One of the most acclaimed films in history is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. That’s just a fact.
It’s received critical acclaim for its themes, storylines, acting, direction, and overall superb quality. It’s one of only three films in existence to win the Big 5 Academy Awards - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Actress, the other two being It Happened One Night and The Silence of the Lambs.
But with a cast that was so iconic, where are some of the actors now? And what did they do after the 1975 film. From the star himself, Jack Nicholson, all the way down to some of the inmates in the mental institution, this is where the cast of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is now.
Jack Nicholson (Randle Patrick “R.P.” McMurphy)
As the star of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Jack Nicholson is one talented man, and had quite the career after this film. After winning the Academy Award for Best Actor, Nicholson would go on to star in several other Academy Award-winning and nominated films, such as Terms of Endearment, the Stephen King adaptation, The Shining, The Departed, As Good as it Gets and more.
But, Nicholson also has a fun side, and has starred in several comedy and action movies, such as portraying the Joker in Batman alongside Michael Keaton, commanding witches in the fantasy film The Witches of Eastwick, working alongside the hilarious Adam Sandler in Anger Management, and many others.
While Jack Nicholson hasn't appeared in a film since 2010's How Do You Know, it’s still always enjoyable to look back on some of his best work, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is certainly high up there.
Louise Fletcher (Nurse Mildred Ratched)
Nurse Mildred Ratched was a bit of a jerk, not going to lie, and she was played perfectly by Louise Fletcher. After her Academy-Award winning role, Louise Fletcher went on to star in several films, such as the horror movie, Exorcist II: The Heretic, The Lady in Red, Brainstorm, Firestarter, Flowers in the Attic, the teen film, Cruel Intentions, and many more.
Fletcher was also very active in television. While she has appeared in many shows in guest roles, such as Perry Mason, The Twilight Zone, 7th Heaven and more, she’s also had several recurring roles as well. She portrayed Kai Winn/Vedek Winn on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and had a recurring role in the American version of Shameless. And in 2017, she appeared in two episodes of the Netflix series Girlboss.
Mildred Ratched became such an icon in film history that Ryan Murphy based a whole show on her on Netflix starring Sarah Paulson, that you should watch now.
Will Sampson (“Chief” Bromden)
I feel like when you hear about One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, you either think of Jack Nicholson’s character, or Louse Fletcher’s character. The third one that always pops up for me is Chief, the silent soul that Randle becomes friends with, played by Will Sampson.
Unfortunately, Will Sampson passed away in 1987, but before his passing he did star in a couple of movies post-One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. This includes portraying Taylor in Poltergeist II: The Other Side, Ten Bears in The Outlaw Josey Wales, Crazy Horse in the western The White Buffalo, Tall Eagle in Firewalker and more.
Sampson also had a recurring role in the TV series, Vega$, and in The Yellow Rose.
William Redfield (Dale Harding)
Next up, we have Dale Harding, performed by William Redfield. Dale Harding was one of the residents of the mental institution in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, who, like so many of the other patients there, was facing is his own issues.
Sadly, William Redfield passed away in 1976, not long after One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was released. Before his passing, he appeared in several movies, such as Hamlet, For Pete’s Sake, Death Wish, Mr. Billion, and more.
Brad Dourif (Billy Bibbit)
Billy Bibbit was one of those characters in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest that you just wanted to root for so badly. He was a young man who had a stutter and issues with self esteem. Portraying Billy Bibbit was Brad Dourif, who has had a long career in both film and television.
One of Dourif’s most prominent roles is providing the iconic voice behind one of the most beloved horror characters of all time - Chucky from the Chucky series. He continues to voice the serial killer to this day with the latest Chucky TV series.
But besides his iconic horror role, Dourif has done plenty of other amazing projects. He portrayed Grima Wormtongue in The Lord of the Rings series, and appeared in several other movies such as the 1984 adventure film, Dune, Wise Blood, Ragtime, The Exorcist III, Alien Resurrection, and many others.
