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Five Easy Pieces is a 1970 American drama film written by Carole Eastman (as Adrien Joyce) and Bob Rafelson, and directed by Rafelson. The film stars Jack Nicholson, with Karen Black, Susan Anspach, Ralph Waite, and Sally Struthers in supporting roles.


Plot

Rejecting his cultured upper-class background as a classical pianist, Robert Dupea (Jack Nicholson) opts for a blue-collar existence, working in a California oil field and spending time with his waitress girlfriend, Rayette (Karen Black). But when Robert discovers that his father is gravely ill, he wants to reunite with his estranged family in the state of Washington. He and Rayette take a road trip that brings the two paths of his life to an uncomfortable intersection.

Cast

  • Jack Nicholson as Robert "Bobby" Eroica Dupea
  • Karen Black as Rayette Dipesto
  • Susan Anspach as Catherine Van Oost
  • Lois Smith as Partita Dupea
  • Ralph Waite as Carl Fidelio Dupea
  • Billy "Green" Bush as Elton
  • Irene Dailey as Samia Glavia
  • Toni Basil as Terry Grouse
  • Helena Kallianiots as Palm Apodaca
  • William Challee as Nicholas Dupea
  • John Ryan as Spicer
  • Fannie Flagg as Stoney
  • Marlena MacGuire as Twinky
  • Sally Ann Struthers as Shirley "Betty"
  • Lorna Thayer as Waitress
  • Richard Stahl as Recording Engineer

Reception

Critical response

The film opened to positive reviews. It holds an 87% "Certified Fresh" rating on online review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, based on 45 reviews, with an average rating of 8.4/10. The critics' consensus states: "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."

Roger Ebert gave the film four stars out of four.

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