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Every Bruce Willis movie, ranked

Bruce Willis is retiring after an epic career as America’s favorite action star. Stacker ranks every movie of the “Die Hard” actor’s career.
Bruce Willis is retiring after an epic career as America’s favorite action star. Stacker ranks every movie of the “Die Hard” actor’s career. - TriStar Pictures
Bruce Willis is retiring after an epic career as America’s favorite action star. Stacker ranks every movie of the “Die Hard” actor’s career. - TriStar Pictures

Bruce Willis, one of the most iconic American movie stars, retired from acting following an announcement made by his family in March 2022 that he has been suffering from aphasia, a neurological disorder that affects language and often presents alongside a brain injury or illness. Originally a TV star on the 1985 hit series “Moonlighting,” for which he won a Golden Globe, Willis jumped to leading man status in one of his early film roles as John McClane in “Die Hard,” eventually becoming one of the biggest box-office draws in movie history. To date, Willis’ films have generated more than $5 billion worldwide.

In recent years, the star has made a series of video-on-demand action films, with a few still set to release, but he remains known for such career highlights as Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction,” M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Sixth Sense” and “Unbreakable,” and of course, the blockbuster Die Hard franchise.

Stacker compiled all IMDb data as of April 2022 on feature films starring Willis either as a lead or supporting actor and ranked these films according to their IMDb user rating, with ties broken by votes. Cameos, uncredited roles, and production credits without acting roles were not considered. Read on for quintessential Willis performances and some you might have missed.

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Buce Willis in a space suit with a blue light in the background.

308 Ent

#93. Cosmic Sin (2021)

– Director: Edward Drake
– IMDb user rating: 2.5
– Metascore: 9
– Runtime: 88 minutes

Set in 2524, soldier astronauts do battle in rocket suits up in space. Willis plays a disgraced ex-military man pulled out of retirement to fight parasitic aliens. “Cosmic Sin” was demolished by critics, holding just a 3% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Frank Grillo and Costas Mandylor star as part of the mercenary team who fight chaotic battles where hand-to-hand combat happens alongside large-scale “Q-bomb” space portals.

Bruce Willis looking ahead while holding a large gun with a scope.

308 Ent

#92. Apex (2021)

– Director: Edward Drake
– IMDb user rating: 3.1
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 93 minutes

Neal McDonough plays Rainsford, a trillionaire who likes to hunt people for sport on a remote island. Here, Willis stars as Malone, the “prey” who’ll receive freedom (after being wrongly incarcerated) if he manages to survive. “Apex” scored 0% on the Tomatometer, but it has a healthier audience score of 68%. Low production values combine with a derivative plotline that falls flat.

3 people with weapons looking around in an industrial grey building.

308 Ent

#91. Breach (2020)

– Director: John Suits
– IMDb user rating: 3.1
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 92 minutes

“Breach” is a zombies-on-a-spaceship romp written and produced by Corey Large, who also serves as screenwriter and producer on Willis sci-fi vehicles “Cosmic Sin” and “Apex, both of which Edward Drake directed. Thomas Jane stars as the admiral of a space ark heading to “New Earth,” while Willis plays the ship’s mechanic who teams with a stowaway named Noah (Cody Kearsley) once an alien infection breaks out among crew and passengers.

Bruce Willis, dressed in an officer's uniform, grabs another man in uniform by his collar with an angry look on his face while other soldiers look on.

Origin Films

#90. Air Strike (2018)

– Director: Xiao Feng
– IMDb user rating: 3.2
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 96 minutes

Mel Gibson was a producer for this Chinese film starring Willis as a colonel who trains Chinese fighter pilots during World War II amid the Japanese bombings of Chongqing. The film’s release was delayed in China following a tax evasion scandal involving star Fan Bingbing, going straight to video in the U.S. Bruce’s real life-daughter, actress Rumer Willis, makes an appearance in a small role.

Bruce Willis points a gun at something ahead while a police officer in the foreground has her hands behind her head.

EFO Films

#89. Out of Death (2021)

– Directors: Mike Burns, Al Imran Niloy
– IMDb user rating: 3.2
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 96 minutes

Willis plays a widowed forest ranger who gets pulled into a situation where he must help a photojournalist (Jaime King) who, while on a nature hike, witnesses local cops committing murder. The reviews on this film were murderous—0% on Rotten Tomatoes and an audience score of only 43%.

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Bruce Willis stands in front of a blue wall of electrical switches.

308 Ent

#88. Deadlock (2021)

– Director: Jared Cohn
– IMDb user rating: 3.4
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 97 minutes

Here, Willis plays Ron, a father whose son was killed by cops during a drug bust, setting him off on a mission of vengeance, taking hostages at a power plant and threatening to open a dam and flood a town. Much of the action takes place at said plant, in its industrial stairways and office rooms. Patrick Muldoon stars as a plant worker with former military expertise who takes on Ron.

Two men with serious faces patrol with big guns while Bruce Willis is in the background by a black van.

308 Ent

#87. American Siege (2021)

– Director: Edward Drake
– IMDb user rating: 3.4
– Metascore: data not available

Edward Drake has written five of Willis’ films since 2020 and directed four of them, each recycling Willis’ iconic action heroics. “American Siege” centers on Sheriff Watts (Willis), a storied city cop, now transferred to rural Georgia. Watts is soon entangled in a hostage situation and must clean it up per the demand of a corrupt mayor in this formulaic shoot-em-up.

A beat-up Bruce Willis holds and points a gun.

EFO Films

#86. Hard Kill (2020)

– Director: Matt Eskandari
– IMDb user rating: 3.4
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 98 minutes

Reportedly filmed in just 10 days, “Hard Kill” concerns a powerful computer program, “Project 725,” that can change the world. It was invented by the daughter of billionaire Donovan Chalmers (Willis), who assembles hired guns (including one played by Jesse Metcalfe) for top-notch protection. Mayhem ensues in an abandoned factory where the villains have set up a collection of Dell computer terminals to test out the invention.

A woman in a military uniform leans in to talk to Bruce Willis as he's tied to a chair and has cuts all over his face.

Lionsgate

#85. Fortress (2021)

– Director: James Cullen Bressack
– IMDb user rating: 3.5
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 99 minutes

After co-starring in 2020’s “American Siege,” Willis teams again with Jesse Metcalfe as an estranged father-son duo, Robert and Paul, who reunite only to be attacked by mercenaries. The titular fortress refers to a secluded island resort where ex-CIA man Robert can retire in peace. However, his enemy (Chad Michael Murray) follows Paul to the remote location with plans to kill. Shannen Doherty also stars as a general in charge of security.

3 men look down like they are looking into the trunk of a car.

308 Ent

#84. Gasoline Alley (2022)

– Director: Edward Drake
– IMDb user rating: 3.6
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 97 minutes

Another actioner written and directed by Edward Drake, this cop thriller stars Luke Wilson alongside Willis as a pair of detectives on the hunt for a serial killer of prostitutes. Filmed in Tifton, Georgia, but set in Los Angeles, Gasoline Alley is the name of a tattoo parlor where the prime suspect, an ex-con named Jimmy (Devon Sawa) works. The film was disparaged by critics but well-liked by audiences with a 95% positive audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, likely because it’s one of the final films of Willis’ long career.

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2 men talk facing each other over a laptop on a desk next to a silver brief case.

