Five Easy Pieces
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A disaffected man seeks a sense of identity in one of the key films of Hollywood's 1970s New Wave. Once a promising pianist from a family of classical musicians, Bobby Eroica Dupea (Jack Nicholson, in his first major starring role) leads a blue-collar life as an oil rigger, living with needy waitress girlfriend Rayette (Karen Black) and bowling with their friends Elton (Billy "Green" Bush) and Stoney (Fannie Flagg). Feeling suffocated by responsibilities, Bobby seeks out his sister, Tita (Lois Smith), and, discovering that his father is gravely ill, he reluctantly heads back to… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Nicholson makes it all go. He proves he is more than a "character actor" with many scenes, especially the confrontation with his father."
‑ Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune
"The film's nervewracking quality is consistent with its content. Nicholson's performance is a remarkably varied and daring exploration of a complex character, equally convincing in its manic and sober aspects."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"The feature is anchored by Nicholson's performance, in which he demonstrates his unique ability to swiftly shape-shift from a cheeky sweet-heart into a volatile beast."
‑ Simon Miraudo, Quickflix
"moves from scenes of quiet desperation to moments of great black humor"
‑ James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk
"A key American film of its era, Bob Rafelson's moody, character-driven tale of an upper-middle class dropout established Jack Nicholson as the foremost actor of his generation in articulating the values of the new generation."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Five Easy Pieces, a brilliant gem of American psychological realism (where are these movies today?), is Nicholson's arrival to the A-list."
‑ Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
"The film embraces proletarian chic but still gets its laughs by abusing waitresses."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"An American entry into the French New Wave starring a compelling Jack Nicholson."
‑ Wesley Lovell, Cinema Sight
"[Jack] Nicholson helped redefine the leading man as a guy who doesn't have the answers but still swaggers through with the show of confidence and control of someone who does."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Parallax View
"Bobby can be seen as spiritual descendant of Melville's scrivener Bartleby, preferring not to participate in a world to which he doesn't subscribe."
‑ Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"It's a great work of the Discover America Seventies."
‑ Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice
"The result is less a story and more a collection of incidents and character studies, all of which inform each other and extend our understanding of Nicholson's mode of survival: flight."
‑ , Time Out
"Boasting a career best performance by Jack Nicholson in the lead role, Rafelson's movie is a penetrating study of American alienation."
‑ Jason Best, Movie Talk
"Both spirited road movie and existential journey."
‑ Neil Smith, Total Film
"Jack Nicholson shines in the film that helped cement his reputation as one of the finest actors of his generation."
‑ , Film4
More reviews for Five Easy Pieces on Rotten Tomatoes