Differences Between One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Book And Movie

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Ken Kesey's novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was written in 1962 and adapted into a film by Milos Forman in 1975. The story follows a group of men committed to a psychiatric ward in Oregon as they band together to form something likened to a family. Kesey's novel continues to be critically acclaimed, as does the movie and the adaptations both on and off Broadway. Told in the point of view of a paranoid schizophrenic, the novel is a classic American tale, saturated in the romanticism of the idea of freedom and societal rebellion. Society, in the novel, was seen as a Combine that controls men to meet its expectations. The ward is a factory for the Combine. It's for fixing up mistakes made in the neighborhoods and in the schools and in the …show more content…

When a completed product goes back out into society, all fixed up good as new, better than new sometimes, it brings joy to the Big Nurse's heart. The tale is somewhat of a boy's fantasy—a society ruled by women and the idyllic concept of freedom. However, Kesey's adolescent fantasy does not translate accurately to the screen. The film portrayed the tension well, but it left out pivotal ideas. With prior knowledge of the story, Forman's film adaptation of Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest does not capture the essence of the novel because it dulls the character of Chief Bromden, redacts the allegories, and inaccurately portraying the characters. Firstly, the movie adaptation of Cuckoo’s Nest does not accurately portray Chief Bromden’s character in all his depth and complexity. Chief is the fascinating narrator of the novel, so the reader follows the journey from his point of view and gains insight about the ward that other possible narrators would not be able to deliver. He is, arguably, the character who undergoes the most change throughout the story. It would make sense for …show more content…

Though the characters in the film were based on the novel's characters, there were many differences. In the novel, McMurphy was a gambler and smart-mouthed man with "all the grace and savvy of a street fighter and politician" (Fick 20). His entrance into the ward in the novel was well remember by all present, most notably Chief, when he let out a loud, boisterous, genuine laugh--something that had not been heard inside the ward in years. However, in the film, McMurphy, played by Jack Nicholson, enters and does laugh, but the laugh is less genuine and more deranged and maniacal. According to Farber, “McMurphy is not such a roaring, defiant rebel hero as he was in the book” (Farber 95). Nicholson is known for his roles as the token crazed man, but that is not how Kesey wrote McMurphy’s character. Kesey himself disapproved of the casting of McMurphy during filming and left production because of it. Forman softened the more distasteful elements of McMurphy, and rather played up the crazy aspects. As mentioned previously, Nurse Ratched was made out to be a devil in her own right. She was a "destroyer of manhood, rule-maker, civilizer, and devil" (Barsness 28). In the book, “she is the vehicle of a calumnious attack on women by an openly misogynist author” (Gefin 96). In the movie, however, Ratched is made to be a victim, and a “prototype of the soft-spoken, sweetly reasonable institutional bureaucrat” (Forman

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