One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

 ●  English ● 2 hrs 13 mins

Where did you watch this movie?

This masterfully crafted psychological thriller follows the fluctuating fortunes in the life of McMurphy, a man with several assault convictions to his name, who just happens to finds himself in jail once again. This time, the charge is statutory rape, as 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 nemesis, as his resistance to the hospital routine gets on her nerves, while her utter domination over the inmates, whom she routinely bullies into submission, is absolutely unacceptable to McMurphy's rebellious personality. How will the ego battle between McMurphy and Nurse Ratched unravel? What will the effect of McMurphy's friendship with them and resistance against the administrative tyranny be upon the inmates? Will McMurphy succeed in completing his term of imprisonment and breathe free air once more?
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Michael Berryman

Crew: Milos Forman (Director), Haskell Wexler (Director of Photography), Jack Nitzsche (Music Director)

Genres: Drama

Release Dates: 21 Nov 1975 (India)

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

Movie Rating
Based on 0 rating
Music Rating
Based on 0 rating
Did you know? Danny DeVito reprised his performance from a 1971 off-Broadway revival. Read More
No reviews available. Click here to add a review.
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor





Screenplay Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography


Music Director


Art Director
Production Designer

Costume and Wardrobe

Costume Designer


Makeup and Hair

Makeup Artist
Film Type:
Feature Film
Colour Info:
Sound Mix:
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
If he's crazy, what does that make you?
Audio/Video Mismatch
When McMurphy is "announcing" the baseball game, his reflection in the darkened TV set does not match the audio track.

Character Error
After the voting for the change of the TV time, McMurphy tells Nurse Ratched at one moment that the voting was ten to nine, while it was actually ten to eight, like he said before.

When the doctors bring back Randle McMurphy from his treatment, they walk in, one doctor puts down his doctor bag, they lay Randle down, and as they walk out the doctor bag has disappeared and neither one is carrying it out.

During the meeting scene, when the men are tossing the cigarette around, it changes length in between shots.

When fishing, the condition of the water changes as the scene shifts from one person to the other. Sometimes it is wavy with whitecaps and other times it is flat.

After McMurphy, Harding drinks the medicine with his right hand. In the next shot he is finishing to drink with his left hand and holding a newspaper with the right hand.

In the card playing scene before the music dispute, McMurphy's hair alternates between unkempt 'bed head' and groomed.

In the "Voluntary/Involuntary" scene, McMurphy goes from having a "five o'clock shadow" to being clean shaved, then back to having stubble.

In the voluntary/committed scene, the writing on the chalkboard behind nurses Ratched and Pilbow is different in three different shots of them (widescreen version).

When Cheswick is spilling the drink from the bottle to the jar, it is colorless. But when he is dumping the drink, with the hose, in the mouth of the patients, it is red.

As Mac is being interviewed and they are looking at the fish, Dr. Spivey is holding a folder on one shot and a pencil in the next.

During the fishing trip, when McMurphy comes out of the cabin we see Candy behind him wearing only panties and holding her shirt to her chest. After a two-second cutaway, we return to see Candy wearing the shirt. She could not have gotten dressed that quickly.

Crew/Equipment Visible
During the basketball game, McMurphy runs to the edge of the court, the camera follows and, for a moment, reveals an assortment of film production equipment including lighting stands, C-stands, lighting gels and even a crew member. Only visible in the wide screen version.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When it is a first person view of McMurphy looking through the nurse's room, you can see the reflection of the camera man in the glass.

Crew/Equipment Visible
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.

Errors in Geography
After the Christmas party, and Randall is waiting by the open window for Candy to finish seducing Billy, crickets can be clearly heard outside. Crickets do not chirp in the wet, cold, Oregon winter.

Factual Mistake
The Birmingham Church Bombing of 1963 happened in September and Hall, Cagle and Chambliss were arrested September 30 but the World Series was playing October 2nd to 7th. That puts the scene with McMurphy listening to the news and watching the nurses being escorted by Crothers out of sequence.

