No. 7 ~ Louise Fletcher in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (Nurse Ratched)
Anne Bancroft, Angela Lansbury, Geraldine Page, Colleen Dewhurst and Ellen Burstyn all turned down the role of Nurse Ratched, they thought the character was a monster. However Fletcher’s approach to the role was somewhat different than in the Kesey novel as she does not wrestle with the mental patients, at least not physically and she does not shout them into submission. Instead she uses a more subtle, calm, always vaguely patronizing, and cut-off approach to subdue them into her will. Distant and self-rightous what she does she feels is right and is actually hurt, almost abused when her suthority is called in question.
Fletcher had not acted in over fifteen years when she landed this role, other than a role in “Theives Like Us” as she had taken time off to raise her sons, but when she took to the screen as Nurse Ratched, she nailed it like a pro. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest became one of the most celebrated movies of the 1970s, winning the “Big Five” Academy Awards (Actor, Actress, Director, Picture, and Screenplay) and being nominated for an additional four.