20 Best Bruce Willis Movies of All Time

Bruce Willis started his movie career in the late ’80s. It was his third movie, Die Hard, in 1988, that catapulted him to become one of the most popular movie stars. Since then, he has appeared in over 70 movies. Out of those 70+ films, we will try to list the 20 best Bruce Willis movies of all time here.

During the ’90s, Willis made most of his best movies. He started the ’90s by reprising his role as John McClane in the Die Hard sequel. Then he continued with movies like The Last Boy Scout, Striking Distance, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Twelve Monkeys, The Fifth Element, The Jackal, Mercury Rising, and Armageddon.

During this decade, Willis also starred in one of the best movies of all time: Pulp Fiction. He finished this super-successful decade with The Sixth Sense, which has been his highest-grossing movie ever.

The 2000s decade was also successful for Bruce Willis. He made a bunch of popular movies during this period. Just to name a few: The Whole Nine Yards, Unbreakable, Tears of the Sun, Sin City, Lucky Number Slevin, and more.

His most popular movies during the last decade (2010-2019) were RED, Looper, and RED 2.

Here is the list of the 20 best Bruce Willis movies (in order of release date):

1. Die Hard (1988)

Genre: Action, Thriller
Director: John McTiernan
Starring: Bruce Willis (33), Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia

In his breakthrough movie, Bruce Willis plays a tough New York cop, John McClane, who is visiting LA to spend the holidays with his family. He is supposed to meet his wife at the Christmas party in the Nakatomi Plaza, where she works. Things go wrong when terrorists take control of the building and hold everyone hostage, including his wife. Now he is forced to take down the terrorists one by one.

2. Die Hard 2 (1990)

Genre: Action, Thriller
Director: Renny Harlin
Starring: Bruce Willis (35), William Atherton, Bonnie Bedelia

In Die Hard 2, John McClane finds himself again in the wrong place at the wrong time. A group of rogue military operatives has taken control of the airport’s landing system. They have planned everything perfectly, but there is one problem for them—John McClane is at that airport. Although not as popular as the first one, the sequel is still a good enough movie.

3. The Last Boy Scout (1991)

Genre: Action, Comedy
Director: Tony Scott
Starring: Bruce Willis (36), Damon Wayans, Chelsea Field

In this buddy-action comedy, Willis is a private detective who is trying to find out who killed the girl he was supposed to protect. Together with the girl’s boyfriend, an ex-football player, he needs to get to the bottom of this case.

4. Striking Distance (1993)

Genre: Action, Crime, Mystery
Director: Rowdy Herrington
Starring: Bruce Willis (38), Sarah Jessica Parker, Dennis Farina

Tom Hardy (Willis) is a cop who suggested to the press that his father’s killer was another cop and therefore broke the rule never to speak out against a fellow colleague. Now he is downgraded to the river patrol, but he is still trying to run his own unauthorized investigation. No cop wants to help him, except his new partner (Sarah Jessica Parker).

5. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Genre: Crime
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Bruce Willis (39), John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson

Willis was fortunate to star in Pulp Fiction, for many people one of the best movies ever made. He plays a boxer, Butch, who is paid to lose a match. Instead, he kills his opponent, and now he needs to leave town before two hitmen (Samuel Jackson and John Travolta) find him. He will find himself in a series of crazy events.

Pulp Fiction is not only the best-rated Bruce Willis movie on IMDb but also one of the highest-rated movies ever.

6. Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Director: John McTiernan
Starring: Bruce Willis (40), Jeremy Irons, Samuel L. Jackson

In the third part of the Die Hard series, John McClane and the Harlem store owner (Samuel Jackson) are forced to team up to solve frustrating puzzles given by a man who calls himself Simon. If they don’t, he threatens to detonate bombs around New York. Simon’s actual plot is to steal the gold from the Federal Reserve, and McClane and his new partner must stop him.

7. 12 Monkeys (1995)

Genre: Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Director: Terry Gilliam
Starring: Bruce Willis (40), Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt

A lethal virus wiped out almost all of humanity in 1996. It is believed that a group called Twelve Monkeys was responsible. In 2035, a prisoner named Cole is selected to travel back in time to 1996 to track down the group, but he is mistakenly sent to 1990. At this time, it is impossible to explain that the virus will come, and he is locked in a mental institution.

8. Last Man Standing (1996)

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Director: Walter Hill
Starring: Bruce Willis (41), Bruce Dern, William Sanderson

A gunslinger for hire, Smith has wandered into a small ghost town in Texas during the Prohibition era. Most of the folks have left the town because of an ongoing war between two gangs. For Smith, this is an opportunity to play both sides and earn something out of the whole situation.

9. The Fifth Element (1997)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Director: Luc Besson
Starring: Bruce Willis (42), Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman

It’s the twenty-third century, and a great evil threatens all life in the Universe. The only thing that can stop it is the Fifth Element. As it turns out, this element is actually a beautiful young woman (Milla Jovovich). The responsibility to save the planet somehow falls upon Korben Dallas (Willis), a taxi driver and former special forces major. He needs to recover four stones (elements), and together with the Fifth Element, the Earth will be saved.

10. Mercury Rising (1998)

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Director: Harold Becker
Starring: Bruce Willis (43), Miko Hughes, Alec Baldwin

A nine-year-old boy has cracked the NSA’s top-secret code, and now his life is in danger. Bruce Willis plays an FBI agent who is the only one who wants to protect the boy. Because of that, he will be framed as a kidnapper. Now he must clear his name, protect the boy, and take down crooked elements within the NSA.

11. Armageddon (1998)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Director: Michael Bay
Starring: Bruce Willis (43), Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck

A giant asteroid is heading toward Earth. Harry Stamper (Bruce), an expert driller, and his team are selected to land on the asteroid, drill into it, and place a nuclear bomb there. This is the only way to prevent the asteroid from hitting Earth.

12. The Sixth Sense (1999)

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Bruce Willis (44), Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette

Bruce plays a child psychiatrist whose task is to help a boy who “sees dead people.” As his relationship with the boy deepens, he will learn some disturbing truths about the boy’s visions.

13. The Whole Nine Yards (2000)

Genre: Comedy, Crime
Director: Jonathan Lynn
Starring: Bruce Willis (45), Matthew Perry, Rosanna Arquette

Nicholas Oseransky (Matthew Perry) is a dentist in an unhappy marriage who has just found out that his new next-door neighbor is a former mafia killer who turned informant, Jimmy Tudeski (Bruce Willis). Since there is a price on Tudeski’s head, Nicholas is convinced by his wife to go to the mob boss and claim the reward.

14. Unbreakable (2000)

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Bruce Willis (45), Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright

A former football player and security guard is the only survivor after a devastating train crash. Strangely, there is not even a scratch on him. Shortly after, he is contacted by the man nicknamed “Mr. Glass,” who believes that David is, in fact, a superhero. At first, David doesn’t want to believe that, but he slowly starts to realize that Mr. Glass may be right.

15. Tears of the Sun (2003)

Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Starring: Bruce Willis (48), Cole Hauser, Monica Bellucci

Lieutenant Waters (Willis) and his team are sent to Nigeria after a military coup occurs to rescue Dr. Lena Kendricks (Monica Belluci). The problem is, Dr. Lena won’t come if the refugees don’t go with her. Now Lieutenant and his elite squadron are forced to choose between following orders and ignoring the conflict in the country or following their conscience and protecting the refugees.

16. Sin City (2005)

Genre: Crime, Thriller
Director: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Bruce Willis (50), Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen

In this crime anthology film, as part of an ensemble cast, Bruce Willis plays a cop who risks his life to protect a young girl. It’s one of the three storylines incorporated into the film, all of which happen in “Sin City,” a violent and corrupt place.

17. 16 Blocks (2006)

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Director: Richard Donner
Starring: Bruce Willis (51), Yasiin Bey, David Morse

A burned-out alcoholic detective, Jack Mosley, is assigned to escort a witness to the courthouse 16 blocks away so he can testify against dirty cops. When he is suddenly ambushed and confronted by a fellow detective, Mosley realizes that everybody wants his prisoner dead. He must choose between loyalty to his colleagues and protecting the witness.

18. Live Free or Die Hard (2007)

Genre: Action, Thriller
Director: Len Wiseman
Starring: Bruce Willis (52), Justin Long, Timothy Olyphant

It’s the fourth installment of the Die Hard series, and this time the fight is against cyber criminals. The criminal plot is to take over the entire U.S. infrastructure from their computers. Since McClane is an old-school cop, this time he teams up with a young hacker.

19. RED (2010)

Genre: Action, Comedy
Director: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Bruce Willis (55), Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman

Frank Moses (Willis) is a retired CIA agent living a boring life, but the secrets he knows make him his own agency’s target. Now he needs to reassemble his old team, marked as RED (Retired Extremely Dangerous), and survive and stop the operation against them.

20. Looper (2012)

Genre: Action, Crime
Director: Rian Johnson
Starring: Bruce Willis (57), Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt

Disposing of a body in 2074 is impossible, so crime syndicates use time travel to send their targets thirty years back in the past, where an assassin known as Looper is waiting. Joe Simmons (Gordon-Levitt) is one of the most respected Loopers. One day while he is waiting for his next target, he comes face-to-face with his future self (Bruce Willis).

15 Best Bruce Willis Movies According to IMDb

According to IMDb, these are the 15 best Bruce Willis movies in the lead (or lead ensemble) role:

  • Pulp Fiction (1994) – 8.9
  • Die Hard (1988) – 8.2
  • The Sixth Sense (1999) – 8.1
  • 12 Monkeys (1995) – 8.0
  • Sin City (2005) – 8.0
  • The Fifth Element (1997) – 7.7
  • Lucky Number Slevin (2006) – 7.7
  • Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995) – 7.6
  • Looper (2012) – 7.4
  • Unbreakable (2000) – 7.3
  • Die Hard 2 (1990) – 7.2
  • Live Free or Die Hard (2007) – 7.1
  • RED (2010) – 7.0
  • The Last Boy Scout (1991) – 7.0
  • Armageddon (1998) – 6.7

15 Best Bruce Willis Movies According to Box Office

  • The Sixth Sense (1999) – $673 million
  • Armageddon (1998) – $554 million
  • Live Free or Die Hard (2007) – $388 million
  • Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995) – $366 million
  • A Good Day to Die Hard (2013) – $304 million
  • The Fifth Element (1997) – $264 million
  • Unbreakable (2000) – $248 million
  • Glass (2019) – $247 million
  • Die Hard 2 (1990) – $240 million
  • Pulp Fiction (1994) – $214 million
  • RED (2010) – $199 million
  • Looper (2012) – $176 million
  • 12 Monkeys (1995) – $169 million
  • The Jackal (1997) – $159 million
  • Die Hard (1988) – $141 million

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