It takes a lot to improve a summer's evening relaxing in front of a movie in Bryant Park.
But, at Monday night's screening of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," an appearance by the film's Oscar-winning director, Milos Forman, added an extra treat.
Addressing the hundreds of city-dwellers who turned out for a breezy evening of cinephilia, Forman shared tidbits from the making of his 1975 classic about a mental patient revolt against a sadistic overseer.
"All the doctors in the film were real doctors in mental institutions," Forman, who won an Academy Award for his efforts, explained.
All of the speaking parts were given to professional actors, but everyone else who appeared in the film was a patient at the hospital, he said.
Recalling a special screening that was held for the patients who participated in the making of the movie, Forman said, "It was the most enthusiastic reception of the film."
Audience members at Monday's Bryant Park screening - the inaugural event of the 2011 season - were similarly pleased at the chance to view the film outdoors.
"It's great," raved Taylor Walker, 21, a Lower East Side resident who works in public relations, of the experience. "I just got off work and walked over."
"We already have plans [to come back] next week," her friend Rebecca, 21, a student and Midtown resident who declined to give a last name, added.
For Bryant Park Summer Film Festival veteran Pamela Elias, 21, the film festival offers a sense of unity not always present in city life.
"It's nice to come together out in the open," Elias, a student who lives in Harlem, said. "It's like going to a drive-in movie."
The festival will continue on Monday nights throughout the summer with classics like "Easy Rider," "Cool Hand Luke" and "Dirty Harry." Next week's screening will feature Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 masterpiece "The 39 Steps."