Bruce Willis' Best Movies, Ranked by Metacritic

'Die Hard' isn't just a controversial Christmas movie; it's also one of Bruce Willis' highest-rated. Discover his best, ranked by Metascore.
by Natalie Oganesyan — 

Bruce Willis

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Best known for such adrenaline-pumping blockbuster action movies as Die Hard and the subsequent sequels it spawned, Bruce Willis is one of the world's top stars, according to the more than $5.2 billion his films have grossed. 

Since 1980, Willis has appeared in more than 100 movies, boasting an impressive 146 acting credits to his name. And, at age 66, he shows no signs of slowing down, with a slew of projects set to release this year and 2023. First up is the action flick A Day to Die, about a former military ops officer (Kevin Dillon) who has a day to cough up $2 million to save his kidnapped wife (Brooke Butler) from a local gang leader (Leon) and settle a score with the city's corrupt police chief (Willis).

The actor is also a frequent collaborator of Quentin Tarantino, having appeared in Pulp Fiction (his highest-rated movie, per the Metascore), Grindhouse, and Sin City. While he often portrays grizzled, sarcastic characters with chips on their shoulders, Willis has also appeared in gentler movies, including Moonrise Kingdom and the turn-of-the-century mystery-thriller classic The Sixth Sense, in which he played a child psychologist tending to a haunted 8-year-old (Haley Joel Osment).

Outside of film, he's had notable success in television, winning two Emmys — one in 1987 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for ABC's Moonlighting and another for a guest appearance on Friends in 2000. He also created the late '90s children's cartoon Bruno the Kid, which he starred in alongside Mark Hamill and executive produced.

Here, Metacritic highlights the top 10 movies Willis has acted in, ranked by Metascore.

Pulp Fiction

Metascore: 94
Best for: Tarantino fans, cheap milkshake enthusiasts, and nostalgia-watchers
Where to watch:

, Google PlayiTunesVudu
Runtime: 154 minutes

The Oscar-winning Pulp Fiction — which graces numerous must-watch movie bucket lists and is largely considered to be Tarantino's magnum opus — follows several intertwined stories from Los Angeles' criminal underworld circa 1994. Among its colorful, larger-than-life characters are two mob hitmen (John Travolta's Vincent Vega and Samuel L. Jackson's Jules Winnfield), southpaw boxer Butch Coolidge (Willis), gangster Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) and his wife Mia (Uma Thurman), and diner bandits Pumpkin (Tim Roth) and Honey Bunny (Amanda Plummer).

"It's the movie equivalent of that rare sort of novel where you find yourself checking to see how many pages are left and hoping there are more, not fewer." — Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

The Player

Metascore: 86
Best for: Once Upon a Time … in Hollywoodfans and haters of sequels and IP-driven movies
Where to watch:

Google PlayHBO MaxiTunesVudu
Runtime: 124 minutes

Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins) is a dubious Hollywood studio executive shark caught up in a murder-mystery saga fit for the big screen — unlike the hundreds of rapid-fire pitches he hears from screenwriters daily. So, when he begins receiving death threats from a disgruntled writer whose script he rejected, his life transforms into the stuff of on-screen fodder as he falls further down the criminal rabbit hole. Featuring a star-studded cast composed of Greta Scacchi, Fred Ward, Whoopi Goldberg, and Peter Gallagher, this 1992 industry satire also boasts an impressive line-up of cameos (among them, Julia Roberts, Cher, John Cusack, and Willis).

"The Player distills everything that's wrong with the American film industry with the precision of someone who's been there." — Steve Davis, The Austin Chronicle

Nobody's Fool

Metascore: 86
Best for: Fans of feel-good movies and dysfunctional family dynamics
Where to watch:

Google PlayiTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 110 minutes

Paul Newman stars as Sully, a childlike sexagenarian whose sole skill includes skirting age-appropriate responsibilities. So when his estranged son Peter (Dylan Walsh) appears with his own child, seeking Sully's help with his own troubles — namely his failed marriage — the aging mischief-maker must step up to the task, for once. This Oscar-nominated Robert Benton dramedy also stars Willis, who plays a local town contractor with whom Sully is often at odds, and Melanie Griffith as his on-screen wife.

