Whoever nolrich is, s/he's done a pretty fine job putting together this compilation entitled, appropriately enough, "Jack Nicholson on Fire." Granted, any one of us might well choose different scenes and different films, but as a sampler of Nicholson at his most explosive, it works. And, many would argue, exploding is what Nicholson, who turns 75 today, does best.
Others would disagree, finding him just as effective, if not more, when he threatens quietly, even politely, as he does in this scene with Robert De Niro in Elia Kazan's The Last Tycoon (1976):
Back in 2007, in a modest "Jack @ 70" roundup at GreenCine Daily, I pointed to a collection of tributes introduced by the Observer's Philip French. It's still there, and you can still read brief (and not-so-brief) appreciations by Dennis Hopper, Kathy Bates, Rob Reiner, Susan Sarandon, Robert Towne, James L Brooks, Danny DeVito and Tim Burton.
LIFE presents a set of previously unpublished photos: "In September 1969, not long after Nicholson had charmed moviegoers and critics alike with his deceptively easygoing performance as a sweet-natured, booze-sodden, small-town lawyer in Dennis Hopper's Easy Rider, LIFE sent Arthur Schatz to photograph the 32-year-old actor at his new home on Mulholland Drive, overlooking Franklin Canyon in Los Angeles."
For Time, Lily Rothman's posted a page each for 13 of Nicholson's most memorable roles. Each features a still, a blurb on the film and his best line. The gallery begins, of course, with Easy Rider (1969): "This used to be a helluva good country. I can't understand what's gone wrong with it."
Jack Nicholson: A Retrospective is on at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland through June 27.
Update, 4/23: At the Playlist, Oliver Lyttelton revisits "5 of His Most Underrated Performances."
Update, 4/24: Jack-related curios from Alexa at the Film Experience.