232 user 106 critic

Five Easy Pieces (1970)

2:38 | Trailer
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.


Bob Rafelson


Carole Eastman (screenplay) (as Adrien Joyce), Bob Rafelson (story) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Nicholson ... Robert Eroica Dupea
Karen Black ... Rayette Dipesto
Billy Green Bush ... Elton (as Billy 'Green' Bush)
Fannie Flagg ... Stoney
Sally Struthers ... Betty (as Sally Ann Struthers)
Marlena MacGuire Marlena MacGuire ... Twinky (as Marlena Macguire)
Richard Stahl ... Recording Engineer
Lois Smith ... Partita Dupea
Helena Kallianiotes ... Palm Apodaca
Toni Basil ... Terry Grouse
Lorna Thayer ... Waitress
Susan Anspach ... Catherine Van Oost
Ralph Waite ... Carl Fidelio Dupea
William Challee ... Nicholas Dupea
John P. Ryan ... Spicer (as John Ryan)


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


He Rode The Fast Lane On The Road To Nowhere.




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The 1963 Mercury Monterey Breezeway that Bobby drives has Washington state license plates (ARH 633) even when he is living in California, which is a violation of the California vehicle code. See more »


During Bobby's monologue with his father at about 1:27:30 there is an onlooker in the far background in the top left corner of the frame. After 15 seconds they walk away, giving themselves away as a person rather than a tree stump. See more »


[first lines]
Rayette: I'm gonna play it again.
Bobby: You play that thing one more time, I'm gonna melt it down into hairspray.
Rayette: Let me play the other side then.
Bobby: No, Rayette, it's not a question of sides. It's a question of musical integrity.
See more »


Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Jack Nicholson Performances (2013) See more »


Chromatic Fantasy & Fugue
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Pearl Kaufman
See more »

User Reviews

Smaller than the sum of its parts, but . . .
19 February 2006 | by janningsSee all my reviews

"Five Easy Pieces" is one of those "flawed" movies that has several excellent scenes, some outstanding performances, and very often features ingenious direction. But the sum never equals the many great parts. Why? For one thing, character motivations are often opaque. Even the character of Bobby, whom Jack Nicholson plays brilliantly, remains a mosaic rather than an intelligible entity. The closest the movie comes to figuring out Bobby is when Catherine van Oost (played, again brilliantly, by Susan Anspach) dices and slices him into many more than five tiny little pieces. "Why should I go with you?" she asks him. "If a person has no love for himself, no respect for himself, no love of his friends, family, work, something--how can he ask for love in return? I mean, why should he ask for it?" Bobby is left muttering something like "Well, ah . . . I could make you happy." But he realizes she's right. The audience, unfortunately, realized the same thing about an hour earlier.

The editing by Christopher Holmes and Gerald Shepard is first-class—but the best part of the movie is Bob Rafelson's directing. I mean, what a vision this man had! It stretches from what look like Gulf Coast oil fields to Los Angeles to Vancouver Island (or places remarkably similar). The extremely difficult traffic sequences--even the ones on the ferry boats--flow seamlessly. And the "road movie" section from L.A. to Vancouver with Helena Kallianiotis as the utterly bizarre, hygiene-obsessed lesbian is a masterpiece. In every location, Rafelson has everything under control, yet he allowed actors a wide berth to expand the rather abstract characters assigned them. The movie is worth watching for both its flaws and its inconsistencies. Not a great movie, but worth watching, thinking about, and rediscovering.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

12 September 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Five Easy Pieces See more »


Box Office


$1,600,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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