Why Nurse Ratched is not the Real Villain of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
For many people, Nurse Ratched is the real villain of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), but what if you found out that she wasn’t? In the film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, we know her as a villain, but what would you say if you found out that she was just trying to keep the peace. Not much is actually known about Nurse Ratched in the movie, other than her disciplinarian attitude, and her strict rules that she tries to enforce. Maybe she was trying to do her job? In the film, a strange man, named McMurphy (played by Jack Nicholson) arrives, who tries to take down the “dictatorship” by wreaking havoc at every turn. This probably took a personal turn on Ratched, as she originally had a well-running mental hospital, where rules were followed.
While everyone takes McMurphy’s side, some seem to get lost in his undeniable charm and wit, rather than seeing his disruptive actions. While many blame the hated Nurse Ratched, they seem to get more angry at her doing her job, rather than seeing McMurphy do horrible things, such as swindling money from the mental patients, setting up a riot, and taking sick people from the place that they need to stay in to get better. This is all to get a rise out of a powerful woman, who they see as the villain, especially after McMurphy plants this idea in their head.
In a way, after all that happened near the end of the film, we can see that Nurse Ratched was just frustrated at the disruptive patient for acting the way he did. I think after the horrible hallway scene, where we witness Ratched being almost choked to death, the ending scene where McMurphy is killed is somewhat a sign of karma for him, due to the way he destroyed her life… and the lives of the other patients, who were at the mental hospital to get better.
Based on these examples, we can now see that Nurse Ratched may not be the real villain of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but McMurphy could very well fill that role, based on the way he acted in the film. I suppose it may all be just a matter of perspective and something to think about…
Check out the classic trailer for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest!”