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This is one of the earliest and greatest examples of Jack truly being Jack, playing the anti-hero and societal drop-out in Bob Rafelson‘s Five Easy Pieces (1970), his first starring role after stepping out of Roger Corman‘s b-movie shadow with buddy Dennis Hopper‘s Easy Rider a year earlier. By the end of the decade Nicholson would have worked with the finest directors film had to offer and would come to change our perception on leading-man charisma forever. Just look at a few select movies from his 1970’s run of films: Mike NicholsCarnal Knowledge, Hal Ashby‘s The Last Detail, Michelangelo Antonioni‘s The Passenger, Roman Polanski‘s Chinatown, Milos Forman‘s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s NestArthur Penn‘s The Missouri Breaks and Stanley Kubrick‘s The Shining. That’s the type of decade you could really hold between your knees.

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