The Best Jack Nicholson quotes

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If you’re looking for inspiration, look no further than Jack Nicholson. This larger-than-life actor has been a major force in Hollywood for more than 50 years, and his best quotes is one that any entrepreneur can learn from. From his early days as a struggling actor to his current status as one of the most respected stars in the business, Nicholson’s career has been full of highs and lows — but he’s always managed to come out on top. So if you’re feeling down about your own business, take a page from Nicholson’s playbook and keep fighting. You never know where it may lead you.

We are glad to present you the best Work, Actors, Films, Money, Feelings, Time, Movies, Life quotes from Jack Nicholson, and much more.


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About Jack Nicholson

birth of the author

April 22, 1937

education of the author

Manasquan High School

occupation of the author

Actor, Filmmaker

date of the author

Years Active:


When you look at life retrospectively you rarely regret anything that you did, but you might regret things that you didn’t do. — Jack Nicholson

My only emotion is gratitude, literally, for my life. — Jack Nicholson

I’m very contra my constituency in terms of abortion because I’m positively against it. I don’t have the right to any other view. My only emotion is gratitude, literally, for my life. — Jack Nicholson

Well, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I haven’t been a rogue most of my life. — Jack Nicholson

my only emotion is gratitude literally for my life Jack Nicholson quote

There’s only two people in your life you should lie to… the police and your girlfriend. — Jack Nicholson

A lot of people in the middle of their lives have a secret yearning for more romance. — Jack Nicholson

Always try in interviews to avoid the cliches about the problems of public life. — Jack Nicholson

I didn’t know that my sister was really my mother until I was thirty–seven years old. But life has taught me that there have been a lot of things that I didn’t know. — Jack Nicholson

I would never complain about my life, even though I really would like to have a mate. — Jack Nicholson

well i m not going to sit here and pretend that i haven t been a rogue most of my life Jack Nicholson quote

The average celebrity meets, in one year, ten times the amount of people that the average person meets in his entire life. — Jack Nicholson


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Now comes the part where I relieve you, the little people, of the burden of your failed and useless lives. But remember, as my plastic surgeon always said: if you gotta go, go with a smile. — Jack Nicholson

Life doesn’t have to be about finding Osama bin Laden or becoming the president of the United States. Life is about the little things, which is one of the things you learn when you get older. — Jack Nicholson

Children give your life a resonance that it can’t have without them. — Jack Nicholson

I don’t think many people have a very good understanding of leisure and the importance it plays in our lives. — Jack Nicholson

there s only two people in your life you should lie to the police and your girlfriend Jack Nicholson quote

I have mainly been interested in acting. I think it’s a great job, a fine way to live your life. — Jack Nicholson

I usually don’t get too bogged down with my personal problems because that’s a one–way street if you get yourself into a negative frame of mind and only see the dark side of life. — Jack Nicholson

I never had a policy about marriage. I got married very young in life and I always think in all relationships, I’ve always thought that it’s counterproductive to have a theory on that. — Jack Nicholson

Human beings are always going to find interesting ways of making a mess of their lives. It’s human nature. — Jack Nicholson

This town needs an enema! — Jack Nicholson

a lot of people in the middle of their lives have a secret yearning for more romance Jack Nicholson quote


I’m Irish. I think about death all the time. — Jack Nicholson

If I go into a restaurant there’s a very good chance that I’m going to spend my time being the mayor. If I want to have a good time, I’m happier having dinner here. — Jack Nicholson

I learned a long time ago in Hollywood that the only person I should vote for is myself. — Jack Nicholson

I just like art. I get pure pleasure from it. I have a lot of wonderful paintings, and every time I look at them I see something different. — Jack Nicholson

Through all permutations and youthful poetry, I came to believe that the film actor was the great ‘literateur’ of his time. — Jack Nicholson

i m irish i think about death all the time Jack Nicholson quote

A star on a movie set is like a time bomb. That bomb has got to be defused so people can approach it without fear. — Jack Nicholson

