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15 films with the inimitable Jack Nicholson
15 films with the inimitable Jack Nicholson

The laugh of the actor in the image of the Joker is simply impossible to forget.

15 films with the inimitable Jack Nicholson
15 films with the inimitable Jack Nicholson

Jack Nicholson has won three Academy Awards in 12 nominations and has starred with such eminent directors as Michelangelo Antonioni, Stanley Kubrick, Milos Forman, Tim Burton and Martin Scorsese.

Although Nicholson sometimes received obscenely high fees for his work, the actor always believed that creativity was much more important than money. Therefore, he chose difficult roles that tested his skills.

1. Easy rider

  • USA, 1969.
  • Road movie.
  • Duration: 94 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 4.

Two idealistic bikers, Wyatt and Billy (Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper) travel the southern states of the United States in search of freedom. Friends get acquainted with the philosophizing lawyer George (Jack Nicholson) - the same representative of the lost generation as themselves.

"Easy Rider" is the directorial debut of the cult figure of American cinema, Dennis Hopper. The painting became a symbol of the rift in American society during the Vietnam War era and marked the beginning of the road movie genre.

Jack Nicholson earned his first Oscar nomination for his role in Easy Rider. His character is looking for a middle ground between the escapism of Wyatt and Billy and the reality in which one inevitably has to obey the system.

2. Five easy pieces

  • USA, 1970.
  • Road movie, drama.
  • Duration: 98 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 5.

Robert Dupy (Jack Nicholson) is a budding pianist from an intelligent family. He gives up his secluded, privileged life and leaves for California. There, the hero works in the oil field and lives with his girlfriend, the waitress Raiett (Karen Black). One day Robert finds out that his father is seriously ill, and together with Raiett goes to Washington to finally visit the family.

The film became the starting point for the formation of American independent cinema alongside "Easy Rider." The picture finally cemented Jack Nicholson's stellar status, bringing the actor another Oscar nomination.

3. The last outfit

  • USA, 1973.
  • Road movie, buddy movie, tragicomedy.
  • Duration: 103 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 6.

Two US Navy sailors - Billy Baddusky (Jack Nicholson) and Richard Mulhall (Otis Young) - have to deliver new recruit Randy Quaid to prison. The latter was caught stealing $ 40 from a donation box.

Eighteen-year-old Randy, who faces 8 years in prison, did not really have time to enjoy life. And Billy intends to arrange a real male farewell for the guy to make Randy's last days in the wild unforgettable.

The film directed by Hal Ashby was admired by critics - the sharp social overtones and piercing acting did not leave anyone indifferent. The Last Dress brought Nicholson another Academy Award nomination and Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival.

Jack Nicholson still considers the role of Officer Baddusky to be the best in his career and used to be very worried that he did not receive an Oscar for this job.

4. Chinatown

  • USA, 1974.
  • Neo-noir.
  • Duration: 131 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6, 2.

This dark crime story is set in Los Angeles in the 1930s. The main character Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is a private detective passionate about his profession. One day, a mysterious lady asks Jake to expose her cheating husband. The detective willingly takes up work, but during the investigation he realizes that everything is not as simple as it seemed to him.

Chinatown is deservedly considered one of the best thrillers in the history of cinema and in the career of director Roman Polanski. Jack Nicholson won a Golden Globe and BAFTA for his role as Jake Gittes, as well as another Oscar nomination.

In 1990, the actor moved to the director's chair and filmed the sequel to The Quarter, titled Two Jakes, where he again played the role of detective Gittes. The film failed both commercially and artistically: it flopped at the box office and garnered unflattering reviews.

5. Profession: Reporter (Passenger)

  • Italy, Spain, France, 1975.
  • Road movie, thriller, drama.
  • Duration: 119 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 6.

Journalist David Locke arrives in northern Sahara to shoot documentaries, but the work is not going well. The hero has severe depression caused by a crisis in his professional and family life. When a hotel roommate suddenly dies, David fakes his own death to finally release his obligations.

