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 neo-noir crime drama film, directed by Roman Polanski and starring Jack Nicholson.

The screenplay was written by Robert Towne, who had been brought in to rewrite an early script that director John Huston had worked on with his son Tony Huston.

The 1974 film is considered one of the greatest films ever made, with a message that still resonates today.

The story follows private detective J.J Gittes as he uncovers water and power schemes in 1930s Los Angeles while being entangled in an affair with Evelyn Mulwray, played by Faye Dunaway.

Filmed on location in Chinatown, Los Angeles, director Roman Polanski creates an eerie and unsettling atmosphere as the setting for this story of violence and crime.

  • 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 1975 American film that tells the story of Randle Patrick McMurphy, a criminal who fakes insanity in order to avoid prison time.

McMurphy starts off as an anti-authoritarian troublemaker but eventually finds himself allied with the patients under Nurse Ratched’s control.

The movie follows his battle against her and how he changes life at the mental ward for all those around him.

The movie is considered to be a cinematic classic. It was nominated for 8 Academy Awards and won 5, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Jack Nicholson), and Best Actress (Louise Fletcher).

The film is based on a novel of the same name written by Ken Kesey that portrays how patients are treated at an Oregon psychiatric hospital.

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 1980 horror film directed by Stanley Kubrick and produced by the iconic Jack Nicholson. It’s based on Stephen King’s 1977 novel of the same name.

The movie follows an aspiring writer (Jack Torrance) who accepts a job as caretaker for a mountain resort hotel in order to be with his family during the winter while he writes his new book.

However, things go awry when he finds himself haunted by both memories of past events and visions of future ones that seem to predict death and destruction for all those living at or visiting the hotel.

It’s been many years since the release of Stanley Kubrick’s classic horror film, but it still packs an incredible punch.

While It was met with mixed reviews from critics at the time and has endured as one of cinema’s most debated films in both mainstream discussions and academia.

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)

One of the most iconic films in American cinema, Easy Rider is loosely based on a cross-country motorcycle trip taken by two young men from Los Angeles to New Orleans.

The film was directed, co-produced, and co-written by Dennis Hopper and stars Peter Fonda as Captain America (based on real-life biker Billy The Kid) and Dennis Hopper as his sidekick/counterpart Wyatt.

The 1969 film Easy Rider is a seminal work in the New Hollywood era.

It broke new ground with its documentary style. Along their journey, the characters meet all sorts of people who offer them different perspectives on America’s cultural revolution at that time.

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 1970 American drama film written by Carole Eastman and Bob Rafelson. It stars Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Susan Anspach, and Sally Struthers.

The movie Five Easy Pieces is a story of a self-destructive man who has gradually fallen into a low life.

The main character, Bobby Dupea (Jack Nicholson), is an oil rig worker in Long Beach California who spends his time drinking and womanizing while trying to get over the death of his father.

He’s also struggling with feeling lost after he left his family and hometown for college but never returned home. So, Dupea decides to make his way home.


This has long been one of my personal favorite films and is definitely one of the best Jack Nicholson movies

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

The Witches Of Eastwick (1987)

The Witches of Eastwick is a 1987 American comedy horror film adaptation of John Updike’s novel The Witches of Eastwick, directed by George Miller and starring Jack Nicholson, Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Susan Sarandon.

In the story, three women discover they have magical powers that are unleashed when they come into contact with each other.

They use their newfound power to battle against an evil real estate developer who wants to turn their small town into a resort destination for wealthy people.

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)

Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance is one of the most notorious unsolved mysteries in American history.

His life and death have been surrounded by mystery. His body has never been found, but it is widely believed that he was killed by the Mafia in 1975.

Hoffa is a 1992 biographical film about the American labor leader Jimmy Hoffa. The screenplay was written by award-winning filmmaker David Mamet. It stars Jack Nicholson as Hoffa and Danny DeVito as Frank Fitzsimmons.

The film traces Hoffa’s work with organizing workers and leading them on strikes, as well as his dealings with organized crime figures such as Frank Fitzsimmons and Jimmy “The Weasel” Fratianno while he tried to protect the union’s assets from being taken over by gangsters.

  • 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 1972 American comedy-drama film directed by Bob Rafelson. The movie stars Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern.

The lead role was actually played by director Bob Rafelson himself. The screenplay was written by William Goldman, based on his own novel of the same name.

The story follows two men who are looking for their father’s hidden fortune in Atlantic City.

They find themselves entangled with gangsters, prostitutes, and corrupt politicians as they try to get at what could be millions of dollars buried in a seaside town called Marvin Gardens.

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 1995 drama film written and directed by Sean Penn. The story follows Freddy Gale, played by Jack Nicholson, a retired police officer who has been struggling with his daughter’s death for twenty years.

When he finds out that the drunk driver who killed her will be released from prison on parole after serving only six years, he takes matters into his own hands and tells him he has no more than 3 days to live.

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)

The film About Schmidt is a 2002 American comedy-drama written and directed by Alexander Payne. The screenplay was based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Louis Begley.

The movie is about the life and death of an average American man. The protagonist, Warren Schmidt, played by Jack Nicholson, begins the film at retirement from his profession as an actuary.

He lives in Omaha with his wife and has two adult children who both live on their own.

In this seemingly perfect life, there are many underlying issues that surface throughout the course of the movie that cause him to question what he really wants out of life and how to find meaning in it while he’s still alive.

A modern classic: this is certainly one of the best Jack Nicholson movies.

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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