One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
-Made in 1975
-Directed by Milos Forman
-Based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Ken Kesey
-Ranked #20 on the American Film Institute's 100 Years... 100 Movies list.
-Shot at Oregon State Hospital in Salem, Oregon.
-This is, by far, one of my most favorite movies. And in fact, at home, I'm reading the book. I've already read it a few times, but it never gets old.

Did You Know?
-Christopher Lloyd's film debut
-Many of the extras were actual mental patients
-Ellen Burstyn, Jane Fonda and Angela Lansbury were all considered for the role of Nurse Ratched
-Louise Fletcher was so angry that all the other actors cold laugh and be happy while she had to be a cold, heartless woman that near the end of production she stood in only her underwear to prove she was not a cold hearted woman

-In 1963 Oregon, Randle Patrick McMurphy(Jack Nicholson), is an anti-authority criminal serving a small prison sentence for the rape of a 15 year old girl. He is sent to a mental institution for evaluation. Although he initially does not show any signs of mental defect, he hopes to avoid labor and serve his sentence in a relaxed environment.
-The ward he is staying on is run by strict head nurse Mildred Ratched(Louise Fletcher), who everyone calls the Big Nurse. She is not fooled by McMurphy's act, and she employs humiliation, unpleasant medical treatments and mind-numbingly boring routines to suppress the patients. McMurphy finds that all the patients are deathly afraid of Ratched. He immediately takes over as leader; including fellow patients, such as Billy Bibbit(Brad Dourif), a nervous, stuttering young man whose mother thinks he is still a child, Charlie Cheswick(Sydney Lassick), a man capable of childish fits of temper, Martini)Danny DeVito), a delusional, Dale Harding(William Redfield), a high strung, well-educated man who suffers from paranoia, Max Taber(Christopher Lloyd), who is stubborn and profane, "Chief" Bromden(Will Sampson), a silent Native American who is believed to be deaf and mute, but hears everything and knows all

-McMurphy and Ratched battle wills against each other, this fight escalates very fast. When McMurphy starts playing card games and win's everyone's cigarettes away, Ratched takes them away and doles them out to people. McMurphy calls for votes when it comes to change ward policy and it comes as a personal challenge to the Big Nurse. He also makes a show of making a bet with the other patients: that he can lift the old hydrotherapy fountain- a massive marble plumbing piece- off the floor and chucking it through the steel mesh wired window.

-McMurphy then steals a hospital bus to take his fellow patients on a fishing trip. He picks up Candy(Marya Small), who has a party girl reputation and takes the group deep sea fishing. After this trip, the patients begin to feel human again
-Soon, McMurphy learns that Ratched and the doctors hold the power to keep him confined in the hospital for as long as they think is necessary. Ratched tightens her grip on the group when she senses they are becoming powerful. During one of the usual meetings, Cheswick's agitation comes to a head and he, McMurphy and the Chief end up fighting with the orderlies. The 3 are sent up to what the patients call the "Shock Shop" for ECT or electroconvulsive therapy. While McMurphy and the Chief wait for their turn to get juiced, McMurphy offers the Chief a piece of gum and he responds back "Juicy Fruit." It surprises McMurphy that the Chief can talk. That he is not deaf or dumb like people thought. He stays silent to deflect attention away from him. After the ECT, McMurphy comes on to the ward faking illness, before humourously greeting his patients, assuring everyone that the ECT only charged him up more and that the next woman to take him on "will light up like a pinball machine and pay off in silver dollars."

-But the battle between the 2 is taking effect on Ratched and his release date slips farther away. McMurphy plans an escape. He phones his friend Candy to bring her friend Rose(Louisa Moritz) and some alcohol to the hospital late one night. They enter through a window after McMurphy bribes the night orderly, Mr. Turkle(Scatman Crothers). McMurphy and Candy invite the patients into the day room for a Christmas party; the group breaks into the drug cabinet, put on music, and enjoys a drunken rampage from alcohol and cough syrup. At the end of the night, McMurphy and Bromden prepare to climb out the window with the girls. McMurphy says goodbye to everyone, and invites an emotional Billy to escape with them; he refuses, saying he is not ready to go. This gives McMurphy the idea to let Billy and Candy have sex in one of the Seclusion rooms. The alcohol takes it's effect on everyone, including McMurphy and Chief, whose eyes close slowly.

-When Nurse Ratched arrives in the morning, she discovers the scene: the ward is in complete disarray, the patients are passed out, and she orders the attendants to lock the windows, clean up and conduct a roll call. When she finds Billy and Candy together, Billy does not stutter when he talks, so that's when people figure out that it was a fear of women he had that made him stutter. Nurse Ratched then threatens to tell Billy's mother what he did and he panics, stuttering again. While locked in the doctor's office, he takes a razor and slits his wrists. Angered, McMurphy attacks Nurse Ratched, nearly strangling her to death until an orderly named Washington knocks him out.

-Later on, when the patients are playing cards and games, all seems to be getting back to normal. This time, Harding is taking the place of McMurphy. That's when Nurse Ratched walks in with a neck brace on and speaks in a thin, scared voice. Then a rumor starts that McMurphy escaped instead of being taken "upstairs" for brain work
-Later that night, Chief Bromden sees McMurphy being escorted back to bed, and initially believes that he has returned so they can all escape- which he is now ready to do with the help of McMurphy, who made him "as big as a mountain." But a close look reveals that McMurphy is unresponsive, that's when he sees lobotomy scars on his forehead. Unwilling to let McMurphy to live, or be seen like this in front of the other patients, the Chief smothers McMurphy to death with his pillow. He then carries out McMurphy's plan to escape by lifting the hydrotherapy fountain and hurling it through the window, climbing through it and running off into the distance.