Jack Nicholson turns 78 today. One of the greatest method actors of all time, Jack has been a sheer force of personality for more than fifty years so far. To celebrate his birthday I’ve assembled my list of his 9 best films.
9. The Witches of Eastwick
Based on the novel of the same name by John Updike, Jack plays ole’ Scratch himself.
8. A Few Good Men
In the role of Colonel Jessep, Nicholson was gripping as a military man gone over the edge.
7. Easy Rider
Directed by Dennis Hopper, from a script written by Hopper, Peter Fonda, and Terry Southern, Easy Rider was the ultimate counter-culture film, the story of two freewheeling, hippie bikers on their way to Margi Gras, gunned down by the hopeless straights. Jack plays George Hanson, a lawyer and town drunk, who goes along for the ride.
6. About Schmidt
Jack gives a quiet understated performance in the role of Warren Schmidt, in this sad and funny film.
5. The Departed
Playing mob boss Frank Costello, Jack teams with Scorsese in this Best Picture Winner.
Directed by Roman Polanski, with a script by Robert Towne, Jack plays Jake Giddes, a hardboiled private investigator.
3. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
Based on the book by Ken Kesey, and directed by Milos Foreman, Jack won his first Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of R.P. McMurphy, the only sane man in a madhouse.
The original Joker. All due respect to Heath Ledger, but I prefer Jack’s performance because it is brimming with madcap hilarity.
1. The Shining
Based on the novel by Stephen King, and directed by Stanley Kubrick, Jack plays a writer with a bad case of cabin fever in this signature performance.
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