Five Easy Pieces (1970) Movie Poster

Trivia for Five Easy Pieces (1970)

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  • When Dupea goes to quit his oil-rigging job, the loud whirring of machines can be heard in the background. This identical sound effect was used by George Lucas for the trash compacter scene in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977).
  • Carole Eastman wanted Jeanne Moreau as Catherine.
  • Ellen Burstyn was considered for the role of Rayette.
  • Jack Nicholson wanted Janis Joplin to have the part of Palm Apodaca, but it was never offered to her.
  • Susan Anspach was screentested for the part of Rayette, but won the part of Catherine after Carol Lynley withdrew.
  • The movie's conversation "You want me to hold the chicken, huh?" - "I want you to hold it between your knees." between Robert (Jack Nicholson) and the waitress (Lorna Thayer) was voted as the #98 of "The 100 Greatest Movie Lines" by Premiere in 2007.
  • Jack Nicholson wrote some of his own lines for the monologue Bobby says to his father.
  • In Carole Eastman's original script, Catherine Van Oost (Susan Anspach) was supposed to be an older woman. But Director Bob Rafelson transformed her into a young beauty, who is Carl's (Ralph Waite's) protégé.
  • The piece played by Partita Dupea (Lois Smith) on the piano, in the back of the truck driving down the road, is Frédéric Chopin's Fantaisie in F minor.
  • The traffic jam on the freeway was shot on a new and unopened section of Interstate 5 near Bakersfield, California.
  • Jack Nicholson wanted Lauren Hutton as Catherine.
  • "Five Easy Pieces" refers to a book of piano lessons for beginners.
  • Janis Joplin was approached to play Palm, the hitchhiking ecology freak.
  • (Cameo) Bob Rafelson: The man going into the elevator at the recording studio.
  • Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
  • The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.
  • Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
  • Features Karen Black's only Oscar nominated performance.
  • The moment at the end of the diner scene where Bobby sweeps all the glasses off the table after arguing with the waitress was inspired by Jack Nicholson actually doing this himself once at a coffee shop, when the manageress took his coffee away despite him only having just arrived, because the group of fellow actors he'd joined had been there for hours and were being told to leave.
  • It is the only Best Picture Oscar nominee that year not to win any Academy Awards.
  • The 1963 Mercury Monterey Breezeway that Bobby drives has Washington state license plates (ARH 633) even when he is living in California, which is a violation of the California vehicle code.
  • Ingmar Bergman stated on The Dick Cavett Show that he enjoyed this film when he saw it in the cinema.
  • In the NCIS Los Angeles episode Touch of Death, Hetty tells Danny Williams that she worked with Karen Black and Jack Nicholson on this film, referring to it not as Five Easy Pieces but as Six Hellish Weeks.
  • This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #546.


  • Carole Eastman's original ending had Dupea (Jack Nicholson) driving his car off a bridge. Rayette (Karen Black) survives the crash, he does not.
  • There was some disagreement between Bob Rafelson and Jack Nicholson as to how to play the climactic scene in which Bobby talks to his father. Rafelson wanted Nicholson to break down in tears, Nicholson did not want to. They decided to just let the scene play out and see what happened, and Nicholson did indeed cry. Only one take of that scene was shot.
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