One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Synopsis: A criminal pleads insanity after getting into trouble again and once in the mental institution rebels against the oppressive nurse and rallies up the scared patients.
Genre: Drama
Production: United Artists
  Won 5 Oscars. Another 30 wins & 13 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
133 min


All we SEE is an ELEVATED SHOT of the distant mountains,

rolling landscape and McMURPHY -- one cheek laid-open and

crusted over with dried blood, his face and prison work

clothes caked with dried sweat and dust -- as he sits on the

very top of a water tower watching the last rays of sunlight.

A long moment passes before McMurphy's attention is drawn

elsewhere and he looks down.


Far below, in the prison yard a MAN is SEEN hurrying acrcss

the yard where he joins a group of men composed of armed

prison guards, officials, and medics -- a stretcher, an

ambulance, a fire truck and safety nets spread out at the

base of the water tower. The man is seen talking to the

officials, then a bullhorn is handed to him and they all look

up at McMurphy.


As he looks down at them, a searchlight is turned on him.

MAN (V.O.)

(through bullhorn)

McMurphy! This is Doctor Shankle,

from the infirmary. Can you hear


McMurphy doesn't respond.


(through bullhorn)

Can you hear me, McMurphy?

McMurphy doesn't respond. Another searchlight goes on as a



(through bullhorn)

Why don't we blast 'im, for Christ

sake, he ain't gonna come down...


The BULLHORN is TURNED OFF. A long moment passes as McMurphy

continues to squat on the tower and wait. He shivers against

the coming night when...


(through bullhorn)


I have the warden's promise. If you

come down, nobody will hurt you!

You'll be in my custody! I promise!

An imperceptible smile appears on McMurphy's face.



as we see beds, with patients lying asleep, line two walls.

The third wall is a heavy gauge steel grill, with a door that

opens on to the day room. The door is open. On the far side

of the day room, a long hallway with other doors opening into

the latrine, washroom, tub room, mess hall, seclusion

room, psychiatrist's office, visitors' room, etc.

Across the day room, a glass enclosed nurses' station where

TURKLE, a Negro night attendant, is seen preparing to go off


The CAMERA PANS the beds in the men's dorm. One man turns,

another twists, a third lies as if dead.

CAMERA PAN ENDS on BROMDEN, who lies still, eyes wide open,

very alert. He reaches down, plucks a stale piece of gum from

under the bed frame, puts it in his mouth and starts chewing.

A beat, then Bromden carefully undoes the leather strap which

binds him to the bed. He slips out of bed and quietly makes

his way down the aisle, paying no attention to the other

patients, some of who are beginning to stir awake.

Ahead, at the end of the hallway, the door opens and three

Negro day attendants, WASHINGTON, WARREN and MILLER, dressed

in white uniforms, enter and move down the hallway and

disappear into a side room.

Bromden continues his silent journey towards the day room as

Turkle emerges from the side door to the nurses' lounge, goes

up the hallway as MISS PILBOW, the day nurse, comes in,

passing Turkle on the way out. She crosses to the nurses'

station and enters as Bromden reaches the day room.


as Bromden makes his way across the day room, past the

nurses' station, unnoticed by Miss Pilbow who is busy

preparing the day's medication.

Bromden is sliding along the hallway wall, when he is

suddenly cut off by a mop which THUDS against one side of his

neck. A second mop yokes him on the other side. Bromden

freezes. Terrified.

Rate this script:5.0 / 1 vote

Bo Goldman

There are but a few select screenwriters who are spoken of with the kind of reverence usually reserved for film Directors - Robert Towne, Alvin Sargent and Bo Goldman. Goldman is a screenwriter's screenwriter, and one of the most honored in motion picture history. The recipient of two Academy Awards, a New York Film Critics Award, two Writers Guild Awards, three Golden Globes, additional Academy Award and Writers Guild nominations and, ultimately, the Guild's life achievement Award - The Laurel. Born in New York City, Goldman was educated at Exeter and Princeton where he wrote, produced, composed the lyrics and was president of the famed Triangle show, a proving ground for James Stewart and director Joshua Logan. On graduation, he went directly to Broadway as the lyricist for "First Impressions", based on Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice", produced by composer Jule Styne and directed by Abe Burrows, starring Hermione Gingold, Polly Bergen and Farley Granger. Moving into television, Goldman was mentored by the redoubtable Fred Coe (the "D.W. Griffith of dramatic television") and became part of the twilight of The Golden Age, associate producing and script editing Coe's prestigious Playhouse 90 (1956)'s, "The Days of Wine and Roses", "A Plot to Kill Stalin" and Horton Foote's "Old Man". Goldman went on to himself produce and write for Public Television on the award-winning NET Playhouse. During this period, Goldman first tried his hand at screen-writing, resulting in an early version of Shoot the Moon (1982) which stirred the interest of Hollywood and became his calling card. After reading Shoot the Moon (1982), Milos Forman asked Goldman to write the screenplay for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975). Goldman's first produced film won all five top Academy Awards including Best Screenplay for Goldman. "Cuckoo's Nest" was the first film to win the top five awards since Frank Capra's It Happened One Night (1934). Goldman also received the Writers Guild Award and the Golden Globe Award for his work on the film. He next wrote The Rose (1979), which was nominated for four Academy Awards, followed by his original screenplay, Melvin and Howard (1980), which garnered Goldman his second Oscar, second Writers Guild Award and the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Screenplay of the Year. Goldman's first screenplay, Shoot the Moon (1982), that started it all, was then filmed by Alan Parker, starring Diane Keaton and Albert Finney, the film received international acclaim and was embraced by America's most respected film critics including Pauline Kael and Richard Schickel. For Shoot the Moon (1982), Goldman earned his third Writers Guild nomination. Over the next few years, he contributed uncredited work to countless scripts, including Milos Forman's Ragtime (1981), starring James Cagney and Donald O'Connor, The Flamingo Kid (1984), starring Matt Dillon, and Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy (1990). Goldman tried his hand at directing an adaptation of Susan Minot's novel "Monkeys", and a re-imagining of Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries (1957) (aka "Wild Strawberries") as a vehicle for Gregory Peck, but for budgetary and scheduling reasons, both movies lost their start dates. Goldman returned solely to screen-writing with Scent of a Woman (1992), starring Al Pacino. Goldman was honored with his third Academy Award nomination and his third Golden Globe Award. He followed this with Harold Becker's City Hall (1996), starring Al Pacino and John Cusack, and then co-wrote Meet Joe Black (1998), starring Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins. More recently, Goldman did a page one uncredited rewrite of The Perfect Storm (2000). It was Goldman's script that green lit the movie at Warner Bros. and convinced George Clooney to star in the film, which went on to earn $327,000,000. In 2005, he helped prepare the shooting script for Milos Forman's Goya's Ghosts (2006), produced by Saul Zaentz and starring Natalie Portman and Javier Bardem. He wrote a script for a remake of Jules Dassin's Rififi (1955) (aka Rififi), for director Harold Becker, starring Al Pacino. Goldman is married to Mab Ashforth, and is the father of six children, seven grandchildren and one great grandchild. He resides in Rockville, Maine. more…

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    "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 21 May 2024. <'s_nest_1204>.

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