A classic film by Milos Forman, based on the novel by Ken Kesey. One Flew Over Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) was filmed in Oregon State Mental Hospital (Salem, Oregon, USA). I had an opportunity to see it on the big screen when Laurelhurst Theater (Portland, Oregon, USA) was doing a special screening as a part of their Made in Oregon series.
Ken Kesey used to work in a mental hospital and allegedly the first draft of his novel was written during the long hours of night shifts. Inspired by his experiences, Kesey depicts the life in a mental institution in an interesting manner, carrying the story with the colorful characters (both patients and staff). The book is, however, no joyride; it displays the harsh, sometimes inhumane, ways in which mental health patients were treated those days.
Forman’s filmization does justice to the book. The cast is stellar; Jack Nicholson does one of his best roles as the patient Randle McMurphy. The rest of the patients are equally brilliant as they toddle along trying to keep up with McMurphy’s crazy ideas.
Attendant Washington: Hey, McMurphy, what the hell you doin’, man? He’s a deaf, dumb Indian. He can’t hear a fuckin’ thing.
McMurphy: I ain’t talkin’ to him, I’m talkin’ to myself. You know what I mean?