- The role of McMurphy was originally offered to James Caan.
- Will Sampson, who plays Chief, was picked because he was a park ranger in Oregon near the park where it was filmed.
- 'Douglas, Kirk' possessed the movie rights for a long time, before his son 'Douglas, Michael' finally started the project.
- Many extras were authentic mental patients.
- 'Kirk Douglas' starred in the 1963 Broadway production after buying the film rights prior to publication; he later passed the film rights to his son Michael, but kept a percentage of the profits. Every major studio had declined to make the film during the period he was trying to star in it. 'Kirk Douglas' had met Milos Forman in Prague while on a State Department tour and promised to send him the book after deciding he would be a good director for the film; the book never arrived, probably confiscated by communist Czech censors. Ken Kesey wrote a screenplay for the production, but Forman rejected it because Kesey insisted on keeping Chief Bromden's first-person narration.
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