“Hey, well, as far as I’m concerned, progress peaked with frozen pizza.” ~ John McClane
From playing the iconic Irish detective John McClane in the Die Hard films to starring alongside the hilarious Damon Wayans in the 1991 action comedy The Last Boy Scout, Bruce Willis has starred in some of the greatest action movies of all-time!
Join us as we take a closer look at Willis’ outstanding filmography by highlighting 25 of the action star’s greatest films to date.
25. Mercury Rising (1998)
Synopsis: A renegade FBI agent who combats ruthless federal agents to protect Simon (Miko Hughes), a 9-year-old autistic boy who has cracked the government’s new unbreakable code. He can read MERCURY, the most advanced encryption code yet created, as easily as other kids read English. This ability renders the new billion-dollar secret code vulnerable, especially if enemies of the United States should learn of Simon’s abilities and capture him.
Starring: Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin, Miko Hughes, Chi McBride, and Kim Dickens
Director: Harold Becker
24. Lucky Number Slevin (2006)
Synopsis: A case of mistaken identity lands Slevin into the middle of a war being plotted by two of the city’s most rival crime bosses: The Rabbi and The Boss. Slevin is under constant surveillance by relentless Detective Brikowski as well as the infamous assassin Goodkat and finds himself having to hatch his own ingenious plot to get them before they get him.
Starring: Josh Hartnett, Ben Kinsley, Morgan Freeman, Lucy Liu, Stanley Tucci, Bruce Willis, and Mykelti Williamson
Director: Paul McGuigan
23. Alpha Dog (2006)
Synopsis: Drug-dealing delinquent Johnny Truelove lives the high life in LA, partying with his peers and getting a steady dope supply from dad Sonny. However, when a dangerous customer refuses to pay, Johnny and right-hand man Frankie kidnap the junkie’s younger brother, intending only to keep the kid hidden and happy until they get the cash. These would-be gangsters find themselves out of their depth when the police get involved.
Starring: Justin Timberlake, Anton Yelchin, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Sharon Stone, Bruce Willis, Shawn Hatosy, Olivia Wilde, and Amanda Seyfried
Director: Nick Cassavetes
22. Die Hard: With A Vengeance (1995)
Synopsis: Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) is now divorced, alcoholic and jobless after getting fired for his reckless behavior and bad attitude. He is called back into action, however, when a cryptic terrorist (Jeremy Irons) takes New York City hostage in a lethal game of “Simon Says” and refuses to speak with anyone but McClane. Teaming up with a street-savvy electrician named Zeus Carver (Samuel L. Jackson), McClane dashes through the city, trying to stay one step ahead of a murderous plot.
Starring: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Irons, Graham Greene, Colleen Camp, Larry Bryggman, and Sam Phillips
Director: John McTiernan
21. Tears of the Sun (2003)
Synopsis: The Nigerian government has fallen, and the country is on the verge of civil war. Lt. A.K. Waters (Bruce Willis) has been assigned to lead a team of soldiers into the Nigerian jungle to rescue Dr. Lena Kendricks (Monica Bellucci). When Waters and his team locate Kendricks, she tells them she won’t leave her helpless patients to be slaughtered by rebels. The team incurs the wrath of both U.S. and Nigerian forces when they side with Kendricks and attempt to march the refugees to safety.
Starring: Monica Bellucci, Bruce Willis, Cole Hauser, Eamonn Walker, Johnny Messner, Nick Chinlund, and Tom Skerritt
Director: Antoine Fuqua
20. The Whole Nine Yards (2000)
Synopsis: Jimmy “The Tulip” Tudeski (Bruce Willis), a mob hitman-turned-informant, ratted on the mob and put his life in jeopardy. Now he has moved to suburban Montreal, ostensibly to make a new start. His next-door neighbor is mild-mannered, unhappily married dentist Nick “Oz” Oseransk (Matthew Perry). Nick recognizes Jimmy from the newspaper stories about his mob testimony, and that’s when Nick’s simple, boring world turns upside down.
