The family of iconic movie star Bruce Willis revealed in an Instagram post on March 30 that he had been diagnosed with aphasia and would be stepping away from his acting career due to his condition. health.
Aphasia is a neurodegenerative disease which, according to the Mayo Clinicis a condition that affects the patient’s ability to communicate and can be caused by a stroke, head injury, brain tumor or disease.
That said, in light of the heartbreaking news, we can’t help but look back at his career-defining cinematic moments.
Over the past year, Willis has headlined a string of action movies like Fortress (2021), US Headquarters (2021), gasoline alley (2022) and a day to die (2022), back to back, which were available to watch in select theaters.
The legendary actor’s long career in Hollywood spans decades and includes cult films such as die hard film series (1988-2013), pulp Fiction (1994), The sixth sense (1999) and city of sin (2005).
Here are eight iconic Bruce Willis films that transcend time
Movies Die Hard (1988-2013)
Undoubtedly among Bruce Willis’ must-see films of all time, the die hard movies have redefined action movies in Hollywood. At a time when people expected to see muscular Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger in action movies, Willis stole the show with his character John McClane, a reluctant hero and underdog who triumphs over selfish venality.
In the 1988 film, Willis portrays McClane, a New York police officer with a devilish sense of humor, who arrives in Los Angeles (LA), USA, hoping to spend Christmas with his ex-wife (Bonnie Bedelia) and two daughters. However, things go awry when he attends a party with his wife at the headquarters of the Japanese company she works for.
The party is interrupted by a dangerous group of thugs who take over the entire office building and hold everyone in it hostage. McClane realizes that he is the only one who can save the hostage situation and wage a war against the terrorists to save his wife.
The ultra-successful die hard film series experienced through four other films, namely Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990), Die hard with a vengeance (1995), Live free or die hard (2007) and A good day to die strong (2013).
The 1990 sequel then replicated the tried-and-true OG movie formula with an altered storyline, where McClane comes to the rescue of those taken hostage by rogue military agents at an airport.
The 1995 film follows the life of now-suspended NYPD police officer McClane, whose trajectory appears to be on the decline due to his drinking habits. Starring fellow megastars like Jeremy Irons as terrorist Simon and Samuel L. Jackson as Electrician Zeus, Die hard with a vengeance is also beloved by “diehard” fans of the film series.
The plots of the two more recently released films in the series were a bit off, which led to the films receiving a lukewarm response from audiences.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Quentin Tarantino movie, pulp Fictionfollows the intertwining events in the lives of two Los Angeles hitmen Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson), the wife of gangster actress Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman), a boxer in trouble Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis), two petty criminals Pumpkin and Honey Bunny (Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer, respectively), and a master repairman called The Wolf (Harvey Keitel).
The film follows Vincent and Jules, who work for mob kingpin Marcellus Wallace (Ving Rhames), with a penchant for philosophical discussions and musings on life.
The film weaves seemingly disconnected incidents together and highlights the choices each character makes regarding life, death, honor and disgrace. Willis’ character of stoic fugitive boxer Butch in the film helped shape the multi-layered collection of short crime stories into the cult phenomenon it is today.
Tarantino deftly humanizes nefarious characters, invoking an emotional response from audiences. Tarantino and Roger Avary won an Oscar for the film in the Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for Screen category.
12 Monkeys (1996)
In this sci-fi flick by Terry Gilliam, James Cole (Bruce Willis) is a 2030s convict who, in hopes of getting parole, volunteers for a top-secret mission involving time travel. . The operation takes him back to the 1990s to trace the origin of a killer virus that is about to wipe out the world’s population. However, it’s not as easy as it seems given that he doesn’t get much help to execute the mission, other than the maniacal son of a prominent virologist, Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt) and the skeptical Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe), whom he both meets in the “past”.
Another very entertaining Bruce Willis star is Armageddonwhere his character Harry Stamper realizes he must travel to space to save the world as an impending asteroid threatens to destroy life on earth.
The cast includes Liv Tyler, who plays her daughter, Grace. He knows he must sacrifice his own life to ensure his daughter’s future and is accompanied by AJ Frost (Ben Affleck) – Grace’s fiancé. Willis perfectly portrays this larger than life character and touches the hearts of audiences throughout this action drama.
The film is directed by Michael Bay.
The Sixth Sense (1999)
Notably written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, the chilling film follows the story of friendly child psychologist and therapist Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) and his scared young patient Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) who claims he can communicate with ghosts and spirits. . When Crowe tries to uncover the mystery behind Cole’s abilities, the consequences lead to something inexplicable.
The unusual duo of the young boy with raw, messy emotions and his calm, stoic therapist is what makes the Oscar-nominated film so memorable and moving.
Sin City (2005)
The crime thriller, written and directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez, belongs to the neo-noir genre and is based on the latter’s graphic novel series of the same name. The film boasts a top ensemble cast, with Willis leading the way.
city of sin follows the lives of four characters who cross paths as they attempt to resolve their personal issues. They fight violence and corruption in the terrible city of Basin City, Washington, USA.
Bruce Willis stars as John Hartigan, a gruff, cynical police detective with a heart of gold, who puts his life on the line trying to stop child murderer Roark Jr./Yellow Bastard (Nick Stahl) from raping and kill young Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba).
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Rising to the occasion and once again saving the day, Willis plays Duffy Sharp, the New England-based police captain in charge of the fictional small island town of New Penzance in this coming-of-age comedy-drama. adult by Wes Anderson.
In the summer of 1965, 12-year-old Khaki Boy Scout Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) is disowned by his parents and forced to seek refuge with Sharp.
Shakusky falls in love with a girl, Suzy (Kara Hayward), and they run off into the desert together, prompting a search for the young couple throughout the city. The two lovers bond over their mutual status as strangers and decide to escape the city, causing hysteria among her scout troop and her family. Sharp plays a key role in this quest, given that he had put a roof over the young boy’s head before he escaped.
looper is a compelling sci-fi film about a gunman, Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), in a futuristic society where time travel is possible. However, it is only accessible to those who have the resources and means to pay for it on the black market.
In Rian Johnson’s film set in 2074, Joe serves as a looper for the crowd. He waits in the “past” to which the gang sends back those he wants to kill.
Joe is a good mafia employee until the day his bosses decide to “close the loop” to fix the problems. Not only that, they also send the future self of Joe (Bruce Willis) back in time to be killed, who finds himself a victim of his own actions in the gripping action drama.
Other memorable performances
Aside from those generation-defining classic cult films, Willis has also been a part of popular television shows such as NBC’s Friends, where he plays the role of Paul Stevens, widower and father of Ross Geller’s (David Schwimmer) girlfriend, Elizabeth (Alexandra Holden). He eventually begins dating Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) for a short time before breaking up. Among the list of over 40 celebrity guests who made an appearance on the show, Willis was definitely one of the most beloved guest appearances.
Other films featuring Willis include Death becomes her (1992), no one is fooled (1994), The fifth Element (1997), Unbreakable (2000), perfect stranger (2007), Red (2010) and motherless brooklyn (2019) which also deserves an honorable mention for its outstanding performance in each of them.
(Main and featured image credit: Die Hard/© Twentieth Century Fox/IMDb)