123+ Best Jack Nicholson Quotes: Exclusive Selection

John Joseph Nicholson is an American actor and filmmaker whose career has spanned more than 60 years. He is known for playing a wide range of starring or supporting roles, including comedy, romance, and darkly comic portrayals of anti-heroes and villainous characters. Profoundly inspirational Jack Nicholson quotes will make you look at life differently and help you live a meaningful life.

If you’re searching for inspiring quotes from top actors that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of quotes by Jackie Chan, best Jim Carrey quotes and greatest Johnny Depp quotes.

Famous Jack Nicholson Quotes

A lot of people can’t remember things because they weren’t actually there to begin with – they don’t take it all in. – Jack Nicholson

The camera photographs what’s there. – Jack Nicholson

There has long been a bemoaning of the lack of opportunity to make films that are anything but explosions or the ladling on the pea soup or whatever you want to call it. You can hardly make a movie today where somebody isn’t a murderer or a rapist or, if it’s a Fried Green Tomatoes that isn’t some wistful thing on this, that or the other thing. – Jack Nicholson

I used to think that one of the great signs of security was the ability to just walk away. – Jack Nicholson

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

You know, I think I understand what you’re like now. You’re very beautiful and you think men are only interested in you because you’re beautiful. But you want them to be interested in you because you’re you. The problem is, aside from all that beauty, you’re not very interesting. You’re rude, you’re hostile, you’re sullen, you’re withdrawn… oh, I know- you want someone to look past all that at the real person underneath. But the only reason anyone would bother to look past all that is because you’re beautful. Ironic, isn’t it? In an odd way you’re your own problem. – 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’ve always had an urge to feed my need to have fun and feel free. I don’t see any interesting alternatives. – Jack Nicholson

Because of the way the business is structured, I have sometimes turned down scripts that I might otherwise have accepted had I known who was directing them. – 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

What’s beautiful is all that counts, pal. That’s ALL that counts. – Jack Nicholson

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

Dissembling is a common tool of the anger junkie. – 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

I don’t play golf competitively. I tell everybody that I cheat so they won’t gamble with me. That’s why you can’t watch football. Everybody’s gambling. They don’t want to watch the game; they watch the spread. – Jack Nicholson

In the real world there’s an after-effect of disappointment if you lose an argument. But if, to begin with, you’re set up not to have this particular autonomy, then you’re not disappointed. – Jack Nicholson

I want a big 25-foot pink statue that holds my grave. Or I also might like the way the Indians did it. They hang you up on the top of a tree and the birds eat you. No, really I would probably choose cremating. – Jack Nicholson

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

If you think you’re attractive, you’re always attractive. – Jack Nicholson

The fuel for the sports fan is the ability to have private theories. – 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

Believe it or not, I supported Richard Nixon on the issue of presidential privilege. How could anyone conceive of being the president of the United States and think that every single thing that you say or do can become a part of the public record? It just seems so stupid to me. – Jack Nicholson

I don’t have any fear of intimacy, but rather thrive on it, which is rare in a public person. – Jack Nicholson

When we make mistakes they call it evil. When God makes mistakes they call it Nature! – Jack Nicholson

I always knew there wasn’t going to be anybody to help me and emotionally support me, that whatever I did I’d have to do on my own. – Jack Nicholson

You look at someone long enough, you discover their humanity. – Jack Nicholson

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

A lot of people manage to find common ground and not let disagreements or tensions build up and destroy them, and other people break up or get divorced. I don’t think anything is ever going to change that situation. You simply try to find an accommodation and an understanding with another person and work from there. – Jack Nicholson

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

If men are honest, everything they do and everywhere they go is for a chance to see women. – Jack Nicholson

I would never want to vilify somebody who considered abortion murder. I was an illegitimate child myself. I may not have existed today. – Jack Nicholson

I used to be very quick, I would be able to leave the room and be back before you noticed. When you can’t do that anymore you need to change the style of how you do things. But I’m very interested in life and you don’t want to lose that. – Jack Nicholson

I’m the age where we didn’t have television as kids. So when I saw my nieces and nephews watching Howdy Doody, Kukla, Fran and Ollie, and so forth, I thought the world had gone mad. – Jack Nicholson

If you’re going to write, write one poem all your life, let nobody read it, and then burn it. This is very young thinking, I confess, but it is the seminal part of my life. – 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

