Ever since his breakout turn on the TV series Moonlighting, Bruce Willis has been destined for big things, but few imagined just how big those things would end up being. Forty years later, I consider him one of the greatest movie stars America has ever produced, and as such, think he should be considered a national treasure.
With Die Hard, Willis established himself as one of the world’s premiere action stars. He didn’t have the physique of an Arnold Schwarzenegger or the training of a Jean-Claude Van Damme, but he was a man of the people, and the people have loved his various everyman heroes over the ensuring years. During that time, Willis has refused to rest on his laurels as an international action star, and has done his best to demonstrate his range. As both a leading man and an ensemble player, Willis has turned in some surprisingly good performances in many memorable movies, and hopefully the films on this list give you an idea of the many different things Willis can do.
To be honest, it was relatively easy to formulate this Top 10 list. As much as I enjoy Willis’ 90s movies like The Fifth Element, The Jackal, The Last Boy Scout, The Siege, none of them ever really threatened to crack the list. Maybe I’m not the best judge here, since one of my personal favorites is Willis’ kinky ’90s thriller Color of Night, which is generally regarded as one of the more embarrassing films on his resume. Then again, maybe that irrational love for Color of Night makes me the perfect judge here — because I had the presence of mind to know I couldn’t get away with including that film on the list, which mind you, reflects both my own taste and plain old common sense.
Willis’ career may have seen its best days, but at least the actor has a sense of humor about his recent VOD movies, as evidenced by his self-deprecating tone at 2018’s Comedy Central Roast. Unlike those on the dais that night, I’m not here to talk about Bruce’s mistakes, I’m here to celebrate the cream of the Willis crop, so let’s look back with tears in our eyes and glass in our feet at his big screen highlights. Yippee-ki-yay, motherf***ers!