Authored by Mike Bacon in Movies and Television
Published on 11-02-2009
This unassuming former bartender with a receding hairline first appeared on the scene in the ABC hit series “Moonlighting” which co-starred Cybil Shepherd in 1985. It was soon obvious that television would not hold this charismatic actor for long. A string of box office hits later, he has acted in nearly 60 films, with several in various stages of completion. Bruce Willis has that devil may care attitude that comes through in every character he plays.
Here is a list of some of the best films by this versatile actor.
Blind Date (1987)
When Walter Davis (Willis) reluctantly accepts a blind date with the beautiful Nadia (Kim Basinger) he is warned not to let her drink. When he lands a major account, he figures one little glass of champagne won’t hurt. Wrong! From that seemingly innocent celebratory glass of bubbly, Nadia goes completely crazy. The night is a whirlwind of escapades that goes from just a little bit inconvenient to very nearly wrecking Walter’s life! Add in John Larroquette as Nadia’s insanely jealous ex-boyfriend, and the movie is one laugh filled moment after another. The film clearly established Willis as a major box office talent.
Die Hard (1988)
Willis’ next major role was that of Detective John McClane, a New York cop who wants to spend Christmas with his estranged wife (Bonnie Bedilia) in L.A. Unfortunately John picked the wrong time to show up at his wife’s company Christmas party. It seems that there are a few party crashers. Alan Rickman portrays Hans Gruber, a criminal mastermind who along with his gang has taken over the building with the intent to steal a fortune. McClane is not about to let them get away with it. This film showed that Willis was bankable as an action hero as well as a comic actor. Die Hard would go on to spawn three sequels, the most recent in 2007.
Mortal Thoughts (1991)
Willis plays James, a darker character in this story of murder and betrayal. Co-starring with his then wife, Demi Moore as Cynthia. James is the violent and abusive husband of Joyce, (Glenn Headly), Cynthia’s best friend. Told in a series of flashbacks, Harvey Keitel is the detective who seeks the truth of who killed James.
Twelve Monkeys (1995)
Sent back in time from a future world devastated by a mysterious disease, Willis plays James Cole, who is attempting to learn the origins of this plague that killed 99% of humanity. Madeline Stowe plays Dr. Kathryn Railly, a psychiatrist who is treating James, and begins to believe the tale he weaves of traveling from the year 2035. Brad Pitt is outstanding as Jeffery Goines, the insane son of a famous virologist who may hold the key to unlock the mystery James was sent to solve. The political, religious and sociological themes mixed with time travel make for a provocative story. Directed by Terry Gilliam.
The Sixth Sense (1999)
Willis portrays Dr. Malcolm Crowe, a child psychiatrist dealing with his own issues. A former patient wounds Crowe then kills himself. Months later, Crowe attempts to help Cole Sear,(Haley Joel Osmont) a boy who claims; “I see dead people.” This chilling line leads to the shock ending that has become the trademark for director M. Night Shaymalan. The movie was nominated for 6 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Supporting Actor for Osmont, and Actress for Toni Collette who played young Cole’s mother. Willis would work with Shymalan the following year in another thriller, “Unbreakable” (2000)