Five Easy Pieces (1970)



Critic Consensus: An important touchstone of the New Hollywood era, Five Easy Pieces is a haunting portrait of alienation that features one of Jack Nicholson's greatest performances.

Movie Info

A disaffected man seeks a sense of identity in one of the key films of Hollywood's 1970s New Wave. Once a promising pianist from a family of classical musicians, Bobby Eroica Dupea (Jack Nicholson, in his first major starring role) leads a blue-collar life as an oil rigger, living with needy waitress girlfriend Rayette (Karen Black) and bowling with their friends Elton (Billy "Green" Bush) and Stoney (Fannie Flagg). Feeling suffocated by responsibilities, Bobby seeks out his sister, Tita (Lois … More

Rating: R (adult situations/language)
Genre: Drama, Musical & Performing Arts, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Carole Eastman, Adrien Joyce, Bob Rafelson
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 28, 2001
Columbia Pictures


as Robert Dupea

as Rayette Dipesto

as Catherine Van Ost

as Stoney

as Carl Dupea

as Partita Dupea

as Terry Grouse

as Waitress

as Recording Engineer

as Palm Apodaca

as Spicer

as Samia Glavia
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Five Easy Pieces

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Critic Reviews for Five Easy Pieces

All Critics (44) | Top Critics (9)

The flaws of this acutely self-conscious 1970 road picture grow more obvious with every passing year, but so does its passion and eloquence.

Full Review… | July 18, 2014
New Yorker
Top Critic

The movie has more anger than it knows what to do with; that's its fascination and its weakness, too.

Full Review… | June 16, 2014
New Yorker
Top Critic

Nicholson makes it all go. He proves he is more than a "character actor" with many scenes, especially the confrontation with his father.

Full Review… | January 18, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

It's a great work of the Discover America Seventies.

Full Review… | February 23, 2010
Village Voice
Top Critic

The film's nervewracking quality is consistent with its content. Nicholson's performance is a remarkably varied and daring exploration of a complex character, equally convincing in its manic and sober aspects.

Full Review… | July 26, 2007
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | July 26, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Five Easy Pieces

A sorrowful tale about the implications of being a runaway from life, Jack Nicholson gives a stellar performance as Robert, a former piano prodigy. Robert is a very interesting character, a man who runs from everything in the world, just so he can be alone and selfish. He runs off from his wealth and his family because he can't deal with his father's disapproval. He runs from his girlfriend, his job, from everything that dissatisfies him only because he wants his life to be purposeful, for something to come out of nothing. He doesn't want to feel trapped by money, and yet he resents anyone who believes he's as lowdown as they are. His selfishness becomes his undoing, and his tendency to run forces him to choose between doing the right thing and the wrong. A stellar supporting cast, amazing premise, and a powerful performance from Nicholson makes this character study an exercise in the contention of human error.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Love the Tammy Wynette/Classical music soundtrack. Especially love the scene where Elton's wife is glued to the small staticy tv screen watching Frank Capra's "You Can't Take It With You".

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer


A great road movie about a man who is on a, wait for it, existential journey. This film not only spoke to a generation of filmgoers bewildered by end of the turbulent 60's, but also catapulted Nicholson to the A-List. It is a powerful study on alienation and not for those seeking escapist entertainment.
While it is most famous for it's diner scene, I think that scene deserves more than just the simple laugh that most people give it. While Nicholson is on a constant search for his place in this world, on the rare occasion that he does know what he wants, his efforts are obstructed by an established order. Even his attempts to rectify the situation are thwarted by those who reinforce the order. A palpable message for the turn of the decade. Unfortunately, the film does take some unnecessary detours, pun intended, and Karen Black has to be one of the most obnoxious on screen presences I have ever witnessed.

Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

Five Easy Pieces Quotes

– Submitted by Kia M (18 months ago)
– Submitted by Kia M (18 months ago)
– Submitted by Kia M (18 months ago)
– Submitted by Kia M (18 months ago)

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