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Old 09-02-03, 01:00 PM   #1
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The ending of one flew over the cuckoo's nest?

Does anyone out there understand the ending? WHy did CHief kill him and run off? It just didnt make much sense to me. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 09-02-03, 01:11 PM   #2
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Because it wasn't really him, anymore. Basically, Chief felt like it McMurphy was gone, that it was just a body left.

It's been a really long time since I watched this or read the book, so may not have this part all quite right, but I guess he ran off because that's what McMurphy wanted him to do...he encouraged them to live life, not just hide out in that place (some of them, like Billy, were voluntarily committed, even).
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Old 09-02-03, 01:11 PM   #3
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First, this will get moved to Movie Forum, since this has nothing to do with the DVD. Second, the Chief killed McMurphy because after being lobotomized, McMurphy was basically a vegetable. Chief knew that he wouldn't want to go on living a life like that, so he ended it for him. It was about respect and honor. Chief ran off because he needed to be free. He had spent enough time being quiet and locked up, and he needed freedom. That's the major theme of the film. Also, killing a fellow patient probably wouldn't go over well, so he needed to hit the road for that reason as well, but it was more likely he took the opportunity to put McMurphy to rest while he was on his way out the door. He wasn't leaving simply because he had killed a man.

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Old 09-02-03, 01:32 PM   #4
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It's been a long time since I read the book, but wasn't it told from Chief's point of view? The killing of McMurphy was a critical point in in evolution of Chief's character. It seemed a little out of place in the movie, because the focus of the story had changed.
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Old 09-02-03, 01:36 PM   #5
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This portion of the film also serves a metaphor for the native american experience: forced out of their homelands like animals, imprisoned and trapped by the 'white man,' everything taken away from them. When the chief kills McMurphy, you're reminded of the ancient story of a king who is informed that an army is coming to his castle to destroy everything and murder his family. When the king realizes that he can't win the battle, he calls for his family to be executed, all his posessions burnt, and his castle destroyed. Has he made the right decision? It's controversial but I'd rather my family die by my hands with love than killed by a ruthless enemy. When the chief escapes in the end, he gains personal redemption for the hospital basically killing his only friend. He's continuing the legacy of McMurphy, which in a way is necessary in the human race. As humans, we should not be caged up, we should have certain freedoms. The film is also interesting in that it explores the way certain hospitals really abused their powers and misused the system. In that sense it's very true to life. You also have to factor in when the film was made, during the rebellous drug / hippie era, when movies like Five Easy Pieces, One Flew Over, Easy Rider and The Graduate were popular with audiences. These films are very pro-freedom, making your own choices, not letting anyone tell you what to do. Basically very popular virtues among these times.
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Old 09-02-03, 01:45 PM   #6
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Old 09-02-03, 05:36 PM   #7
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I thought it was simply that Chief thought that McMurphy wouldn't want to live like that, and that after releasing McMurphy from his prison (of the mind), finally realized that it was in his power to release himself from his own prison and broke out.

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Old 09-02-03, 06:52 PM   #8
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I think a good way to look at the ending of this film is to revisit the story of 'Chief's' father who once had respect, honor, and courage but ended up a shell of what he once was. The people around him kept taking and taking until he died. Chief didn't want to see his friend Mcmurphy end up like that. By killing Mcmurphy he was performing the supreme act of kindness by ending his life while he could still be remembered by everyone else as strong and vital (big as a mountain)

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Old 09-02-03, 07:28 PM   #9
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When the chief kills McMurphy, you're reminded of the ancient story of a king who is informed that an army is coming to his castle to destroy everything and murder his family. I'm not.
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