If you are a dedicated cinephile, you’ve probably wondered what are the best Jack Nicholson movies. If you’re a fan of Jack you’re in for a treat!

It’s hard to name a single greatest actor of all time, but Jack Nicholson surely deserves to be on the shortlist.

Nicholson has been nominated for Best Actor five times and four times for Best Supporting Actor. No one can argue with his acting abilities.

And of course, he has won the Best Actor oscar a record-tying three times.

No wonder why he’s so beloved by both members of the film industry and film viewers alike!

Best Jack Nicholson Movies

Jack Nicholson is one of the most iconic actors in cinematic history. He’s starred in such classics as Chinatown, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, and Easy Rider.

Those are just a few of his many films, but which are the best?

What follows is our list of the top 10 best Jack Nicholson Movies.

Some might be obvious choices that you’ve seen multiple times, while others may surprise you with how much you enjoy them on a first watch.

We hope this list will help fill your Netflix to-watch list! Other streaming providers are available!

Let’s start with an absolute classic!

Chinatown (1974)

Chinatown is a cinematic masterpiece that has stood the test of time. Directed by Roman Polanski and starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, this neo-noir film is a suspenseful and complex exploration of power, corruption, and greed in 1930s Los Angeles.

Nicholson delivers a captivating performance as private investigator J.J. “Jake” Gittes, who is hired to investigate an affair that leads him down a dark and dangerous path. Dunaway also shines as the mysterious and enigmatic Evelyn Mulwray, whose connection to the case becomes increasingly unclear as the plot thickens.

The film’s intricate plot is expertly crafted, with twists and turns that keep the audience guessing until the very end. Polanski’s direction is masterful, creating a tense and atmospheric world that draws the viewer in and never lets go.

The film’s themes of corruption and power are as relevant today as they were in the 1930s, and Chinatown remains a powerful commentary on the dark side of the American Dream. With its unforgettable characters, stunning cinematography, and haunting score, this film is a must-see for any fan of the genre.


  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston (Actors)
  • Roman Polanski (Director) - Robert Towne (Writer) - Robert Evans (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is a powerful and thought-provoking film that explores the themes of individualism, conformity, and the human spirit. Directed by Milos Forman, the film is based on the novel of the same name by Ken Kesey and stars Jack Nicholson in one of his most iconic roles.

Nicholson plays Randle McMurphy, a charming and rebellious criminal who fakes insanity to avoid hard labor in prison and ends up in a mental institution. There, he clashes with the strict and controlling Nurse Ratched, played brilliantly by Louise Fletcher, who represents the oppressive system that seeks to control and suppress individuality.

The film is a masterclass in acting, with Nicholson giving a nuanced and layered performance that captures the complexity of McMurphy’s character. The supporting cast, including William Redfield, Sydney Lassick, and Will Sampson, also deliver standout performances that add depth and richness to the story.

One of the film’s greatest strengths is its ability to balance humor and tragedy, creating a narrative that is both entertaining and poignant. The scenes of McMurphy and his fellow patients bonding and rebelling against the system are both heartwarming and empowering, while the darker moments are raw and emotional.

Overall, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is a timeless classic that continues to resonate with audiences today. It’s a powerful reminder of the importance of individualism and the human spirit in the face of oppression and conformity.


One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, William Redfield (Actors)
  • Milos Forman (Director) - Lawrence Hauben (Writer) - Saul Zaentz (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

The Shining (1980)

“The Shining” is a cinematic masterpiece that still manages to terrify audiences over 40 years after its initial release. Stanley Kubrick’s direction is both haunting and masterful, capturing the eerie atmosphere of the Overlook Hotel and casting a spell over viewers that refuses to be broken.

Jack Nicholson’s performance as the unstable Jack Torrance is nothing short of iconic, with his gradual descent into madness being both chilling and captivating. Shelley Duvall also a powerful performance as Torrance, portraying a character whose fear and vulnerability is palpable.