EFO Films

#83. 10 Minutes Gone (2019)

– Director: Brian A. Miller
– IMDb user rating: 3.6
– Metascore: 13
– Runtime: 89 minutes

Chock-full of stereotypes, this heist film stars Michael Chiklis as a bank robber whose brother is killed during a robbery gone wrong. Knocked unconscious during the getaway, Chiklis’ character comes to in an alley with “10 minutes gone” as the title suggests, unable to remember what went down or who sabotaged the heist. Here, Willis plays a criminal kingpin who can’t be trusted in this convoluted story of betrayal.

2 beat-up men sit in chairs with their hands tied behind their backs.

Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films (EFO Films)

#82. Extraction (2015)

– Director: Steven C. Miller
– IMDb user rating: 4.1
– Metascore: 25
– Runtime: 82 minutes

Willis brings his characteristic black-ops action grit to this limited release flop that went straight to video. Kellan Lutz plays Willis’ son, and both of which depict CIA operatives, but the plot—extracting a briefcase computer called “The Condor” that can hack any global network—proves banal and uninspired, despite Willis’ star power.

Bruce Willis uses a kitchen knife to cut a woman free.

EFO Films

#81. Survive the Night (2020)

– Director: Matt Eskandari
– IMDb user rating: 4.1
– Metascore: 26
– Runtime: 90 minutes

Two hapless criminals find themselves wounded after a convenience store gunfight. They take a doctor (Chad Michael Murray) and his family hostage, insisting he tends to a bullet wound. Meanwhile, his father (Willis) is on hand, grieving and furious that the criminals have killed his wife. Father and son, who soon endure wounds of their own, must outwit the violent rogues and make it through the night.

Bruce Willis is dressed in a black suit and tie with a very serious look on his face.

Lionsgate

#80. Survive the Game (2021)

– Director: James Cullen Bressack
– IMDb user rating: 4.2
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 97 minutes

Willis plays yet another cop here, and stars again with Chad Michael Murray, as a good guy besieged by a bevy of criminal drug dealers on his remote farm; the bad guys have taken Willis’ cop character hostage. The film features Zach Ward, the iconic red-headed bully from 1983’s “A Christmas Story,” as one of the gun-toting baddies in this video-on-demand retread of familiar action druggie stylings.

Two men argue with another person not in the picture.

Highland Film Group (HFG)

#79. Reprisal (2018)

– Director: Brian A. Miller
– IMDb user rating: 4.2
– Metascore: 19
– Runtime: 89 minutes

One review accused Willis of “phoning it in” as yet another ex-cop pulled into criminal mayhem that requires him to save the day. In the 2010s, Willis’ roles often built on his familiar star persona, a tough guy routine still in rotation as the actor ages. Here, Willis plays the neighbor of a banker with a kidnapped wife who helps enact vengeance and reprisal.

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Bruce Willis pushes a woman in a hospital gown and wheelchair down the hall past a police officer.

EFO Films

#78. Trauma Center (2019)

– Director: Matt Eskandari
– IMDb user rating: 4.2
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 87 minutes

Willis plays Lt. Steve Wakes, a seen-it-all cop whose partner is killed by unknown thugs. A woman (Nicky Whelan) witnesses the shooting and gets shot herself. Wakes takes her to a hospital where she’s the single patient on an abandoned floor for safety reasons. This plan backfires when the killers decide to finish her off in order to retrieve the one piece of evidence that implicates them—the bullet in her leg. This one was so ignored that it doesn’t even have a Tomatometer score.

Bruce Willis looks at some cameras at a desk with a security team.

Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films (EFO Films)

#77. Vice (2015)

– Director: Brian A. Miller
– IMDb user rating: 4.2
– Metascore: 17
– Runtime: 96 minutes

Similar to Willis’ “Surrogates” from 2009, “Vice” references “Westworld,” “Blade Runner,” and other sci-fi set-ups about humanoid robots. Willis plays Julian, the maniacal owner of “a better reality,” a resort called Vice populated with humanoids where anything goes—mostly violent crimes. Willis plays the antagonist, rather than the rogue cop investigating homicides. The cop role goes to Thomas Jane, who ends Vice, although a twisty final shot of Julian casts doubt.

Bruce Willis and Megan Fox walk together with police badges on their hips.

EFO Films

#76. Midnight in the Switchgrass (2021)

– Director: Randall Emmett
– IMDb user rating: 4.4
– Metascore: 24
– Runtime: 99 minutes

Willis and Megan Fox play an FBI detective team in this tawdry serial killer yarn in which young female prostitutes are the frequent victim. The film also stars Emile Hirsch as a cop on the killer’s trail, Lukas Haas as a creepy truck driver, and Colson Baker (aka Machine Gun Kelly) as a pimp. Fox and Baker, engaged in real life, made headlines for a brutal fight scene the two share in a seedy hotel room, which ensues due to Fox’s undercover investigation.

Bruce Willis talks closely to a blurred out man with a beat-up face who looks to be bound.

Grindstone Entertainment Group

#75. Setup (2011)

– Director: Mike Gunther
– IMDb user rating: 4.4
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 85 minutes

Early 2010 action films start Willis’ passage to straight-to-video thrillers that play on his considerable star power as a tough rogue who can play either a criminal or a crime fighter with equal ease. In the low-budget “Setup,” Willis plays mobster Biggs, who teams up with a betrayed robber (50 Cent) to seek vengeance and retrieve heist money.

Two men sit in a car talking while watching someone.

Spite the Movie

#74. A Day to Die (2022)

– Director: Wes Miller
– IMDb user rating: 4.5
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 105 minutes

Willis stars alongside Frank Grillo and Kevin Dillon in this actioner about a kidnapping filled with clichéd mayhem. Dillon plays an ex-mercenary tasked with pulling off a series of heists in a single day to acquire a $2 million dollar ransom to save his wife. He enlists his military ops friend (Grillo) to help out. Willis plays the backstabbing police chief who betrayed them both years ago.

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Two men stare with crazed looks on their faces.

Hollywood Pictures // Getty Images

#73. Breakfast of Champions (1999)

– Director: Alan Rudolph
– IMDb user rating: 4.5
– Metascore: 42
– Runtime: 110 minutes

The runaway blockbuster “The Sixth Sense” came out in 1999, as did this disastrous flop that was pulled from theatrical release shortly after its premiere. Willis’ career often careens between megahits and bombs, with the actor making consistent recovery and remaining popular. In this black comedy based on the Kurt Vonnegut novel of the same name, he plays a suicidal car salesman, but the bizarre surrealist style falls flat. The ensemble cast also includes Nick Nolte, Barbara Hershey, Omar Epps, and Glenne Headly.

Bruce Willis in a pink bunny suit making a funny face.

Castle Rock Entertainment

#72. North (1994)

– Director: Rob Reiner
– IMDb user rating: 4.5
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 87 minutes

In this Rob Reiner-directed family film, a boy (Elijah Wood) wants to divorce his parents. Willis both narrates and shows up as a series of wise mentors along the boy’s journey. Willis gets a softer role, but the action star’s bravado is still in place. At one point, he gives the kid sage advice (via macho wisecracks) while costumed in a pink bunny suit.

A man in a suit and a woman in a black dress sit on a patio in summer looking skeptical of the person to whom they are talking.

Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films (EFO Films)

#71. Precious Cargo (2016)

– Director: Max Adams
– IMDb user rating: 4.6
– Metascore: 27
– Runtime: 90 minutes

“Precious Cargo” is another of Willis’ 2010s-era, straight-to-video action capers, this one garnering 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. Willis brings his signature smirk and whispery line delivery to yet another mob kingpin role. This time, after a botched heist, the mobster seeks vengeance against the thief who betrayed him and anyone else close by.

A man in a robe with a bandaged hand sits on the arm of a chair talking to a blonde woman.

Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films (EFO Films)

#70. Catch .44 (2011)

– Director: Aaron Harvey
– IMDb user rating: 4.6
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 94 minutes

As another mob boss, Willis plays Mel, the mastermind behind a treacherous set-up involving a drug shipment at a roadside diner. Malin Akerman and Forest Whitaker round out the cast in this stylish attempt to give life to a tense tangle of violent double-crosses and shock kills.

Bruce Willis in a dark grey suit walking and putting something into his pocket.

Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films (EFO Films)

#69. The Prince (2014)

– Director: Brian A. Miller
– IMDb user rating: 4.6
– Metascore: 19
– Runtime: 93 minutes

“The Prince” is the first of three video-on-demand, low-rent action thrillers Willis made with director Brian A. Miller. Willis plays the unhinged mobster Omar, who kidnaps the daughter of the man who accidentally killed his own wife and child (Jason Patric). At one point, there’s mention that these kinds of mishaps are just a part of mob life.

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Little boy with pouty lips.

TriStar Pictures

#68. Look Who’s Talking Too (1990)

– Director: Amy Heckerling
– IMDb user rating: 4.6
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 81 minutes

In this sequel, Roseanne Barr voices the infant sister of the now-older Mikey, the wisecracking baby Willis voiced in this film’s predecessor, “Look Who’s Talking.” John Travolta and Kirstie Alley star again as the parents. Though Mikey’s now a toddler of speaking age, the child actor doesn’t move his mouth as Willis’ sarcastic riffs provide his voice.

A man is talking to a woman while she's on the phone at a desk.

Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films (EFO Films)

#67. Lay the Favorite (2012)

– Director: Stephen Frears
– IMDb user rating: 4.8
– Metascore: 38
– Runtime: 94 minutes

Characters scheme to clear gambling debts in this clunky adaptation of a “memoir of gambling.” Willis plays a Vegas bookie who meets a young stripper (Rebecca Hall) who he thinks is his good luck charm. The all-star cast includes Catherine Zeta-Jones and Vince Vaughn.

A woman looking at a man while he steers a sailboat.

Summit Entertainment

#66. The Cold Light of Day (2012)

– Director: Mabrouk El Mechri
– IMDb user rating: 4.9
– Metascore: 22
– Runtime: 93 minutes

Taking on yet another secret CIA agent role, Willis plays Henry Cavill’s dad, which seems a conspicuous genetic improbability, except that both characters are adept at impromptu spycraft and brawling. Cavill’s businessman character brings his family to Spain for vacation, but they’re suddenly abducted due to his father’s previously undisclosed career as an operative. Sigourney Weaver plays an agency bigwig and the plot concerns the whereabouts of a briefcase.

Bruce Willis in a police uniform stands over a covered body in a crime scene.

Kirk Shaw Productions

#65. First Kill (2017)

– Director: Steven C. Miller
– IMDb user rating: 5.0
– Metascore: 39
– Runtime: 97 minutes

“First Kill” follows the heist formula common to many 2010s-era Willis flicks. Hayden Christensen plays a stockbroker vacationing in the remote backwoods—he wants to teach his son how to hunt and nail his “first kill,” but the youth gets kidnapped by robbers. Willis shows up as a double-dealing police chief investigating a heist gone wrong and a cop left dead. He performs with a country accent in this violent and incoherent production.

Bruce Willis looks down with a slight smile.

Cinergi Pictures Entertainment

#64. Color of Night (1994)

– Director: Richard Rush
– IMDb user rating: 5.2
– Metascore: 36
– Runtime: 121 minutes

Willis plays a psychologist, Bill, in a role that departs from his usual cop-thug action hero. Bill takes over the support group of his murdered colleague (Scott Bakula) and lands in a preposterous web of intrigue where the patients are murder suspects. The big reveal relies on an obvious and clumsy disguise that adds to the film’s over-the-top, noir style. This erotic thriller was mostly known for the racy love scenes between a vocally orgasmic Willis and his costar Jane March, following a pattern set by 1992’s “Basic Instinct” and the Madonna vehicle, “Body of Evidence.”

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Three men with big guns wait in an elevator.

Twentieth Century Fox

#63. A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)

– Director: John Moore
– IMDb user rating: 5.2
– Metascore: 28
– Runtime: 98 minutes

The fifth installment in the Die Hard franchise failed to impress domestic audiences or critics, despite the return of John McClane, this time on a mission to bust his adult son (Jai Courtney) out of a Russian prison. McClane’s quips seem more world-weary than wry, and his son is a serious grump, rather than a wisecracker. The two embark on international shenanigans involving a crucial file that can bring down a Russian bigwig. Explosions ensue.

Three men and a woman (all police) look into the trunk of a bright blue vintage car.

Colecar Productions

#62. Acts of Violence (2018)

– Director: Brett Donowho
– IMDb user rating: 5.3
– Metascore: 28
– Runtime: 86 minutes

In yet another limited release, video-on-demand action caper, Willis plays a cop—one of moral stature this time—investigating human trafficking. The title provides an on-the-nose description of a film featuring shootouts, kidnappings, and arduous skirmishes set amid strip clubs, train yards, and piles of cocaine.

Two men and a little white dog sit on the hood of a classic mercedes while looking up at something.

Movie Trailer House

#61. Once Upon a Time in Venice (2017)

– Director: Mark Cullen
– IMDb user rating: 5.3
– Metascore: 28
– Runtime: 94 minutes

Willis plays Martin, a private investigator whose beloved dog gets stolen by a drug kingpin named Spyder (Jason Momoa). Spyder insists Martin endure a series of ridiculous, violent commissions to win back the dog. When Martin says, “We cool?” to Spyder to make sure his work is done, it recalls the same line Willis (as the boxer Butch) exchanged with Marsellus Wallace in “Pulp Fiction” before he was also released from further duty.

A man and woman in a booth turn around to see another man with his face in his plate.

Nine Yards Two Productions

#60. The Whole Ten Yards (2004)

– Director: Howard Deutch
– IMDb user rating: 5.4
– Metascore: 24
– Runtime: 98 minutes

This box-office bomb attempted to reprise the moderate success of the first comedy, “The Whole Nine Yards,” and brought back most of the first film’s cast of criminals. Willis reprises the role of hitman Jimmy “The Tulip” Tudeski, still matched with assassin girlfriend Jill (Amanda Peet). Matthew Perry returns as the bumbling suburban dentist pulled into the fray.

A cartoon of a wildcat chasing a dog and two kids.

Klasky-Csupo

#59. Rugrats Go Wild (2003)

– Directors: John Eng, Norton Virgien
– IMDb user rating: 5.5
– Metascore: 38
– Runtime: 80 minutes

Yes, there’s actually a Rugrats franchise—and this is the third installment. The animated kid’s film is a crossover between the popular ’90s cartoon and “The Wild Thornberrys.” Willis voices Spike, a dog who’s interrupted marking his territory and, as he puts it, “can’t even smell his own butt.” Willis’ performance is energetic and filled with child-like gags.