The latest film from Michelangelo Antonioni's English-language trilogy (which also includes Magnification and Zabriskie Point) went unnoticed at the box office. But these days, the picture is considered one of the best works of the director.

Jack Nicholson has long dreamed of working with the great Antonioni and considers their joint film one of his most beloved. He also claimed that he was the only actor who in 25 years found a common language with the director.

6. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

  • USA, 1975.
  • Drama.
  • Duration: 133 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8, 7.

The picture by Milos Forman is a free adaptation of the novel of the same name by Ken Kesey. The film tells about the tragic collision of an individual and a system that, instead of treating patients, aggravates their condition.

Events unfold in 1963. Criminal Randall McMurphy (Jack Nicholson), who raped a fifteen-year-old girl, is brought to a psychiatric clinic for examination. New patient is unhappy with the harsh routine of head nurse Mildred Ratched (Louise Fletcher). The hero actively defends the rights of the inhabitants of the house of sorrow.

The film earned Jack Nicholson an Oscar for Best Actor, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and a National Council of Film Critics award.

7. Shining

  • USA, UK, 1980.
  • Thriller, horror film.
  • Duration: 146 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8, 4.

Writer Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) gets a job as a caretaker at the Overlook Hotel, which is empty in winter, to work on a new novel in silence and solitude. Together with his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and his son Danny (Danny Lloyd), he will live in a creepy hotel, where inexplicable and frightening events will happen very soon.

Stanley Kubrick's great film, which has been repeatedly recognized as one of the best films in history, in the year of its release, hopelessly failed at the box office and claimed two Golden Raspberries.

Stephen King, too, was not enthusiastic about the Kubrick film adaptation of his novel. The writer did not like the changes in the plot and, in his opinion, the inappropriate actors.

The famous line "Here's Johnny" was not originally in the script - it is an improvisation by Jack Nicholson. The actor borrowed a sonorous phrase from the famous TV program "Tonight Show with Johnny Carson."

Later, the iconic scene of cutting through a door with an ax turned into a meme that is often used to joke about someone unexpectedly appearing.

8. The postman always rings twice

  • USA, Germany, 1981.
  • Crime film, drama, thriller, melodrama.
  • Duration: 122 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6, 6.

The fourth film adaptation of the novel of the same name by American writer James Kane tells the story of Frank Chambers (Jack Nicholson) the tramp and the seductive wife of the owner of a roadside cafe, Cora Smith (Jessica Lange). The lovers plan to get rid of Cora's husband.

In total, Jack Nicholson starred in six films directed by Bob Rafelson, including Leader (1968), Five Easy Pieces (1970), King Marvin Gardens (1972), Men's Troubles (1992) and Blood and Wine (1996).

9. Eastwick witches

  • USA, 1987.
  • Comedy, fantasy.
  • Duration: 118 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6, 5.

The plot focuses on young women waiting for the world's best man Alex (Cher), Jane (Susan Sarandon) and Sookie (Michelle Pfeiffer). Once in their town of Eastwick, the ideal gentleman Daryl Van Horn (Jack Nicholson) appears. He methodically wins the hearts of each of the three ladies, until the girls realize that the strange events taking place are the work of Daryl, who is not at all as good as he seemed.

Prior to The Eastwick Witches, Jack Nicholson, who had already won two Oscars (the other for Best Supporting Actor in James Brooks' melodrama The Tongue of Tenderness), had no opportunity to show his comedic potential. But hardly anyone could play the fiend of evil better than the most sophisticated bad guy in Hollywood.

10. Thistle

  • USA, 1987.
  • Drama.
  • Duration: 144 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6, 8.

