watchworthy presents

The Best Jack Nicholson Movies 

Reference
Originally by
Updated June 11, 2019 11.1k votes 1.8k voters 86.1k views 44 items

List Rules Vote for your favorite movies, regardless of critic reviews or how big the role was.

List of the best Jack Nicholson movies, ranked best to worst with movie trailers when available. Jack Nicholson's highest grossing movies have received a lot of accolades over the years, earning millions upon millions around the world. The order of these top Jack Nicholson movies is decided by how many votes they receive, so only highly rated Jack Nicholson movies will be at the top of the list. Jack Nicholson has been in a lot of films, so people often debate each other over what the greatest Jack Nicholson movie of all time is. If you and a friend are arguing about this then use this list of the most entertaining Jack Nicholson films to end the squabble once and for all.

If you think the best Jack Nicholson role isn't at the top, then upvote it so it has the chance to become number one. The greatest Jack Nicholson performances didn't necessarily come from the best movies, but in most cases they go hand in hand.

This list includes Five Easy Pieces, The Border and more.

"This list answers the questions, "What are the best Jack Nicholson movies?" and "What are the greatest Jack Nicholson roles of all time?"

Notable directors that have worked with Jack Nicholson include names like Tim Burton, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese. Movie fans who love Jack Nicholson have also been known to enjoy films starring David Hasselhoff and Ice-T.

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
Ranker Video
Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd

Released: 1975

Directed by: Miloš Forman

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a 1975 drama film written by Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman and directed by Miloš Forman.

More One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 

#178 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #148 of 292 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Crylisted on Movies That Won Best Picture at the Oscars and Golden Globes

2
Ranker Video
Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers

Released: 1980

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

The Shining is a 1980 British-American psychological horror film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, co-written with novelist Diane Johnson, and starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, ...more

More The Shining 

The Making Of 'The Shining' Was A Bigger Nightmare Than The Film's Story #3 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #61 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

3
Ranker Video
Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Julie Benz

Released: 1997

Directed by: James L. Brooks

As Good as It Gets is a 1997 American romantic comedy film directed by James L. Brooks and produced by Laura Ziskin. It stars Jack Nicholson as a misanthropic, homophobic, racist, ...more

More As Good as It Gets 

#159 of 302 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #116 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Madelisted on The 50 Highest Grossing '90s Movies, Ranked

4
Ranker Video
Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, Roman Polanski

Released: 1974

Directed by: Roman Polanski

Chinatown is a 1974 American neo-noir mystery film, directed by Roman Polanski from a screenplay by Robert Towne, starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. The film was inspired by the ...more

More Chinatown 

#67 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #23 of 24 The Best Movies with Twist Endingslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
The Departed is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Jack Nicholson Movies
Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Alec Baldwin

Released: 2006

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

The Departed is a 2006 American crime drama film directed by Martin Scorsese, and a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. Irish Mob boss Francis "Frank" Costello (Jack ...more

More The Departed 

All The Evidence Matt Damon's Character In The Departed Is Secretly Gay #423 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
Ranker Video
Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Jack Nicholson

Released: 1992

Directed by: Rob Reiner

A Few Good Men is a 1992 American legal drama film directed by Rob Reiner, based on the play by Aaron Sorkin. Military lawyer Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) defends Marines accused of ...more

More A Few Good Men 

#183 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #101 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimelisted on The 50 Highest Grossing '90s Movies, Ranked

7
Batman is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Jack Nicholson Movies
Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Michael Keaton

Released: 1989

Directed by: Tim Burton

Batman is a 1989 American superhero film directed by Tim Burton, based on the DC Comics character. The Dark Knight of Gotham City (Michael Keaton) begins his war on crime with his first major ...more

More Batman 

#23 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #19 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
Ranker Video
Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Sally Struthers

Released: 1970

Directed by: Bob Rafelson

Five Easy Pieces is a 1970 American drama film written by Carole Eastman and Bob Rafelson, and directed by Rafelson. The film stars Jack Nicholson, with Karen Black, Susan Anspach, Ralph Waite, ...more

More Five Easy Pieces 

#72 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #42 of 46 Famous Movie Monologues

9
Ranker Video
Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper, Bridget Fonda

Released: 2012

Directed by: Dennis Hopper, Dustin Rikert

Easy Rider is a 1969 American road movie written by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Terry Southern, produced by Fonda and directed by Hopper. It tells the story of two bikers who travel through ...more

More Easy Rider: The Ride Back 

The Making Of 'Easy Rider' Was Just As Wild As The Film Itself #397 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys #6 of 26 26 Spin-Offs And Sequels To Hollywood Films You Probably Never Knew Existed

10
Ranker Video
Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Sean Hayes

Released: 2007

Directed by: Rob Reiner

The Bucket List is a 2007 American comedy-drama film directed by Rob Reiner, produced by Reiner, Alan Greisman, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, written by Justin Zackham, and starring Jack Nicholson ...more

More The Bucket List 

#178 of 410 The Best Rainy Day Movies #51 of 292 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #29 of 75 The Best Bromance Movies

11
Ranker Video
Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, John Lithgow

Released: 1983

Directed by: James L. Brooks

Terms of Endearment is a 1983 comedy-drama film adapted from the novel of the same name by Larry McMurtry, directed, written, and produced by James L. Brooks and starring Shirley MacLaine, Debra ...more

More Terms of Endearment 

#66 of 292 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #169 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

