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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Quotes About The 60s Classic

These One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest quotes will inspire and make you laugh at the same time.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a 1962 novel written by Ken Kesey. It is set in an Oregon psychiatric hospital, and the villain (Nurse Ratched) is based on a real person.

Kesey met the nurse while he was working the night shift in an actual psychiatric facility in Oregon. The main message of the book is to emphasize the importance of individuality and the dignity of simply being a person.

The narrative has also served as a study of mental health institution processes and the human mind. This includes a critique of psychiatry and a tribute to individualistic principles. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is filled with quotes about insanity, life, and humanity.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Quotes About The 60s Classic

The novel has been adapted into a play starring Kirk Douglas and Gene Wilder in 1963. It was later developed into a movie, which was co-produced by Kirk’s son Michael Douglas in 1975. Jack Nicholson starred in the film as Randie Patrick “Mac” McMurphy.

Keep reading for more One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest quotes from Mac McMurphy and more fun facts about the movie and the book!

Don’t forget to also check out these Freedom Writers quotes about breaking societal boundaries.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest quotes from Mac McMurphy

1. Jesus, I mean, you guys do nothing but complain about how you can’t stand it in this place here, and then you haven’t got the guts just to walk out? I mean, 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 a**hole out walking around on the streets and that’s it. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

2. It’s hard for something to grow on something that’s moving. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

3. Which one of you nuts has got any guts? ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

4. They was giving me 10,000 watts a day, you know, and I’m hot to trot. The next woman takes me on’s gonna light up like a pinball machine and pay off in silver dollars! ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

5. I bet in one week, I can put a bug so far up her ass, she don’t know whether to s*** or wind her wristwatch. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

6. Get out of my way, son. You’re using my oxygen. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

7. She was 15 years old, going on 35, Doc, and she told me she was 18, she was very willing. You know what I mean? I practically had to take to sewing my pants shut. But between you and me, she might have been 15. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

8. I’m here to cooperate with you a hundred percent. A hundred percent. I’ll be just right down the line with you. You watch. Because I think we ought to get to the bottom of R.P. McMurphy. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

9. I’m a goddamn marvel of modern science. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

10. But I tried, didn’t I? Goddamnit, at least I did that. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest quotes about insanity

11. I must be crazy to be in a loony bin like this. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

12. If that’s what being crazy is, then I’m senseless, out of it, gone-down-the-road, wacko. But no more, no less, that’s it. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

13. Is that crazy enough for you? Want me to take a s*** on the floor? ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

14. When you get that little red beaver right up there in front of you, I don’t think it’s crazy at all and I don’t think you do either. No man alive could resist that, and that’s why I got into jail to begin with. And now they’re telling me I’m crazy over here because I don’t sit there like a goddamn vegetable. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

15. You seem to forget, Miss Flinn, that this is an institution for the insane. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

16. He knows that you have to laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

17. Never before did I realize that mental illness could have the aspect of power, power. Think of it: perhaps the more insane a man is, the more powerful he could become. Hitler an example. Fair makes the old brain reel, doesn’t it? ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

18. 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. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

19. No, my friend. We are lunatics from the hospital up the highway, psycho-ceramics, the cracked pots of mankind. Would you like me to decipher a Rorschach for you?

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― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

20. Society is what decides who’s sane and who isn’t, so you got to measure up. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Short One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest quotes

21. Rules? PISS ON YOUR F***ING RULES! ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

22. He who marches out of step hears another drum. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

23. They can’t tell so much about you if you got your eyes closed. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

24. Good writin’ ain’t necessarily good readin’. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

25. But it’s the truth even if it didn’t happen. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

26. But at least I tried. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

27. The world news might not be therapeutic. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

28. Take what you can use and let the rest go by. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

29. One flew east, one flew west, one flew over the cuckoo’s nest. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

30. You get your visions through whatever gate you’re granted. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest quotes about humor and laughter

31. But the rest are even scared to open up and laugh. You know, that’s the first thing that got me about this place, that there wasn’t anybody laughing. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

32. But he won’t let the pain blot out the humor no more’n he’ll let the humor blot out the pain. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

33. He knew you can’t really be strong until you can see a funny side of things. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

34. He’s the sort of guy that gets a laugh out of people. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

35. Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

36. Because he knows you have to laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

37. I forget sometimes what laughter can do. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

38. In fact, he worked so hard at pointing out the funny side of things that I was wondering a little if maybe he was blind to the other side if maybe he wasn’t able to see what it was that parched laughter deep inside your stomach. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

39. He’s safe as long as he can laugh, he thinks, and it works pretty fair. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

40. He commences to laugh. Nobody can tell exactly why he laughs; there’s nothing funny going on. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Inspiring One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest quotes we can all learn from

41. All I know is this: nobody’s very big in the first place, and it looks to me like everybody spends their whole life tearing everybody else down. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

42. If you don’t watch it people will force you one way or the other, into doing what they think you should do, or into just being mule-stubborn and doing the opposite out of spite. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

43. You had a choice: you could either strain and look at things that appeared in front of you in the fog, painful as it might be, or you could relax and lose yourself. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

44. He knows that there’s no better way in the world to aggravate somebody who’s trying to make it hard for you than by acting like you’re not bothered. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

45. More was revealed in a human face than a human being can bear face to face. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

46. The game goes round and round, to the rattle of dice and the shuffle of play money. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

47. He’s what he is, that’s it. Maybe that makes him strong enough, being what he is. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

48. There is generally one person in every situation you must never underestimate the power of. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

49. But like always when I try to place my thoughts in the past and hide there, the fear close at hand seeps in through the memory. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

50. What makes people so impatient is what I can’t figure; all the guy had to do was wait. ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

What did you learn from these One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest quotes?

The story of how the father and son acting duo starred and produced this movie gets even more interesting! Kirk Douglas was determined to adapt the story for the screen, and he contacted Czech director Miloš Forman about the project.

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He had promised to send Forman a copy of the book to review. Douglas mailed the novel as promised but the Czechoslovakian customs confiscated the book and the director never received it.

Forman ended up resenting Douglas because he broke his promise and Douglas thought Forman just never bothered to respond. It got sorted out a decade later when Michael Douglas took over the project.

Nurse Ratched has been a popular character in other works including ABC’s Once Upon a Time and Netflix’s Ratched.

What are your thoughts on One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest or the other shows inspired by it? What’s your biggest takeaway from these One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest quotes and sayings? You can let us know in the comment section below.

Danielle Dahl, Lead Contributor
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