Today, Jack Nicholson celebrates his 79th birthday, following an illustrious career as one of America’s most recognisable actors.
Born in New Jersey, Nicholson moved to Hollywood at the age of 17, taking a job at an animators’ office. He then trained as an actor, taking small parts in stage productions and TV soap operas. His big break came when a role opened up in 1969’s Easy Rider, earning him his first Oscar nomination. Since then, he has been nominated for an academy award in every decade from the 1960s to the 2000s.
To celebrate his birthday, we’ve listed our three favourite Nicholson films available on Blu-ray:
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is one of Nicholson’s early pieces of work, coming six years after his career-defining role in Easy Rider.
Nicholson plays R.P. McMurphy, a criminal who pleads insanity in order to avoid prison. Instead, he finds himself incarcerated in a psychiatric institution with a number of unstable patients. After witnessing the oppressive nature of Nurse Ratched, the ward’s matron, McMurphy leads a rebellion with the aim of escaping from the institution.
You can get One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest on Blu-ray, which is remastered in glorious high definition. It also comes with a number of special features, including commentary, deleted scenes and a making-of documentary.
This adaptation of Stephen King’s famous novel is undoubtedly one of Nicholson’s most iconic pieces of work.
Nicholson plays Jack Torrance, a writer who takes a job as a winter caretaker at an isolated hotel. He brings his family along with him, who stay in the hotel with him through the winter while the hotel is cut off from the outside world by bad snowfall. What the family don’t know is that the hotel is possessed by a violent presence, which soon begins to take over Jack, causing him to become increasingly unhinged.
This high-definition horror comes with a number of special features on Blu-ray, including a making-of documentary by director Stanley Kubrick’s daughter, an interview with the composer of the film’s music, and a look at Kubrick’s wider work.
Our final pick of Nicholson’s work is The Departed, a modern classic directed by Martin Scorsese and starring other big names, such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg and Ray Winstone.
Set in South Boston, The Departed tells the story of an undercover cop who attempts to infiltrate the notorious Irish-American mob. Meanwhile, the mob has inserted their own man into the state police, leading to a dangerous game of cat and mouse as the two men wrestle with their identities.
The Blu-ray comes packed with special features, including a twenty-minute documentary on Whitey Bulger, the real-life mobster that inspired Nicholson’s character, deleted scenes and a look at Scorsese’s other gangster films.