The Very Best Of – Jack Nicholson


Undoubtedly one of the greatest actors of his generation, and of all time, Jack Nicholson is a Hollywood icon and phenomenon. Very few actors possessed the versatility that Jack possessed which translated into some of the greatest, most daring on-screen performances ever to grace the silver screen. Throughout his career Jack defined what being charismatic was all about and his fearless approach to acting is a testament of that. Through a long spanning career, Jack managed a whopping 12 Academy Award nominations and 3 wins, and still holds the joint record for the most number of wins by an actor. Jack has also had the chance to work with some of cinema’s most renowned and important directors, including: Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, Milos Forman, and Roman Polanski who have brought the best out of him time and time again. Here are what I believe to be his best performances.……………………………………………………………………………………………………

Honorable Mentions:

Melvin Udall, As Good As It Gets (1997)
Col. Nathan Jessep, A Few Good Men (1992)
Warren Schmidt, About Schmidt (2002)


5. The Joker, Batman (1989)

Jack Nicholson in Batman (1989). Jack performance as Batman’s greatest nemesis has been considerably overshadowed by the sheer amount of praise that Heath Ledger’s turn received and even though Heath’s version was better, more edgier nothing can be taken away from Jack performance which was excellent in its own right. The way he captures the persona of the character with his consistently varying craziness and hilarity was perfect for the time and the performance as well shows his amazing range as an actor.

4. Frank Costello, The Departed (2006)

jack-nicholson-the departed the blazing reel Many people had craved to see Jack Nicholson work with Martin Scorsese but despite both their illustrious careers it took until 2006 for the two to finally collaborate and what a better movie to work together on than The Departed. Jack of course takes command of his performance from the very first scene where he utters the iconic lines: ”I don’t wanna be a product of my society, I want the society to be a product of me”. As gangster Frank Costello, Jack shines in one of his finest supporting turns. Surrounded by a star-studded cast of Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Martin Sheen, Vera Farmiga, Mark Wahlberg and Alec Baldwin, there is rarely a time when Jack doesn’t make his presence on the screen felt.

3. Jake Gitties, Chinatown (1974)

Chinatown-the blazing reel- jack nicholson Regarded till today as one of the greatest films ever made, Chinatown is a movie that excels thanks to Robert Towne’s flawless screenplay, Roman Polanski’s dreamy direction and Jack Nicholson’s terrific turn as Private Investigator Jake Gitties. While the magnificent and complex screenplay is definitely the best thing about this movie, Jack Nicholson’s goes a long way in making this movie what it is. Jack’s performance in the film is one of his far more restrained and grounded performances as compared to his other ones and ultimately a wonderful one that captures everything Jake is about.

2. Jack Torrance, The Shining (1980)

jack nicholson in the shining In this adaptation of the famous Stephen King novel, directed by none other than the great Stanley Kubrick himself, we see Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance, a writer suffering from writer’s block who aims to cure it by staying at the isolated Overlook Hotel with his wife and young boy. However, Jack soon discovers the hotel’s dark secrets as he is slowly driven over the edge of insanity. The film is not only one of Stanley Kubrick’s absolute best, but one of the greatest movies of the horror-genre as well. Jack Nicholson’s performance in the film is both terrifying and menacing and perhaps the most iconic one of entire his career.

1. Randle McMurphy, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

jack-nicholson-one flew over the cukoos nest the blazing reel Ultimately however, Jack’s performance in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest remains by far the most definitive performance of his career. Here, Jack provides us with th perfect mix of both his comedic talent and impeccable dramatic range as well as his charismatic on-screen presence to deliver a riveting performance as Randle Murphy, a sane man who labels himself as an insane one to escape jail-time after he has committed yet another crime. The film itself is one of the most poignant dramas ever made and earned Jack is his first of three Academy Awards.

-Khalid Rafi


6 responses to “The Very Best Of – Jack Nicholson

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