50 Books To Read Before You Die

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Author: Ken Kesey
Released: 1962
Genre: Drama

Deservedly, the brilliant 1975 film adaptation of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest receives more acclaim than Ken Kesey's original novel, but it's tough to compete with a flawless Jack Nicholson performance and overall cinematic excellence.

But that shouldn't take away from the masterful work done by Kesey here, who allegorically delivers a classic tale of good versus evil through two larger-than-life characters, the cruel Nurse Ratched and fun-seeking inmate randall Patrick McMurphy butting heads inside of a colorful mental ward. As funny as it is heartbreaking and jolting, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a towering examination of heroism in the least likely of settings.

Fun Fact: At one time in his life, Kesey worked the "graveyard shift" at a mental institution in Menlo Park, CA. During his time on the clock there, he took part in, and tried the drugs LSD and peyote for, the research program Project MKUltra.

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