The film’s cinematography is breathtaking, with Kubrick’s signature wide-angle shots and symmetrical framing creating a sense of unease and claustrophobia that adds to the film’s already unsettling atmosphere. The use of color and lighting is also exceptional, with the iconic blood-filled elevator scene being a standout moment that has become ingrained in popular culture.

Overall, “The Shining” is a horror classic that continues to inspire and terrify audiences. Kubrick’s direction, Nicholson’s performance, and the film’s overall atmosphere make it a must-see for anyone who loves horror cinema.


The Shining
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd (Actors)
  • Stanley Kubrick (Director) - Stanley Kubrick (Writer) - Stanley Kubrick (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)



Who Is Jack Nicholson?

John Joseph “Jack” Nicholson is an American actor, producer, and writer. He is best known for playing a wide range of starring or supporting roles, including satirical comedy, romance, and dark portrayals of antiheroes and psychopathic characters.

Born on April 22, 1937, he has been nominated for 12 Academy Awards over the course of his career.

His most famous films include “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975), “Chinatown” (1974), and “The Departed” (2006). His most famous role was probably his role as Jack Torrance from Stanley Kubrick’s classic film, The Shining.



Easy Rider (1969)

Easy Rider is a counterculture classic that defined a generation and continues to captivate audiences to this day. Directed by Dennis Hopper and starring Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson, this road trip movie follows two hippie bikers as they journey from Los Angeles to New Orleans in search of freedom and enlightenment.

The film is a cinematic masterpiece that features breathtaking cinematography, a killer soundtrack, and unforgettable performances. Fonda and Hopper’s chemistry is palpable, and Nicholson’s scene-stealing turn as a drunken lawyer is nothing short of legendary.

But Easy Rider is more than just a movie about and drugs. It’s a poignant commentary on the state of American society in the late 1960s, exploring themes, identity, and search for meaning in a rapidly.

Overall Easy Rider is a must-see for anyone interested in cinema history or the counterculture movement. It’s a timeless classic that will leave you feeling exhilarated, moved, and with a renewed appreciation for the power of film.


Easy Rider
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson (Actors)
  • Hopper,Dennis (Director) - Dennis Hopper (Writer) - Peter Fonda (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Five Easy Pieces (1970)

Five Easy Pieces is a masterful exploration of the human condition, brought to life by the brilliant direction of Bob Rafelson and the unforgettable performance of Jack Nicholson. The film follows the journey of Bobby Dupea, a former piano prodigy turned oil rig worker, as he navigates his troubled relationships with his family and his sense of self.

Nicholson’s portrayal of Bobby is nothing short of mesmerizing, capturing the character’s inner conflicts with a raw honesty that is both heartbreaking and compelling. The supporting cast, including Karen Black and Susan Anspach, add depth and complexity to the film’s exploration of love, loss, and the search for meaning.

Rafelson’s direction is understated yet powerful, allowing the characters and their relationships to take center stage. The cinematography, too, is stunning, capturing the beauty and desolation of the Pacific Northwest with a haunting elegance.


Overall, Five Easy Pieces is a must-see film for any fan of American cinema. Its themes and characters will stay with you long after the credits roll, reminding us of the complexities of the human experience and the never-ending search for one’s place in the world.


Five Easy Pieces
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Lois Smith (Actors)
  • Bob Rafelson (Director) - Carole Eastman (Writer) - Bob Rafelson (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

The Witches Of Eastwick (1987)

“The Witches of Eastwick” is a devilishly delightful film that combines elements of comedy, horror, and fantasy to create a thrilling and entertaining experience. Starring Jack Nicholson, Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer, this classic film tells the story of three single women who unknowingly summon the devil himself in the form of a charming and seductive man.

The chemistry between the lead actors is electric, with each delivering standout performances that perfectly capture the film’s dark humor and supernatural intrigue. Jack Nicholson steals the show as the devilish Daryl Van Horne, delivering some of the film’s most memorable lines and scenes.

