20+ One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Quotes With Meanings

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' won a lot of critical acclaim

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'One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest' is an American drama film released in the year 1975.

The movie was directed by Milos Forman. It is an adaptation of the novel, ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’, written by Ken Kesey.

The novel was written by Ken Kesey in the year 1962 and was made into a film in 1975. The film was shot in 3 months starting from January 1975. The main characters of the film include Randle P. McMurphy, Chief, Nurse, and Billy Bibbit. The movie was the second winner, after ‘It Happened One Night’ to get all the 5 major Academy Awards. It won Academy Awards for the Best Actor in Lead Role, Best Actress in Lead Role, Best Picture, Screenplay and, Director.

Ken Kesey’s story was produced by Fantasy Films. The movie is set in a mental hospital. It revolves around the various patients admitted to the mental hospital and the tyrant Nurse who is a torture for them. The Nurse sees McMurphy as a threat to her authority because of his lively and rebellious nature. McMurphy plans to escape from the hospital along with the Chief. He also sneaks in two women, Rose and Candy, and alcohol, into the ward to have a party (spoiler alert).

However, his plan of escaping with the Chief fails due to some circumstances and Billy’s suicide. In the climax of the film, Chief kills McMurphy after hugging him with teary eyes to save him from the tyranny of the Nurse. The Chief escapes from the hospital after smothering McMurphy to death with a pillow.

This article has a list of 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest' book quotes and movie quotes. For more great quotes, check out '1984' telescreens quotes and Fahrenheit 451 quotes.

Randle McMurphy Quotes

Randall P McMurphy is the protagonist of 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest', written by Ken Kesey. The role of R P McMurphy is played by Jack Nicholson. He also won the Academy Award for the Best Actor for his performance in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest'. In the story written by Ken Kesey, he was found guilty of gambling, battery, and statutory rape. He was also a Prisoner of War during the Korean War. R P McMurphy was charged with a short prison term but he decided to get himself declared crazier than the average men to be transferred to a mental institution. Here are some R P McMurphy quotes to give you a glimpse of what he was like.

1. “Chief, just jump up, and put it in the basket. Jump and put it in the basket. No, not you Machini.”

- Randle Patrick McMurphy, 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'.

A funny line uttered by McMurphy to the chief.  

2.“You guys complain how much you hate it here, and then don't even have the guts to leave! You're all crazy!”

- Randle Patrick McMurphy, 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'.

Confused about how anyone could choose to be repressed rather than free, McMurphy says this.  

3. “You’re making sense, old man, a sense of your own. You’re not crazy the way they think.”

- Randle Patrick McMurphy, pg. 78.

This shows how mentally ill people are also just normal people who see the world differently.

4. "I'm a goddamn marvel of modern science."

- Randle Patrick McMurphy, 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Quotes'.

This quote highlights the way McMurphy views himself.  

5. “She was fifteen years old, going on thirty-five, Doc, and she told me she was eighteen.”

- Randle Patrick McMurphy, 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Quotes'.

This is where McMurphy reveals the deception that resulted in his criminal behavior.

Chief Bromden Quotes

Bromden is the narrator in the novel, ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ while in the movie, he did not get a very important role. He is portrayed as deaf and mute in the film and is the next important character after Randle Patrick McMurphy. His role is played by Will Sampson. Here are some sayings by the Chief. Pick the one you like the most.

The movie was adapted from a book of the same name written by Ken Kesey

6. “My pop was real big. He did like he pleased. That's why everybody worked on him. The last time I seen my father, he was blind and diseased from drinking. ”

- Chief Bromden, 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'.

Chief Bromden confesses that his father was eventually pushed into drinking by a world that inhibited him.

7. “They could sense the change that most of us were only suspecting; these weren’t the same bunch of weak-knees from a nuthouse that they’d watched take their insults on the dock this morning.”  

- Chief Bromden, pg. 142.

This quote highlights the theme of shame and social pressure in the novel.

8. “I'm not saying they killed him. They just worked on him. The way they're working on you.”

- Chief Bromden, 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'.

This quote highlights that murder doesn't necessarily have to be committed through the actual physical act of harming someone.

9. "It's still hard for me to have a clear mind thinking on it. But it's the truth even if it didn't happen.

- Chief Bromden, pg. 9.

This quote highlights the level of self awareness that Chief Bromden has.

