One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a 1975 American comedy drama movie directed by Milos Forman. The movie is based on the 1962 novel with the same name by Ken Kesey. The movie stars Jack Nicholson, and features a supporting cast of Louise Fletcher, William Redfield, Will Sampson and Brad Dourif. Take a look below for 27 more interesting and fascinating facts about One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
1. In the novel, the main character, Randle P. McMurphy, is a big red headed Irishman.
2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is the favorite movie of director Ron Howard and previous President Barack Obama.
3. Ken Kesey based the novel on his experiences while working at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Palo Alto, California.
4. The title of the movie, and novel, is from an American children’s folk rhyme. It’s mentioned in full in the novel but it’s never referenced in the movie.
5. During most of the movie’s shoot, William Redfield was sick. He died several months after the movie was completed.
6. Many extras that took part in the movie were real mental institution patients.
7. The biggest change from the novel to the movie was that the novel was narrated by Chief Bromden, a decision that was left out of the movie. Because of this, Ken Kesey refused to see the movie adaption of his novel.
8. The movie was the first film ever to win all Big Five Academy Awards in 41 years. Not since 1934 with It Happened One Night, did one picture win Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Screenplay.
9. Other actors that were considered for the role of Randle P. McMurphy included Kirk Douglas, Gene Hackman, Marlon Brando and Burt Reynolds. However, the role was awarded to Jack Nicholson because he was the biggest name in Hollywood at the time.
10. Several actresses were considered for the role of Nurse Ratched, including Anne Bancroft, Colleen Dewhurst, Geraldine Page and Angela Lansbury.
11. The doctor who assessed Randle P. McMurphy at the beginning of the movie, Dr. John Spivey, was an actual facility superintendent at Oregon State Hospital, where the movie was filmed.
12. To add a sense of realism, the director led his performers in unscripted group therapy sessions in which he directed the actors to develop their characters psychological maladies organically. He would then capture footage of the actors, both in and out of character, without mentioning that the cameras were rolling.
13. Most of Jack Nicholson’s scene with Spivey upon arriving at the hospital was improvised.
14. Strained by a demanding shooting schedule that kept him away from his wife, Danny DeVito created an imaginary friend with who he would have nightly chats with.
15. The cast and crew were also concerned about the behavior of Sydney Lassick, who played Cheswick. He exhibited increasingly unpredictable and emotionally erratic behavior during his time in character.
16. The play opened on Broadway in New York City in November, 1963, and closed after 82 performances. The cast included Kirk Douglas as Randle P. McMurphy, William Daniels as Dale Harding and Gene Wilder as Billy Bibbit.
17. Louise Fletcher was so disturbed by her own performance as Nurse Ratched that she couldn’t watch the movie for years.
18. When filming the fishing scene, the entire cast except Jack Nicholson got seasick. What made it even worse was that it took an entire week to film.
19. The fishing scene was almost cut from the movie. It was the final scene to be filmed and it’s the only piece that’s shot out of chronological order.
20. The fishing scene was filmed at Depoe Bay, Oregon, which is the smallest harbor in the world.
21. Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, and Vincent Schiavelli were all patients in the hospital in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and all played villains in Tim Burton’s Batman movies.
22. In 1993, the movie was deemed culturally, historically and aesthetically significant by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
23. Jack Nicholson took a percentage of the profits in lieu of a small salary for a modestly budgeted movie. This ended up paying off as the movie went on to gross well over $125 million.
24. Many of the cast members stayed in character even when the cameras weren’t rolling.
25. The movie was shown in Swedish cinemas between 1975 and 1987, which was and still is a record.
26. Louise Fletcher was signed a week before filming began, after auditioning repeatedly for over 6 months. Milos Forman told her each time that she just wasn’t approaching the part right, but kept calling her back.
27. A patient hired by the production company had a stutter that he had all of his life. He was so inspired by his responsibilities while working for the producers that his stuter was permanently resolved.