The Legend Called Jack Nicholson

Note- This is a humble tribute to one of my all time favourite actors- Jack Nicholson on the occasion of his 75th birthday ( 22nd April ).

Those of us, who dig ‘Quality’ (Here, ‘Quality is an operative word) Hollywood old cinema, always have a favorite film or a movie star of that era. When you talk about the Hollywood cinema of 70’s and 80’s you are reminded of fantastic films which were dished out, lot of gritty performances given by numerous actors and actresses, some of the legendary directors who changed the course of American cinema forever.

Just to name a few- 70’s & 80’s gave us mind blowing films like Godfather trilogy, Scarface, Taxi Driver, Serpico, Apocalypse now, The Shining, Clockwork orange etc just to name a few, which in turn gave us the finest actors of our generation like Robert De niro, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman etc. I was going through my 70’s and 80’s set of Hollywood dvds and decided to re-watch “One flew over cuckoo’s nest”. Mesmerized by Jack Nicholson’s performance, I decided to pay tribute to him by listing his 6 best films of his illustrious career. For the record Jack Nicholson has been nominated for 12 Oscars. Below given is my list of 6 notable films in chronological order

1. Easy Rider(1969): This film got Jack his first Oscar nomination for best actor in supporting role. This ~90 minute road movie written & directed by Dennis Hopper talks about two avid bikers(played by Dennis Hopper & Peter Fonda) who travel from LA to New Orleans in search of freedom. It is a social commentary on the bigotry and hypocrisy of the 1960’s toward the “hippies”. It is a simple but powerful statement about freedom, how some communities indulged in stereotyping other communities etc. Jack’s performance as a drunk lawyer is a memorable one. Click here to see one of the most memorable scenes of the film and which for me summarizes the whole film. Definitely, this film established Jack as an actor to lookout for.

2. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s nest(1975): One of the finest films ever. Period. Directed by Milos Forman, the film talk’s about a man who has had a criminal past, pleads insanity to escape prison and gets himself into a mental hospital. There he meets up with a nurse who is a tyrant and has instilled a sense of fear amongst the patients. How McMurphy & other patients gang up against the tyrannical nurse forms the crux of story. Jack Nicholson’s performance as R.P Macmurphy won him an Oscar for the best actor. The film is an adaptation of Ken Kesey’s book of the same name. Click here & here to see one of the best scenes of the films.

3. Terms of Endearment (1983): Directed by James L Brooks, the film talks about the relationship between a mother and daughter. This is an epic drama film with shades of a chick flick.The ending of the film is poignant and leaves you thinking. Jack’s performance as a retired astronaut is a joy to watch and he deserved the award. A must watch.

4. A Few Good men (1992): A court room drama film it talks about the court martial of two US marines charged with the murder of a fellow marine. This has to be one of the best  performances by Jack Nicholson ever. He should have got an Oscar for this film. Click here to see one of the most memorable and famous scenes ever.

5. As Good as it Gets(1997):.Directed by James Brooks, this film is remarkably written, well defined and established larger-than-life characters. The story revolves around three characters Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) who is a writer suffering from an OCD, his neighbor Simon(Greg Kinear) who is gay & Carol(Helen Hunt) who plays a waitress at a hotel which Melvin frequents. There are lot of witty one-liners in the film which are bound to crack you up. Have a look here at one of the most hilarious scenes of the film. Now wonder the film got him his 3rd Oscar.

6. About Schimdt (2002): A feel good film directed by Alexander Payne’ who was in news very recently for making Descendants. Warren Schmidt retires from his job,post retirement he is not happy.His wife dies and his daughter decides to marry someone whom he loathes. He becomes a foster parent to a child by enrolling in a charity organization and writes long letters to him about his life.  While writing those letters he gets to know more about himself.There are lot of funny yet subtle moments in the film which makes the film a must watch. Please check this awesome scene from the film.

I haven’t included the critically acclaimed Roman Polanski’s Chinatown, Kubrick’s Shining & Departed.I liked these films as well but thought that they dint fit into his top 6 films.
No doubt, Jack will remain one of the best actors ever to have graced Hollywood.

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4 thoughts on “The Legend Called Jack Nicholson

    • Jack Nicholson is my favourite actor as well.

      Haven’t seen Batman.I want to see his Hoffa,Five easy pieces and Red.You have them?

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