By Josh Reilly B. and George Bate
Bruce Willis’ family recently announced that he would be stepping away from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia, a brain disorder in which one struggles to comprehend or make human speech.
As Willis’ historic acting career looks set to come to a close, many fans have been pouring in their tributes for the beloved actor. Many of these reference some of Willis’ most famous roles, including John McClane in the Die Hard franchise, Butch Coolidge in Pulp Fiction, and more. Here are some of Willis’ most iconic roles:
John McClane – Die Hard
Willis played McClane across several films in the Die Hard franchise. The premise of the original film was ingenious; a group of terrorists storm into a large skyscraper building that is holding a Christmas party, with off duty copy John McClane (Bruce Willis) one of the few who can save the day. The holiday setting has only made the first film even more iconic, and Die Hard 2 furthered this by being set on the east coast at Christmastime, with this outing having a winter snowstorm along with it.
Willis continued to play McClane after the series moved away from one-location holiday stories to an all out action franchise. Famous stars like Samuel L Jackson, Timothy Olyphant, Jai Courtney, and more all appeared in a Die Hard film at some point. Despite all the star power surrounding him, Willis still shined through, making John McClane arguably the best role in his career.
Butch Coolidge – Pulp Fiction
Unlike Die Hard, where Willis was firmly the sole main character and in the spotlight for every outing, Pulp Fiction had an ensemble cast with the likes of Samuel L Jackson, Uma Thurman, John Travolta, and more all appearing in significant roles, as well as the legendary Harvey Keitel. In this Quentin Tarantino film, Willis plays Butch Coolidge, who is positioned as one of the three main protagonists and is a former boxer who was bribed by a local mobster to purposely lose his last fight. In an unforgettable film, Bruce Willis once again shines through as one of the highlights.
William Crowe – The Sixth Sense
M. Night Shyamalan’s horror-thriller masterpiece is most famous for its twist, which has since been labeled one of the best in film history. Willis plays Malcom Crowe, a child psychologist who befriends a young boy in need of help. The ending’s infamous nature has meant that it’s widely known in the public today, even amongst those who have yet to see the film. Crowe’s altercation with a dangerous patient, as shown at the beginning of the film, was fatal for Willis’ character and that he’s been dead the entire time. Crowe communicates with the young child only because of the youngster’s unique abilities to see those who have already died, resulting in some classic lines and unforgettable sequences.
David Dunn – Unbreakable, Split, Glass
Willis reunited with Shyamalan in this superhero trilogy of sorts, beginning with Unbreakable. Willis is David Dunn, a man who miraculously survives a train crash because of what he later discovers to be an uncanny ability to withstand and survive almost any situation. Unbreakable stood alone for years before Split was a surprise sequel, where Willis appeared at the end, and was once again a main character in Glass, which united him with Samuel L Jackson and James McAvoy.
Old Joe – Looper
There are two Joe’s in Rian Johnson’s sci-fi film Looper. One, the younger of the two, was played by Joseph Gordon Levitt (wearing minor prosthetics and contact lenses), and the other was Bruce Willis, who was Joe from the future. Looper’s world revolves around time travel, which is used sparingly but in key situations. For example, criminals in the future use the technology to send those they want to be executed back to the past where the deed is done. Young Joe is one of those who assassinates whoever he is told to, except for his future self (Bruce Willis). Willis’ arrival spells trouble for Joe and begins a dangerous set of events that lead to some interesting moral questions posed by Rian Johnson. Willis is great in this movie once again and plays the part excellently.