You have to do every movie one at a time. Trilogy is contrary to this ideology. My nightmare is to wake up and find myself the host of a TV series. — Jack Nicholson

I’ve spent more time playing golf than anything else the last 18 years. Just wanted to be an 80s–shooter. Got there, too. — Jack Nicholson

If I were an Arab–American, I would insist on being profiled. This is not the time for civil rights. There are larger issues for Americans. — Jack Nicholson

We are going as fast as we can as soon as we can. We’re in a race against time until we run out of money. — Jack Nicholson

Time keeps no measure when true friends are parted, No record day by day; the sands move not for those who, loyal–hearted, friendship’s firm laws obey. — Jack Nicholson


I don’t want people to know what I’m actually like. It’s not good for an actor. — Jack Nicholson

Being pigeonholed is the death of all actors. — Jack Nicholson

When they say I’m a great actor, I close my ears because it’s not good for you to think that way. — Jack Nicholson

In other words, I wouldn’t like to be an actor if I could only be real. I like to get wild, behaviorally wild, and it’s crazy to think of any form where it’s just one way. — Jack Nicholson

i don t want people to know what i m actually like it s not good for an actor Jack Nicholson quote

Because you know, down deep in my heart, when all is said and done, I still live under the illusion that basically people think of me as an up–and–coming young actor. — Jack Nicholson

I’m fairly well off. I can’t poor–mouth that away from people’s sensibilities about me, which is something I worry about as an actor. But it would be real stupid of me to do something for the money. — Jack Nicholson

I don’t remember if I’ve been asked seriously to direct a picture. I understand that. I’m very good business for people as an actor and perhaps they’d rather I didn’t. — Jack Nicholson

I’m an actor who they said was wrinkled and balding and everything else when I was in my early 30’s. Most of the people who wrote that who thought they were younger than me are now bald and wrinkled. — Jack Nicholson

I wanted to be the best actor possible. I worked very hard at the craft of it. — Jack Nicholson

being pigeonholed is the death of all actors Jack Nicholson quote

I believe in making all movies at their most reasonable. That I get a lot of money as an actor is because nobody else will get it if I don’t. — Jack Nicholson

Charlize Theron and Cate Blanchett are very good actresses. — Jack Nicholson


Everyone pretty much acknowledges that he’s the man, and I still feel that underrates him. — Jack Nicholson

I’m the last guy in the world to feel overlooked by the Academy. — Jack Nicholson

I’m such a perfectionist. I always feel overpraised or whatever. In the abstract, I know I’m a good person, a good professional. But it’s nice to be noticed a little bit, ain’t it? — Jack Nicholson

i m the last guy in the world to feel overlooked by the academy Jack Nicholson quote

I’ve always had an urge to feed my need to have fun and feel free. I don’t see any interesting alternatives. — Jack Nicholson

Redundant Thematics

In Jack Nicholson Statements


I feel very lucky because I don’t think there’s any part I can’t play. There are parts that scare me more than others. — Jack Nicholson

I think of a man and I take away reason and accountability. — Jack Nicholson

I do pray. I pray to something…up there. I have a God sense. It’s not religious so much as superstitious. It’s part of being human, I guess. — Jack Nicholson


Even in the most sophisticated person, it is the primitive eye that watches the film. — Jack Nicholson

even in the most sophisticated person it is the primitive eye that watches the film Jack Nicholson quote

I suppose I can do more for a script as an actor than as a writer–in the film sense. — Jack Nicholson

The stage has a certain discipline. But the ultimate standard is more exacting in film, because you have to see yourself and you are your own toughest critic. — Jack Nicholson

I’m a New Wave baby, so I got very stimulated by foreign film. — Jack Nicholson

As a means of supporting experiential element in film, once I begin to work on a particular movie I consider myself to be the tool of the director. — Jack Nicholson

Everybody said I was good, but being known and not having a big film success is almost tougher than being completely new. It just kind of turned my life around and was definitely a highlight. — Jack Nicholson

i suppose i can do more for a script as an actor than as a writer in the film sense Jack Nicholson quote