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Bruce Willis, dressed in all black with a gun, stands next to Bill Murray, both men looking confusingly at something.

Covert Media

#58. Rock the Kasbah (2015)

– Director: Barry Levinson
– IMDb user rating: 5.5
– Metascore: 29
– Runtime: 106 minutes

Bill Murray plays a talent manager who wants to represent a young woman with a stellar voice on “Afghan Star,” a show similar to “American Idol” in the U.S. As the talent scout travels war-torn Afghanistan, Willis plays his security detail—reprising one of his usual stock roles as a military guy ready for action. “Rock the Kasbah” was deemed a “culturally insensitive,” off-key comedy.

Men in suits and ties point guns while trying to escape a room.

Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films (EFO Films)

#57. Marauders (2016)

– Director: Steven C. Miller
– IMDb user rating: 5.5
– Metascore: 42
– Runtime: 107 minutes

“Marauders,” another of Willis’ bank-heist capers, features masked, homicidal robbers and slow-motion violence. Director Steven C. Miller also made “First Kill” and “Extraction,” two more Willis action movies guided by heavy plotting, twisty turns, and brutal mayhem. Willis plays a corrupt bank magnate investigated by FBI agents (Christopher Meloni and Adrian Grenier) who track the banker to Mexico for a final slo-mo showdown.

Two men stand smiling at someone's front door while one of them shows his badge.

Warner Bros.

#56. Cop Out (2010)

– Director: Kevin Smith
– IMDb user rating: 5.5
– Metascore: 31
– Runtime: 107 minutes

Almost titled “A Couple of Dicks,” “Cop Out” stars Willis and Tracy Morgan in a ridiculous comedy where they play suspended cops who go on an odyssey involving a baseball card. Violent and ridiculous, it was panned in reviews. Director Kevin Smith railed against critics, causing more controversy, though the real inside dope was just how difficult a production it was, with Smith and Willis apparently not getting along whatsoever.

Two men dressed in all black with cowboy hats stand staring at each other.

Cecchi Gori Group Tiger Cinematografica

#55. Sunset (1988)

– Director: Blake Edwards
– IMDb user rating: 5.6
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 102 minutes

Before “Die Hard” catapulted Willis to superstardom, he did his first two movies with director Blake Edwards. First, the rom-com “Blind Date,” which had a decent box office, but was critically panned. The second was “Sunset,” a box-office failure and critical flop. Willis stars with James Garner in this story about the Western hero Wyatt Earp. Garner plays Earp, who’s an adviser on a movie set where Willis is cast as the famous cowboy. This early film is largely a forgotten part of Willis’ oeuvre.

A man dressed in a suit and tie sits in a courtroom smiling while holding a small notepad and pen.

Warner Bros.

#54. The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)

– Director: Brian De Palma
– IMDb user rating: 5.6
– Metascore: 27
– Runtime: 125 minutes

Adapted from Tom Wolfe’s novel, “The Bonfire of the Vanities” is a notorious flop. Its off-key story centers on the hit-and-run killing of a Black youth, and the premise is treated insensitively. Willis plays a reporter who profits from the tragedy, but the film isn’t a scathing commentary of white privilege, it’s a blatantly racist depiction of Black communities that’s also forgiving toward the white people played by likable stars Willis and Tom Hanks.

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A man squats down next to a police car facing a brick wall while looking back behind him.

Grindstone Entertainment Group

#53. Fire with Fire (2012)

– Director: David Barrett
– IMDb user rating: 5.6
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 97 minutes

Vincent D’Onofrio plays a racist, murdering mobster, Hagan, who harasses a firefighter (Josh Duhamel) who enters witness protection. Willis is the grizzled cop who intends to take Hagan down (or protect those who do) in this violent, hackneyed action film that went straight to video.

A bearded man in a suit argues with a man in glasses and a jacket.

2929 Productions

#52. What Just Happened (2008)

– Director: Barry Levinson
– IMDb user rating: 5.6
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 104 minutes

Willis does a terrific turn as himself in this story about a producer (Robert De Niro) struggling in Hollywood. In one memorable sequence, Willis rants about his “artistic integrity” and destroys an office because he’s been asked to shave the beard he’s been growing for six months.

Bruce Willis with cash in hand behind a register dressed in a muscle tank, gold cross necklace and backwards hat.

Columbia Pictures

#51. Mortal Thoughts (1991)

– Director: Alan Rudolph
– IMDb user rating: 5.7
– Metascore: 65
– Runtime: 103 minutes

Demi Moore was married to Willis when they both starred in this noir thriller where two friends, Cynthia (Moore) and Joyce (Glenne Headly) each end up with dead husbands. Harvey Keitel is the cop investigating. Willis plays Joyce’s abusive husband, Jimmy. The two women come across as mysteriously violent, and there remains ambiguity around killing in self-defense and which woman is responsible for the acts.

Bruce Willis with a short haircut, smiling and wearing a dark fitted suit.

Revolution Studios

#50. Perfect Stranger (2007)

– Director: James Foley
– IMDb user rating: 5.7
– Metascore: 31
– Runtime: 109 minutes

In this thriller, Halle Berry is an investigative reporter trying to prove Willis’ powerful ad exec character killed her friend. She takes a job at his agency to get close to him but soon becomes the object of his attention. That’s not the end of this absurd murder story—a montage goes through previous scenes reworking them to fit a ridiculous twist that reveals the real killer.

Two men stand talking while one of them is surrounded by men with guns pointed at him.

TriStar Pictures

#49. Hudson Hawk (1991)

– Director: Michael Lehmann
– IMDb user rating: 5.7
– Metascore: 17
– Runtime: 100 minutes

“Hudson Hawk,” a financial catastrophe, was inspired by a song about a cat burglar Willis co-wrote before he was a star. The film begins with Leonardo da Vinci inventing a machine that turns lead into gold via a mirrored crystal gadget. Then the movie zips ahead 500 years to Hawk (Willis) getting out of prison. He’s quickly tasked by gangsters with lifting various da Vinci artifacts. Hawk and his partner (Danny Aiello) do their heists while singing, as if in a musical. The song “Swinging on a Star” accompanies the robbery of an auction house. The absurdist silliness of “Hudson Hawk” continues throughout. It has become something of a cult classic in the years since its release.

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Bruce Willis points a handgun in the foreground while a woman in the background points a larger gun in the same direction.

Paramount Pictures

#48. G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)

– Director: Jon M. Chu
– IMDb user rating: 5.7
– Metascore: 41
– Runtime: 110 minutes

The classic Hasbro toy soldier line spawned a movie franchise, and in this second entry, Willis stars with Dwayne Johnson and Channing Tatum. He plays a general who steps in to help the “Joes” once they figure out a villain is impersonating the president and wreaking havoc. Willis’ character comes across as a trustworthy uncle figure (still with stealthy virtuoso soldier skills) in a film with childlike appeal despite its rambunctious violence that brought in nearly $400 million worldwide.

An older man and a young woman sit in the same side of a booth at a diner.

Warner Bros.

