I have been awed by his sheer stage presence and power. Later I mistook him for the famous golfer Jack Nicklaus – my bad – and attributed a lot of mistaken greatness to him. But even devoid of this mistaken greatness, his kitty of greatness still is very large indeed. I ran into his ten best known lines from a Time tweet. I am compelled to quote them here.
Easy Rider, as George Hanson, 1969
THE LINE: “This used to be a helluva good country. I can’t understand what’s gone wrong with it.
Five Easy Pieces, as Robert Dupea, 1970
THE LINE: “I move around a lot, not because I’m looking for anything really, but ’cause I’m getting away from things that get bad if I stay.”
This line is my favorite as it explains a lot about me!
Chinatown, as Jake Gittes, 1974
THE LINE: “What can I tell you, kid? You’re right. When you’re right, you’re right, and you’re right.”
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, as R.P. Mc Murphy, 1975
THE LINE: “I must be crazy to be in a loony bin like this.”
The Shining, as Jack Torrance, 1980
THE LINE: “Heeere’s Johnny!
Terms of Endearment, as Garrett Breedlove, 1983
THE LINE: “I don’t know what it is about you, but you do bring out the devil in me.”
Prizzi’s Honor, as Charley Partanna, 1985
THE LINE: “Do I ice her? Do I marry her?”
The Witches of Eastwick, as Daryl Van Horne, 1987
THE LINE: “Well, if that’s how you feel about it, then that’s how you feel about it. Is that how you feel about it?”
Batman, as the Joker, 1989
THE LINE: “Nice outfit.”
A Few Good Men,as Col. Nathan R. Jessup, 1992
THE LINE: “You can’t handle the truth!”
As Good as It Gets, as Melvin Udall, 1997
THE LINE: “You make me want to be a better man.”
About Schmidt, as Warren Schmidt, 2002
THE LINE: “I know we’re all pretty small in the big scheme of things, and I suppose the most you can hope for is to make some kind of difference, but what kind of difference have I made? What in the world is better because of me?”
The Departed, as Frank Costello, 2006
THE LINE: “When I was growing up, they would say you could become cops or criminals. But what I’m saying is this. When you’re facing a loaded gun, what’s the difference?