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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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(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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Stars: Jack Nicholson, Jessica Lange, John Colicos
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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:

19 February 1971 (Finland)  »

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

The piece played by Dupea on the piano in the back of the truck driving down the road is Frédéric Chopin's Fantaisie in F minor. See more »

Goofs

While Tita and Bobby are on the waterfront, talking, Tita is leaning on the tree with no coffee cup and in the next shot she is holding a coffee cup. In the next shot, the cup is gone and she is leaning on the tree again. See more »

Quotes

Elton: Well, what if she was, Bob? I can't see nothin' so bad in that. Well, what if I were to let you in on a little secret that she is? That's right. She told me. She's all torn up about it, too, which I hate to see. Well hell, isn't it somethin' you just have to face up to? I tell ya, somewhere along the line, you even get to likin' the whole idea. When Stoney first give me the news, I coulda shit!
[Bobby spits out his food and throws down his food in disgust]
Elton: Well isn't that nice?
Bobby: It's ridiculous. ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Family Guy: Death Is a Bitch (2000) 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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