When sailor Larry Meadows is sentenced to eight years in a New Hampshire prison, Navy lifers Billy Buddusky (Jack Nicholson) and Mule Mulhall are assigned to escort him there from Virginia. Along the way, they warm up to their prisoner, indulging him in small ways such as making excursions to a brothel, and to his mother's house. As they get closer to their destination, their fondness for Larry makes it harder for them to execute their orders.
"Jack Nicholson’s present image, of an elderly actor having comfortably sold out, has a way of ironically investing his authentically legendary run of films, roughly spanning from Easy Rider to The Border, with an even greater emotional urgency than may have initially been intended. It’s startling to remember what a heartbroken live wire the actor once was, how often he chose characters that spoke directly to the baby-boomer fear that their various rebellions wouldn’t come to much. Every classic Nicholson film follows a strikingly similar trajectory of the outcast who either lives by settling for casual tragedy or dies out of wounded stubbornness. Of all the great actors to emerge from the rich period of American films that kicked off in the late 1960s and unceremoniously concluded in the mid 1970s, Nicholson stood apart as the ideal embodiment of that era’s weirdly sexy resignation. The Last Detail is so perfectly tailored to the star that it could’ve been mapped out from a Pythagorean theorem". - Chuck Bowen, Slant
Jack Nicholson, Otis Young, Randy Quaid