The exceptional Bruce Willis has created an outstanding resume in Hollywood over his 40-year career, fearlessly tackling all genres. After gaining widespread fame with her role in the 80s comedy-drama series at the Moonlight, the veteran artist became a global action hero with his role as the sarcastic John McClane in the epic 1988 film Die hard. He would go on to star in a host of dynamic and critically acclaimed pictures, showing off his natural gift for humor in popular films like Look who’s talking, red and Get out of the cop.
Willis has proven time and time again that he is much more than just a brooding leading man, consistently demonstrating his comedic talents and undeniable star power throughout his enviable career. His sardonic delivery of lines and willingness to embrace the quirky and the weird helped make Willis one of the most successful box office draws of all time. Having worked with revered directors like Wes Anderson, Robert Zemeckis and Robert Rodriguez in the comedy genre, Willis is undoubtedly a jack-of-all-trades in the entertainment business. His ability to inject even a serious action movie with witty, sarcastic humor sometimes makes it hard to separate his action movies from his comedy movies, but these are the movies that show Bruce Willis at his best.
9 The whole nine yards
Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry teamed up to star in the 2000 crime comedy The whole nine yards, telling the story of charismatic but hapless dentist Nicholas “Oz” Oseransky, who makes the startling discovery that his new neighbor Jimmy is actually a notorious Chicago hitman with a big bounty on his head. At the insistence of his money-hungry wife, Oz decides to inform the mob boss of his whereabouts in exchange for the reward. Willis showed off his comedic chops in the entertaining image, brilliantly portraying mobster Jimmy “the Tulip” Tudeski and showcasing his undeniable on-screen chemistry with Perry. The actor would later become the famous guest star of Friends after appearing in comedy, having lost a bet to Perry after The whole nine yards at the top of the box office. The two teamed up again for a sequel, The whole ten meters.
8 the last scout
The 1991 Friends Action Comedy the last scout features an impressive cast including Bruce Willis, Damon Wayans and Halle Berry, and is considered one of the best films directed by Tony Scott. The film follows private detective Joe Hallenbeck as he warily finds himself associating with the boyfriend of a female witness he has been hired to protect in order to investigate the violent crime. Despite an initially mixed reaction from critics, the film was still a box office success and helped Willis regain his movie star status after his other comedy project fell through. Hudson’s Falcon that same year. Since its initial release, the last scout attracted a passionate audience as a cult classic of the 90s and has since been praised for the sharp script, the delicious chemistry between Willis and Wayans and the general direction of the film.
seven Look who’s talking
Bruce Willis once again showed off his dynamic acting skills when he hilariously portrayed narrator baby Mikey in the 1989 romantic comedy Look who’s talking, offering amusing commentary on the state of her mother Mollie’s love life and her blossoming relationship with suitor James in the smart film. Director Amy Heckerling (of Fast times at Ridgemont High and clueless celebrity) came up with the idea for the playful photo of her own young daughter, who was still looking around in her baby seat; she once revealed, “My husband and I started putting words in her mouth, what she might be thinking based on her expressions.” Starring John Travolta and Kirstie Alley, the romantic comedy was a surprise box office hit and earned $297 million, spawning two popular sequels and the short-lived ABC sitcom. Baby talk.
6 Death becomes her
Robert Zemeckis directed the 1992 cult classic satirical dark comedy Death becomes her, telling the haunting story of a narcissistic actress on the decline who discovers a magic potion that grants her eternal youth and immortality, but with unwanted repercussions. Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn and Bruce Willis star in the dark fantasy comedy, with the famed actresses playing lifelong enemies vying for the affections of the same man (Willis), who both take the potion in hopes of winning it .
The film is widely considered a pioneer in its impressive use of computer-generated effects, having been the first to use photorealistic human skin software. Death becomes her continued to gain a prominent following, particularly in the LGBTQ+ community, with Vanity Fair calling the comedy a “touchstone of the queer community.”
5 get out of the cop
Bruce Willis teamed up with the always hilarious Tracy Morgan for the 2010 action comedy Buddy cop get out of the cop, in which the entertaining duo portray veteran NYPD partners Jimmy Monroe and Paul Hodges, who investigate the theft of Jimmy’s coveted mint baseball card which was stolen by a memorabilia-savvy mobster. While there was no shortage of drama during production and post-comedy (Willis and director Kevin Smith notoriously clashed), get out of the cop still became Smith’s most financially successful project to date and showcased the comedic on-screen chemistry between Willis and Morgan. Following the actor’s retirement from film due to his ongoing battle with aphasia, Smith publicly apologized for his derogatory comments towards Willis.
4 Planet Terror
The innovative Robert Rodriguez directed the 2007 action-horror comedy Planet Terror, which follows a seedy group of biochemical epidemic survivors who are forced to fend off a terrifying horde of zombie-like creatures in rural Texas. Rodriguez’s longtime friend and collaborator Quentin Tarantino helped bring the bizarre film to life, with co-star Marley Shelton saying, “Quentin was on set a lot. He had notes and tweaks to our performances and he changed lines from time to time. Of course, he always relied on Robert to Planet Terror and vice versa for Proof of death. So it’s really their idea to both.
Bruce Willis appeared alongside actors Rose McGowan and Josh Brolin for the horror-comedy, amusingly portraying the deranged Lieutenant Muldoon who contributed to the horrific zombie outbreak.
Boasting a star-studded cast of Hollywood’s elite like Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren, the 2010 action-comedy Red centers on bored, retired black ops agent Frank Moses (Willis) as he assembles his deadly former team to defeat a high-tech assassin and a dangerous group of hitmen. Marked as RED (Retired, Extremely Dangerous), the squad must once again use their special skills to break into CIA headquarters and expose a massive conspiracy.
Loosely inspired by the Homage Comics series of the same name, Red became a critical and commercial success, grossing $199 million at the box office and leading to a sequel in 2013; in their rave review, the Sydney Morning Herald called the comedy “Although it’s a film richly endowed with big names, you come away imbued with the happy thought that they’ve all left their egos at home.”
2 Moonrise Kingdom
Acclaimed filmmaker Wes Anderson directed the 2012 coming-of-age comedy-drama Moonrise Kingdom, telling the heartwarming story of two 12-year-olds who fall in love in 1965 and decide to run away from their coastal New England town. The island’s police captain, Sharp (Bruce Willis), with a particular group of locals, forbids finding the love children and bringing them home.
Discussing the Oscar-nominated pic and working with Anderson, Willis opened up to The Huffington Post, calling it one of the projects he’s most proud of: “Moonrise Kingdom is a very new story. There’s nothing like it except another Wes Anderson movie. And even in his library, I think he would also say that Moonrise Kingdom was truly unlike anything he’s ever done. The comedy-drama premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to universal acclaim, with the BBC calling it one of the greatest films of the 21st century.
1 die hard
Bruce Willis became a certified movie star when he memorably played iconic NYPD detective John McClane in the 1988 action classic. die hard, which follows the reluctant hero as he confronts German terrorists who have taken a Los Angeles skyscraper hostage. Famous for his biting one-liners, including his famously beloved catchphrase “Yippee-ki-yay, motherfu**er”, McClane provided hilarious and colorful commentary as he reluctantly battles to defeat the villainous Hans Gruber, brilliantly entertaining audiences at every stage of the Willis performance in the 80s staple helped redefine the face of the action genre, with the actor’s portrayal of McClane inspiring a new wave of hero characters from everyday who manage to save the day with an average physique and sardonic humor to boot.