A criminal pleads insanity and is admitted to a mental institution, where he rebels against the oppressive nurse and rallies up the scared patients.

Director:

Milos Forman

Writers:

Lawrence Hauben (screenplay), Bo Goldman (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Popularity
442 ( 37)
Top Rated Movies #18 | Won 5 Oscars. Another 32 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Berryman ... Ellis
Peter Brocco ... Col. Matterson
Dean R. Brooks Dean R. Brooks ... Dr. Spivey
Alonzo Brown Alonzo Brown ... Miller
Scatman Crothers ... Turkle
Mwako Cumbuka ... Warren
Danny DeVito ... Martini
William Duell William Duell ... Sefelt
Josip Elic ... Bancini
Lan Fendors Lan Fendors ... Nurse Itsu
Louise Fletcher ... Nurse Ratched
Nathan George ... Washington
Ken Kenny Ken Kenny ... Beans Garfield
Mel Lambert Mel Lambert ... Harbor Master
Sydney Lassick ... Cheswick
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

If he's crazy, what does that make you?

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Neither the film nor Ken Kesey's 1962 novel made specific reference to Oregon State Hospital. Kesey was inspired by his experiences working at a veterans' hospital in California, and set his novel at an unnamed institution in Oregon. See more »

Goofs

As McMurphy dances with one of the patients while trying to convince more people to vote in favor of watching the World Series, the shadow of a camera is plainly visible on their backs. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Attendant Warren: Good morning, Miss Ratched.
Nurse Ratched: Good morning.
Attendant Washington: Good morning, Miss Ratched.
Nurse Ratched: Mr. Washington.
Miller: Morning.
Nurse Ratched: Good morning.
Nurse Pilbow: Good morning, Miss Ratched.
Nurse Ratched: Good morning.
Attendant Washington: Morning, Bancini.
[...]
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Crazy Credits

The cast is credited in alphabetical order in the end credits, except for Brad Dourif, who is listed last as follows: "and introducing / Brad Dourif as Billy Bibbit". See more »

Connections

Featured in The 48th Annual Academy Awards (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Charmaine
(1926) (uncredited)
Music by Lew Pollack and Erno Rapee
Played on a record
Reprised in the score near the end
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User Reviews

 
Poetic - Powerful - Simple: The Greatness of Cuckoo's Nest.
22 January 2000 | by Don-102See all my reviews

The opening shot of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST is a bleak glance at an Oregon morning. Stirring, haunting music plays gracefully on the soundtrack and a car approaches. Inside the car is one of film history's most remarkable characters. "Randle McMurphy" is about to bring hope, humor, and a glimmer of reality to some disturbed people in a mental hospital. Jack Nicholson as "McMurphy", is something of a paradox. Is this guy crazy or is he really the lazy, conniving criminal most believe him to be? That is the magical mystery and start to a journey into mental illness and the effect this man will have on some truly messed up men.

Milos Forman directs this all-time classic, which swept the Oscars deservedly, and holds up so well 25 years later. It is a simplistic film about small people living in their own small worlds. Manic moments are mixed with poignant acting all leading to an astounding climax. Not before or since CUCKOO'S NEST has a collection of different characters had such an impact on me. You could write a book report about each of the patients in the ward. The two most important people here are, of course, Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher.

Nicholson has his greatest moments in this picture. One brilliant scene has him doing an imaginary play-by-play commentary of the 1963 World Series to the group, who are not allowed to watch the game on TV. It is a poetic sequence and Nicholson goes crazy with his delivery, describing baseball with colorful anecdotes and profanity. "McMurphy" immediately makes an impression on the crazies and shows them how they don't have to stick to the "normal routine". He knows their names right away, he sprays them with water, he makes impossible bets with them, he introduces them to fishing, and he even gets a suffering young kid (played well by Brad Dourif) a "date".

Louise Fletcher plays one of the more reprehensible human beings in film as "Nurse Mildred Ratched". She is a hardened woman, one who makes the daily meetings with the group a contest to see who will win. Her stubbornness and lack of compassion for the poor guys is rather one dimensional. That's perfect because that is exactly who she is. Her strong will to keep things monotonous leads to a final showdown with the free spirited "McMurphy" in what is easily one of the most shocking and disturbing climaxes in recent memory.

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST does not try to make a statement about mental illness or how the unstable should be treated. Rather, it is a very simple portrait of the long days and hilarious scenarios that can come about when a mixed bag of suffering people are thrown together. Mental illness is nothing to laugh about, but the fact that Nicholson is not really crazy (at least in my opinion) allows us to be amused. He seems to love his compadres in the hospital. He is mislead, however, into thinking he can do as he pleases.

There is no denying the power of CUCKOO'S NEST. The two main powerhouse performances are golden, the cinematography is morbid and gritty like it should be, the "Chief" is great as Nicholson's right hand, ah, protagonist, and you care a lot about what will happen as the film moves on. The famous, final shot ironically happens to be an exit of a major character into that bleak, Oregon morning.

NOTE: I have never read the book and I find it hard to believe author Ken Kesey has never watched the filmed version. Comparing a book to a movie is impossible. They are 2 distinctly different artistic methods of story-telling.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 November 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest See more »

Filming Locations:

Depoe Bay, Oregon, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$108,981,275

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$109,110,141
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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