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’ve been too many places. I’m like the bad penny. – 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 did not want to be coming off the stage at the mercy of what somebody else told me I did. – Jack Nicholson

Just because you’re perfectionist doesn’t mean you’re perfect. – Jack Nicholson

There are short parts that I as an actor am very right for. Or I just like the part. Or you need someone like me for the movie. By that I don’t mean at the box office, I mean in the execution of the material. – Jack Nicholson

It [TV] is the cancer of film. It’s why people can’t be educated to film. In the late ’60s, we expected to see a movie or two every week and be stimulated, excited and inspired. And we did. Every week after week. Antonioni, Goddard, Truffaut – this endless list of people. And then comes television and home video. I know how to work exactly for the big screen, but it doesn’t matter what I think about the art of movie-making versus TV. – Jack Nicholson

I love women who have a strong sense of themselves because I know I have a pretty good idea of what I want out of life and I like to be around other people who are also pretty secure. It just makes things easier. – Jack Nicholson

I have to keep myself in check when I go to the kids’ sports events. I sit waaay in the back. I make sure I don’t do too much cheering, you know what I mean? I’m still not quite adjusted to this modern school of thought: Oh, it doesn’t matter who wins. I’m not all the way there yet, but I accept it from the back row. – Jack Nicholson

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

He [Castro] is a genius. We spoke about everything. – Jack Nicholson

You make me want to be a better man. – Jack Nicholson

The less people know about me, the easier my job is. – Jack Nicholson

Everybody’s old enough for a beer, ain’t that right, Mule? – Jack Nicholson

I don’t know if this is a true statistic, but I heard somewhere that there are three times as many single women over forty as single men. That’s what we got from the women’s movement. The chickens have come home to roost. – Jack Nicholson

The first role I ever played I had the lead and it’s pretty much stayed that way, though people take great relish in calling me a character actor, which I am. There are a lot of short parts I could play, but I only do them when they are like this (A Few Good Men), central to the idea of the movie. – Jack Nicholson

At 55 I said the probability is I won’t have another relationship. I just didn’t want to start another family. Between my own bizarre criteria and taste and the fact that I’m not available for many things I thought it was unlikely. Once you know the science about it, I don’t think anybody should consider being committed to a real eternal relationship until you’re through something called the infatuation circle. – Jack Nicholson

I think human beings have a basic instinct to be free and explore their world in their own way. I’ve always been driven to look at life as something which we should try to plunge into rather than sit back. You have to be able to have fun and keep creating a sense of excitement to how you approach the world. – 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

If you get an impulse in a scene, no matter how wrong it seems, follow the impulse. It might be something and if it ain’t – take two! – Jack Nicholson

I don’t want to direct a movie as good as Antonioni, or Kubrick, or Polanski, or whoever. I want it to be my own. I think I’ve got the seed of it and, what’s more, that I can make movies that are different and informed by my taste. – Jack Nicholson

People who speak in metaphors should shampoo my crotch. – 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

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

I don’t want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me. – Jack Nicholson

Early on, if I was alone two three nights in a row, I’d start writing poems about suicide. – Jack Nicholson

Comedy is much harder, it’s a lot more exacting. You can’t just be real and you can’t just use the same kind of techniques you use to fill up a regular scene. – Jack Nicholson

There were points in my life where I felt oddly irresistible to women. I’m not in that state now and that makes me sad. – Jack Nicholson

I have given a name to my pain, and it is Batman. – Jack Nicholson

Never rub another man’s rhubarb. – Jack Nicholson

The minute that you’re not learning I believe you’re dead. – Jack Nicholson

You are more thoughtful because you don’t act as quickly anymore. When I turned 70 it was the first time I felt young for my age. Fifty dropped on me like a ton of bricks – there is something about that number – but when 70 came along I felt good about it. – 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

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

You can’t handle the truth! – Jack Nicholson

It’s very easy to go down, so always live up. Incline yourself upward. – Jack Nicholson

Men dominate because of physicality, and thus they have mercy where women do not. – Jack Nicholson

I just know that sameness, repetition, and conceptualizing are the acting craft’s adversaries, and it seems more intelligent to start off within a framework where those things are, to some degree, taken out of your hands. – 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

I wasn’t a babe in the woods. I’d watched a lot of stars, from James Dean to Brando, and I’d seen everybody alive work at MGM. I had a certain old-timer’s quality, even though I was young and new, and drew on what I believed before I made it. – Jack Nicholson

