One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) - Plot Summary Poster

Plot Summary

  • McMurphy has a criminal past and has once again gotten himself into trouble and is sentenced by the court. To escape labor duties in prison, McMurphy pleads insanity and is sent to a ward for the mentally unstable. Once here, McMurphy both endures and stands witness to the abuse and degradation of the oppressive Nurse Ratched, who gains superiority and power through the flaws of the other inmates. McMurphy and the other inmates band together to make a rebellious stance against the atrocious Nurse.

    - Written by Jacob Oberfrank
  • 1963. With a few months left in his sentence, thirty-eight year old convict Randall Patrick McMurphy - "Mac" - serving time for several assaults and statutory rape, has just been transferred from a labor camp associated with Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution in Pendleton to a psychiatric hospital. Mac has been able to use acting "crazy" - having a belligerent and smart-alecky attitude and anti-authoritarian behavior - to his benefit in not having to do any work. He is at the hospital as the authorities at Pendleton want him to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to prove he is not crazy, they believing his is all an act to get out of work. He believes this stint will get him out of any more work while he serves out the remainder of his sentence. He is placed in a ward with a group of men who have differing degrees of lucidity and control of their mental faculties. He continues to behave in the same manner as always to get what he wants, using the other patients either as accessories or things for his own amusement. He adds to his list of goals to do anything to annoy the ward's tyrannical head nurse, Miss Mildred Ratched, whose seeming want is to break the spirit of any of the men in her care. In his battle with Nurse Ratched, Mac eventually tries to help the men get a voice of their own while in the hospital, and for some for their eventual return to the outside world.

    - Written by Huggo
  • McMurphy thinks he can get out of doing work while in prison by pretending to be mad. His plan backfires when he is sent to a mental asylum. He tries to liven the place up a bit by playing card games and basketball with his fellow inmates, but the head nurse is after him at every turn.

    - Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>
  • McMurphy, a man with several assault convictions to his name, finds himself in jail once again. This time, the charge is statutory rape when it turns out that his girlfriend had lied about being eighteen, and was, in fact, fifteen (or, as McMurphy puts it, "fifteen going on thirty-five"). Rather than spend his time in jail, he convinces the guards that he's crazy enough to need psychiatric care and is sent to a hospital. He fits in frighteningly well, and his different point of view actually begins to cause some of the patients to progress. Nurse Ratched becomes his personal cross to bear as his resistance to the hospital routine gets on her nerves.

    - Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net> and J.D.
  • Upon admittance to a mental institution, a brash rebel rallies the patients to take on the oppressive head nurse.

    - Written by Juan Trouilh


In 1963 Oregon, Randle Patrick McMurphy (Nicholson), a criminal who has been sentenced to a fairly short prison term...

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