What's the Difference between One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest the Book and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest the Movie?


One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Released: 1962
Author: Ken Kesey

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Released: 1975
Director: Miloš Forman
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In the Book In the Movie
Chief Bromden
Chief Bromden
Portrayed by: Will Sampson
Randle Patrick McMurphy
Randle Patrick McMurphy
Portrayed by: Jack Nicholson
Nurse Ratched
Nurse Ratched
Portrayed by: Louise Fletcher
Dale Harding
Dale Harding
Portrayed by: William Redfield
Charles Cheswick
Charlie Cheswick
Portrayed by: Sydney Lassick
William 'Billy' Bibbit
William 'Billy' Bibbit
Portrayed by: Brad Dourif
Portrayed by: Delos V. Smith Jr.
Max Taber
Max Taber
Portrayed by: Christopher Lloyd
George Sorensen
This Character does not appear.
Portrayed by: Danny DeVito
Dr. Spivey
Dr. John Spivey
Portrayed by: Dean R. Brooks
Portrayed by: Marya Small
Portrayed by: Scatman Crothers
Jim Sefelt
Jim Sefelt
Portrayed by: William Duell
Bruce Fredrickson
Portrayed by: Vincent Schiavelli
Portrayed by: Louisa Moritz
Pete Bancini
Pete Bancini
Portrayed by: Josip Elic
Portrayed by: Nathan George
Portrayed by: Alonzo Brown
Portrayed by: Mwako Cumbuka
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Book vs Movie
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This Spoils the Ending
In the Book In the Movie
   By the time McMurphy is admitted into the hospital, Taber has already been "fixed" and released. Taber is present throughout most of the story.
   Cheswick drowns in the hospital pool about halfway through the novel. Cheswick does not drown, is present during the fishing trip, and is sent to the Disturbed ward along with McMurphy and Bromden.
   The pool lifeguard, a fellow inmate, tells McMurphy that the nurses have the final say about how long the inmates have to stay in the hospital. Washington tells this to McMurphy.
   Bromden, the narrator, reminisces in great detail about his life prior to the hospital, as the child of an indian tribe that was forced to give up their home by the Combine, and later a soldier. This is not shown.
   Bromden narrates how he perceives the bulk of society to function as a machine called the Combine, comparing the hospital's staff and facilities to various mechanisms. Bromden's inner monologue is absent.
   McMurphy figures out that Bromden isn't deaf when the latter refuses a sleeping pill from him without seeing what it is. McMurphy discovers that Bromden can hear and speak while they are waiting in the Disturbed ward.
   When the world series is scheduled to come on TV, McMurphy sits in front of the set, which has been turned off by Ratched, and simply remains there as the other patients join him and Ratched screams for them to go back to work. McMurphy starts to narrate an imaginary match, which prompts the other patients to stop working and sit around him. Ratched simply uses the loudspeaker to try and get them back to work.
   Dr. Spivey is shown to be as intimidated by Ratched as the patients, and empathises with them on several occasions. Spivey is distant from the patients, and does not seem to be influenced by Ratched.
   The fishing trip is agreed on by the hospital authorities (mostly Dr. Spivey) after it is proposed by McMurphy. The trip happens spontaneously when McMurphy seizes control of the patients' bus, and does not involve Spivey.
   George Sorensen, a germophobic patient, reveals he has had experience as a sea captain in the past, and is convinced by McMurphy to lead the fishing trip. Sorensen is absent from the film.
   McMurphy breaks the nurse's station window as he extends his arms to reach for his cigarettes, claiming that it was so clean he couldn't see it. McMurphy punches through the window to get a hysteric Cheswick's cigarettes in order to try and calm him down.
   McMurphy and Bromden are sent to the Disturbed ward after getting into a fight with the wardens when McMurphy tried to dissuade one of them from forcing medication onto the germophobe George in the showers. McMurphy gets into a fight with the wardens after breaking the nurse's station window to get Cheswick's cigarettes. After Bromden helps him, all three are sent to the Disturbed ward.
   When McMurphy refuses to admit he shouldn't have attacked the wardens, he is subject to electroshock therapy multiple times. McMurphy is only shown to be shocked once.
   After the fishing trip, McMurphy drives everyone to his childhood home, where he says he lost his innocence. This does not happen.
   After Ratched's scuffle with McMurphy, she is shown to be highly bruised and incapable of speaking, using a notepad to communicate with the patients. Ratched wears a cervical collar, but otherwise seems superficially unharmed.
   After returning from the Disturbed ward, Bromden reveals that he can talk and hear to the other patients. Bromden only talks to McMurphy.
   When the lobotomised McMurphy is sent back to the regular ward, the patients all see him, mentioning that he must be a fake and a desperate move from Ratched. Only Bromden sees the vegetable McMurphy.
   Scanlon urges Bromden to escape the hospital. Bromden escapes of his own accord.
   Most of the volunteer patients leave the hospital while Ratched is unable to speak. The patients are not seen leaving.
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