Starring: Bruce Willis, Amanda Peet, Matthew Perry, Natasha Henstridge, Rosanna Arquette, Kevin Pollak, and Michael Clarke Duncan
Director: Jonathan Lynn
19. Hart’s War (2002)
Synopsis: Lieutenant Tommy Hart (Colin Farrell) is a second-year law student who is enlisted as an officer’s aide in World War II due to his father’s political pull. When he is captured and thrown into a German prisoner of war camp, top ranking Colonel William McNamara (Bruce Willis) assigns him to defend Lieutenant Lincoln Scott (Terrence Howard), a black POW accused of murdering a fellow white prisoner.
Starring: Bruce Willis, Colin Farrell, Terrence Howard, Cole Hauser, Adrian Grenier, Linus Roache, and Vicellous Shannon
Director: Gregory Hoblit
18. The Jackal (1999)
Synopsis: During an FBI raid on a Moscow nightclub, the brother of Russian gangster Terek Murad (David Hayman) is killed. Murad wants revenge and hires anonymous hit man the Jackal (Bruce Willis) to kill FBI Deputy Director Carter Preston (Sidney Poitier). With the help of Russian agent Valentina Koslova (Diane Venora), Preston finds the only man who knows what the notorious Jackal looks like, imprisoned IRA terrorist Declan Mulqueen (Richard Gere), and forces him to help hunt down the hit man.
Starring: Bruce Willis, Richard Gere, Sidney Poitier, Diane Venora
Director: Michael Caton-Jones
17. The Last Boy Scout (1991)
Synopsis: Once a first-rate Secret Service agent, Joe Hallenbeck (Bruce Willis) is now a gruff private investigator whose latest gig is protecting a pole dancer (Halle Berry). When she’s murdered, he grudgingly teams up with her boyfriend, Jimmy Dix (Damon Wayans), an ex-quarterback with a gambling problem, and the two go after her killers. Before long, they stumble onto a plot by a well-known football magnate (Noble Willingham) to bribe federal legislators into legalizing sports gambling.
Starring: Bruce Willis, Damon Wayans, Halle Berry, Chelsea Field, Danielle Harris, Taylor Negron, Noble Willingham, Kim Coates, and Billy Banks
Director: Tony Scott
16. Last Man Standing (1996)
Synopsis: Loyal to nobody but himself, John Smith (Bruce Willis) hires his services out to Fredo Strozzi (Ned Eisenberg), a bootlegging gangster who operates in a drab Texas town. However, he is quick to trade information to Strozzi’s rival, Doyle (David Patrick Kelly). Then, having learned about Doyle’s infatuation with beautiful Felina (Karina Lombard), Smith uses her to push both bosses into full-scale bloodshed. The only one who suspects anything is Hickey (Christopher Walken), Doyle’s lieutenant.
Starring: Bruce Willis, Leslie Mann, William Sanderson, Ned Eisenberg, Christopher Walken, Karina Lombard, and David Kilpatrick
Director: Walter Hill
15. Look Who’s Talking (1989)
Synopsis: The romantic ups and downs of accountant Mollie Jensen (Kirstie Alley) are viewed cynically by a most unusual bystander — her talking newborn, Mikey (Bruce Willis). She becomes pregnant through an affair with a married man, Albert (George Segal), and then counts on the friendship of taxi driver James (John Travolta) once she discovers Albert is a lying cad. Although Mikey likes James, and James cares for both the baby and Mollie, she isn’t sure she can settle down with a blue-collar boyfriend.
Starring: Kirstie Alley, John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Olympia Dukakis, George Segal, Twink Caplan, and Abe Vigoda
Director: Amy Heckerling
14. Planet Terror (2007)
Synopsis: An ordinary evening in a small Texas town becomes a grisly nightmare when a horde of flesh-eating zombies goes on the prowl. Cherry (Rose McGowan), a go-go dancer, and Wray (Freddy Rodriguez), her ex-lover, band together with other survivors in a no-holds barred effort to escape the carnage. The odds become a bit more even when Cherry, who lost her leg to a hungry ghoul, gets a machine-gun appendage and lets the bullets fly.