Director George Miller masterfully blends the film’s various elements into a cohesive whole, creating a world that is both eerie and enchanting. The film’s stunning visuals and special effects add an extra layer of magic to the proceedings, making for a truly unforgettable viewing experience.

Overall, “The Witches of Eastwick” is a must-see for fans of horror, comedy, and fantasy alike. Its clever writing, superb performances, and expert direction make it a true classic that has stood the test of time.”

The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jack Nicholson, Cher, Susan Sarandon (Actors)
  • George Miller (Director) - Michael Cristofer (Writer) - Neil Canton (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Hoffa (1992)

Hoffa (1992) is a gripping biographical drama that chronicles the life and times of one of the most controversial figures in American labor history, James R. Hoffa. Directed by Danny DeVito and starring Jack Nicholson in the titular role, this film is a masterclass in storytelling that will leave you spellbound.

Nicholson’s portrayal of Hoffa is nothing short of brilliant. He brings a raw intensity to the character that is both captivating and unnerving. From his early days as a truck driver to his rise as the leader of the Teamsters union, Nicholson’s performance is a tour-de-force that showcases his range as an actor.

DeVito’s direction is equally impressive. He expertly weaves together the various threads of Hoffa’s life into a cohesive narrative that keeps you engaged from start to finish. The film’s pacing is spot-on, and the powerful performances from the supporting cast, including Danny DeVito himself, add depth and nuance to the story.

What sets Hoffa apart, however, is its unflinching look at the darker side of American politics and organized crime. The film doesn’t shy away from depicting the corruption and violence that were rampant during Hoffa’s time, and it’s this unvarnished realism that makes the story all the more compelling.

All in all, Hoffa is a must-see film that deserves a place in any cinephile’s collection. It’s a powerful, thought-provoking drama that will stay with you long after the credits roll. Highly recommended.


  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Armand Assante (Actors)
  • Danny DeVito (Director) - David Mamet (Writer) - Edward R. Pressman (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

The King Of Marvin Gardens (1972)

The King of Marvin Gardens is a mesmerizing character study that features some of the most nuanced performances of the 1970s. Director Bob Rafelson captures the melancholic atmosphere of Atlantic City with stunning precision, drawing the viewer into the seedy world of petty criminals and broken dreams.

The film stars Jack Nicholson as David, a radio host who dreams of making it big in the world of talk shows. His brother, played by Bruce Dern, is a small-time con artist who lures David into a dangerous scheme involving a wealthy businessman.

Nicholson delivers a masterful performance as David, portraying the character’s inner turmoil and desperate longing for success with incredible depth and nuance. Dern is equally impressive as the manipulative and unpredictable brother, creating a sense of tension and unease that permeates the entire film.

The King of Marvin Gardens is a haunting and unforgettable film that explores themes of ambition, betrayal, and the fragile nature of human relationships. Rafelson’s direction is impeccable, and the film’s stunning cinematography and haunting score add to its already considerable power.

In short, if you’re a fan of character-driven dramas that pack an emotional punch, The King of Marvin Gardens is a must-see. It’s a film that will stay with you long after the credits roll.


The King of Marvin Gardens
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jack Nicholson, Bruce Dern, Ellen Burstyn (Actors)
  • Bob Rafelson (Director) - Jacob Brackman (Writer) - Bob Rafelson (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

The Crossing Guard (1995)

“The Crossing Guard” is a deeply emotional and thought-provoking film that explores the themes of grief, forgiveness, and redemption. Directed by Sean Penn and starring Jack Nicholson, Anjelica Huston, and David Morse, this movie tells the story of a man named Freddy (Nicholson) who is consumed by the grief of losing his daughter in a tragic accident caused by a drunk driver named John (Morse). Years later, John is released from prison and Freddy is torn between seeking revenge and finding a way to move on with his life.

