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Five Easy Pieces Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

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 Smith), and, discovering that his father is gravely ill, he reluctantly heads back to the patrician family compound in Puget Sound with a pregnant Rayette in tow. After a road trip featuring a harangue from hitchhiker Palm (Helena Kallianiotes) about filth, and Bobby's ill-fated attempt to make a menu substitution in a diner, he tucks Rayette away in a motel before heading to the house. There Bobby seduces his uptight brother Carl's cultured fiancée, Catherine (Susan Anspach), but Rayette shows up unexpectedly. As Rayette's crassness collides with the snobbery of the Dupea circle, Bobby loses patience with both sides. After trying to reconcile with his mute father, Bobby departs, unwilling to give in to either destiny. Director Bob Rafelson and screenwriter Adrien Joyce (aka Carole Eastman) used the creative control afforded by the low budget to craft a European-influenced character study, catching a cultural mood of anomie and resentment as it was embodied in Bobby. Neither older generation nor hippie, Bobby fits in nowhere, and his desire for independence conflicts with his emotional emptiness. Nicholson's nuanced performance of simmering frustration resonated with 1970 audiences caught between Nixon's "silent majority" and the troubled counterculture; a substantial hit, Five Easy Pieces was nominated for several Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor, and established Nicholson as a star. Offering no "easy" answers to Bobby's existential crisis, Five Easy Pieces is one of the pre-eminent films in the early-'70s cycle of alienated American art movies, as even the fantasy of rebellion is reduced to merely running away. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

  • Release date:September 11, 1970

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Jack Nicholson Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama 1970 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Jack Nicholson Best Actor 1970 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Adrien Joyce Best Screenplay 1970 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Adrien Joyce Best Original Screenplay 1970 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Richard Wechsler Best Picture 1970 Nominee
New York Film Critics Circle Bob Rafelson Best Director 1970 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Bob Rafelson Best Director 1970 Nominee
Directors Guild of America Bob Rafelson Best Director 1970 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Bob Rafelson Best Original Screenplay 1970 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Bob Rafelson Best Picture 1970 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Karen Black Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1970 Winner
National Board of Review Karen Black Best Supporting Actress 1970 Winner
New York Film Critics Circle Karen Black Best Supporting Actress 1970 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Karen Black Best Supporting Actress 1970 Nominee

Cast

Jack Nicholson
as Robert Eroica Dupea
Karen Black
as Rayette Dipesto
Lois Smith
as Partita Dupea
Susan Anspach
as Catherine Van Ost
Billy Green Bush
as Elton
Helena Kallianiotes
as Palm Apodaca
Fannie Flagg
as Stoney
Toni Basil
as Terry Grouse
Sally Struthers
as Betty
John Ryan
as Spicer
Lorna Thayer
as Waitress
Richard Stahl
as Recording Engineer
Ralph Waite
as Carl Fidelio Dupea

Crew

Bob Rafelson
Director
Bob Rafelson
Producer
Harold Schneider
Producer
Bert Schneider
Producer
Richard Wechsler
Producer
Adrien Joyce
Screenwriter
Bob Rafelson
Screenwriter
Laszlo Kovacs
Cinematographer
Merle Kilgore
Songwriter
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Featured Music
Johann Sebastian Bach
Featured Music
Bobby Braddock
Songwriter
Harold Schneider
Associate Producer
Bert Schneider
Executive Producer
Bucky Rous
Costume Designer
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