Billy Bibbit Quotes

Billy Bibbit is another patient admitted to the mental asylum. Brad Dourif played the role of Billy Bibbit in the movie, ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’. In Ken Kesey’s story, he is portrayed as a timid and weak boy, who was very scared of the tyrant Nurse. He also fears his own mother more than he fears Nurse. In the end, he dies by attempting suicide. He decides to end his life rather than continuing to live under the repressive rule of the Nurse. Here is an important quote said by him in the movie, ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’.

10. "If we had the g-guts! I could go outside to-today, if I had the guts! My m-m-mother is a good friend of M-Miss Ratched, and I could get an AMA signed this afternoon, if I had the guts!"

- Billy Bibbit, pg. 110.

Billy highlights through these lines that patients in the ward are free to leave whenever they want.  

Nurse Ratched Quotes

Ratched is the prime antagonist of the story. In Ken Kesey’s story, she is depicted as a cold and heartless tyrant. She is responsible for the ward where Randle Patrick McMurphy was placed. Her character was played by Louise Fletcher. She also won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance. Here are some sayings said by Ratched, the Nurse.

11. “If Mr. McMurphy doesn't want to take his medication orally, I'm sure we can arrange that he can have it some other way. But I don't think that he would like it.”

- Nurse Ratched, 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'.

The nurse says this in response to the fuss being created by McMurphy to take his medicine.  

12. "You men are in this hospital...because of your proven inability to adjust to society."

- Nurse Ratched, pg. 94.

Nurse Ratched asks patients not to question their authority by stating out clearly that they are not normal because of their mental illness.  

The nurse says this in response to Miss Flinn's fears about a patient takeover.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Quotes About Power

A list of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest power quotes from Ken Kesey’s story is given below. These were said by Dale Harding and the Chief through the course of the movie.

14. “The ritual of our existence is based on the strong getting stronger by devouring the weak.”

- Dale Harding, pg. 38.

The law of the world seems to be such that one's success and strength tends to come at the cost of another.

15. “Maybe that makes him strong enough, being what he is.”

- Chief , pg. 91.

Talking about McMurphy's life and character.

16. “In this hospital, the doctor doesn’t hold the power of hiring and firing. That power goes to the supervisor, and the supervisor is a woman, a dear old friend of Miss Ratched’s.”

- Dale Harding, pg. 38.

This powerful quote is an argument for gender equality.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Fog Quotes

Given below is one of the Chief Bromden fog quotes from the movie, ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’.

17. "Nobody complains about all the fog. I know why, now: as bad as it is, you can slip back in it and feel safe. That's what McMurphy can't understand, us wanting to be safe"

- Chief Bromden, pg. 74.

This quote helps to bring out the idea of looking at the silver lining and McMurphy's inability to understand that.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Important Quotes

Here is a list of some One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest themes and quotes that are important and famous. These quotes from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, written by Ken Kesey are said by the protagonist, Randle Patrick McMurphy, and the Chief.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is a film based in a mental hospital

18. "What do you think you are, for Christ's sake, crazy or something? Well, you're not! You're not! You're no crazier than the average asshole out walking around on the streets and that's it!"

- Randle Patrick McMurphy, 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'.

McMurphy tries to challenge the courage of the other men to walk out by telling them they're only as crazy as regular people on the road.  

19. “And every time he put the bottle to his mouth, he don't suck out of it, it sucks out of him until he shrunk so wrinkled and yellow even the dogs didn't know him.”

- Chief, pg. 124.

The chief talks about his father and how society completely repressed him such that he was far from his true self.

20. “Which one of you nuts has got any guts?”

- Randle Patrick McMurphy, 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Quotes'.

McMurphy asks the other patients this question.

21. “Well, I don’t mean nothing personal, you understand, buddies, but screw that noise. I want out of here just as much as the rest of you. I got just as much to lose hassling that old buzzard as you do.”

- Randle Patrick McMurphy, 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'.

This quote brings out the theme of sexuality as well as emasculation.

22. “Who's the head bull-goose loony around here?”

- Randle Patrick McMurphy, pg. 110.

McMurphy asks who is the main or leader of the patients.

We hope you liked our sayings from the movie!

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 20+ 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' quotes with meanings, then why not take a look at [quotes from 'Pride And Prejudice'] or 'Lord Of The Flies' quotes.


Written By

Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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