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8.0
/10
2,347 Ratings

Five Easy Pieces

Directed by Bob Rafelson
United States, 1970
Drama

Synopsis

Nicholson plays the now iconic cad Bobby Dupea, a shiftless thirtysomething oil rigger and former piano prodigy immune to any sense of romantic or familial responsibility, who returns to his childhood home to see his ailing estranged father, with his blue-collar girlfriend (Karen Black) in tow.

Our take

It was called “the New Hollywood”: a golden age where counterculture outsiders remade Tinseltown, and Five Easy Pieces is one of its greatest classics. An unflinching look at the middle rungs of American life, with all its dusty streets and dive bars, it cemented the stardom of Jack Nicholson.

Five Easy Pieces Directed by Bob Rafelson

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1971 | 4 nominations including: Best Picture

National Board of Review

1971 | 2 wins including: Best Supporting Actress

Directors Guild of America

1971 | Nominee: Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures

Writers Guild of America

1971 | Nominee: Best Drama Written Directly for the Screen (Screen)

Jack Nicholson’s performance in Five Easy Pieces is a marvel of carefully released physical energy. The actor can push himself out of a chair or roll a bowling ball contemptuously down a lane and tell you more about his character than many performers could with pages of motivational dialogue. You can’t take your eyes off of Nicholson in this film: He suggests an ambulatory shard of copper wire running around emitting sparks, or an emotional painter, his primary hue of choice being anger.
July 01, 2015
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Though the camera worships Nicholson’s dynamism, until this point Dupea has been an enigmatic protagonist. Rafelson could have shot him static throughout the entire piece, but in gracefully panning the camera about the room, picking up framed pictures on the walls… we get a sense of a life and identity to which we were never priorly privileged.
November 19, 2012
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When the film isn’t scoring easy points against hicks and snobs alike, it creates a remarkably credible world, one that seems largely divorced from the imperatives of standard screenwriting structure. Lois Smith, for example, as Bobby’s sister Tita, suggests a complex, fascinating human being who could easily be the focus of a parallel movie (though it might be a Todd Solondz movie)…
July 02, 2012
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