List compiled by Eddie on 22/08/2014
While over the last few years (if not decade) Bruce Willis has become somewhat of a self-lampooning bore, taking jobs for no other real noticeable reason other than a pay cheque, there was a time in his career that amongst many backfires (Hudson Hawk, Live Free or Die Hard ect) he always appeared in many out and out classics and used his charisma to great effect.
Starting out his career in television Willis didn’t hit it big until Die Hard in 1988 and since then he has been living off the John McLane persona to be a staple of the action genre, but at times he has taken on risky projects that have paid huge dividends, namely films such as Pulp Fiction, The 6th Sense and Sin City.
Once more as previously stated in actor pieces, these top 10 films are not based on Willis’s performance alone yet are based on overall quality. In saying that it’s abundantly clear that even though Willis is losing credibility faster than he lost his hairline, he has undoubtedly made many a top notch and at times classic movies.
Happy reading and happy watching!
10. Alpha Dog (2006)
Willis plays – Sonny Truelove
Alpha Dog is one of those films that despite featuring a vast array of name actors and up and comers (including Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, and Olivia Wilde just to name a few) bombed at the box office and with critics. Alpha Dog is not worthy of the treatment it received however as it’s actually quite an intriguing true life tale that hits hard in many respects. Willis plays a small yet pivotal role in proceedings as Sonny Truelove. Directed by Nick Cassavettes, the harbinger of weeping females with his film The Notebook.
Bald? – No
9. Hostage (2005)
Willis plays – Jeff Talley
A rip roaring and often nail-biting thriller that to be enjoyed fully requires a suspension of disbelief, Hostage may feature Willis a little on auto pilot but it’s what he does well as hostage negotiator Jeff Talley. A perfect movie for a cold Friday night that provides the goods without taking itself too seriously.
Bald? – Yes
8. Looper (2012)
Willis plays – Old Joe
Beloved by many Sci-Fi buff Rian Johnson’s thoroughly enjoyable slice of time traveling/meet your self-goodness may have more plot holes than a freshly blunderbuss worn body but it’s got more ideas than 10 other movies and some of the most memorable scenes of the last few years. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Willis prove to be a good double act.
Bald? – Yes
7. Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995)
Willis plays – John McLane
Teaming up with loud mouth Samuel L. Jackson proved to be a winner for everyone’s favourite cop John McLane as this 3rd entry into the Die Hard franchise brought not only the action goods but an entertaining story and an often very funny double act of the two Pulp Fiction alumni leads.
Bald? – No
6. Unbreakable (2000)
Willis plays – David Dunn
While not quite striking the same gold as they did with The 6th Sense, Unbreakable proved that both Willis and director M. Night Shyamalan were a force to be reckoned with as they once more crafted a smart and very twisty thriller. A movie that is still not given the credit it deserves as it is too often compared directly to the pair’s original jaunt. If you’ve yet to see this one it comes highly recommended.
Bald? – Yes
5. Sin City (2005)
Willis plays – Hartigan
It’s not long now at all until we will all be partaking in another bout of black and white comic inspired goodness from Robert Rodriguez and his merry band of helpers with a long in the works sequel just around the corner. The original Sin City is a film filled with personality and style to burn and Willis was a valuable member of the team with his grizzled tough guy Hartigan.
Bald? – No
4. Twelve Monkeys (1995)
Willis plays – James Cole
As spoken of before on J and E, Twelve Monkeys is Terry Gilliam at his very best. Mixing in a huge range of neat ideas and concepts outlaid on screen, Twelve Monkeys is Sci-Fi at its most intriguing and at times downright bonkers but it all adds up to one seriously full of life movie experience with an on form Willis front and centre in proceedings.
Bald? – Yes
3. The 6th Sense (1999)
Willis plays – Dr. Malcolm Cole
By now almost all film lovers know of the joys that The 6th Sense can bring as a first time watcher, a film with such an ominous tone and a story so ripe for plot twists it’s hard to see why it became a worldwide sensation upon release and subsequently a much revered member of the thriller genre. Director Shyamalan and actor Willis have arguably been better in their respective fields.
Bald? – No
2. Die Hard (1988)
Willis plays – John McLane
Yippie Kay Ay! Almost number one for you John McLane. Die Hard is a film that needs no introduction, an action film that set the tone for decades to come with its mix of memorable villains, awesome wise cracks and loveable hero’s fitting for good against their wishes. Die Hard is just as much fun as you remember it being and a true leader of its class. Singlets for all!
Bald? – No
1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Willis plays – Butch Coolidge
An absolute gem of a movie that to this day brings the laughs, Pulp Fiction features a huge roster of actors both young and old that went to work on a fantastic quotable script and ended up creating characters for the ages. Pulp Fiction is a near flawless dialogue driven ride in which Willis appears in memorably as boxer Butch. To be watched with a Royale with cheese.
Bald? – Borderline
Honourable mentions – The Fifth Element, The Expendables 2, The Whole 9 Yards, Die Hard 2.0
How does this list stack up to your favourite Willis jaunts? Are we on the money or have we missed out on some shinny head goodness? Let us know in the comment below!
For our other actor top tens see –
Solid list right there Eddie!, however I’ve yet to see Die Hard, or any of them asides from the newest release haha. Got some catching up to do!
Cheers Jon. You’ve gotta get onto Die Hard ASAP, it’s a real blast.
“Yay!” to most of the list. But the mega-popular “Sixth Sense” is an absolute mediocrity. “Unbreakable” is superior. ML
Unbreakable is just great mate, wish more people would say so. Shame about Shymalan as a filmmaker now.
What about ‘The Fifth Element’ :p ..?
Haha mate Jordan asked the exact question lol.