#47. In Country (1989)

– Director: Norman Jewison
– IMDb user rating: 5.8
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 120 minutes

In this drama, Willis plays a Vietnam veteran with PTSD trying to adjust after the war that took the life of his niece’s father. Willis gives an understated, sensitive performance while sporting a long mustache and a Kentucky accent. In a rare turn, he plays not the flashy lead character, but an ordinary man trying to move on from the after-effects of violence.

A man and a woman wearing river rescue shirts on a boat.

Columbia Pictures

#46. Striking Distance (1993)

– Director: Rowdy Herrington
– IMDb user rating: 5.8
– Metascore: 36
– Runtime: 102 minutes

Plagued by production problems and rewrites, the convoluted “Striking Distance” was a box-office flop and critical failure. Willis plays an alcoholic cop on the Pittsburgh police force searching for a serial strangler. Sarah Jessica Parker plays Willis’ love interest; she’s also posing as his partner, but really investigating him. In the climactic, confused showdown, the main characters Willis, Parker, and Tom Sizemore get tied to chairs (which they eventually weaponize) in their fight with the strangler who’s also a cousin and a cop.

A man and woman dressed up in black tie are standing together while he leans in closely to speak to her and she looks forward with a stern face.

Touchstone Pictures

#45. Billy Bathgate (1991)

– Director: Robert Benton
– IMDb user rating: 5.9
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 106 minutes

Willis plays doomed mobster, Bo Weinberg, up against Dustin Hoffman as the brutal Dutch Schultz in this gangster film adapted from the E.L. Doctorow novel. In a horrifying execution scene, Bo gives advice to the “kid” just entering the business, asking him to take care of his girl. Willis performs Bo’s catalog of emotions, his feet in concrete, before he’s thrown into the ocean by a thug following orders (Steve Buscemi).

A man plays guitar for a woman sitting on a picnic blanket at the beach.

TriStar Pictures

#44. Blind Date (1987)

– Director: Blake Edwards
– IMDb user rating: 5.9
– Metascore: 49
– Runtime: 95 minutes

Willis was known as the wise-cracking P.I. David Addison in the TV series “Moonlighting” when he appeared in his first leading movie role in the rom-com “Blind Date.” As Walter, he’s a regular guy set up with Nadia (Kim Basinger), a woman who goes berserk when she drinks. The couple starts out sedate and mild-mannered, but things get weird and wild during a night of chaos that ends with Walter’s arrest. He falls in love anyway. The climax features a wedding altar showdown and a happy ending dive into a swimming pool.

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A couple sits on a couch together smiling and looking forward.

Castle Rock Entertainment

#43. The Story of Us (1999)

– Director: Rob Reiner
– IMDb user rating: 5.9
– Metascore: 37
– Runtime: 95 minutes

Rob Reiner previously directed Willis in “North,” both films that place the actor’s smirking bravado in family settings. Here, he’s a father-of-two contemplating the break-up of his 15-year marriage. Michelle Pfeiffer plays his wife in a drama that features a montage of scenes across the couple’s life—ups, downs, moments big and small. The final shot (with the fighting couple reconciled and now seated on a couch) recalls the similar ending of Reiner’s much more famous rom-com, “When Harry Met Sally.”

A little boy at a table with a sideways blue cap on.

TriStar Pictures

#42. Look Who’s Talking (1989)

– Director: Amy Heckerling
– IMDb user rating: 5.9
– Metascore: 51
– Runtime: 93 minutes

Willis’ comedic star power comes out in this hit featuring a talking baby. John Travolta and Kirstie Alley play the new parents of Mikey, who upon leaving his mother’s birth canal exclaims, “Put me back inside!” voiced with the familiar wise-cracking tone Willis made famous just a year earlier as John McClane in 1988’s “Die Hard.”

Bruce Willis sits with a little boy, both wearing boxing gloves and smiling.

Chester Films Inc.

#41. The Kid (2000)

– Director: Jon Turteltaub
– IMDb user rating: 6.1
– Metascore: 45
– Runtime: 104 minutes

In this sentimental Disney drama, Willis dramatizes inner-child psychology. He plays a cranky middle-aged grump who gets to interact with his kid self, reliving childhood moments of harrowing trauma—like getting yelled at by his dad and losing his mom. With the kid’s help, the adult figures out how to cry and sets his life on a better path.

A little boy points up at something while a man and a woman look in disbelief.

Universal Pictures

#40. Mercury Rising (1998)

– Director: Harold Becker
– IMDb user rating: 6.1
– Metascore: 37
– Runtime: 111 minutes

Willis plays an FBI agent taken out of the field after a botched stint undercover. His next case pulls him to a genius child, an autistic savant who’s cracked the “Mercury” code, the most sophisticated puzzle on the planet. Military bigwig (Alec Baldwin) wants the child dead, but Willis’ good-guy agent thwarts that plan and saves the day. Roger Ebert’s review noted that a film about brilliant cryptography featured conspicuous stupidity from its characters.

A man stands in a hallway in a suit with one of the arms torn off.

Vertigo Entertainment

#39. Assassination of a High School President (2008)

– Director: Brett Simon
– IMDb user rating: 6.2
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 93 minutes

Willis brings his authoritarian bravado to his role as a high school principal where his takedowns of students are laced with “effing” instead of F-bombs. The plot centers on a high schooler investigating an SAT score conspiracy and draws on tropes of film noir in a comedy that ended up with a straight-to-video release.

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A colorful tray of fast food with a drink, burger and fries.

Fox Searchlight Pictures

#38. Fast Food Nation (2006)

– Director: Richard Linklater
– IMDb user rating: 6.3
– Metascore: 64
– Runtime: 116 minutes

Willis plays an exec at Mickey’s, a McDonald’s-like fast-food chain in this loose adaptation of the Eric Schlosser nonfiction bestseller of the same name that critiques the fast-food industry. As Harry Rydell, Willis embodies corporate apathy when the marketing director, played by Greg Kinnear, lets him know the chain’s meat is contaminated.

Men in uniforms stand looking seriously at each other.

Cheyenne Enterprises

#37. Hart’s War (2002)

– Director: Gregory Hoblit
– IMDb user rating: 6.3
– Metascore: 49
– Runtime: 125 minutes

Set during World War II in a German prison camp, this movie stars Willis as Col. William McNamara, a fourth-generation West Point military man who convinces the German officers in charge of the camp to hold a court-martial after a murder takes place, shifting the film into courtroom drama territory. The trial is a cover-up for a scheme to destroy a nearby munitions plant, which McNamara ropes Hart (Colin Farrell) into helping with. McNamara’s willing to frame a black soldier (Terrence Howard) for the greater good. Brutal events, harsh conditions, and frequent executions make this a brooding, sullen exploration of themes related to duty, sacrifice, and honor.

Bruce Willis stands in front of a classic car in a repair shop holding a large wrench.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#36. Death Wish (2018)

– Director: Eli Roth
– IMDb user rating: 6.3
– Metascore: 31
– Runtime: 107 minutes

Charles Bronson starred in the shocking original about vigilante justice. In the remake, Willis plays an ER surgeon whose wife and daughter are killed in a home invasion, which sparks his own murderous rampage and torture of the culprits. One review called “Death Wish” a “celebration of American gun culture” that cast Willis as a questionable arbiter of violent justice.

Military guards stand in front of a New York building.

