15 Best Jack Nicholson Movies of All time

POSTED BY , UPDATED ON August 30th, 2018


7. As Good as It Gets (1997)

As Good as It Gets 1997

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A romantic comedy where Jack Nicholson gives a very strong performance as a rude obsessive author, Melvin Udall, who unwillingly has to look after the dog of his neighbor while maintaining a difficult relationship with a single mother waitress (played by Helen Hunt). The film was directed by James L. Brooks and was made on a budget of $50 million.

Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson both won Oscars for their lead roles thanks to their sterling performances, and the film went on to earn $315 million at the box office. It is one of the rare movies where both the female and male lead actors won Oscars for their respective roles.


6. About Schmidt (2002)

About Schmidt 2002

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A comedy-drama in which Jack Nicholson plays the role of a newly retired father, Warren Schmidt, who has to attend his alienated daughter’s wedding. The movie was written and directed by Alexander Payne which was adapted from the novel of the same name by Louis Begley.

The movie was a commercial and critical success taking in $106 million at the box office (on a budget of just $30 million) while securing 2 Oscar nominations, including the nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Jack’s role.


5. Terms of Endearment (1983)

Terms of Endearment 1983

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ِِAnother comedy-drama movie where Jack plays the character of Garrett Breedlove, a retired astronaut who gets into a short relationship with a troubled mother Aurora (played by Shirley MacLaine), who has a long difficult relationship with her daughter Emma (played by Debra Winger). The film grossed $109 million at the box office against a meager budget of $8 million.

The film was produced and directed by James L. Brooks and received eleven Oscar nominations and won five of them, with Jack Nicholson winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.


4. Carnal Knowledge (1971)

Carnal Knowledge 1971

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A film written by Jules Feiffer and directed by Mike Nichols, it shows the life of two friends Jonathan (played by Jack) and Sandy (played by Art Garfunkel) who have opposite nature when it comes to women as one treats them like a tissue paper while the other treats them like a gentleman respectively.

The film performed well at the box office, earned an Oscar nomination and received positive reviews from the critics, pushing Jack’s career further.


3. The Last Detail (1973)

The Last Detail 1973

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A comedy-drama from the earlier career of Jack Nicholson, the film features the journey of two Navy Petty Officers who are escorting a young harmless offender to prison and decide to give him some good time during the course of their journey. The screenplay was written by Robert Towne and the film was directed by Hal Ashby.

Jack Nicholson was nominated for an Oscar for the Best Actor in a leading role category and the film grossed $10 million at the box office.


2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 1975

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Based on the novel by the same name by Ken Kesey, the movie is directed by Milos Forman and is another comedy-drama that shows the life of a new mental asylum inmate McMurphy (played by Jack), that faked insanity to avoid working in a labor camp, who is constantly kept in check by the head nurse, Mildred Ratched (played by Louise Fletcher).

The film is a masterpiece and with a budget of $3.0 million it brought home a whopping $110 million. It is preserved in the National Film Registry and was the second film after 1934 to win all major Oscar awards for a single movie. It bagged Oscars for the Best Picture, Best Actor in lead role, Best Actress in lead role, Best Director and Best Screenplay nominations. It is definitely one of the best Jack Nicholson films ever.


1. Chinatown (1974)

Chinatown 1974

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This is a mystery movie where Jack plays the role of a private detective caught in a complicated case where everyone seems to be lying to hide their corruption, crime, and adultery. Jack gave a memorable performance and was ably supported by the versatile Faye Dunaway. The film grossed a comfortable $30 million at the box office and earned critical acclaim.

The movie was directed by the famous Roman Polanski and was written by Robert Towne. The movie was nominated for 11 Oscars, of which Towne won one for the Best original screenplay.


Honorable Mentions

We can’t complete our list without mentioning these outstanding movies of Jack as well:

  • The Departed (2006)
  • Batman (1989)
  • Anger Management (2003)

Did we miss any of the best Jack Nicholson movies of all time? Please let us in the comments below!