Tue. Mar 28th, 2023

This text comprises references to abuse, prejudice, and homicide

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest introduced creator Ken Kesey’s counterculture imaginative and prescient to life, however its ending was something however simple. Based mostly on the novel of the identical title, the movie was launched in 1975 to overwhelmingly constructive vital reward due largely to director Miloš Forman’s sensible dealing with of the tough material. The film was vastly profitable on the Academy Awards and have become solely the second movie to win all 5 main classes (and its legacy grew within the ensuing many years, together with incomes a spot on the AFI’s 100 Best Films checklist).


The movie was an ideal storm of content material and execution, and although it’s best remembered for its performances from the likes of Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher, its star-studded solid was just one small a part of the equation. Randle McMurphy was one in every of Jack Nicholson’s nice anti-hero roles, however the character was merely a cog within the large equipment that made up Kesey’s multilayered story. Whereas the surface-level story of rise up throughout the establishment was current, the actual intrigue of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was what bubbled beneath the floor. Characters had been a clue, and the important thing to understanding the movie was by perspective and symbolism.

RELATED: The Actresses Who Have been Nearly Nurse Ratched In One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

Billy Did not Go away With McMurphy And Chief As a result of He Was Afraid Of The Penalties

Though the shy Billy Bibbet spent the majority of the movie being domineered by the overwhelming personalities of his colleagues, the youngest character on the ward was an vital a part of the story. Regardless of being one of many ward’s many voluntary circumstances, Billy was unable to decide for himself. Though actor Brad Dourif would develop into synonymous with horror later in his profession, his defining flip as Billy Bibbit was one of many movie’s most unsung features. Billy had spent the whole movie undermined by Nurse Ratched and she or he was the supply of his troubles, by proxy.

Billy’s actual drawback was the connection he had together with his domineering mom, and her seemingly all-powerful and watchful eye would finally lead him to his demise. Billy would not depart with the opposite two as a result of he was too fearful of the implications (though he would have confronted no punishment since he was a voluntary case). Not like Chief and McMurphy who had been dedicated by the state, Billy might come and go if he needed however was too petrified of Nurse Ratched, and his mom, to ever counteract a directive from them. Billy was a logo for many who might depart the oppressive system however had been too afraid to be opposite.

Why The Hydrotherapy Console Was An Essential Image

The guide and film variations of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest had been crammed to the brim with symbolism, although the movie wasn’t fairly as specific with its messaging as Kesey’s authentic imaginative and prescient. One of many extra delicate photos from each variations was the hydrotherapy console, the equipment Chief finally used to free himself from the ward. McMurphy was proven making an attempt to carry the heavy machine, and it took the whole lot Chief needed to carry the console and throw it by the window. Whereas it appeared merely to be essentially the most handy technique of escape, the precise historical past of hydrotherapy gave it symbolic worth.

Though hydrotherapy was one in every of different drugs’s extra innocuous remedies, there was an intensive historical past of the follow getting used to deal with psychological well being circumstances within the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Earlier than one of many saddest goodbyes in film historical past, Chief remembered McMurphy’s concept and put it into follow. The remedy was designed to “free” sufferers from their afflictions, and Chief satirically used it to free himself from the ward, which was the actual supply of his ache. Chief was able to his escape act all alongside, but it surely took the arrival of Randle P. McMurphy to show him simply how huge and robust he actually was.

RELATED: The place To Watch One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

Nurse Ratched Represented The Standing Quo & Mainstream Concepts

Ostensibly the villain of the movie, Nurse Ratched spent the whole story discovering delicate methods to torture and punish her expenses on the ward. Though she was merely an instrument of a a lot bigger establishment, it appeared as if she took explicit satisfaction in being as inflexible as attainable. Ratched’s character was filtered by the views of the lads on the ward, and she or he by no means acted because the tyrant she all the time appeared to be. Though she was a despicable villain that by no means received what she deserved, she was additionally a symbolic determine for one thing a lot bigger than herself.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was as a lot a movie about psychiatric hospitals because it was about society as a complete, and Nurse Ratched represented the established order. She embodied the mainstream concepts that ruled American life, and her need to mildew the supposedly sick males in her ward was that established order occurring the assault. Figures like McMurphy could not match into Ratched’s well mannered society, and she or he finally modified him for the worst. For Chief, Ratched prejudices derived from the actual fact he was an Indigenous individual that existed outdoors of her imaginative and prescient of crisp civility.

Why Chief Killed McMurphy

Following McMurphy’s try to strangle Nurse Ratched, the ward’s resident troublemaker grew to become the sufferer of the system’s remaining punishment, and he was lobotomized. McMurphy was a uncommon film hero who truly misplaced in the long run, and in that the movie fulfilled a lot of its strongest symbols. McMurphy represented counterculture within the face of established societal constructions, and his defeat made him a martyr within the eyes of Chief. Upon realizing that his newfound good friend had been lobotomized, Chief smothered McMurphy with a pillow earlier than making his grand escape from the ward.

There was no cruelty in Chief’s act, and in his personal manner, he freed McMurphy from the bonds that had saved him down. Chief was impressed to flee by McMurphy, and when he noticed that his good friend couldn’t include him, he gave Randle his personal type of escape. Moreover being a heartbreaking finale, it additionally exhibited the ultimate philosophy of the story and encapsulated the concept that the system may be unbeatable. The opposite finest movies of the American New Wave had been equally dour, they usually managed to be extra inspiring as a result of they did not have the standard Hollywood endings of movies previous.

RELATED: Why McMurphy In One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest Is A Good Protagonist (& Nurse Ratched Is A Good Villain)

The True Which means Of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’s Ending

The ending of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was simply as difficult and symbolic as the remainder of the movie, and it was additionally one thing of a twist because it primarily revealed that Chief was the primary character when he put an finish to McMurphy’s struggling. Though Kesey’s concept of evaluating counter-culture to the struggles of the Indigenous peoples of the US was a bit problematic, there was symbolic worth. The photographs of the ward going again to regular confirmed that the established order had gained in the long run, however the photos of a wounded Nurse Ratched proved it was attainable to defeat the system.

MORE: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest Film Vs. Ratched (Which Model Is Higher?)

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