Twentieth Century Fox

#35. The Siege (1998)

– Director: Edward Zwick
– IMDb user rating: 6.3
– Metascore: 53
– Runtime: 116 minutes

“The Siege” explores what would happen if Brooklyn were occupied by an army commanded by Willis. Following the abduction of an Islamic leader, New York becomes a terrorist target. Willis’ staunchly militant general is portrayed as sympathetic rather than deranged, a man acting in a way he believes is honorable. Annette Bening and Denzel Washington play FBI and CIA agents dealing with a terrorist crisis. The film was protested by Arab American groups for its insensitive plot connecting Muslims with violence.

A futuristic man and woman stand facing forward looking serious.

Touchstone Pictures

#34. Surrogates (2009)

– Director: Jonathan Mostow
– IMDb user rating: 6.3
– Metascore: 45
– Runtime: 89 minutes

Willis reunites with “Pulp Fiction” co-star Ving Rhames in this futuristic thriller. Rhames plays “The Prophet,” a public figure who is against “surrogates,” the A.I. bodies that go out in the real world while their human operators hook to “stem chairs,” safe at home. Willis plays both his surrogate and its human operator, a detective who investigates the murders of surrogates and their operators, humans whose brains liquefy when their surrogate dies.

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Bruce Willis fires pistols double fisted in a prohibition era ghost town.

Lone Wolf

#33. Last Man Standing (1996)

– Director: Walter Hill
– IMDb user rating: 6.4
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 101 minutes

Inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s “Yojimbo,” this revenge flick set in a Western saloon town in the 1930s sets Willis as a lone stranger who drives into town only to run afoul of a pair of gangs vying for control. Willis narrates using a hardboiled, classic film noir voice-over that describes local thugs as “goofballs” from a “dime novel.” Christopher Walken plays a scarred henchman, and action sequences include hysterical gunfights where bullet-ridden bodies are held upright, jittering from continuous gunshots, for far longer than gravity should allow.

Close up of Bruce Willis wearing small round framed sunglasses.

Universal Pictures

#32. The Jackal (1997)

– Director: Michael Caton-Jones
– IMDb user rating: 6.4
– Metascore: 36
– Runtime: 124 minutes

Willis plays the Jackal, an infamous and difficult-to-catch assassin, in this remake of the acclaimed 1973 thriller “The Day of the Jackal.” A former IRA soldier (Richard Gere), who is the only person known to have seen the Jackal’s true identity, is released from prison to help track Willis down before he murders the First Lady.

A woman and two men stand in disguises at a counter.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#31. Bandits (2001)

– Director: Barry Levinson
– IMDb user rating: 6.5
– Metascore: 60
– Runtime: 123 minutes

While on the lam, two bank robbers (Willis and Billy Bob Thornton) fresh off a prison break hook up with a housewife (Cate Blanchett) who accidentally nearly runs them down in her car, and the three engage in a cross-country crime spree in this action-comedy. When both robbers fall in love with Blanchett’s character, hijinks ensue.

A bearded man on the phone sits next to a black police SUV and a SWAT bag.

Miramax

#30. Hostage (2005)

– Director: Florent-Emilio Siri
– IMDb user rating: 6.5
– Metascore: 44
– Runtime: 113 minutes

This lemon casts Willis as a hostage negotiator who hands in his badge when a negotiation goes south. A year later, he’s a small-town sheriff too traumatized to go back to his old job, when he’s forced by a henchman known as The Watchman to intervene in an active hostage situation to prevent a disc of incriminating evidence against him from falling into the hands of the police. To ensure his compliance, the Watchman kidnaps Willis’ wife and daughter (played by real-life daughter Rumer Willis).

Black and white of Jessica Alba crying in the foreground and a blurry Bruce Willis in the background.

Aldamisa Entertainment

#29. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)

– Directors: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
– IMDb user rating: 6.5
– Metascore: 46
– Runtime: 102 minutes

Willis’ John Hartigan died in the first “Sin City,” but why should that keep him out of this sequel? In one of this film’s three story sequences, titled “Nancy’s Last Dance,” Jessica Alba, grief-stricken over Hartigan’s death, vows revenge. Hartigan’s ghost haunts Nancy, appearing in mirrors to guide her as she finishes the vengeance he had started against the sinister Senator Roark (Powers Boothe) in his vast ploy to cover up the deeds of his evil son.

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A man and woman gripping each other in a hug while looking at someone in shock.

Universal Pictures

#28. Death Becomes Her (1992)

– Director: Robert Zemeckis
– IMDb user rating: 6.6
– Metascore: 56
– Runtime: 104 minutes

Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep are obsessed with staying young in this fountain of youth comedy with gothic elements. When they find an elixir that allows them to stay young forever, it comes, as curses often do, with a downside—since they cannot die, they must live with each injury they sustain, especially the ones they visit upon one another. Willis plays against type as a meek and nerdy plastic surgeon they manipulate to keep their bodies youthful and repair their increasingly ghoulish injuries.

Bruce Willis in full camo and painted face holding a large gun.

Cheyenne Enterprises

#27. Tears of the Sun (2003)

– Director: Antoine Fuqua
– IMDb user rating: 6.6
– Metascore: 48
– Runtime: 121 minutes

Willis’ army guy character, Lt. A.K. Waters, goes rogue for moral reasons after his commander (Tom Skerritt) tasks him with extricating a doctor (Monica Bellucci) from an African nation involved in a civil war. Lt. Waters, sporting a swarthy, sweat-streaked five o’clock shadow, commands a team who disobey direct orders, and instead fight bad guys and get innocent people to safety.

A police officer escorts a man in handcuffs outside a New York police station.

Alcon Entertainment

#26. 16 Blocks (2006)

– Director: Richard Donner
– IMDb user rating: 6.6
– Metascore: 63
– Runtime: 102 minutes

Willis plays another hard-boiled cop, this time the type who stops at a liquor store for breakfast. His task sounds simple: take an informant (Mos Def) 16 blocks to the courthouse to testify against a corrupt cop. Well, his fellow officers have a problem with that, turning those few blocks into an all-out war zone. The action takes place on city streets, in narrative real-time, to up the tension, and provide Willis’ cop character an opportunity to find his moral center.

Two men walking, one with a gun, both with rips and dirt in their clothing.

Summit Entertainment

#25. Red 2 (2013)

– Director: Dean Parisot
– IMDb user rating: 6.6
– Metascore: 47
– Runtime: 116 minutes

This sequel to 2010’s surprise hit “Red” finds retired Black Ops operative Frank (Willis) just wanting a normal, Costco-shopping life with girlfriend Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker). But the couple gets pulled into violent havoc when they have to rescue a scientist (Anthony Hopkins having a hammy good time) and save the world from a nuclear bomb. John Malkovich and Helen Mirren return for this world tour of murderous chaos.

Three men sit in a pink room at a mental hospital during a therapy session.

Universal Pictures

#24. Glass (2019)

– Director: M. Night Shyamalan
– IMDb user rating: 6.6
– Metascore: 43
– Runtime: 129 minutes

Critics skewered “Glass,” but fans of M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable universe generally liked the third entry in the franchise. Willis returns as superhero David Dunn, now known as The Overseer, a vigilante, in this interlocking plot that draws on the character’s history. Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) joins with The Beast (James McAvoy) from the second film in the series, “Split,” to mastermind a confrontation that ultimately makes public an important secret that a doctor (Sarah Paulson) wants to keep hidden.

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Three men stand next to a helicopter looking at something curiously.

Lionsgate

#23. The Expendables 2 (2012)

– Director: Simon West
– IMDb user rating: 6.6
– Metascore: 51
– Runtime: 103 minutes

Mr. Church (Willis) said the job would be an easy one, but this is an Expendables movie, so go figure. When the villain this time Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme) murders one of the gang (Liam Hemsworth), Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Jet Li, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris, and Dolph Lundgren bring the brawny revenge, which also trying to keeping some weapons-grade plutonium out of Vilain’s hands.

A couple talks to another man and they all laugh.

Franchise Pictures

#22. The Whole Nine Yards (2000)

– Director: Jonathan Lynn
– IMDb user rating: 6.7
– Metascore: 47
– Runtime: 98 minutes

Matthew Perry, star of the TV hit “Friends” at the time, plays a milquetoast dentist whose wife wants him dead as a matter of convenience. When he realizes his new next-door neighbor is infamous killer turned snitch Jimmy “The Tulip” Tudeski, the wife of Perry’s character tries to force him to rat Jimmy out to the mob, with hilarious and unexpected consequences. Willis had previously appeared on “Friends,” a guest spot that earned him a Golden Globe.

A bunch of forest creatures run across the top of a moving car.

DreamWorks Animation

#21. Over the Hedge (2006)

– Directors: Tim Johnson, Karey Kirkpatrick
– IMDb user rating: 6.7
– Metascore: 67
– Runtime: 83 minutes

In this animated kid’s film, Willis voices a scheming raccoon who pulls fast ones on the humans living in a suburban housing tract. Garry Shandling voices his sidekick, a turtle. The all-star cast includes Nick Nolte, Wanda Sykes, and Steve Carell.

A row of astronauts in orange suits walk together with helmets in hand.

Touchstone Pictures

#20. Armageddon (1998)

– Director: Michael Bay
– IMDb user rating: 6.7
– Metascore: 42
– Runtime: 151 minutes

When a “global killer” asteroid is hurtling toward Earth and there’s no plan to avoid catastrophe, what do you do? Obviously, you hire Willis to blow it up. The actor’s oil rig operator is the “best deep-core driller in the world.” The U.S. government hires him and his team of roughnecks to fly into space, land on the hurtling rock, and nuke it. Ben Affleck co-stars along with Luke Wilson and Willis’ “Whole Nine Yards” co-star Michael Clarke Duncan. Not only was this film a box-office hit, but it was also added to the venerable Criterion Collection of world cinema.

Beavis and Butt-Head stand in front of the White House.

Paramount Pictures

#19. Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996)

– Directors: Mike Judge, Mike de Seve, Brian Mulroney, Yvette Kaplan
– IMDb user rating: 6.8
– Metascore: 64
– Runtime: 81 minutes

In this animated comedy, the hapless titular duo gets embroiled with a couple who, mistaking the notorious idiots for hitmen, hire them to kill the other, in a bit where “do” gets misinterpreted as “have sex with.” Willis and then-wife Demi Moore give voice to the seedy couple.

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Bruce Willis walks down a street in 1950s New York.

Warner Bros. Pictures

#18. Motherless Brooklyn (2019)

– Director: Edward Norton
– IMDb user rating: 6.8
– Metascore: 60
– Runtime: 144 minutes

“Motherless Brooklyn” is actor Edward Norton’s directorial debut. He also wrote, produced, and starred in this adaptation of the Jonathan Lethem novel. The film is known for its stylish redux of noir style in its studied period details, stunning cinematography, and riveting performances. Willis plays hard-boiled detective Frank Minna, whose murder provides the jumping-off point for the film’s central mystery. Alec Baldwin, Willem Dafoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and the late Michael Kenneth Williams also star in this stylish, sensitive thriller.

Three people laughing at a bar together.

Sidney Kimmel Entertainment

#17. Alpha Dog (2006)

– Director: Nick Cassavetes
– IMDb user rating: 6.9
– Metascore: 53
– Runtime: 122 minutes

Justin Timberlake gives a hammy performance as a degenerate bad boy in this film about wild, drug-swilling California youths that is based on a true story. Willis plays the father and drug supplier of the young dealer who masterminds a kidnapping that turns tragic.

A man sits smiling while another man stands pointing a gun at him laughing.

Geffen Pictures

#16. The Last Boy Scout (1991)

– Director: Tony Scott
– IMDb user rating: 7.0
– Metascore: 52
– Runtime: 105 minutes

Set amid the world of professional football, Willis plays a disgraced former Secret Service agent turned private eye who takes a job protecting a stripper played by Halle Berry. When she is murdered, he pairs with her quarterback boyfriend and fellow public disgrace (Damon Wayans) to get to bottom of the whodunit and what it was meant to cover up. Critics didn’t love it, but audiences did, though the scuttlebutt is that the making of this movie was an exercise in misery.

Bruce Willis on the phone.

Summit Entertainment

#15. Red (2010)

– Director: Robert Schwentke
– IMDb user rating: 7.0
– Metascore: 60
– Runtime: 111 minutes

“Red” starts with Frank (Willis), a retiree having a sweet phone flirtation with the customer-service clerk (Mary-Louise Parker) who manages his pension checks. Soon his humble life gets rocked when his house is invaded and he slays a passel of mercenaries in his bathrobe. Frank is actually a former CIA operative, and he gets the band back together (Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren) to uncover a conspiracy that is targeting former Black Ops agents. The film made over $90 million and spawned a sequel in 2013.

A man and woman wrapped in a blanket with blood on their heads looking shocked.

Twentieth Century Fox

#14. Die Hard 2 (1990)

– Director: Renny Harlin
– IMDb user rating: 7.1
– Metascore: 67
– Runtime: 124 minutes

Willis returns as John McClane in this hit sequel that out-earned the first “Die Hard.” The setting moved from an office tower to Dulles International Airport—again at Christmas. The same formula applies, with McClane quipping his way through gunfight after gunfight while taking on mercenaries hellbent on freeing a captured drug lord (Franco Nero). The film’s plot is based on the novel “58 Minutes” by Walter Wager, where a cop has—you guessed it—58 minutes to foil a hijacking scheme before planes start tumbling out of the sky.

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Two men walk together, the older man on the phone with blood on his shirt.

Twentieth Century Fox

#13. Live Free or Die Hard (2007)

– Director: Len Wiseman
– IMDb user rating: 7.1
– Metascore: 69
– Runtime: 128 minutes

The fourth entry in the “Die Hard” franchise brings McClane into the digital age as he battles hackers who have decided to hold a “fire sale” (a targeted crash of all utilities and public service systems across the U.S.) in order to cover up a massive heist. The film was both a critical and commercial success showing the ongoing cultural allure of the now middle-aged McClane figure, who is still a force of unparalleled heroism, especially when compared to the tech-savvy millennial played by Justin Long.

Bruce Willis sits in a chair laughing.

Capella International

#12. Nobody’s Fool (1994)

– Director: Robert Benton
– IMDb user rating: 7.3
– Metascore: 86
– Runtime: 110 minutes

In this acclaimed drama, Paul Newman (who earned a Best Actor Oscar nod) plays Sully, a 60-year-old drinker and occasional handyman who’s simply no good at adulting. In a supporting role, Willis plays a rakish contractor in a rivalry with Newman over a snowblower, and whose wife (Melanie Griffith) has a secret affection for the older man. The film was lauded by critics and showcases some of Willis’ best character work.

Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson walk through a crowd of people.

Touchstone Pictures

#11. Unbreakable (2000)

– Director: M. Night Shyamalan
– IMDb user rating: 7.3
– Metascore: 62
– Runtime: 106 minutes

M. Night Shyamalan’s follow-up to “The Sixth Sense” again stars Willis, this time as a haunted superhero in a role conceived expressly for him. Willis’ persona as a working-class everyman who’s also invincible fits well within this moody, atmospheric origin story of a reluctant hero with special powers. Samuel L. Jackson plays Elijah, or Mr. Glass, a sage nemesis with the opposite attributes whose body is particularly vulnerable to breaking.

A man and woman lay in a hammock reading a book together.

Endgame Entertainment

#10. Looper (2012)

– Director: Rian Johnson
– IMDb user rating: 7.4
– Metascore: 84
– Runtime: 119 minutes

This time-travel thriller from the writer-director of “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi” has Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing the younger version of Willis’ hitman character, a “looper” who does the mob’s dirty work in the past (where it’s easier to hide the bodies), knowing that one day he’ll be sent back to “close the loop” on himself. When that day arrives, the older Willis is ready and a game of cat and mouse ensues. The looping narrative offers a meditation on time and trauma, but much of the film’s charm comes from observing Gordon-Levitt’s facial alteration, created so the actor could resemble a young Willis.

Two beat up men look over the edge of a bridge.

Cinergi Pictures Entertainment

#9. Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)

– Director: John McTiernan
– IMDb user rating: 7.6
– Metascore: 58
– Runtime: 128 minutes

In the third Die Hard film installment, the action moves to New York City, where John McClane (Willis) is back to being a divorced, slightly alcoholic cop. When a criminal known only as Simon (Jeremy Irons) begins bombing public places, McClane is called into action to stop him—at Simon’s request. Samuel L. Jackson shares the bill as an average shopkeeper caught up in the action. Jackson’s character openly quips about racism, as their scenes bristle with wry comic chemistry. The two had just shared the screen in 1994’s “Pulp Fiction,” only that time they never shared any scenes.

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Bruce Willis sits wearing a tattered shirt with fire in the background.

Gaumont

#8. The Fifth Element (1997)

– Director: Luc Besson
– IMDb user rating: 7.6
– Metascore: 52
– Runtime: 126 minutes

This stylish and bizarre sci-fi caper sets Willis as a down-on-his-luck cabbie for whom fate literally drops out of the sky and enters his life in the form of Milla Jovovich, the titular Fifth Element, a being created from the DNA of a perfect being meant to save the world from evil. Together they have to escape mercenaries and other unsavory space folks in search of the other four elements of existence (as represented within a series of sacred stones), with which Jovovich can fulfill her destiny. A bonafide hit with critics and audiences alike, director Luc Besson has publicly pondered a potential sequel—given Willis’ aphasia diagnosis in 2022, though, such plans are quashed.

Bruce Willis in a tan trenchcoat shooting a gun in each hand.

The Weinstein Company

#7. Lucky Number Slevin (2006)

– Director: Paul McGuigan
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Metascore: 53
– Runtime: 110 minutes

This hyper-violent neo-noir gangster film involves a flashback plot about mistaken identity and features hard-boiled dialogue with a visual style that glamorizes brutality. A case of mistaken identity puts Slevin (Josh Hartnett) in the crosshairs of two rival gangs. Willis plays a hitman named Goodkat who is tasked with making sure Slevin does what his boss tells him to.

A couple, a boyscout leader and a poilice officer stand on a dock looking in shock.

Indian Paintbrush

#6. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

– Director: Wes Anderson
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Metascore: 84
– Runtime: 94 minutes

When a pair of young adults take off together on a remote island, the town’s folk, played by many of Anderson’s usual cadre of stars—including Bill Murray, Edward Norton, and Jason Schwartzman—take pains to find them. Willis gives an understated performance as a police captain having an affair with a local (Frances McDormand) whose young daughter is one of the runaways. His performance fits well with Anderson’s slanted approach to drama and is another example of his excellent character work.

Two patients at a mental hospital talk to each other.

Universal Pictures

#5. 12 Monkeys (1995)

– Director: Terry Gilliam
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Metascore: 74
– Runtime: 129 minutes

“12 Monkeys” is a remake of the 1962 French film “La Jetée,” a short composed of still photographs about a time-traveling man who witnesses his own future death as a child. In director Terry Gilliam’s expanded redux, Willis is the time traveler, a prisoner sent from the future to thwart a plague outbreak in the past. His child self also witnesses his own future death in an elaborate finale shoot-out. Willis reportedly did not receive a salary for this low-budget film, in order to be able to work with Gillam.

Black and white of two men looking very serious.

Dimension Films

#4. Sin City (2005)

– Directors: Frank Miller, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Metascore: 74
– Runtime: 124 minutes

“Sin City,” adapted from Frank Miller’s graphic novel, features an arresting visual style—stark black-and-white compositions appear with sharp stabs of occasional color that resemble comic illustrations. Willis plays police detective Hartigan, who is obsessed with helping the now-grown woman (Jessica Alba) whom he also saved when she was a little girl. Willis plays Hartigan, a man driven by a doomed love that inevitably merges with vengeance.

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A man covered in black soot stands over a woman to protect her while fireman run around in background.

Twentieth Century Fox

#3. Die Hard (1988)

– Director: John McTiernan
– IMDb user rating: 8.2
– Metascore: 72
– Runtime: 132 minutes

Considered his quintessential role, Willis’ portrayal of John McClane launched the actor to superstardom. When a band of terrorists takes over an office tower during a Christmas party where McClane is a guest, this ordinary cop is forced into extraordinary circumstances in order to rescue his wife (Bonnie Bedelia), who is being held hostage. The character still inspires sequels and imitations over 30 years later. Rolling Stone voted it the second-best action film of all time, just behind “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Bruce Willis sits at a desk in front of a bookcase gesturing with his hands.

Hollywood Pictures

#2. The Sixth Sense (1999)

– Director: M. Night Shyamalan
– IMDb user rating: 8.2
– Metascore: 64
– Runtime: 107 minutes

“The Sixth Sense” was a runaway hit propelled by a twist-ending that struck audiences as alternately obvious and surprising, depending on who you talk to. Willis plays a melancholic child psychologist who works with a young boy (Haley Joel Osment) who claims, in the film’s timeless piece of dialogue, “I see dead people.” The film also dramatizes a tragic love story—one made more crushing when the final twist comes to light. It remains the biggest hit of Willis’ career, grossing more than $670 million worldwide.

Miramax

#1. Pulp Fiction (1994)

– Director: Quentin Tarantino
– IMDb user rating: 8.9
– Metascore: 94
– Runtime: 154 minutes

In Quentin Tarantino’s ode to pulp fiction storytelling tropes, Willis plays a prizefighter who skips out on a promise he made to gangster Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) by not throwing a fight. In his attempt to collect on bets he himself made and skip town, Willis’ Butch finds himself in one of the most notorious sequences in the film: one involving “the Gimp” and threats of a “pair of pliers and a blowtorch.” Willis almost didn’t appear in the film at all; his part was originally intended for Matt Dillon, but when Dillon refused to give Tarantino a straight answer about whether he wanted the role, it was Willis’ for the taking.

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