7.5/10
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195 user 89 critic

Five Easy Pieces (1970)

A dropout from upper-class America picks up work along the way on oil rigs when his life isn't spent in a squalid succession of bars, motels, and other points of interest.

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Writers:

(screenplay) (as Adrien Joyce), (story) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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'It's Monopoly out there'. Jason Staebler, The King of Marvin Gardens, has gone directly to jail, lives on the Boardwalk and fronts for the local mob in Atlantic City. He is also a dreamer ... See full summary »

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In 1951, a group of high schoolers come of age in a bleak, isolated, atrophied West Texas town that is slowly dying, both culturally and economically.

Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Stars: Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Elton (as Billy 'Green' Bush)
Fannie Flagg ...
Stoney
...
Betty (as Sally Ann Struthers)
Marlena MacGuire ...
Twinky (as Marlena Macguire)
Richard Stahl ...
Recording Engineer
...
Partita Dupea
...
...
Lorna Thayer ...
Waitress
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Carl Fidelio Dupea
...
Nicholas Dupea
...
Spicer (as John Ryan)
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Storyline

Robert Dupea has given up his promising career as a concert pianist and is now working in oil fields. He lives together with Rayette, who's a waitress in a diner. When Robert hears from his sister that his father isn't well, he drives up to Washington to see him, taking Rayette with him. There he gets confronted with his rich, cultured family that he had left behind. Written by Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He Rode The Fast Lane On The Road To Nowhere.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 December 1970 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Mi vida es mi vida  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,600,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bob Rafelson: The man going into the elevator at the recording studio. See more »

Goofs

Ray bowls a strike, but in the next shot when she turns to face the other bowlers, the pins behind her are standing. See more »

Quotes

Palm Apodaca: You know, I read where they, uh, invented this car that runs on, ummm... that runs on, ummm... when you boil water?
Terry: Steam.
Palm Apodaca: Right, steam. A car that you could ride around in and not cause a stink. But do you know they will not even let us have it? Can you believe it? Why? Man! He likes to create a stink! I mean, I've seen filth that you wouldn't believe. Ugh! What a stink! I don't even want to talk about it.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in NCIS: Los Angeles: Touch of Death (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Touch Me
(uncredited)
Written by Hank Cochran
Performed by Karen Black
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A very complex and deep character study...
8 January 1999 | by (Philadelphia, PA) – See all my reviews

Bob Rafelson's FIVE EASY PIECES is about inner pain and suffering that just so happens to consume people in all walks of life. It is sometimes hard to watch and Nicholson's character "Robert" is a miserable SOB. However, he is also a very compelling character who affects all around him. He is lonely, he is scared, and he does not know what to do with himself.

If you are looking for plot, this is not the picture for you. The only remnants of a plot concern Nicholson's father, a distant memory of his previous prestigious lifestyle as a classical pianist, who has fallen sick. Jack decides to visit his family's estate to pay his last respects. This sets the forum of emotional indifference and misery. He hates his old life, which he left to become a construction worker and has taken up with a flighty waitress played brilliantly by Karen Black. He pretends to enjoy this simple way of living, but he treats Black like the trash he considers her to be and could care less about anyone.

Why should anyone see this film? Because Jack Nicholson is one of our greatest actors and he is able to transcend what was put on paper regarding the main character and project raw power and feelings in his own, unique way. The movie is littered with classic scenes, in particular, the chicken salad sandwich scene, one of the funniest I've ever seen. The one I feel that stands out and symbolizes the essence of the film is where Jack plays Chopin in the piano room while Rafelson's camera does a slow 360 around the room, glancing at pictures of his life before he fled from it. It is a perfect mixture of intensity, music, and sadness.

The last scene, which ends so abruptly, makes perfect sense within this context. It leaves us feeling empty and unfulfilled, exactly how Nicholson's character feels. This is what makes this character piece all the more powerful.


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