There are many winding paths a man can follow to greatness. He could build an orphanage, or perhaps write a symphony. But there is only one man in the history of history to have achieved greatness by screaming "yipee-ki-aye-ay motherfucker" and pushing Professor Snape out of a window. That man was this man.Bruce Willis
(born March 19, 1955) is an actor, producer and blues musician known for his smirk
Seriously, Bruce Willis was once known for his work in comedy, such as in the popular comedy/drama/mystery series Moonlighting
. During the show's run, Willis was also hired to do wine cooler commercials, no doubt making people go "Hey, it's that guy!"
His big break came when he played a resourceful, smoking, snarky
NYPD officer named John McClane in the thriller Die Hard
. People were at first surprised and skeptical when they heard of his casting, since he was mostly known as a funny guy, as well as that annoying guy from those wine cooler commercials. Playing McClane with a mix of humor and sympathy and performing most of his own stunts, Willis proved he had the chops as a serious action star, and Die Hard
was a hit that jump-started a blockbuster franchise.
Before and following his success on Die Hard
, Willis was a mildy successful pop singer for a brief period of time, most notably under the persona of Bruno (no, not that
Since Die Hard
, Willis has had a healthy film career, alternating between action, comedy, and even straight-up drama. In many of his action movies, Willis is the king of the heroic comeback, and usually has one scene where the bad guys work him over badly
, only for him to come back in the final reel and win out. This was perhaps best codified in 1994's Pulp Fiction
in which he plays a down-and-out boxer who bets the money he took to take a fall on himself and earns himself a very bizarre day, only to come through in the end and ride off into the future on a chopper with his girl by his side. It's also worth noting that the ending of Bruce's story arc is also technically the end of the movie itself, at least as far as the strict continuity of events is concerned.
He also co-founded the Planet Hollywood restaurant alongside fellow action movie titans Arnold Schwarzenegger
and Sylvester Stallone
. Appropriately, all three shared the big screen for the first time (although Willis was just a cameo
) in 2010's The Expendables
A frequent collaborator with Quentin Tarantino
Tropes associated with him include:
- Action Hero
- Awesome, Dear Boy: Another reason why the independents were taken was to challenge himself and work with who we wanted.
- Bald of Awesome
- Deadpan Snarker
- Doing It for the Art: Is considered one of the codifiers in terms of A-list actors willingly taking a gigantic paycut to do an independent film, with Pulp Fiction; the film's success and the career boost that Willis got from it had other big-name actors following suit with the same strategy. Considering his Money, Dear Boy stance to action movies nowadays, it seems like this trope is the only way to get him invested in a role (while Kevin Smith had a headache dealing with Willis on Cop Out, Rian Johnson of Looper said Willis was cordial and accessible to the crew and all-in with the material, including playing the eventual antagonist.)
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Sang the theme song for his animated kids' show Bruno The Kid.
- Dull Surprise
- Money, Dear Boy: Has implied that this is the only reason he still does action movies, as "explosions bore me."
- Playing Against Type:
- As a nebbishy plastic surgeon in Death Becomes Her and a convict sent to the past to stop a virus in Twelve Monkeys.
- And a cruel villain in The Jackal
- Playing a well-intentioned extremist and villain protagonist in Looper
- Although he played a policeman in Moonrise Kingdom, his character doesn't run away from explosions, make sarcastic remarks or say one liners.
- Also a child psychologist in The Sixth Sense.
- Rated M for Manly
- Tom Hanks Syndrome: A variant, as he begun in comedy but after Die Hard drifted into more serious roles, usually of the action genre (while still dropping plenty of one liners).
- Type Casting: Almost every role he has played had been either a cop or an action hero.
- Younger and Hipper: His big break, John McClane in the Die Hard films, was a huge example of this. In Nothing Lasts Forever, the novel the film was based on, Willis's character is no-nonsense, uncool, tight-assed, and in his middle 60s. The casting of Bruce Willis, fresh from Moonlighting, forced the script-writers to completely overhaul the character to fit Willis' acting style.