12
Ranker Video
Jack Nicholson, Kathy Bates, June Squibb

Released: 2002

Directed by: Alexander Payne

About Schmidt is a 2002 American comedy-drama film directed by Alexander Payne, starring Jack Nicholson in the title role. It is very loosely based on the 1996 novel of the same title by Louis ...more

More About Schmidt 

#20 of 37 Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters #14 of 20 Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life

13
Ranker Video
Jack Nicholson, Randy Quaid, Gilda Radner

Released: 1973

Directed by: Hal Ashby

The Last Detail is a 1973 American comedy-drama film directed by Hal Ashby and starring Jack Nicholson, with a screenplay adapted by Robert Towne from a 1970 novel of the same name by Darryl ...more

More The Last Detail 

#219 of 374 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #419 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys

14
Ranker Video
Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Cher

Released: 1987

Directed by: George Miller

The Witches of Eastwick is a 1987 American comedy-fantasy film based on John Updike's novel of the same name. Directed by George Miller, the film stars Jack Nicholson as Daryl Van Horne, ...more

More The Witches of Eastwick 

#158 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #140 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #103 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies

15
Ranker Video
Jack Nicholson, Mickey Rourke, Helen Mirren

Released: 2001

Directed by: Sean Penn

The Pledge is a 2001 American mystery film directed by Sean Penn. The film features an ensemble cast, starring Jack Nicholson, Aaron Eckhart, Helen Mirren, Robin Wright Penn, Vanessa Redgrave, ...more

More The Pledge 

#452 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars #322 of 524 The Greatest Crime Movies Ever Made

16
Ranker Video
Jack Nicholson, Kathleen Turner, Anjelica Huston

Released: 1985

Directed by: John Huston

Prizzi's Honor is a 1985 American film directed by John Huston. It stars Jack Nicholson, Kathleen Turner, Robert Loggia and, in an Academy Award-winning performance, the director's daughter ...more

More Prizzi's Honor 

#462 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #754 of 1,199 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

17
Ranker Video
Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Tim Burton

Released: 1992

Directed by: Danny DeVito

Hoffa is a 1992 French-American biographical film directed by Danny DeVito and written by David Mamet, based on the life of Teamsters Union leader Jimmy Hoffa. Jack Nicholson plays Hoffa, and ...more
18
Ranker Video
Jack Nicholson, Ann-Margret, Candice Bergen

Released: 1971

Directed by: Mike Nichols

Carnal Knowledge is a 1971 American comedy-drama film directed by Mike Nichols and written by Jules Feiffer. It stars Jack Nicholson, Art Garfunkel, Ann-Margret and Candice Bergen.

More Carnal Knowledge 

#327 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #28 of 33 25+ Great Movies About Depressing Couples

19
Ranker Video
wiabux added Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Plummer

Released: 1994

Directed by: Mike Nichols

Wolf is a 1994 American romantic horror film directed by Mike Nichols and written by Jim Harrison, Wesley Strick, and an uncredited Elaine May, with music by Ennio Morricone and cinematography ...more
20
Ranker Video
SaraMcDonald added Jack Nicholson, Adam Sandler, Heather Graham

Released: 2003

Directed by: Peter Segal

Anger Management is a 2003 American slapstick comedy film directed by Peter Segal, written by David S. Dorfman, and starring Adam Sandler, Jack Nicholson, and Marisa Tomei . It was produced by ...more

More Anger Management 

#205 of 1,199 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #12 of 57 The Best and Worst of Adam Sandler

21
Ranker Video
wiabux added Jack Nicholson, Jessica Lange, Anjelica Huston

Released: 1981

Directed by: Bob Rafelson

The Postman Always Rings Twice is a 1981 film adaptation of the 1934 novel by the same name by James M. Cain. The film was produced by Lorimar in association with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and ...more

More The Postman Always Rings Twice 

#48 of 212 The Best R-Rated Crime Thriller Movies #191 of 204 The Best R-Rated Period Piece Movies

22
Ranker Video
wiabux added Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Gene Hackman

Released: 1981

Directed by: Warren Beatty

Reds is a 1981 epic film that was co-written, produced, and directed by Warren Beatty. The picture centers on the life and career of John Reed, the journalist and writer who chronicled the ...more

More Reds 

#470 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #147 of 347 Movies with the Best Soundtrackslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

23
Ranker Video
Jack Nicholson, Ian Hendry, Steven Berkoff

Released: 1975

Directed by: Michelangelo Antonioni

The Passenger is a 1975 film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. Written by Antonioni and Peter Wollen, the film is about a British-American journalist, David Locke who assumes the identity of a ...more
24
Ranker Video
wiabux added Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd

Released: 1978

Directed by: Jack Nicholson

Goin' South is an American western-comedy film, directed by and starring Jack Nicholson, Mary Steenburgen, Christopher Lloyd, John Belushi, Richard Bradford, Veronica Cartwright, Danny DeVito ...more
25
Ranker Video
wiabux added Natalie Portman, Jack Nicholson, Sarah Jessica Parker

Released: 1996

Directed by: Tim Burton

Mars Attacks! is a 1996 American comic science fiction film directed by Tim Burton and written by Jonathan Gems. Based on the cult trading card series of the same name, the film features an ...more

More Mars Attacks! 

‘Mars Attacks!’ Was Tim Burton’s Ultimate Unregulated Experiment And It’s Stranger Than You Remember #26 of 190 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #409 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies