Box art for Five Easy Pieces

Five Easy Pieces

drama


Jack Nicholson gives a tour de force performance in this riveting masterpiece. Nominated for four Academy Awards(r), including Best Picture 1970.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    86%
  • Audience Score
    85%

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    86%
    reviews counted: 13
    see all Five Easy Pieces reviews
  • Audience

    85%

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh:

- Cole Smithey, ColeSmithey.com, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rotten: The film embraces proletarian chic but still gets its laughs by abusing waitresses.

- Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader, Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fresh: 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, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

3 stars

This film forces existential analysis because Bobbys character is so obviously and painfully conflicted. His actions reveal intelligence, along with the requisite anti-heroic characteristics of privilege, superiority and arrogance. Despite his philandering ways, he also reveals a moral awareness and complexity, demonstrated by his decision to see his father and taking Rayette along for the trip. These aspects create an expectation for psychological understanding, compelling the viewer to attach motivation or meaning to his actions. Bobbys romantic relationships are a manifestation of his internal conflict. He knows Rayette is uneducated and her intelligence level is questionable. He treats her abominably, if not abusively, but fundamentally respects her qualities (at least when juxtaposed with the values of his upbringing). His regard is notably revealed in his defense of her character and humanity in the parlor scene. His connection with his brothers girlfriend is unsurprising because of his womanizing tendencies: The element of interest is that Bobby seemingly desires to pursue a deeper relationship with Catherine. She is Rayettes opposite, Bobbys mirror, and a necessary manifestation of his internal conflict: She is never an honest romantic interest. Is his a universal or individual conflict? Is it attributable to privileged socio-economic position or a pervasive post-modern condition? What aches in this film is Bobbys awareness of the conflict, but the inability to dismiss or resolve it. Various familiar literary characters abound with possible resolutions: Camus Mersault attaches no meaning to action; Shakespeares Prince Hal slums it, in preparation for his greater station; Self-destructive, Bukowskian characters create their own brand of misery and adversity, meanwhile forging a personal mythos and truth. Yet, when things inevitably go bad for Bobby, he simply escapes, anything to negate or avoid performing those five easy pieces. The original, scripted ending involved a car crash, proving fatal for Bobby, but not Rayette. This ending forces a predictable and poetic resolution, which was replaced by the cameras distant observation of the gas station. Instead, Bobbys departure implies the repetition of his Sisyphean cycle, thereby inflicting a haunting ambiguity, emotional hollowness and pervasive meaninglessness to the films conclusion. A bleak and nightmarish American vision!

- bookmunki, Tuesday, May 18, 2010

2 stars

Well acted story of disaffection individually and within a family. While I wouldn't say it was enjoyable it is an admirable effort that makes straight forward observations about its characters without softening them or trying to make them more appealing.

- jjnxn, Sunday, April 18, 2010

5 stars

Probably one of the greatest examinations of American life. Not only is it a flawlessly done Road Movie, it is also far more deep and multi-facetted than that. It says so much about family, love, work, personality and the goal of the American Dream. I think the greatest aspect is that it hardly follows the average narrative, it's a lot more like actual life. Many of the questions are never answered and many of the characters don't have a final resolve. It also doesn't have a sappy ending, which is incredibly brave for 1970. Jack Nicholson gives probably one of his greatest performances as Robert Dupea, one of the most realistic characters put on screen. He is in many ways a horrible person at first examination. He has very little redeeming qualities, has nearly no compassion or sense of love. However, that's what makes him so great. He's a perfect representation of a real human being. Most of us are more selfish than we like to put on and have issues that are never made obvious to others. When the movie unfolds, you began to realize why he is the way he is and gain somewhat of a respect for him. The film captures the landscape of the country in a way that no other film before or since has replicated or even come close to. The shots of the small towns, local spots and the highway are almost scarily close to the way a human perceives it. They didn't dress up the set or made it look more beautiful than it is, it was the reality of where they were.

- ythelastman89, Tuesday, March 15, 2011