Starring: Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez, Josh Brolin, Marley Shelton, Bruce Willis
Director: Robert Rodriguez
13. Red (2010)
Synopsis: After surviving an assault from a squad of hit men, retired CIA agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) reassembles his old team for an all-out war. Frank reunites with old Joe (Morgan Freeman), crazy Marvin (John Malkovich) and wily Victoria (Helen Mirren) to uncover a massive conspiracy that threatens their lives. Only their expert training will allow them to survive a near-impossible mission — breaking into CIA headquarters.
Starring: Mary-Louise Parker, Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Brian Cox, Morgan Freeman, Karl Urban, and Richard Dreyfuss
Director: Robert Schwentke
12. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Synopsis: The year is 1965, and the residents of New Penzance, an island off the coast of New England, inhabit a community that seems untouched by some of the bad things going on in the rest of the world. Twelve-year-olds Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) have fallen in love and decide to run away. But a violent storm is approaching the island, forcing a group of quirky adults (Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray) to mobilize a search party and find the youths before calamity strikes.
Starring: Kara Hayward, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Jared Gilman, Frances McDormand, Jason Swartzman, and Tilda Swinton
Director: Wes Anderson
11. Nobody’s Fool (1994)
Synopsis: Donald “Sully” Sullivan (Paul Newman) is an expert at avoiding adult responsibilities. At 60, he divides all his time between a local bar and the occasional construction job. When his estranged son, Peter (Dylan Walsh), arrives in town, bringing with him a son of his own and a sob story about his failed marriage, Sully finds himself assuming the roles of both father and grandfather. After a life of unchecked self-indulgence, he wonders if he is up to the task.
Starring: Paul Newman, Jessica Tandy, Bruce Willis, Dylan Walsh, and Melanie Griffith
Director: Robert Benton
10. Die Hard 2 (1990)
Synopsis: A year after his heroics in L.A, detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) is mixed up in another terrorist plot, this time at Washington Dulles International Airport, where he is waiting for his wife (Bonnie Bedelia). That same night, South American politico and drug profiteer Ramon Esperanza (Franco Nero) is arriving in U.S. custody. McClane takes action when a treasonous ex-colonel (William Sadler) seizes control of the airport, threatening to crash every inbound flight unless Esperanza is freed.
Starring: Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, William Atherton, William Sadler, Reginald VelJohnson, Dennis Franz, and John Amos
Director: Renny Harlin
9. Sin City (2005)
Synopsis: In this quartet of neo-noir tales, a mysterious salesman (Josh Hartnett) narrates a tragic story of co-dependency, while a musclebound vigilante (Mickey Rourke) tears his way through the criminal underworld in search of his lost love (Jaime King). In another part of the city, a grizzled cop (Bruce Willis) foils the ambitions of a child-killer (Nick Stahl), and an ex-prostitute (Brittany Murphy) evades her ex-pimp (Benicio Del Toro) with the help of her new boyfriend, Dwight (Clive Owen).
Starring: Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Rosario Dawson, Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Jamie King, Michael Clarke Duncan, Benicio del Toro, Devon Aoki, Michael Madsen, Carla Gugino, Brittany Murphy, Elijah Wood, and Alexis Bledel
Director: Frank Miller, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriquez
8. The Fifth Element (1997)
Synopsis: In the 23rd century, a New York City cabbie, Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis), finds the fate of the world in his hands when Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) falls into his cab. As the embodiment of the fifth element, Leeloo needs to combine with the other four to keep the approaching Great Evil from destroying the world. Together with Father Vito Cornelius (Ian Holm) and zany broadcaster Ruby Rhod (Chris Tucker), Dallas must race against time and the wicked industrialist Zorg (Gary Oldman) to save humanity.