The performances in this film are outstanding, particularly from Nicholson, who delivers a raw and powerful portrayal of a man grappling with intense emotions. Huston is also fantastic as Freddy’s ex-wife, who is struggling to come to terms with her own feelings about the tragedy.

What stands out most about “The Crossing Guard” is its exploration of forgiveness and redemption. The film presents complex and nuanced perspectives on these themes, showing how difficult and painful they can be, but also how necessary they are for healing and growth.

Overall, “The Crossing Guard” is a beautifully crafted film that will stay with you long after the credits roll. It’s a must-watch for fans of character-driven dramas and anyone interested in exploring the complexities of human emotions.


The Crossing Guard
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jack Nicholson, David Morse, Anjelica Huston (Actors)
  • Sean Penn (Director) - Sean Penn (Writer) - Sean Penn (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

About Schmidt (2002)

About Schmidt (2002) is a touching and poignant film that showcases the incredible acting talent of the legendary Jack Nicholson. The movie tells the story of Warren Schmidt, a recently retired man who is struggling to find meaning in his life. After his wife suddenly passes away, Warren embarks on a road trip to visit his estranged daughter in hopes of reconnecting with her and finding some direction in his life.

Nicholson delivers an exceptional performance that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. He portrays Warren’s struggle with such authenticity and raw emotion that it is impossible not to feel for his character. The supporting cast is also exceptional, with standout performances from Kathy Bates as Warren’s love interest and Dermot Mulroney as his daughter’s fiancé.

The film’s pacing is slow and deliberate, allowing the audience to fully immerse themselves in Warren’s journey and emotions. The cinematography perfectly captures the vast and desolate landscapes of the American Midwest, adding to the film’s melancholic tone.

Overall, About Schmidt is a beautiful and moving film that explores the themes of family, loss, and self-discovery with incredible depth and nuance. Nicholson’s performance alone is worth the watch, but the film’s message and execution make it a true cinematic masterpiece.


About Schmidt
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jack Nicholson, Hope Davis, Dermot Mulroney (Actors)
  • Alexander Payne (Director) - Alexander Payne (Writer) - Harry Gittes (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Quotes From Jack Nicholson Characters

Jack Nicholson, the legendary Hollywood actor with an impressive career spanning over six decades, has portrayed some of the most iconic characters in film history.

His roles range from being a psychotic murderer to one of the funniest clowns in show business.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet. Here are some of my favorite quotes from Jack Nicholson’s characters, in no particular order:

Coming from the mind of Roman Polanski, Chinatown is one of Nicholson’s best roles ever with his perfect acting complementing its powerful and twist-filled storyline.

The greatest quotation we can take from JJ Gittes is when he says, “To tell you the truth I lied a little”. Genius!

The resonant chat Nicholson’s his dying father in Five Easy Pieces gives some of the best lines in the whole film, “I don’t know if you’d be particularly interested to hear anything about me. My life I mean… Most of it doesn’t add up to much that I could relate as a way of life that you would approve.”

The opening quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in which McMurphy sets up not only his character but also ultimately what becomes of him is a powerful line that exemplifies how he will be seen as someone who has nothing wrong with his brain, yet is still perceived to have problems.

With 1989’s Batman, Nicholson played a demented and unforgettable version of The Joker.

Almost too many brilliant lines could make their way onto this list from his emotionally fragile moments to some twisted scenes.

The most memorable for us is “Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight.”

Best Jack Nicholson Movies List – Wrapping Up

We hope you’ve found this article on Jack Nicholson’s best films informative.

What are your favorite movies of all time? I bet you could name a few and if you’re like me, most likely it’s because of one person: Jack Nicholson.

We’ve covered what we believe to be the best Nicholson films here, but with some a large and dynamic career, it might be possible that we’ve missed some out.

What are your favorite Jack Nicholson movies of all time? Let us know in the comments below.

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