The “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in Salem

Considered by some to be one of the greatest films ever made, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is No. 33 on the American Film Institute’s 100 Years – 100 Movies list.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a 1975 American comedy-drama film directed by Miloš Forman, based on the 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. The film stars Jack Nicholson as Randle McMurphy, a new patient at a mental institution, Louise Fletcher, William Redfield, Will Sampson, Sydney Lassick, Brad Dourif, Danny DeVito and Christopher Lloyd.

Oregon State Hospital founded in 1862 and constructed in the Kirkbride Plan design in 1883, it is the oldest operating psychiatric hospital in the state of Oregon, and one of the oldest continuously operated hospitals on the West Coast / Image: The Associated Press

Filming began in January 1975. The producers decided to shoot the film in the Oregon State Hospital, an actual mental hospital, as this was also the setting of the novel. The hospital’s director, Dean Brooks, was supportive of the filming and eventually ended up playing the character of Dr. John Spivey in the film. Brooks identified a patient for each of the actors to shadow, and some of the cast even slept on the wards at night. He also wanted to incorporate his patients into the crew, to which the producers agreed.

The OSH Musuem of Mental Health features a handful of items that appeared in the film, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” / Image: Ron Cooper
The museum features a handful of items that appeared in the 1975 film, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest / Images: United Artists – Google maps
The Oregon State Hospital Museum of Mental Health has a section dedicated to “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” which was filmed at the hospital / Image: Statesman Journal file

Featured Image: The cast of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest / Image: Mary Ellen Mark (American photographer, photojournalism)



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