Revealing Mistakes
McMurphy dials only six numbers when he calls his girlfriend from the Nurse's station.

Revealing Mistakes
Differences in clothing between McMurphy and his stunt double when McMurphy drops to the ground on the other side of the fence.

Revealing Mistakes
Towards the end of the movie, there are multiple references to it being winter, the most obvious are: the television announcer mentions the "upcoming holiday season", and the morning after the party, a sign saying the date is December 11th can be briefly seen. However, in shots of the outside, there are leaves on the trees, birds outside, and other small details inconsistent with winter in Oregon.

McMurphy's hat when strangling Nurse Ratched.

Revealing Mistakes
Randall nearly chokes Nurse Ratched to death after she treats Billy so cruelly, yet when he is pulled away there are no marks or bruises at all on her throat.
Louise Fletcher was so upset with the fact that the other actors could laugh and be happy while she had to be so cold and heartless that near the end of production she removed her dress and stood in only her panties to prove to the actors she was not "a cold-hearted monster".

Many extras were authentic mental patients.

Author Ken Kesey was so bitter about the way the filmmakers were "butchering" his story that he vowed never to watch the completed film and even sued the movie's producers because it wasn't shown from Chief Bromden's perspective (as the novel is). Years later, he claimed to be lying in bed flipping through TV channels when he settled onto a late-night movie that looked sort of interesting, only to realize after a few minutes that it was this film. He then changed channels.

During filming, a crew member running cables left a second story window open at the Oregon State Mental Hospital and an actual patient climbed through the bars and fell to the ground, injuring himself. The next day The Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon reported the incident with the headline on the front page "One flew OUT of the cuckoo's nest".

Will Sampson, who plays Chief Bromden, was a park ranger in Oregon in a park near where the movie was filmed. He was selected for the part because he was the only Native American the Casting Department could find who matched the character's incredible size.

The script called for McMurphy to leap on a guard and kiss him when first arriving at the hospital. During filming, director Milos Forman decided that the guard's reaction wasn't strong enough and told Jack Nicholson to jump on the other guard instead. This surprised the actor playing the second guard greatly, and in some versions he can be seen punching Nicholson.

Most of Jack Nicholson's scene with Dean R. Brooks upon arriving at the hospital was improvised - including his slamming a stapler, asking about a fishing photo, and discussing his rape conviction; Brooks's reactions were authentic.

Second of only three films to win every major Academy Award, including Best Picture.

Many of the actors stayed in character even when the cameras weren't rolling.

The final scene was shot in one take, whereas the party scene took four nights.

Director Milos Forman relied heavily on reaction shots to pull more characters into scenes. In some group therapy scenes, there were ten minutes of Jack Nicholson's reactions filmed even if he had very little dialogue. The shot of Louise Fletcher looking icily at Nicholson after he returns from shock therapy was actually her irritated reaction to a piece of direction from Forman.

Many people incorrectly remember this film as being directed by Stanley Kubrick, who directed A Clockwork Orange (1971) (with a similar theme of criminal reformation therapy) and The Shining (1980) (with a similar theme of Jack Nicholson's madness, and an appearance by Scatman Crothers). This film is often considered the best "non-Kubrick Kubrick film."

Jack Nicholson took a percentage of the profits in lieu of a small salary for a modestly budgeted film. The move paid off when the picture went on to gross well over $120 million dollars.

With the exception of the fishing segment (which was filmed last), the film was shot in sequence.

When filming the fishing scene, all of the cast except Jack Nicholson got seasick. What made it worse for them was it took a whole week to shoot it. Danny DeVito still gets queasy thinking about it.

In 1993, the movie was deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito and Vincent Schiavelli play the inmates of an asylum. All three ended up as villains in Tim Burton's Batman films: Nicholson was the Joker in Batman (1989), DeVito and Schiavelli were the Penguin and the Organ Grinder respectively in Batman Returns (1992).

