One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Question: Why does the Chief fake being deaf for much of the film?

Answer: It's better explained in the novel, where the Chief is the narrator. Essentially, he played deaf and dumb, so he'd be left alone by the Nurse and the staff; seeing what they did to the other patients, he figured the less he was noticed, the better. In this way, he is privy to a lot of the seedier goings-on, since they don't think he can hear what they're saying or tell anyone what he's seen.

Question: I'm not from the USA so excuse the lack of knowledge, would pleading insanity really get you off a rape charge?

Answer: 1) McMurphy didn't exactly "get off" by reason of insanity; he was still incarcerated for an indefinite amount of time, just in a psychiatric facility rather than a traditional prison. 2) He was originally sent to a normal prison for the statutory rape charge, but is then transferred to the mental hospital due to repeated acts of aggression that suggested some form of psychosis (or, as the doctor suspects, faking it to get out of hard labor). 3) No, it wouldn't. The insanity defense is a) very rare and b) very hard to prove, and it would be difficult to apply to rape, statutory or otherwise.

Answer: Insanity, legally, is defined as not knowing right from wrong. It can also be "temporary." It can only be diagnosed by a licensed psychiatrist, and it is rarely determined as such. Laws vary from state to state, but if a person was guilty of a serious crime and was found to be insane, they'd be confined to a mental hospital, either long-term, permanently, or, if they sufficiently improve, they'd be either be released after a certain amount of time or transferred to a general prison to complete their sentence or remain there indefinitely.


Question: I don't understand the scene where Candy and Billy go into a room to have sex. McMurphy tells Chief that they will leave for Canada when Candy and Billy are done. Why did they stay there all night and fall asleep? Why did Candy stay in the room with Billy?

Answer: The girls who sneaked into the ward had brought alcohol and everyone was partying before McMurphy and Chief were to escape. Everyone got drunk while waiting for Candy and Billy to finish, eventually passing out. Candy and Billy probably just assumed McMurphy and Chief had already left or they'd fallen asleep.


Continuity mistake: In the scene where McMurphy gets upset while playing blackjack, he gets up and walks towards the nurses' quarters to turn down the volume on the record player. Martini and Bibbit are still sitting at the card table while McMurphy is walking towards the nurses' quarters but when he gets inside, Martini is already leaning against the counter of the nurses' quarters with Bibbit close behind him. (00:27:00)

More mistakes in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

McMurphy: What do you think you are, for Chrissake, crazy or somethin'? Well you're not! You're not! You're no crazier than the average asshole out walkin' around on the streets, and that's it.

More quotes from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Trivia: In the scene where Doctor Spivey is interviewing McMurphy, this whole scene is improvised. Spivey (Dr. Dean Brooks) is the ACTUAL doctor of the institute in real life, and was simply told to interview Jack Nicholson (McMurphy) as if he was a real patient. Nicholson had to improvise and get from the beginning of the scene to the end.

More trivia for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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