I goddamn near lost my nose. And I like it. I like breathing through it. – Jack Nicholson

OK, the director makes the movie. But some movies can’t get made without someone like me in them. – 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

The blues and jazz will live forever… So will the Delta and the Big Easy. – Jack Nicholson

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

I have never lied to you; I have always told you some version of the truth. – Jack Nicholson

I think the Greeks invented sports as an antidote to philosophy. In sports there are absolute rules. It’s not, What about this? What about that? Either you’re safe or you’re out. It’s ten yards or it’s not. It’s in the hoop or out of the hoop. It’s certain. – Jack Nicholson

I have a lot of vanity. – Jack Nicholson

I thought of myself as part of the general filmmaking effort. And as my scope broadened, I began to think about directing. I wanted to be the guy who got to say whether the dress is red or blue. – Jack Nicholson

My motto is: more good times. – 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

It’s not like I’m starved for company – I have a few very good lady friends – but there’s only a certain amount of times a woman wants to see you and never go out for dinner. – Jack Nicholson

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

The way I reacted to 9/11 was I decided I didn’t want to do any movies that are sad or critical. I decided I didn’t want to make my living depressing people or making them go home sick, so I just decided I wanted to do comedy for a while and study it for a while. It doesn’t mean everybody should do that, but that was my reaction. – Jack Nicholson

I love the company of people. I always have and always will, it comes with my family. But earlier in life I might have got a little nervous if I was alone for a day or two in a row. I might think, Where are they? Now, I just go on doing naturally what I do. – Jack Nicholson

I’ve never lost a friend over work. I come from a small-town environment and I remember my childhood impressions that, if you were a conniver or a fink or whatever, everybody knew about it and you were a louse for the rest of your life. So I never lost those values in some way. – Jack Nicholson

I respect the social graces enormously. How to pass the food. Don’t yell from one room to another. Don’t go through a closed door without a knock. Open the doors for the ladies. All these millions of simple household behaviors make for a better life. We can’t live in constant rebellion against our parents – it’s just silly. I’m very well mannered. It’s not an abstract thing. It’s a shared language of expectations. – Jack Nicholson

I’m a scamp. I don’t deny it. I like myself. – Jack Nicholson

Sometimes a bit of distance can be very healthy. You can go away by yourself on a trip and come back very glad to be with your partner because you’ve cleared your head out of all the negativity. – 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

For a long time, I was afraid to be alone. I had to learn how to be alone. And there are still times when I think, Uh-oh! I gotta talk to somebody here or I’m gonna go crazy! But I like to be alone. Now I do. I really do. There’s a big luxury in solitude. – Jack Nicholson

How would I like to be seen? Very endearing, charming, intelligent, handsome. – Jack Nicholson

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

With my sunglasses on, I’m Jack Nicholson. Without them, I’m fat and 60. – Jack Nicholson

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

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

When it’s over for a woman, it’s over. You’re not getting an appeal. – 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’d give my goddamned soul for just a glass of beer. – Jack Nicholson

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

Liberalism is the right to question without being called a heretic. That’s what America did for the world. – Jack Nicholson

It’s a slight stretch of the imagination but most people are alike in most ways so I’ve never had any trouble identifying with the character that I’m playing. – Jack Nicholson

This town needs an enema! – Jack Nicholson

Beer, it’s the best damn drink in the world. – Jack Nicholson

Acting is everybody’s favorite second job. – Jack Nicholson

Even in the most sophisticated person, it is the primitive eye that watches the film. – 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

There’s a tacit agreement today that the white male is the only legitimate target for any and all satire, criticism, and so forth. And we pretty much just accept it. – Jack Nicholson

Well, a girlfriend once told me never to fight with anybody you don’t love. – 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 content with the fact that I made a decent effort. That’s what I’ve always worried about: that I wouldn’t try hard enough. – Jack Nicholson

Played tennis for years. But you can’t improve at tennis after you’re 50. You get to be in your 40s, and suddenly you’re a doubles player. – 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

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

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 resist all established beliefs. My religion basically is to be immediate, to live in the now. It’s an old cliche, I know, but it’s mine. I envy people of faith. I’m incapable of believing in anything supernatural. So far, at least. Not that I wouldn’t like to. I mean, I want to believe. 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 … Do unto others: How much deeper into religion do we really need to go? – Jack Nicholson