The film was shown in Swedish cinemas between 1975 and 1987, which was and still is a record.

Mel Lambert, who played the harbor master, was a local businessman rather than an actor; he had a strong relationship with Native Americans throughout the area, and it was he who suggested Will Sampson for the role of Chief Bromden.

When Louise Fletcher neared the end of her Best Actress Oscar acceptance speech, she finished with a unique touch (a first in American Sign Language): "For my mother and my father, I want to say thank you for teaching me to have a dream. You are seeing my dream come true. Thank you."

Rumors that production shut down because Jack Nicholson had hair plugs implanted are false (this can be verified by actually looking at his scalp). The story, as related by production designer Paul Sylbert, was that Nicholson and director Milos Forman had very different ideas about how the narrative should play out; for example, Forman thought that the ward should be in bedlam when McMurphy showed up and Nicholson posited that his character would have absolutely no effect on the mental patients if they were already riled up, which would have negated the purpose of his character and therefore much of the plot. Nicholson and Forman both refused to give an inch, each believing he was right and the other was wrong. The "two months" that Nicholson was supposed to have disappeared was actually closer to two weeks, and he didn't "disappear". In actuality, Nicholson spearheaded a coup among the other actors and refused to let Forman run rehearsals, running them himself instead. During production, Nicholson and Forman spoke to each other through the cinematographer, but faked a friendly relationship when the media and studio personnel would show up to the set. This is one explanation why Nicholson doesn't appear on any of the DVD special features.

Kirk Douglas, who owned the rights, planned to star himself, but by the time they got around to making the film he was too old.

The cast and crew had to become accustomed to working with extras and supporting crew members who were inmates at the Oregon State Mental Hospital; each member of the professional cast and crew inevitably worked closely with at least two or three mental patients.

Kirk Douglas possessed the movie rights for a long time, before his son Michael Douglas finally started the project.

Louise Fletcher was signed a week before filming began, after auditioning repeatedly over six months; director Milos Forman had told her each time that she just wasn't approaching the part correctly, but kept calling her back.

During the ECT scene, McMurphy says "A little dab will do ya" as the nurse is putting conductor gel on the side of his head. This phrase, not in the original script, is a reference to the advertising jingle of Brylcreem hair cream, which was a popular hair care product for men in the 1960s and 1970s.

Danny DeVito reprised his performance from a 1971 off-Broadway revival.

Toward the end of the film, when Harding and Martini are playing cards, both use the word "hovno", Harding echoing Martini. "Hovno" is a word in Czech, director Milos Forman's mother tongue, meaning "shit."

Co-producer Michael Douglas scouted various West Coast locations, and chose Oregon State Hospital because superintendent Dean R. Brooks, MD, agreed to give the filmmakers unlimited access.

In the novel, Nurse Ratched's first name is never revealed. In the film, when the hospital committee meets to discuss McMurphy's behavior, Dr. Spivey calls her "Mildred". Also, when McMurphy returns from ECT and sits down at the group therapy session, he calls her "Mildred".

Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman were offered the McMurphy role before Jack Nicholson. Burt Reynolds was also reportedly considered as McMurphy.

This story was based on author Ken Kesey's experiences while working at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Palo Alto, California.

Most of the major studios turned down the film. One of the reasons being that it took so long to get made.

Dean R. Brooks was a psychiatrist and director of the Oregon state hospital where the film was made. During filming, Brooks correctly diagnosed William Redfield with the leukemia that would kill him 18 months later.

The role of McMurphy (played by Jack Nicholson) was originally offered to James Caan.

This was the second film to win the grand slam of the Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director (Milos Forman), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Actress. The first was It Happened One Night (1934), four decades earlier.

During most of the film's shooting, William Redfield was ill. He died several months after the film was completed.

The title derives from an American children's folk rhyme. It can be read in its entirety in the novel.

The fishing trip sequence was filmed at Depoe Bay, Oregon - the smallest harbor in the world.