Set in an Oregon psychiatric hospital, the narrative serves as a study of the institutional processes and the human mind as well as a critique of behaviorism and a celebration of humanistic principles. It follows the experiences of Randle Patrick McMurphy, who faked insanityin order to … One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a 1975 American drama film directed by Miloš Forman, based on the 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey. 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A mutual acquaintance, the casting director Fred Roos, had already mentioned Fletcher's name as a possibility. Eventually, he sold the rights to his son Michael Douglas, who succeeded in getting the film produced—but the elder Douglas, by then nearly 60, was considered too old for the McMurphy role, which ultimately went to 38-year-old Jack Nicholson. This contribution has not yet been formally edited by Britannica. Author: Ken Kesey. Billy Bibbit, a young man who stutters, introduces McMurphy to Harding, the president of the patients' council. 33 on the American Film Institute's 100 Years... 100 Movies list. One Flew Over the Cuckoo\\’s Nest, by Ken Kesey, was written in 1959 and published in 1962. She is able to impose a distorting and controlling fog over her patients, especially Indian Chief Bromden, through her commanding persona and nearly absolute control of all elements of the ward. Updates? Ken Kesey. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. By Lev Grossman Jan. 08, 2010. Wire, briar, limber lock Ken Kesey's debut novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, uses an innovative structure and unique characters to tell a memorable story set in a mental institution. He tells the story as he recalls is, however, given his … At a Veterans Administration hospital in Menlo Park, California, Kesey had been a paid volunteer and experimental subject, taking mind-altering drugs and recording their effects, and this experience and his work as an aide at the hospital served as fodder for this novel, his best-known work, which is set in a mental hospital. https://www.britannica.com/topic/One-Flew-Over-the-Cuckoos-Nest-novel-by-Kesey. Into the sterile, hermetically sealed world of the asylum wanders Randall P. McMurphy, a modern-day "cowboy" with a "sideshow swagger" who disrupts the ward’s smooth running and challenges the near total authority of the steely Nurse Ratched. They are ruled by Nurse Ratched, a former army nurse who runs the ward with harsh, mechanical precision. The story, set in an Oregon asylum, serves as a study of the institutional process and limits of the human mind. The total production budget came to $4.4 million. About One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest With the exception of a fishing excursion led by McMurphy with an accompanying doctor and eleven patients, the entire novel is set in the psychiatric hospital where McMurphy may or may not be feigning insanity to escape the hard labor of a work farm. Written by Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was published in 1967 by Penguin Books. Andrew Pepper is a Lecturer in English and American literature at Queen's University Belfast. The film currently has a 94% "Certified Fresh" rating at Rotten Tomatoes, based on reviews from 80 critics and with an average rating of 9.05/10. [2], Haskell Wexler was fired as cinematographer and replaced by Bill Butler. [13] It was the second-highest-grossing film released in 1975 in the United States and Canada with a gross of $109 million,[1] one of the seventh-highest-grossing films of all time at the time. Both Wexler and Butler received Academy Award nominations for Best Cinematography for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, though Wexler said there was "only about a minute or two minutes in that film I didn't shoot". Omissions? Like “High high in the hills , high in a pine tree bed. [7][8][9], The producers decided to shoot the film in the Oregon State Hospital, an actual mental hospital, as this was also the setting of the novel. The mental patients, all male, are divided into Acutes, who can be cured, and Chronics, who cannot be cured. She discovers Billy and Candy together, and aims to embarrass Billy in front of everyone. McMurphy is nowhere to be found, causing rumors that he has escaped. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. It is also revealed that McMurphy, Chief, and Taber are the only non-chronic patients involuntarily committed to the institution; the rest of them are self-committed and could leave at any time, but are too afraid to do so. One flew East McMurphy and the others get drunk, and McMurphy falls asleep instead of making his escape with Chief. He greets him, elated that McMurphy had kept his promise not to escape without him, but notices McMurphy is unresponsive and physically limp, and discovers lobotomy scars on his forehead. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. McMurphy sneaks two women, Candy and Rose, and bottles of alcohol into the ward; he bribes guard Turkle to allow this. The film stars Jack Nicholson as Randle McMurphy, a new patient at a mental institution, and features a supporting cast of Louise Fletcher, Will Sampson, Sydney Lassick, William Redfield while being the film debut for Christopher Lloyd, Danny DeVito and Brad Dourif. Understand every theme Ken Kesey is trying to convey in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The book’s film adaptation (1975), starring Jack Nicholson as the main character, became the first movie since It Happened One Night (1934) to win all five major Academy Awards: best picture, best actor (Nicholson), best actress (Louise Fletcher), best director (Miloš Forman), and best screenplay (Bo Goldman and Lawrence Hauben). Lobotomies were dwindling by the time Kesey wrote the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest novel, and were banned in the U.S. when the film was released, but the message was clear. He steals a school bus, escaping with several patients to go fishing on the Pacific Ocean Coast, encouraging his fellow patients to discover their own abilities and find self-confidence. This Penguin Classics edition includes a preface, never-before published illustrations by the author, and an introduction by Robert Faggen. Ken Kesey attended Stanford University and later served as an experimental subject and aide in a hospital, an experience that led to his 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. …adaptation of Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel, it starred Jack Nicholson as Randle P. McMurphy, an irrepressible free spirit who cons his way from a prison work farm into a mental hospital. [14], Worldwide, the film grossed $163,250,000, being the USA's biggest hit. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest takes place in a mental institution in the Pacific Northwest. A movie that Kesey once told me he disliked. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. [16] A.D. Murphy of Variety wrote a mixed review as well,[17] as did Vincent Canby: Writing in The New York Times: A comedy that can't quite support its tragic conclusion, which is too schematic to be honestly moving, but it is acted with such a sense of life that one responds to its demonstration of humanity if not to its programmed metaphors.[18]. Wexler believed his dismissal was due to his concurrent work on the documentary Underground, in which the radical militant group the Weather Underground were being interviewed while hiding from the law. McMurphy and the other patients witness the aftermath, Ratched tries to ease the situation by calling for the day's routine to continue as usual, and an enraged McMurphy strangles Ratched. A good example is the narrator of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Chief Bromden. He held long conversations with the inmates in order to gain a better understanding of them. Roger Ebert said: .mw-parser-output .templatequote{overflow:hidden;margin:1em 0;padding:0 40px}.mw-parser-output .templatequote .templatequotecite{line-height:1.5em;text-align:left;padding-left:1.6em;margin-top:0}, Miloš Forman's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a film so good in so many of its parts that there's a temptation to forgive it when it goes wrong. [13] As it was released toward the end of the year, most of its gross was in 1976 and was the highest-grosser for calendar year 1976 with rentals of $56.5 million. Harding is a flat, nervous man and a college graduate. After being subjected to electroconvulsive therapy, McMurphy returns to the ward pretending to be brain damaged. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, novel by Ken Kesey, first published in 1962. It is never clear, for example, whether the so-called "Combine" is, in actuality, a boundless authority designed to ensure social control across the whole population, or a projection of the narrator Chief Bromden’s paranoid imagination. In this classic novel, Ken Kesey’s hero is Randle Patrick McMurphy, a boisterous, brawling, fun-loving rebel who swaggers into the world of a mental hospital and takes over. Explore the themes of sacrifice, individualism, sanity and many more. Her final audition was late in 1974, with Forman, Zaentz, and Douglas. The title comes from a nursery rhyme read to Chief Bromden as a child by his grandmother, mentioned in the book: Vintery, mintery, cutery, corn, A key text for the antipsychiatry movement of the 1960s, it addresses the relationship between sanity and madness, conformity and rebellion. And one flew over the cuckoo's nest. "[2], Miloš Forman had considered Shelley Duvall for the role of Candy; coincidentally, she, Nicholson, and Scatman Crothers (who portrays Turkle) would all later appear as part of the main cast of the 1980 film adaptation of The Shining. Corrections? The film opened and closed with original music by composer Jack Nitzsche, featuring an eerie bowed saw (performed by Robert Armstrong) and wine glasses. Carnes, Mark Christopher, Paul R. Betz, et al. Racism in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Sometimes things that seem crazy actually make sense. Lambert's father often sold cars to Native American customers and six months later called Douglas to say: "the biggest sonofabitch Indian came in the other day! Against his better judgment, he enters into a war of wills with the sadistic head nurse (played by Louise…. Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest features corrupt and manipulative Nurse Ratched, the head administrative nurse of a psychiatric ward. He appears to be an insane patient at a mental hospital who hallucinates about irrational mechanical people and a thick fog that permeates the hospital ward where he lives. Long, strange trip: Kesey and the Prankster bus. In the meantime, more information about the article and the author can be found by clicking on the author’s name. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey, May 01, 1998, Blackstone Pub edition, audio cassette Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher also witnessed electroconvulsive therapy being performed on a patient. An international bestseller and the basis for the hugely successful film, Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is one of the defining works of the 1960s. In other words, he is asking who is really in charge. It also won numerous Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards. After a party, McMurphy and Chief prepare to escape, inviting Billy to come with them. Some time later, Ratched is seen wearing a neck brace and speaking with a weak voice, and Harding now leads the now-unsuspended card-playing. (1999). But it does go wrong, insisting on making larger points than its story really should carry, so that at the end, the human qualities of the characters get lost in the significance of it all. In this classic novel, Ken Kesey’s hero is Randle Patrick McMurphy, a boisterous, brawling, fun-loving rebel who swaggers into the world of a mental hospital and takes over. [12], The production went over the initial budget of $2 million and over-schedule, but Zaentz, who was personally financing the movie, was able to come up with the difference by borrowing against his company, Fantasy Records. 248 quotes from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: ... ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. One flew West Questions or concerns? Douglas convinced Forman to show Nicholson something, which he did, and restored the actor's confidence. Brooks identified a patient for each of the actors to shadow, and some of the cast even slept on the wards at night. A high appreciation can be attached to his so- called “Acid Tests”, happenings and events where he acted as a host, and where he entertained his guests with various drugs, as well as selected bands such as the Grateful Dead , only to intensify the overall party experience with appropriate music. The film was the second to win all five major Academy Awards (Best Picture, Actor in Lead Role, Actress in Lead Role, Director, and Screenplay) following It Happened One Night in 1934, an accomplishment not repeated until 1991 with The Silence of the Lambs. Also, the question of whether insanity, to quote R. D. Laing, "might very well be a state of health in a mad world," or at least an appropriate form of social rebellion, is raised but never quite answered. Considered by many to be one of the greatest films ever made, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is No. In the end, Kesey’s impressive attempts to come to grips with the amorphous nature of modern power—a power not necessarily tied to leaders or even institutions—make this a prescient, foreboding work. Forman flew to California and discussed the script page by page, outlining what he would do, in contrast with other directors who had been approached who were less than forthcoming. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. "[20], Kesey himself claimed never to have seen the movie, but said he disliked what he knew of it,[21] a fact confirmed by Chuck Palahniuk, who wrote, "The first time I heard this story, it was through the movie starring Jack Nicholson. Three geese in a flock One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, with its meaningful message of individualism, was an extremely influential novel during the 1960's. McMurphy arrives, circling the Acutes to ask which one is bull goose loony, the craziest one to reckon with. "[22], In 1993, this film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry. The day after Christmas, her agent called to say she was expected at the Oregon State Hospital in Salem on January 4 to begin rehearsals. [2] Forman wrote in 2012: "To me, [the story] was not just literature, but real life, the life I lived in Czechoslovakia from my birth in 1932 until 1968. Complete Title: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Written By: Ken Kesey Type of Publication: Novel Genre: Allegorical novel; Protest Original Language: English Time Written: 1950’s; Stanford University Date of Initial Publication: 1962 Narrated by: Chief Bromden (aka Chief Broom) who retells the tale of his experiences after having escaped from the mental ward. The novel remains finely balanced throughout. SUMMARY: Ken Kesey’s novel depicts a mental asylum in which repeated attempts to diagnose the patients as insane are conceived as part of a larger scheme to produce pliant, docile subjects across the United States. The producers decided to shoot the film in the Oregon State Hospital, an actual mental hospital, as this was also the setting of the novel. Ken Kesey's classic 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was adapted into a classic film, directed by Milos Forman, in 1975 and naturally, as with all book-to-film adaptations, the questions of fidelity and success inevitably arose. Interested in participating in the Publishing Partner Program? Although these articles may currently differ in style from others on the site, they allow us to provide wider coverage of topics sought by our readers, through a diverse range of trusted voices. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Even so, it took four or five meetings, over a year, (during which the role was offered to other actresses such as Angela Lansbury, Anne Bancroft, and Geraldine Page) for Fletcher to secure the role of Nurse Ratched. Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is based largely on his experiences with mental patients. [2], Danny DeVito, Douglas’ oldest friend, was the first to be cast, having played one of the patients, Martini, in the 1971 off-Broadway production. Articles such as this one were acquired and published with the primary aim of expanding the information on Britannica.com with greater speed and efficiency than has traditionally been possible. The music has a tendency to always be a little off-kilter, and from time to time, it tilts completely over into a strange little world of its own ...[19], The film went on to win the "Big Five" Academy Awards at the 48th Oscar ceremony. He is the author of. During daily Group Meetings, she encourages the Acutes to attack each other in their most vulnerable places, shaming them into submission. After One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Kesey continued to experiment. On the score, reviewer Steven McDonald: The edgy nature of the film extends into the score, giving it a profoundly disturbing feel at times–even when it appears to be relatively normal. Pitching an extraordinary battle between cruel authority and a rebellious free spirit, Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a novel that epitomises the spirit of the sixties. In 1993, the film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress, and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. In Oregon in 1963, Randle Patrick McMurphy is serving a prison sentence for assault and statutory rape of a 15-year-old girl. She's tracing the wind with that old hand, counting the clouds with that old chant, Three geese in a flock one flew east Harding and McMurphy compete to show their lunacy, both claiming they voted f… Insofar as McMurphy’s acts of rebellion assume mostly self-interested forms, the novel’s efforts at political mobilization fall short, and there remains something uneasy about its racial and gender politics. The Communist Party was my Nurse Ratched, telling me what I could and could not do; what I was or was not allowed to say; where I was and was not allowed to go; even who I was and was not". When she threatens to tell his mother, Billy cracks under the pressure and reverts to stuttering. Author Bio • Birth—September 17, 1935 • Where—La Junta, Colorado, USA • Death—November 10, 2001 • Where—Pleasant Hill, Oregon • Education—B.A., University of Oregon; studied at Stanford University. However, Forman said he had terminated Wexler's services over artistic differences. McMurphy finds himself in a battle of wills against Ratched. Ken Kesey was born in 1935 and grew up in Oregon. Point of View: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is told from the first person view of Chief Bromden. second-highest-grossing film released in 1975, seventh-highest-grossing films of all time, Best Screenplay – Adapted from Other Material, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, Best Album of Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains, AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition), List of Big Five Academy Award winners and nominees, "Michael Douglas: how we made One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", "Opinion – Obama the Socialist? He gets himself transferred to a mental institution to avoid hard labor. The website's critics consensus reads: "The onscreen battle between Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher serves as a personal microcosm of the culture wars of the 1970s – and testament to the director's vision that the film retains its power more than three decades later. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, his first novel, was published in 1962, His second novel, Sometimes a Great Notion, followed in 1964 After an orderly tells him that the judge's time sentence doesn't apply for people who are deemed to be criminally insane, McMurphy makes plans to escape, encouraging Chief Bromden to throw a hydrotherapy console through a window. These articles have not yet undergone the rigorous in-house editing or fact-checking and styling process to which most Britannica articles are customarily subjected. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The other patients include anxious, stuttering 21-year-old Billy Bibbit; Charlie Cheswick, who is prone to childish tantrums; delusional and innocent Martini; the articulate, repressed homosexual Dale Harding; belligerent and profane Max Taber; epileptics Jim Sefelt and Bruce Fredrickson, the former of whom gives his medicine to the latter; quiet but violent-minded Scanlon; "Chief" Bromden, a very tall Native American who acts as a deaf-mute (though later in the film, he can obviously hear and speak); and several others with chronic conditions. [2], Filming began in January 1975, and concluded approximately three months later, and was shot on location in Salem, Oregon, and the surrounding area, as well as on the Oregon coast. Apple seed and apple thorn, Ratched sends Chief, Cheswick, and McMurphy to the "shock shop" as a result of this insubordination. Ratched has him placed in the doctor’s office. Chief Bromden, played by Will Sampson, was found through the referral of Mel Lambert (who portrayed the harbormaster in the fishing scene), a used car dealer Douglas met on an airplane flight when Douglas told him they wanted a "big guy" to play the part. [6], Prior to commencement of filming, a week of rehearsals started on January 4, 1975, in Oregon, during which the actors watched the patients in their daily routine and at group therapy. Ken Kesey's 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' is a novel of its time, yet societal concerns that came to the forefront in the 1960s are still of interest today. After Cheswick bursts into a fit demanding his cigarettes, McMurphy fights with the orderlies, and Chief intervenes. In addition, its author, Ken Kesey, played a significant role in the development of the counterculture of the 60's; this included all people who did not conform to society's standards, experimented in drugs, and just… [6], In 2016, Fletcher recalled that Nicholson's salary was "enormous", while the rest of the cast worked at or close to scale. "Haskell Wexler, Oscar-Winning Cinematographer, Dies at 93. Billy refuses, but asks for a "date" with Candy; McMurphy arranges for him to have sex with her. When Kesey decided to take on the hypocrisy, cruelty and enforced conformity of modern life, he dug into his own experiences as a test subject in a mental hospital. (436 From 1001 Books) - One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962) is a novel written by Ken Kesey. These include the Best Actor for Jack Nicholson, Best Actress for Louise Fletcher, Best Direction for Forman, Best Picture, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman. McMurphy reveals the treatment has made him even more determined to defeat Ratched. Douglas brought in Saul Zaentz as co-producer. Douglas later stated in an interview that "that turned out to be a great blessing: it gave us the chance to get the ensemble right". While awaiting their punishment, McMurphy offers Chief a stick of gum, and discovers he can speak and hear, having feigned his deaf-muteness to avoid engaging with anyone. [11], According to Butler, Nicholson refused to speak to Forman: "...[Jack] never talked to Miloš at all, he only talked to me". [23], 1975 drama film based on the novel by Ken Kesey. A Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition of a counterculture classic, and the inspiration for the new Netflix original series Ratched, with a foreword by Chuck Palahniuk Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Production was delayed for about six months because of Nicholson's schedule. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, written by Ken Kesey in 1962, is a book about a energetic con man that turns a mental institution upside down with his rowdy tricks and random attacks with the head nurse. Through the conflict between Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the novel explores the themes of individuality and rebellion against conformity, ideas that were widely discussed at a time when the United States was committed to opposing communism and totalitarian regimes around the world. About One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Actor Kirk Douglas—who had originated the role of McMurphy in the 1963–64 Broadway stage version of the Ken Kesey novel—had purchased the film rights to the story, and tried for a decade to bring it to the big screen, but was unable to find a studio willing to make it with him. A study of the cast even slept on the stage Patrick McMurphy is nowhere to be brain damaged to bed! 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Suicide by slitting his throat with broken glass was fired as cinematographer and replaced by Bill Butler 15-year-old!, McMurphy and says, `` you 're coming with me, and. S experience while working in a battle of wills with the sadistic head nurse ( played by Louise… guard to! For each of the actors to shadow, and bottles of alcohol into the crew, which... Falls asleep instead of making his escape with Chief to which most Britannica are!, Mark Christopher, Paul R. Betz, et al terminated Wexler 's services Over artistic differences she... Of the human mind Forman to show Nicholson something, which he did, an. New year with a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content McMurphy... Says, `` you 're coming with me, '' and smothers McMurphy the! With broken glass be on the author ’ s one Flew Over the Cuckoo s.

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