Ten Deep 10.11.12: Top 10 Bruce Willis Roles
Posted by Mike Gorman on 10.11.2012
From John McClane in the Die Hard films and Butch in Pulp Fiction to Jimmy Tudeski in The Whole Nine Yards, David Dunn in Unbreakable and more, 411's Mike Gorman counts down the top 10 Bruce Willis roles of all-time!
" Top Ten Bruce Willis Roles"
I saw Looper this week and totally loved it. It felt like an old school sci-fi film that relied on a great story and solid performances instead of special effects for success. One of those stellar performances came from Bruce Willis. Looper inspired this journey through Willis' career that follows some familiar paths but I hope contains a few surprises none the less.
10. Jimmy Tudeski from The Whole Nine Yards
Willis is a proven commodity in the worlds of action and comedy, but in The Whole Nine Yards we saw him try out a new facet of this work. This time around Willis was not the one deliver the quick quips and zingers. His serious straight man, Jimmy Tudeski, played against Matthew Perry's frantic and funny Oz. The end result was a lot of fun and a great performance from Willis. Jimmy is a memorable character that definitely was one of the keys to this film's success.
In this scene Perry's Oz meets Jimmy for the first time and discovers there is more to his new neighbor than meets the eye.
9. Hartigan from Sin City
When most people talk about Sin City and its breakout performances they usually gravitate towards Mickey Rourke, but for me it was Willis' turn as Hartigan that really leapt from the screen. In a literally black and white world Hartigan is a clearly heroic figure who is selfless to a fault regardless of his gruff exterior. Willis brought out this tarnished purity with great skill in Sin City.
In this scene, Hartigan faces betrayal and more as he rescues a young girl
8. Emmertt Smith from In Country
In the film In Country, a young girl searches for the truth about her father who was killed in the Vietnam War coming into conflict with her uncle, who was also in the war. Willis plays that uncle, Smith, in an often overlooked but extremely nuanced performance. Their resolution towards the end of the film is powerful and cathartic. They visit the Vietnam Memorial in DC. I leave you with that scene.
7. Butch Coolidge from Pulp Fiction
While Pulp Fiction is film that features a strong ensemble in a series of intersecting vignettes, there are moments and characters that do stand out above the rest. Willis' Butch Coolidge is one such character. Willis revels in the flaws of this broken man who proves himself quite strong in the end. He also delivers one of the film's most memorable lines, "Zed's dead, baby. Zed's dead."
When Butch has the chance to escape his captors his decides instead to go back and seek revenge, and assist his adversary. The moment he selects his weapon of choice is one of the film's most fun beats.
6. Dr. Malcolm Crowe from The Sixth Sense
One of the things that Willis is great at when he takes on a role is portraying a character's journey and discovery. In the Sixth Sense this is truly evident. Crowe's eventual discovery of the truth about his situation is a masterfully unfurled by Willis. He makes the moment believable to the character and unbelievable to the audience.
In this deleted scene we see more of Crowe's relationship with the boy who would change his "life" develop.
5. Korben Dallas from The Fifth Element
Willis has made a career of playing loveable losers forced into heroic circumstances and that is definitely the case with Korben Dallas in The Fifth Element. Here Willis begrudgingly bears the weight of the world, or at least its future, on his shoulders. There is a reason Willis ends up in these roles and that is because he is usually fantastic in them. This is again the case here.
In this scene we meet Dallas for the first time and get a feeling for what life in the 23rd century is like.
4. James Cole from 12 Monkeys
In 12 Monkeys, Bruce Willis plays the sanity amidst a hurricane of chaos and time travel. While the entire world and many of the people in it seem to be descending into madness, Willis' Cole remains of singular purpose striving to save the future while bouncing into the past. That is not to say that the effects of time travel don't weigh heavily on him.
In this scene we get to see just how imprecise time travel can be.
3. David Dunn from Unbreakable
If you've followed my career here on 411Mania.com at all there is a good chance you saw this one coming. Unbreakable is one of my favorite films of all time and Bruce Willis' performance it is one of the reasons why. His David Dunn is an ordinary man, thrust into extraordinary circumstances. He resonates truth as he takes us into the world of a man who is slowly discovering that he may indeed be a superhero. But it is not the superhuman moments that stand out the most, it is the human ones, like in this scene where he is getting to know his wife again.
2. David Addison from Moonlighting
This was the role that brought Bruce Willis to all of our attention and for good reason. When you watch Moonlighting it is easy to see that his talent was much bigger than the small screen. David Addison was distinctive, funny and a perfect foil for Cybil Shepherd's prim & proper Maddie Hayes. It was clear he would go on from this series to Hollywood success.
In this scene you see the trademark banter that was David Addison and Maddie Hayes trademark.
1. John McClane from Die Hard
Was there any doubt that Willis' wise cracking police officer John McClane would top this list? McClane somehow always ends up at the center of a huge mess that is not exactly his fault, but does end up his responsibility. With Die Hard Willis claimed his place in the pantheon of iconic action heroes alongside Stallone and Schwarzenegger. It will most likely remain the role he is most remembered for throughout the rest of his career. The later sequels in the series went off track a bit but the trailers for the 5th Die Har actually look pretty fantastic. Could McClane be reclaiming his top spot? It seems likely.
McClane is most known for one specific tagline. Here it is…
Did I leave your favorite Willis role out in this week's Bruce-fest? Let me know all about it.
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