before I watched the movie I read the book One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and I pictured some of the characters in my mind somewhat different than they actually were in the movie. Out of all three of my main points that I am grading this movie on I would say the actor’s category would be one of the best that fit with what I thought it would be like. After judging the characters in the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” I thought I would take a look at the plot of this movie because without a plot the characters would have nothing to go off of.  My next topic I picked to rate this movie was the plot of the movie. The main reason why I have picked the plot of this movie is because I had read the book before I had watched the movie therefor I wanted to somewhat judge it of the book. I think it is interesting on how much the book and the movie were the same and was different. I believe that the movie should have had much more detail into it like the book had. The book had a lot of small details into it that made it more exciting. I think that the book kept you intrigued with reading it and the movie was kind of slow and boring at some points especially in the beginning of the movie. The plot in the movie got better as the end of the movie came up. I think that looking at the plot and the characters in this movie which are both pretty major parts of judging a movie I would say. This brings me to judge something a little simpler such as how old this movie is which could change my overall rating a little because of this.  The Movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Michael Douglas came out on November 19, 1975 which means that this in fact is an old movie. The fact that this is an old movie makes a difference on how we rate it I believe. Being an old movie means that the setting or plot is not going to be as exciting or powerful such as action scenes as movies from our time now are going to be. Also because this is an older movie it won’t have as good of graphics or camera shots as the movies we have today.  In conclusion i gave this movie a 3 out of 5 based on the three points I have gave above, Actors, Plot, and how old this movie is. I feel these three points make a movie better because without good actors you would not like the movie and without a good plot line you would not like the movie as well. I picked the point of addressing how old this movie is because of the fact that it could change your rating a little. Over all this movie is not all that terrible but it is just not to exciting and over all the book is more detailed and exiting then the movie is. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think the movie tries to tell people to seek freedom. And it is difficult to make the dream to come true. But if you give up, the dream just is a dream. You can achieve success only through your hard work. McMurphy likes freedom, he overcome the difficult to get success. Whatever the ending, he is a worthy person for us to learn from. These are the movie want to tell us, freedom, dream and hard work. Different people have different idea. I like the book better. So I think before you watch the movie, you can read the novel first. But the movie also has some good actors and significances. The movie let me know you will never succeed unless you work hard. .
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when i first saw this movie i thought it would be a boring movie then when i was watching it it was a very dramatic, and sad movie . but overall it was a great movie those out there that hasn't watched it yet go and get it1
Guest More than 1 year ago
There are not enough stars to rate this film. It is a powerful film in which Jack Nicholson plays a man sent for evaluation at the state mental hospital. In a ton of events that show him trying to show the other boys in the hospital who to live life to the fullest, tragety strikes. This film means a lot to me since I have been in a mental ward of a hospital and I had a hard task watching it for the first time.
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This is the best movie I ever saw and it is probable the best I ever will see.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would rate this film a 3 out of 5. Some things that were different from the novel to the film are the way they portrayed McMurphy. In the novel, McMurphy is quite immense and has some tattoos, as to where in the film, he was a normal sized man with not a tattoo in sight. In the novel, they are in the middle of a meeting when McMurphy brings up the fact that he wants to take the men on a fishing trip. He raises enough money to go on the trip and they leave with Nurse Ratched’s consent. They leave in two separate vehicles. In the film, the men are trying to enjoy the day out in the yard when McMurphy steals a bus with all the men on board and goes to the docks to go fishing. McMurphy goes into the shop when they are at the docks, and men laugh at them and call them names in the novel, but in the film, while boarding the fishing boat, McMurphy tells the captain that they are all doctors from the ward and then steals the boat while the captain is walking away. In the novel, the doctor is with them on the boat, but when they return in the film, the doctor is waiting for them on the docks with police officers and the captain to take them back to the ward. In the novel, no one was looking for them. In the film, they have a helicopter overhead looking for them. The novel says that the men are washed after their fishing trip, but in the film they don’t have the men washed at all.Some similarities between the novel and the film are the way the men and the staff act. McMurphy is outrageous, egotistic, street smart, witty, and knows how to stand up for the men and himself. Chief is quiet, shy, vast, and kind. Harding is smart, hardheaded, and has a bit of a temper. Martini is quiet, pint-sized, and gets excited easily. Nurse Ratched is powerful, strict, malicious, and doesn’t listen to anyone but herself. When McMurphy wants to watch the World Series, Nurse Ratched says no. The men pretend that the game is playing on the TV and they all start getting excited. McMurphy makes a lot of bets with the men throughout the novel and the film. McMurphy takes the men fishing. They have a party at the ward after all of the staff leave. McMurphy plans on leaving the ward but doesn’t because he is waiting for Billy to get done with his date with Candy. McMurphy ends up falling asleep in the ward and wakes up with all the staff looking for Billy. When they find Billy, they find him in bed with Candy. He begs Nurse Ratched not to tell his mom, but she insists. After she sends him to the doctor’s office, the other nurse finds him dead, with his throat cut, lying on the floor. McMurphy attacks Nurse Ratched and ends up being sent to the Disturbed. They bring McMurphy back into the ward and Chief goes over to him in his bed. Chief sees how bad he is after his Lobotomy and suffocates him. Chief goes into the tub room and lifts the water panel and throws it through a window in the day room. Chief leaves the ward and goes to Canada like he had planned with McMurphy.  