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Five Easy Pieces (1970)

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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.

Director:

Bob Rafelson

Writers:

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

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Cast

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 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)
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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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 February 1971 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Mi vida es mi vida See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,600,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$18,099,091, 31 December 1971
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jack Nicholson wanted Janis Joplin to have the part of Palm Apodaca, but it was never offered to her. See more »

Goofs

After Bobby and Carl are finished playing Ping-Pong, Carl leaves in the blue station wagon to go to the mainland where he spends the night. In the next several scenes when Bobby and Catherine spend time together while it is understood Carl is away, they are seen cavorting outside where the blue station wagon is shown parked in the driveway. See more »

Quotes

Catherine: [after hearing Robert play the piano] That was beautiful, Robert, I'm surprised.
Bobby: Thank you.
Catherine: I was really very moved by... What's wrong?
Bobby: Nothing. It's just... I picked the easiest piece that I could think of. I first played it when I was 8-years-old, and I played it better then.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film '72: Episode dated 12 November 2014 (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

D-I-V-O-R-C-E
Written by Bobby Braddock (as B. Braddock) & Curly Putman (as C. Putnam)
Performed by Tammy Wynette
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The pianist
14 February 2006 | by jotix100See all my reviews

"Five Easy Pieces" was one of the most revered films of the 1970s. It was the film that showed audiences what Jack Nicholson could do, after having worked for many years in movies that were seen only by real cinephiles, but not by a wider audiences. Not having seen the film in a long time, we decided to watch it when it showed on cable recently. The only thing is the copy we saw was not anamorphic in format, which on key scenes almost shows a blank screen while the characters talk off camera!

Bob Rafelson and Carole Eastman created a screen play that dealt with existential themes, a rarity in the American cinema. Mr. Rafelson was at the height of his creative period, something that later projects seem to contradict the promise he showed at the time.

Bobby Dupea, the main character of the story, is a complex individual who has left a life of privilege and culture behind to become an oil rig worker and getting away from his previous life. At the time we meet him, he is involved with Rayette, a simple woman who loves him, but one can see how different they are. That contrast comes more obvious when Bobby goes back home and meets Catherine, his brother's fiancée, who is a musician and seem to be more attuned with Bobby than the simple minded Rayette.

"Five Easy Pieces" was a film that showcased the enormously talented Jack Nicholson doing some interesting work. The measure of his acting ability is seen about half way in the movie as Bobby, Rayette, and the two lesbian hitchhikers have stopped at a diner. Bobby's meal order request creates a match of words in which Mr. Nicholson shows what he is capable of doing.

The film concludes with a puzzling scene, as Bobby and Rayette are heading back home. We watch them stopping at a gas station and little prepares us for what happens next. In a way, we have seen all along the film how restless Bobby has become and it's clear that in spite of his being with Rayette, she will never understands how to make him happy at all.

The reason for watching "Five Easy Pieces" is Jack Nicholson. His character is the most interesting one in the film and he does an excellent job in creating the tension behind this complex man he portraits. Karen Black's Rayette is annoying at times because of her whining. Susan Anspach comes out better playing Catherine. Some other familiar faces in the cast are, Sally Struthers, Ralph White, Lois Smith, Billy Green Bush and Fannie Flagg.

"Five Easy Pieces" is one of the best films of that decade.


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