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Five Easy Pieces

3.9 out of 5 stars 223 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

In an Academy Award(r)-nominated performance for Best Actor (1970), Jack Nicholson is outstanding in FIVE EASY PIECES, the acclaimed drama from director Bob Rafelson. Although a brilliant, classical pianist from an intellectual, well-to-do family, Robert Dupea (Nicholson), has made a career out of running from job to job and woman to woman. Presently working in an oil field, Dupea spends most of his free time downing beers, playing poker and being noncommittal with his sexy but witless girlfriendRayette (Karen Black). But when he is summoned to his father's deathbed, Dupea returns home with Rayette, where he meets and falls for a sophisticated woman (Susan Anspach). Now caught between his conflicting lifestyles, the gifted but troubled Dupea must face issues that will change his life forever. Deceptively simple, but one of the most complex and interesting films of its time, FIVE EASY PIECES garnered a 1970 Academy Award(r) nomination for Best Picture with Black receiving the 1970 New Y

Special Features

  • Bonus Trailer for As Good As It Gets

Product Details

  • Actors: Fannie Flagg, Karen Black, Jack Nicholson, Lois Smith, Susan Anspach
  • Directors: Bob Rafelson
  • Producers: Bob Rafelson, Richard Wechsler
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Georgian, Chinese, Thai
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 14, 1999
  • Run Time: 2 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (223 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00002VWE0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,993 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Five Easy Pieces" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAME on January 17, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Nominated for four Academy Awards, this 1970 film stars Jack Nicholson as Robert Dupea, a creative and alienated drifter who once held the promise of being a serious classical concert pianist. When we meet him, though, he's working on an oil rig, drinking, gambling, chasing women and treating his girlfriend, Rayette, badly. Karen Black plays Rayette, a loving and attractive, but not very intelligent, waitress who yearns to be a country western singer. And the sound track by Tammy Wynette, including "Stand By Your Man" are a contrast to the pieces by Mozart and Chopin that we hear later, when Nicholson visits his dying father in the family's secluded and upscale dwelling. There, he enters into an impossible relationship with his brother's sophisticated girlfriend played by Susan Anspach.
The film moves fast and held my interest, with a wide variety of episodes to further deepen the intensity of the Nicholson character. There's a nude scene with Sally Struthers as one of Nicholson's many women. There's a scene in a diner with a waitress where Nicholson tries to place an order for items not on the menu. There's a scene where he picks up two lesbian hitchhikers, who are planning on moving to Alaska. There's a scene with Nicholson's sister, played by Lois Smith, in a recording studio where she is playing classical music and treated with disrespect and contempt by the staff. And there's a scene where Nicholson defends his girlfriend, Rayette, against upper class snobbery.
This is a film that works as well today as it did in the 1970s. But it must have especially timely then and viewed as a cry for independence and freedom as the alienated Nicholson just keeps moving on. The screenplay by Carole Eastman, under the direction of Bob Rafelson, is excellent. And there's something about the story that makes us realize that there's a little bit of the Jack Nicholson character in all of us. Recommended.
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Format: VHS Tape
Jack Nicholson is a wonderful actor, but since the early 1970s, virtually all of his performances have been variations of Jack playing Jack. This is not to say that he has not been terrific doing this, but there is a distinct impression that there hasn't been much of a stretch in his acting since Chinatown. Not so with Five Easy Pieces - Nicholson completely loses himself in the character of Bobby Dupee, and gives what is arguably his best performance ever. What's more, the film, which opened in 1970, depicts better than any other film the alienation of the generation of the late 1960s-early 1970s. Nicholson's Bobby Dupee is a talented classical musician who comes from a family of talented classical musicians. He has, however, chosen to deny his past by living (one might almost say "hiding") with his girl friend, Rayette (a terrific Karen Black) among blue collar workers. The bulk of the film centers on Bobby's return home to visit his father, who has suffered a stroke, and the interaction of Bobby (and Rayette) with various members of the household. Nicholson's acting talent was never more apparent than in the scene where he is out walking with his wheel-chair bound father and tries to explain why he has chosen the path he has taken. The scene has an improvisational quality, and Nicholson is both natural and moving. It is a moment that can stand with anything he has done since.
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Format: DVD
This was Nicholson's first "angry young man" role (you can't count "Easy Rider" because he really just played a nerd) and it's evident that he'd found his niche for almost every other role he's played. He's a natural. His performance is layered with angst, passion, soft- sensitivity, self-doubt, and a cross-section of just about every other emotion imaginable. This was his first starring role, and it's no wonder his career took off with such a formidable foundation. Supported by Karen Black (too bad she's never had as good a role since), Susan Anspach and the wonderful Lois Smith, the entire ensemble provides a thought-provoking study of a potentially rewarding life wrought with bad choices. This is very much of a character-driven film, and Bob Rafelson gives the actors free reign, a wise decision. The DVD is of excellent quality considering the low price. "Five Easy Pieces" set a major standard for many films of the 70's (and most of Nicholsons's (Last Detail, Cuckoo's Nest). From the standpoint of its historical value, the film is most instructive. It's also immensely entertaining. Don't miss it!!
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Format: VHS Tape
Five Easy Pieces is one of the landmark films of American Cinema in the 1970's. Hot off the success of Easy Rider, Jack Nicholson made the transition to leading man after wallowing in Roger Corman B-movie obscurity since the late fifties. Nicholson stars as Robert Dupea, one of his most complex and challenging roles. Robert is a tortured soul. Once a promising pianist, he left that lifestyle and his family and moved to work on an oil rig in Texas. Unable to connect with other people he hides himself behind a sarcastic and icy facade. His only friends are Ray ( Karen Black) a simple, yet nurturing woman with aspirations to become a singer and whom is Roberts girfriend and Elton ( Billy Green Bush) who works with him on the oil rig. Robert, disillusioned with his life and unsure of the future learns that his father is ill in Washington and travels to see him with Ray in tow. The middle act turns into a slapstick road movie with Helena Kallianinotes hilarious as a hitchhiker they pick up along the way. After arriving at his old home, Robert must comes to terms with his dysfunctional family and the musical career he abandoned. He also meets a woman named Catherine ( Susan Anspach) an aspiring pianist whom he feels attractive to and who has the passion for music that he once had or did he? One particular vivid scene that stands out for me toward the end of the film is when Robert tries to have a coversation with his estranged father, who is disabled by a stroke and wheel chair bound. The nuanced performance of Nicholson as he goes through a series of complex emotions before breaking down and crying in front of his father is heartbreaking. Ultimately Robert decides to escape from everything for the the last time and start over with a clean slate, as his existential journey begins at the end of the film. We the viewer are left uncertain, but satisfied .
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