Having kids is the most innately positive thing that anyone can do. — Jack Nicholson


Frankly, I got into the movies because I like the movies a lot. — Jack Nicholson

Once you’ve been really bad in a movie, there’s a certain kind of fearlessness you develop. — Jack Nicholson

That’s what I like about the movie business: you’re always in contact with wonderful and interesting people. — Jack Nicholson

I’m in the movie business; it’s meant to be very cutthroat. But you won’t find anybody that ever says I cheated them or manipulated them. — Jack Nicholson

frankly i got into the movies because i like the movies a lot Jack Nicholson quote

You can’t say, ‘I’m gonna make a hit movie.’ You’re as dead as you could be. — Jack Nicholson

Ok, the director makes the movie. But some movies can’t get made without someone like me in them. — Jack Nicholson

We learn how to kiss, or to drink, talk to our buddies–all the things that you can’t really teach in social studies or history–we all learn them at the movies. — Jack Nicholson

Before I moved into the mainstream of American movies, I wrote a script as an experiment. I wanted to get very far away from the clichés about the three–act play–structure, development. — Jack Nicholson


I’ve always understood money; it’s not a big mystical thing to me. — Jack Nicholson

i ve always understood money it s not a big mystical thing to me Jack Nicholson quote

Financially, I’ve lost money and made money, but I know my way around financially. — Jack Nicholson

I am in an age group where it is rude to discuss money, and now it is all anyone cares about. — Jack Nicholson

I know I can act. There aren’t too many other jobs I know how to do. Financially, I’ve lost money and made money, but I know my way around financially. I’ve been too many places. I’m like the bad penny. — Jack Nicholson


If you want your freedom, you have to be willing to work hard to exercise it. — Jack Nicholson

I would never say, ‘I’m retired.’ I believe if I decided to just not work, in six months everybody would just forget whether you were working or not. — Jack Nicholson

if you want your freedom you have to be willing to work hard to exercise it Jack Nicholson quote

I don’t believe in God now. I can still work up an envy for someone who has a faith. I can see how that could be a deeply soothing experience. — Jack Nicholson

For an actor, style comes last. You first have to implement the whole thing, but your style comes from the subconscious, which is the best part an actor brings to his work. — Jack Nicholson

I sort of understood that when I first started that you shouldn’t repeat a success. Very often you’re going to, and maybe the first time you do, it works. And you love it. But then you’re trapped. — Jack Nicholson

I have never felt brutalized as an actor. Many actors do, some times, but I’ve never had that experience. If I’m not happy with the balance, I just won’t work with that person again. — Jack Nicholson

As an actor, I want to give in to the collaboration with the director because I don’t want my work to be all the same. The more this can be done with comfort, the more variety my work has had. — Jack Nicholson

i know i can act there aren t too many other jobs i know how to do Jack Nicholson quote

I was invited to join the MGM cartoon department. But if I’d started work in animation I’d have had to take a cut in salary, so I didn’t. — Jack Nicholson

There’s probably no one who understands Method acting better academically than I do, or actually uses it more in his work. But it’s funny–nobody really sees that. It’s perception versus reality, I suppose. — Jack Nicholson

I never thought in terms of typing myself, because I wasn’t that successful. After an actor has done a few pieces of work, his naïveté is the part of the craft he has to nurture most. — Jack Nicholson

I know I can act. There aren’t too many other jobs I know how to do. — Jack Nicholson

Most of the early part of an actor’s career, you do the jobs you get. — Jack Nicholson

I’ve never been able to say I’ve been influenced by a list of artists I like because I like thousands and thousands and I’ve been influenced in some way by all of them. — Jack Nicholson


Jack Nicholson is a celebrated actor known for his riveting performances on the big screen. In addition to his acting chops, Nicholson is also known for his insightful and motivating quotes about life. We’ve collected some of our favorites for you to ponder as you go about your day. We hope they inspire and motivate you as much as they do us. What was your favorite quote from Jack Nicholson? Let us know in the comments below! And if you need more inspiration, be sure to check out our courses – we have something for everyone.

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