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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest with Jack Nicholson

Updated on August 9, 2009

Randle Patrick McMurphy/Jack Nicholson

Randle Patrick McMurphy
Randle Patrick McMurphy

Louise Fletcher/Nurse Ratched

Nurse Ratched
Nurse Ratched

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, released in 1975, was the first film to win all five major Oscars--Best Picture, Best Actor (Jack Nicholson as Randle Patrick McMurphy), Best Actress (Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched), Best Director (Milos Forman) Best Screenplay (Laurence Hauben and Bo Goldman). The film was based on Ken Kesey's brilliant 1962 novel of the same name.

Nicholson's performance in Cuckoo's Nest brought him his first of three best actor Academy Awards. He also won for Terms of Endearment, and As Good t Gets. He has received 12 Academy Award nominations, 8 for best actor and 4 for best supporting actor.

All of Nicholson's movies are memorable, but for me, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is the greatest Nicholson performance of all.

The Cuckoos

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest "Watching the World Series"

Nurse Ratched

Electroshock Therapy Scene

Origin of the Title

The title is derived from an American children's folk rhyme. 

Wire, briar, limber-lock Three geese in a flock One flew east, one flew west And one flew over the cuckoo's nest.

It loses a bit of the significance it has in the novel, where it is part of a rhyme Chief Bromden remembers from his childhood. This detail was not included in the film, but the line retains its relevance since the story ends with two patients dead from different causes and one who escapes from the hospital.

Ken Kesey and "Furthur"

The Merry Pranksters' Psychedelic Bus, "Furthur"
The Merry Pranksters' Psychedelic Bus, "Furthur"


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    • catwoman89 profile image


      9 years ago

      I have ALWAYS loved this book and movie. Being a patient myself, I relate to it (luckily, I was an inpatient over more recent years, so I didn't get the mistreatment many in the '60's had gotten).

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      9 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks, George. Good to hear from you. Nurse Nurse, like Major Major in Catch 22. Meryl Streep played a somewhat similar character in "Doubt," which is well worth seeing if you haven't already.

    • profile image

      George Nagle 

      9 years ago

      A delight to re-visit this extraordinary film. Thank you.

      Nurse Ratched brought to mind the last time I went to a government medical institution, the Brooklyn VA hospital, where I saw my son-in-law. Nowhere near the extent of control as in the movie, but control nonetheless. The last name of the supervising nurse was Nurse. There were lots of little notices telling you to take any questions to Nurse Nurse.

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      9 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      I just spruced up this Hub about a great movie and one of our most brilliant actors in what is perhaps his greatest role--Jack Nicholson as Randle Patrick McMurphy.

    • profile image

      Dalene Entenmann 

      11 years ago

      Jack Nicholson is a classic! Thanks for pointing to these videos. Dalene


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