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Chris Tucker, Luke Perry, Ian Holm, Maïwenn, and Tommy Lister
Director: Luc Besson
7. Unbreakable (2000)
Synopsis: A security guard, having been the sole survivor of a high-fatality train crash, finds himself at the center of a mysterious theory that explains his consistent physical good fortune. When news of his survival is made public, a man whose own body is excessively weak tracks him down in an attempt to explain his unique unbreakable nature.
Starring: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Spencer Treat Clark, Charlayne Woodard, Robin Wright, and M. Night Shyamalan
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
6. Armageddon (1998)
Synopsis: When an asteroid threatens to collide with Earth, NASA honcho Dan Truman (Billy Bob Thornton) determines the only way to stop it is to drill into its surface and detonate a nuclear bomb. This leads him to renowned driller Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis), who agrees to helm the dangerous space mission provided he can bring along his own hotshot crew. Among them is the cocksure A.J. (Ben Affleck), who Harry thinks isn’t good enough for his daughter (Liv Tyler), until the mission proves otherwise.
Starring: Liv Tyler, Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Steve Buscemi, Billy Bob Thornton, Michael Clarke Duncan, Owen Wilson, Will Patton, Peter Stormare, William Fichtner, Jessica Steen, and Keith David
Director: Michael Bay
5. The Sixth Sense (1999)
Synopsis: Young Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) is haunted by a dark secret: he is visited by ghosts. Cole is frightened by visitations from those with unresolved problems who appear from the shadows. He is too afraid to tell anyone about his anguish, except child psychologist Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis). As Dr. Crowe tries to uncover the truth about Cole’s supernatural abilities, the consequences for client and therapist are a jolt that awakens them both to something unexplainable.
Starring: Haley Joel Osment, Bruce Willis, Toni Collette, Donnie Wahlberg, Olivia Williams, and Mischa Barton
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
4. 12 Monkeys (1995)
Synopsis: Traveling back in time isn’t simple, as James Cole (Bruce Willis) learns the hard way. Imprisoned in the 2030s, James is recruited for a mission that will send him back to the 1990s. Once there, he’s supposed to gather information about a nascent plague that’s about to exterminate the vast majority of the world’s population. But, aside from the manic Jeffrey (Brad Pitt), he gets little in the way of cooperation, not least from medical gatekeepers like Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe).
Starring: Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Christopher Plummer, David Morse, Jon Seda, and Christopher Meloni
Director: Terry Gilliam
3. Looper (2012)
Synopsis: In a future society, time-travel exists, but it’s only available to those with the means to pay for it on the black market. When the mob wants to eliminate someone, it sends the target into the past, where a hit man known as a looper lies in wait to finish the job. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is one such hired gun, and he does his job well — until the day his bosses decide to “close the loop” and send Joe’s future self (Bruce Willis) back in time to be killed.
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Bruce Willis, Piper Perabo, Paul Dano, Jeff Daniels, and Garret Dillahunt
Director: Rian Johnson
2. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Synopsis: Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) are hitmen with a penchant for philosophical discussions. In this ultra-hip, multi-strand crime movie, their storyline is interwoven with those of their boss, gangster Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) ; his actress wife, Mia (Uma Thurman) ; struggling boxer Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) ; master fixer Winston Wolfe (Harvey Keitel) and a nervous pair of armed robbers, “Pumpkin” (Tim Roth) and “Honey Bunny” (Amanda Plummer).
Starring: Uma Thurman, John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken, Amanda Plummer, Ving Rhames, Eric Stoltz, Steve Buscemi, and Maria de Medeiros
Director: Quentin Tarantino
1. Die Hard (1988)
Synopsis: New York City policeman John McClane (Bruce Willis) is visiting his estranged wife (Bonnie Bedelia) and two daughters on Christmas Eve. He joins her at a holiday party in the headquarters of the Japanese-owned business she works for. But the festivities are interrupted by a group of terrorists who take over the exclusive high-rise, and everyone in it. Very soon McClane realizes that there’s no one to save the hostages — but him.
Starring: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson, William Atherton, and Alexander Godunov
Director: John McTiernan