I am wondering if Mac from 1975 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest movie set in Sep.-Dec. of 1963 was a WW2 veteran? He was 38 years old, born in 1925. Was he a veteran of that war probably?(He wasn't really crazy, either)

  • Wikipedia fictional biography does only mention that he was a korea-war vet., i guess if he had been also in ww2 it would be mentioned there. But because i dont know how reliable this article is, i only post it as comment:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randle_McMurphy
    – kl78
    Oct 6, 2015 at 22:42

1 Answer 1


No. MacMurphy was a Korean War vet, who was dishonorably discharged for insubordination. In fact, Nurse Ratched runs down his history when she reads his chart:

McMurphy is interred at the hospital for "diagnosis and possible treatment," reads Nurse Ratched, who continues: "Thirty-five years old. Never married. Distinguished Service Cross in Korea, for leading an escape from a Communist prison camp. A dishonorable discharge, afterward, for insubordination. Followed by a history of street brawls and barroom fights and a series of arrests for Drunkenness, Assault and Battery, Disturbing the Peace, repeated gambling, and one arrest — for Rape." (taken from the Cliff's Notes page)

While it's true that the Korean War succeeded WWII by 5 years and RPM would have been old enough to have fought in it, there is no indication anywhere that he was involved in anything other than Korea.

  • 2
    You should probably mention that you're talking about the book. Unless my memory fails me, I don't think McMurphy was a veteran of any war in the movie.
    – Walt
    Oct 7, 2015 at 16:43
  • 2
    True, they don't delve into his past at all in the movie. Since the movie was based on the book, I'd say that it's understood that RPM is a Korean War vet, though that's never specifically stated. I believe they do say that he's in prison for statutory rape, which is consistent with his prison sentence in the book. Oct 7, 2015 at 19:06

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