I haven’t seen “The Sixth Sense,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Die Hard,” and “Twelve Monkeys” since they were released in theatres, though these are films I’d like to have on DVD/Blu-Ray. I do have “Sin City,” “The Fifth Element,” “Billy Bathgate,” “Death Becomes Her,” “Color of Night,” “Planet Terror,” and one or two others that elude me. I think my favorite Bruce Willis film is “Death Becomes Her.”
I have not seen Death Livid, I will have to keep that one on the list. He has made some great films.
No love for lucky number slevin or moonrise kingdom?
Lucky was a great little under seen thriller for sure! Sadly I find. Moonrise to be one of Anderson’s weakest and most try hard films.
Hi Eddie – Very good choices, but no room for Moonrise Kingdom? It’s easily his best performance in years, and shows he can do so much more than spin a wisecrack or punch a bad guy.
Spot on Dullwood, Willis was perhaps the best name actor in that movie.
Cool list, tho I’d probably switch out half of the movies and put Fifth Element and more of the Die Hard movies on there (I’m not as big of a Pulp Fiction fan even tho it rocked so putting that as Willis’s nr one would be a ney ney for me). I’d even give Moonlightning an honorary mention even tho it’s a series. I’m among those people that actually loved Hudson Hawk 😛 so it would probably be on my list instead of Alpha Dog. Oh and Lucky number Slevin instead of 12 monkeys. Last man standing over unbreakable. I guess I got a bit weird movie taste.. Die hard would always be my number 1 Bruce Willis movie, there is no other movie I’ve seen as many times.
Mine would probably look a little more like this :
1. Die Hard
2. The Fifth Element
3. Die Hard 3
4. Sixth Sense
5. Lucky number Slevin
6. Last man Standing
7. Die Hard 2
8. Die Hard 4
9. Color of Night
10. Hudson Hawk
which just proves that nobody has the same taste in movies. I prefer the mindless action or thrillers.. HH was just too charming to me to ignore so I gave it 10th.
Looking at that list again shows how many rippers he has made. Die Hard is endlessly rewatchable for sure.
Hey, great list. He certainly gives a lot of options: action, comedy, sci-fi, drama. My list HAS to have 5th Element on it though, and I personally found Hudson Hawk hilarious. So my ten would be: Hudson Hawk, Whole Ten Yards, Moonrise Kingdom, Breakfast of Champions, Lucky Number Slevin, Last Man Standing, Die Hard, Pulp Fiction, Twelve Monkeys, and 5th Element. … with honorable mention to The Last Boyscout and less than honorable mention to Color of Night (if you know what I mean).
Haha the color of night, that is a pretty shocking flick my man lol. He certainly has an eclectic list.
Where the hell is The Last Boy Scout?!! I’m sorry but this omission makes your whole list invalid!
Oh man I might have to re watch that and see the errors of my ways ha.
Great list, but I would definitely replace yawn-fest, the sixth sense with the superior Fifth Element.
Oh poor sixth sense, the love for he fifth element has made me realise how much people dig that oddity.
I quite liked him in Armageddon.
I have not seen Die Hard yet but I have seen some of Vengeance and the end of 2.
Armageddon is rumored to be the first movie that made eddie cry. Thought it’d make the list based on those merits alone
That rumor sadly isn’t true, although the Steve Tyler song to accompany the film made me cry for other reasons.
Got to watch the first mate, it’s a full blown action classic.
Great choices. I’m one of probably three people who doesn’t get Die Hard but love all the others.
Haha I reckon your wise not loving Die Hard, I dono why I am such a sucker for its over the top goodness.
I do approve your list, maybe rearranging the order… only exception, I’d keep the one and only “Die Hard”, and instead of the sequel(s) I’d put in “Four rooms”, Tarantino’s 4th episode, the one after Hitchcock’s “The man from the South”.
Ah very interesting choice that one. Not many would of seen.
Throwing my two blood-stained cents into the mix here and saying that the second Die Hard is better than With a Vengeance.
It’s a great bit of fun the second one, I just loved the interplay between Jackson and Willis in vengeance
Glad you mentioned HOSTAGE – it’s an under-rated classic based on the sheer grand guignol (kinda DePalmaesque) style of direction and Willis’ world-weary performance.
Yeh it it a great little thriller mate, a fine example of that genre and underrated by most. That is the film Willis should make more of.
The best Bruce Willis film is Twelve Monkeys, closely followed by Die Hard, Looper and RED.
Oh lordie… I must have been having a brainfart when I wrote my first list… I totally forgot about the RED movies and Armageddon. So mine would look a bit more like this :
1. Die Hard
3. RED 2
4. The Fifth Element
6. Die Hard 3
7. Sixth Sense
8. Lucky number Slevin
9. Last man Standing
10. Die Hard 2
Why Red so high you say… Dame Helen Mirren, oh lord what a dame 😉 Her character should have her own movie or two.
haha very true mate, her character is pretty awesome! She must enjoy being let lose like that for a project.
I haven’t seen the second RED film, I’ve heard bad things.
All great fun films there mate, he certainly has got some rippers in his career list.
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Good picks for his top 10, especially the top 3 😀 Too bad this guy’s near the end of his run…. 😦
Cheers bud, his limping towards the finish line sadly. He seems to have given up on trying to much.
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Thank you Eddie, a solid list. Alas, to quote another dear reviewer, Bruce seems to be in the “show me the money” stage of his career. Sin City is my guilty pleasure fave, and Sixth Sense was a masterwork, IMO.
He certainly seems to be a bit of a diva these days.
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Looper is great shout
It’s not his best work but i’d also recommend giving 16 blocks a watch
Oh yeh that is a lot of fun mate! Pretty sure that was a Richard Donnor film yeh? He is a really underrated director.
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