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Five Easy Pieces [DVD]

31 customer reviews

Price: £19.99
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Dispatched from and sold by GX-ENTERTAINMENT UK.
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Product details

  • Actors: Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Billy Green Bush, Fannie Flagg, Sally Struthers
  • Directors: Bob Rafelson
  • Writers: Bob Rafelson, Carole Eastman
  • Producers: Bob Rafelson, Bert Schneider, Harold Schneider, Richard Wechsler
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: UCA
  • DVD Release Date: 8 Mar. 2004
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004D0GY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,157 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Robert Dupea (Jack Nicholson) works with his friend Elton as an oilrigger in California, and spends his free time bowling and drinking beer. When his witless girlfriend Rayette (Karen Black) announces that she is pregnant, Robert meets up with his concert pianist sister (Lois Smith), who tells him that their father does not have long to live. Rayette sees Robert in a new light when he reveals that he, too, is a classical pianist, and accompanies him when he decides to return to his family home in Washington. However, things don't go particularly smoothly once in Washington when Robert falls for another woman (Susan Anspach), who is the complete opposite of Rayette.


This subtle, existential character study of an emotionally distant outcast (Nicholson) forced to confront his past failures remains an intimate cornerstone of American cinema of the 1970s. Written and directed with remarkable restraint by Bob Rafelson, the film is the result of a short-lived partnership between the filmmaker and Nicholson--the first was the zany formalist exercise, Head, while the equally impressive King of Marvin Gardens followed Five Easy Pieces. Quiet and full of long, controlled takes, this film draws its strength from the acutely detailed, non-judgemental observations of its complex protagonist, Robert Dupea--an extremely crass and frustrated oil worker and failed child pianist hiding from his past in Texas. Dupea spends his life drinking beer and sleeping with (and cheating on) his annoying but adoring Tammy Wynette-wannabe girlfriend, but when he learns that his father is dying in Washington State, he leaves. After the film transforms into a spirited road movie, and arrives at the eccentric upper-class Dupea family mansion, it becomes apparent that leaving is what Dupea does best--from his problems, fears and those who love him. Nicholson gives a difficult yet masterful performance in an unlikeable role, one that's full of ambiguity and requires violent shifts in acting style. Several sequences--such as his stopping traffic to play piano, or his famous verbal duels with a cranky waitress over a chicken-salad sandwich--are Nicholson landmarks. Yet, it's the quieter moments, when Dupea tries miserably to communicate and reconcile with his dying father, where the actor shows his real talent--and by extension, shows us the wounded little boy that lurks in the shell of the man Dupea has become. --Dave McCoy,

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By The Bookworm on 25 Mar. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This a beautifully understated film that stands as one of the landmark films of the 70s' era when young directors like Scorsese, Coppola and Terrence Malick were making small but brilliant and intensely personal films about America. Jack Nicholson plays a gifted classical musician from a well-to-do family who has squandered a promising future and is working on an oil-field, living hand-to-mouth with his blue-collar girlfriend Karen Black. He's neither happy nor depressed by his situation, he's more indifferent to his life. Then he's asked to go home to visit his dying father and confront the family that he wanted nothing to do with. The film deals with issues of personal identity, social class and personal freedom that were very pertinent in the late '60s and haven't dated that much at all.

Two things make this film great - Nicholson's performance is wonderful (he was Oscar nominated for it) and a real breath of fresh air for people who only know him for his OTT 'Crazy Jack' roles. Bob Rafelson's direction is distinctly low-key, unshowy and focuses on characterisation and dialogue - qualities that are so lacking in American cinema at the moment. It's a quiet film, not one that blows your head off with set-pieces or visuals. It also has a great ending that reminds me a lot of the ending of 'The Graduate' in its ambiguity.

This DVD is pretty lousy for extras - filmographies of the stars and nothing more. A shame for such a classic and interesting film. Still, it's absolutely worth seeing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Close Range. on 16 Mar. 2011
Format: DVD
The late 60s and early 70s are often called a "golden age" of cinema, and this film is one that still stands out from that time, even 40 years later. Five Easy Pieces focuses on the acting and on human relationships, and so everything stands or falls on the quality of the cast. Here, no-one puts a foot wrong. Jack Nicholson is superb as Bobby Dupea, a talented pianist, but who is drifting through life. Karen Black as his girlfriend Rayette, is also impressive to watch, and she has a good singing voice (later put to good use by Black in Nashville.)Even the supporting cast are memorable, such as Helena Kallianotes, who plays a crazed and agitated hitchhiker, and Lorna Thayer as a waitress, in a now-iconic scene. Also worth noting is the small role of Irene Dailey,who passed away recently. Superb. The film manages to keep an eye on the troubles and struggles of several of the characters throughout, while moving the plot along at a good pace. The soundtrack fits well, including piano pieces, and Tammy Wynette. Roadside diners, gas stations, the open road, and icy scenery all play a part here. One gets the feeling that every minute aspect of this film was carefully considered, and it shows in the top-quality end result. Extra features here are few, just cast filmographies.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Nostromo on 16 Jan. 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film proves beyond any other that there is much more to Jack Nicholson than the star, it showcases his enormous acting talent. For many people, the larger than life persona he adopts in so many of his films, most ntably in Batman and The Witches of Eastwick, is how they know him and this work is certainly entertaining but it is in the smaller often lesser known films that Jack the major acting talent appears. This is evident in offerings such as the brilliant Sean Penn thriller "The Pledge", the not so small "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" and this, in my opinion Nicholson's finest film.

The film tells of a talented but reluctant pianist who leaves his privileged, middle class life behind in favour of an uncertain and impoverished yet infinitely more satisfying life as a manual oil field worker. He shares his life with an ill-educated and rather annoying girl-friend who embarrases him in public and who represents the low-life conditions he has adopted for himself. When word comes through that his sick father is close to death he returns to his previous life reluctantly taking his girlfriend with him. On the way, Nicholson acts out one of the most famous scenes from any of his films as he shows his displeasure with a waitress who is reluctant to alter the menu to accomodate his desire for a chicken salad sandwich on brown bread (at least he has a healthy diet!).

The final part of the film acts as a metaphor for the dichotomy of America's middle and working classes and the seeming inability they have for co-existence.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lou Knee on 25 July 2007
Format: DVD
This involving movie is an odd mix of new wave cinema exploring the soul of modern America and plain old fashioned melodrama. From its On The Road type beginning, it suddenly changes course and even gets a little heavy in the middle. Also, its main theme of family ties and values being a burden for its offspring is not a subject a lot of people will find fun. However, it's put into a loosely woven non-plot, and the film is best described as a semi road movie, or a road movie with a particularly long garage stop.

Of course though, as this film's reputation will confirm, there are some well conceived scenes and some good photography. The dialogue is also very strong, and seems to have been written for the man himself, it so suits his personality. Once again, Mr. Nicholson plays a drop out drifter type, which he kind of got type cast into, in his major breakthrough period of the late 60s, early 70s. But when he isn't drifting along on the road, doing his trademark 'what the hell's the matter with all of you, why aren't you living?' bit, he really does get his teeth into some solid, serious acting.

It may not be light viewing, but virtually the whole of the lengthy passage where he visits home, is thought provoking and somehow makes you feel a little homesick and sick of home at the same time. Nicholson plays it like the subject means an awful lot to him, and the scene where he breaks down in tears in front of the father he could never actually get on with is very moving, and marks the point in his career when his real acting talent couldn't fail to be noticed. As fine a piece of acting as you are likely to see, really.
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