On television, Dourif has also appeared in several television films and TV shows. He played Maurice Deveraux in Ponderosa, Dr. Amos Cochran in the HBO series, Deadwood, Zoso in Once Upon a Time, and many other appearances. With someone as a resume as hefty as his, I can’t wait to see what he does next.
Sydney Lassick (Charlie Cheswick)
Charlie Cheswick was a character who had a very hard time managing his emotions, particularly his temper. Cheswick in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was portrayed by Sydney Lassick, and had a career in Hollywood after his role in the show.
Sydney Lassick passed away in 2003, but before his passing, he appeared in many films, including the iconic horror film, Carrie, Hot Stuff, Alligator, Ratboy, Last in White, American Vampire, Man on the Moon, and more. Lassick also appeared in many TV films as well during his time in Hollywood.
Christopher Lloyd (Max Taber)
Fun fact - did you know that Christopher Lloyd’s film debut was actually One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest as Max Taber? After his role in the iconic film, Lloyd began an amazing career, filled with iconic characters. Arguably, Christopher Lloyd is most famous for portraying Doc Brown as part of the Back to the Future cast, a role he reprised many times, but there are plenty of other parts you might know him from.
In terms of movies, Lloyd starred as Commander Kruge in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Professor Plum in Clue, Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and played Uncle Fester in The Addams Family cast, as well as its sequel, Addams Family Values. He also appeared in movies like Bad Girls from Valley High, Call of the Wild, Dead Before Dawn, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, and many others.
Lloyd has also had a prolific career in television as well. He had a starring role in Taxi, voiced Doc Brown in Back to the Future: The Animated Series, appeared in Deadly Games, Clubhouse, Stacked, Granite Flats, 12 Monkeys and more.
Among his recent roles, Christopher Lloyd played Bob Odenkirk's character's father, David Mansell, in the 2021 thriller, Nobody.
Danny DeVito (Martini)
Another big-timer from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Danny DeVito played the childish Martini in the film, and has done so much in Hollywood since. DeVito also starred in Taxi alongside Christopher Lloyd, winning an Emmy for his performance, and more recently, has starred in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia as Frank Reynolds.
Besides that, DeVito has had a long career in both film and television. He appeared in the action film, Romancing the Stone, Batman Returns as the Penguin, Terms of Endearment, the fantasy film, Matilda, Space Jam, Big Fish, The Lorax, the live-action version of Dumbo, and many, many others.
With It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 15 coming out soon, you better keep an eye out for him on your television screens soon.
William Duell (Jim Sefelt)
Next up, we have William Duell, who portrayed Jim Sefelt in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. After his role, Duell appeared in many films, such as the crime comedy Police Squad!, Mrs. Soffel, Ironweed, Trial by Jury, Cradle Will Rock and many others.
William Duell passed away in 2011. His last film role was a cameo in the romantic comedy, How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
Vincent Andrew Schiavelli (Bruce Fredrickson)
Vincent Andrew Schiavelli portrayed Bruce Fredrickson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and appeared in several films after his role.
This includes the teen film, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, the romantic drama, Ghost, portraying the Organ Grinder in Batman Returns, Chester in The People vs Larry Flynt, Dr. Kaufman in Tomorrow Never Dies, and several others.
Schiavelli passed away in 2005 at the age of 57.
Michael Berryman (Ellis)
Last up, we have Ellis from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, portrayed by Michael Berryman. After his role in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Berryman went on to star in many movies and TV shows.
In terms of movies, Berryman appeared in The Hills Have Eyes, Cut and Run, Armed Response, Tales from the Crypt, Dead Man’s Hand, Satan Hates You, and many others. Berryman also had many roles in the Star Trek series, as well as The X Files. Recently, Berryman appeared in the horror film, Room 9, The Mad Hatter, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear and other flicks in 2021. Soon enough, he will be appearing in more movies such as Jasper, Junction Murders, Violent Starr and among others.
While there are some actors that are no longer with us, we can at least look back on some of their fantastic contributions to Hollywood and everything else everyone has done. This just makes me want to re-watch the film again. Or maybe watch Ratched again. Either one works.
Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!
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