R.P. McMurphy: The Christ of The Crazies
I have a memory from high school of my father watching One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. At the time, being 16 or 17, I had little to no interest in what I honestly remembered to be a black and white film. Upon watching it as a 22 year old, I was deeply moved by the film and found the lead character McMurphy to be written as a less than perfect Christ figure.
In the film McMurphy steals the activity bus belonging to the hospital and takes his fellow inmates fishing. While out on the water he teaches one of them how to drive the boat, and helps another catch a fish. This was the first instance that started to define McMurphy as a Christ figure in my eyes. This is really the beginning of the ward rallying behind McMurphy, reminiscent of the 12 disciples following Christ.
An essay I found on this film had a very interesting perspective on the scene in the pool, which I found to be extremely insightful, as I had not considered a connection here. “In another very short, but moving scene, all of the patients are playing in the pool. Here, McMurphy is told his status by one of the hospital aides. … The setting makes this powerful. McMurphy is fully submerged in the pool and when he lifts his head, he carries out the conversation with the hospital aide. This "opening of his eyes to what is going on around him" can be viewed as a baptism. McMurphy realizes why he is where he is and what he has to do. When put in a biblical sense, he is developing into a Christ-like figure responsible for all the others, and is accepting his fate. If we are following the symbolism, we can suspect that McMurphy will be killed by the conclusion of the film.”(Ohio.edu)
The night that McMurphy is supposed to escape, he throws a huge party for the ward, with drinks and music and a few female guests. This was reminiscent of the last supper, which Christ held. I saw it as a celebration of the time
Cited: “Now the Bible Can be Found on Video” http://www.ohio.edu. n.d Web. May 6, 2013 One Flew Over the Cuckoo 's Nest. Dir. Milos Forman. Perf. Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher. Warner Bros. 1975. Film