Although there are a lot of similarities and differences between the novel and the film, I highly recommend reading the novel. The novel tells more to the story and has a lot more detail in it than the film portrayed. I don’t enjoy reading by any means and was hesitant about it at first, but once I started reading the novel, I really got into the concept and the story line.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Age remains Just the Beginning The book One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest remained published in 1962, written by Ken Kesey. The movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” was produced by Milos Foreman in 1975. The movie briefly remains about a man named McMurphy who comes into a mental hospital who always gets himself into trouble by aggravating Nurse Ratched. McMurphy also thinks he can control the men on the ward. I would rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars based on the age, the actors, and the ending. The first criteria I used to evaluate the film is the age of the movie. I think the age of the movie stands the test of time because of being about 40 years old while it still stays decent to this day. Throughout the movie McMurphy tells jokes that stay funny and understandable. You might think a movie from 40 years old would stand in black and white, well not this one. Some of the actors from 40 years ago still remain alive and acting in movies today. The second criteria I used to evaluate the film were the actors of the movie. If you’re looking for something funny, actors is the way to focus on. Especially Jack Nicholson, who plays McMurphy, he remains an indeal funny guy. Louise Fletcher, who plays Nurse Ratched, is a demanding woman in the movie but remains funny in the real world. I believe the ending remains the best part of the movie because than you will leave with something to remember by. The third criteria I used to evaluate the film was the ending. I thought the end of the movie and the book were going to remain the same. In both the book and the movie McMurphy got a lobotomy. In the novel McMurphy gets the lobotomy during the day; in the film he takes it at night. When McMurphy took his lobotomy in the book they destroyed his face, therefore he looked dead. When two of the workers brought McMurphy back into the ward during the movie, chief stayed upset. Chief told McMurphy he wouldn’t leave him like he stood, thus he suffocated him with a pillow. Later Chief threw the panel that held down the water in the tub room threw the window and escaped. Perhaps the other men on the ward could’ve escaped because there remained a giant gash in the wall so they consumed the chance to leave but instead they stayed. In conclusion, I would rate the film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” 5 out of 5 stars based on the age, the actors, and the ending. The movie stays rated R but I think it could stay suitable for people who remain interested in comedy, action, and violence. The only corrupt thing this movie partakes is the language; otherwise I think anyone should be able to watch it. If you’re looking for something funny, you should focus mostly on the actors. I didn’t except the ending of the movie, I thought there was going to be more, like the other patients escaping the ward. To find out more about the movie, I suggest you watch it because it is great!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” was inspired by the book written by Ken Kesey. The boom was made in 1962 compared to the movie made in 1975 by Milos Forman. Milos changed the setting of the characters. The movie makes the characters seem too nice and crazy. I would rate the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” 3 out of 5 stars based on the actors, genre, and effects. The first criteria I used was acting. The actors make the movie so if they don’t fit the part than it is not a movie worth watching. Will Sampson whose role was chief or Mr. Bromden did a swell job of pretending to be the deaf and dumb crazy he was supposed to be. McMurphy who was played by Jack Nicholson played his roll enthusiastically even though I imagined him bigger. Nurse Ratched or Louis Fletcher was nothing that I thought she would be. I thought she would be bigger and more mean. Overall some of the characters played their part well even if they didn’t really fit the roll. The actors bring the genre to life. The second criteria I used was genre because it all depends on the mood of the movie. The genre makes the movie seem more real or true yet it has some humorous parts. The movie is completely different from the book. The movie adds the feeling of it being funny. The book gives you the feeling of how real the situation was. I thought that the movie could have been more similar to the book to give the audience a sense of feeling for what actually happened. The genre collides with the effects because of the time. The third criteria I used was effects. Effects make movies now days, but this movie didn’t really use that many effects. The movie didn’t have to use that many effects because of the time it was made. The very few effects that were used were used very well. I thought the movie did a wonderful job of using their resources. The effects they did use helped make the movie look and seem more real. The movie was done in the 1970’s so it was well made for the time that it was made. Overall my advice would be to read the book and not watch the movie. The book gives a sense of realness that the movie cannot give. Even though the movie was not that bad it gave a drama feel instead of giving a more serious feel. I feel that the age for watching this movie should be 17 and older. This movie is rated R and has some parts of it that are for older ears and eyes.