The action takes place in America during the Great Depression. Once Francis Phelan (Jack Nicholson) was everyone's favorite baseball star, he is now a battered homeless alcoholic. The main character returns to his hometown, where he experienced terrible events twenty years ago. There, Francis meets his ex-mistress Helen Archer (Meryl Streep), who has also sunk nowhere below and is hopelessly ill. Now they have to go through new suffering and loss.

The first joint project of Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep was the comedy Jealousy (1986). A year later, they again starred together in the social drama "Thistle". For this picture, Nicholson and Streep received Oscar nominations.

11. Batman

  • USA, 1989.
  • Superhero action movie.
  • Duration: 126 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 6.

District Attorney Harvey Dent (Billy Dee Williams) and Police Commissioner James Gordon (Pat Hingle) try to stop the crime rampant in Gotham, but in vain. A mysterious hero in a black cloak comes to the aid of the city - Batman (Michael Keaton), under whose mask the billionaire Bruce Wayne is hiding.

Reporter Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) is determined to uncover the secret of Batman's identity. Meanwhile, a dangerous psychopath nicknamed Joker (Jack Nicholson) is announced in the city. This is the boss of the underworld who wants to destroy the people's hero.

The cult film by Tim Burton would not have done without the same cult villain. Jack Nicholson has created a truly impressive image of the Joker, whose laughter is simply impossible to forget.

12. It couldn't be better

  • USA, 1997.
  • Comedy.
  • Duration: 139 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 7.

The successful New York writer Melvin Yudell (Jack Nicholson) suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and therefore lives by a strict routine. Others hate Melvin because of his weirdness and bad character, and he reciprocates. But the measured life of the protagonist ends when he begins to take care of his neighbor's dog, who is hospitalized.

For his role in the romantic tragicomedy of James Brooks, Nicholson received his third Oscar, which he dedicated to his late colleague in the film A Few Good Guys (1992) JT Walsh.

13. Love by the rules and without

Something's Gotta Give

  • USA, 2003.
  • Comedy, melodrama.
  • Duration: 128 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6, 7.

The main character Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson) is an aging ladies' man. His date with another young lady ended with a heart attack, and even in front of Erica (Diane Keaton), the mother of his new passion. Harry finds himself alone with an attractive lady of his age and suddenly realizes that he really likes her. But Erica already has a fan - the young and handsome Dr. Julian Mercer (Keanu Reeves).

Director Nancy Myers also worked on the script for the film. And she wrote it specifically for Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton.

The commercially successful film paid off the production budget three times, and Jack Nicholson was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Comedian.

14. Apostates

  • USA, 2006.
  • Crime film, drama, detective, thriller.
  • Duration: 151 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8, 5.

Irish gangster Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) takes a ten-year-old boy named Colin Sullivan under his wing. A few years later, Sullivan (Matt Damon) becomes his man in the police force. He is tasked with finding a spy, which he himself is. At the same time, police officer Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) - a former classmate of Sullivan - works undercover and successfully infiltrates Costello's entourage.

At first, Nicholson did not want to star in The Departed, but changed his mind after talking with director Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio. Later, the actor explained that at some point he began to work too much in comedies, and he again wanted to play the bad guy. So another charismatic villain appeared in the filmography of Jack Nicholson.

For his role as crime boss Frank Costello, Jack Nicholson received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

15. Not yet played in the box

  • USA, 2007.
  • Tragicomedy.
  • Duration: 93 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 4.

Two completely different elderly men - the intelligent auto mechanic Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) and the expressive billionaire Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) - are united by a terrible diagnosis: cancer. The heroes have less than a year to live, and they make a wish list. These are the dreams that men would like to fulfill before death.

Screenwriter Justin Zacham saw the role of Edward Clint Eastwood, but director Rob Reiner and Morgan Freeman wanted Jack Nicholson to play the role.

Shortly before filming, the actor himself was in the hospital. This experience inspired him to improvise. As a result, the script was overgrown with new dialogues, and the character of Nicholson acquired a distinctive feature - mirrored glasses.