"If Nobody's Fool is often heartbreaking in its sense of loss, it is also hopeful in the strength of its emotions and the sheer beauty of its performances." — Caryn James, The New York Times


Metascore: 84
Best for: Those who wish they could watch Twelve Monkeys again for the first time
Where to watch:

, Google PlayiTunesNetflixVudu
Runtime: 119 minutes

In a not-so-distant future, time travel is a reality that thrives on the black market. When a mob wants to disappear someone, they send their unwitting target 30 years into the past, where a hired gun — colloquially known as a "looper" — named Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is waiting to pull the trigger. And while Joe makes a killing in his line of work, it's soon cut short when he finds out his superiors want to "close the loop" by sending in his future self (Willis) for assassination. Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, and Paul Dano round out the cast in this Rian Johnson thriller.

"Lacing tremendously exciting action with touching gravity, Looper hits you like a shot in the heart." — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Moonrise Kingdom

Metascore: 84
Best for: Fans of Wes Anderson movies and coming-of-age romance
Where to watch:

, Google PlayHBO MaxiTunesVudu
Runtime: 94 minutes

In the 1960s, young Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) are spurred to run away from home on their tight-knit island off the coast of New England. As they continue falling in love in the wilderness, they unknowingly trigger various search parties after them, turning their town upside-down in the process. An Anderson classic filled with whimsical characters and boatloads of heart, the Oscar nominee also stars Willis as the island's police chief, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, and Frances McDormand.

"Moonrise Kingdom is fun: a gorgeously shot, ingeniously crafted, über-Andersonian bonbon that … remains an effective deliverer of cinematic pleasure." — Dana Stevens, Slate


Metascore: 77
Best for: Machetefans and people who think the violence in movies like Kill Billis tame
Where to watch:

Runtime: 191 minutes

A tribute to the theaters that housed low-budget exploitation horror-thriller films of the '70s and '80s era, Grindhouse is a composite of back-to-back feature-length segments interspersed with upcoming attractions from notable directors Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Eli Roth, Edgar Wright, and Rob Zombie. The first pic is Rodriguez's Planet Terror, a horror-comedy starring Rose McGowan and Freddy Rodriguez as survivors who battle zombies in a small Texas town; while the second feature is Tarantino's Death Proof, a slasher about a murderous stuntman (Kurt Russell) who kills young women with tricked-up vehicles.

"The obsessive crosshatching of allusion, spoof, and homage that gives Grindhouse its texture is the product of a highly refined generational sensibility." — A.O. Scott, The New York Times

The Verdict

Metascore: 77
Best for: Fans of courtroom dramas and Erin Brockovich
Where to watch:

, Google PlayiTunesVudu
Runtime: 129 minutes

Social outcast and alcoholic Boston-based lawyer Frank Galvin (Newman) pursues an attempt to salvage his failing career by taking on a medical malpractice suit against high-powered attorney Edward Concannon (James Mason). Sidney Lumet's five-time Oscar-nominated 1982 legal drama — based on lawyer Barry Reed's novel of the same name — also stars Charlotte Rampling and Jack Warden. Willis is an uncredited background actor in the movie's final courtroom scene.

"If you were presenting a case for Newman's legacy of acting brilliance, this film would be exhibit A." — Keith Staskiewicz, Entertainment Weekly

Twelve Monkeys

Metascore: 74
Best for: Fans of The Terminator, sci-fi dystopia, and time travel-themed thrillers
Where to watch:

, Google PlayiTunesVudu
Runtime: 129 minutes

Convict James Cole (Willis) is sent back in time decades after a deadly virus has wiped out most of humanity in the late 1990s, forcing the population to relocate underground. While there, he's tasked with gathering information on the virus' origins, speculated to be released by an organization called the Army of the Twelve Monkeys. Terry Gilliam's sci-fi thriller — adapted from the 1962 French short film La Jetée — also stars Brad Pitt as a patient in a psychiatric facility and Madeleine Stowe as Dr. Kathryn Railly.

"There's aesthetic order in the disorder, and calculated reason in the madness. Seldom has it felt so good to seem so lost." — Rick Groen, The Globe and Mail

Sin City

Metascore: 74
Best for: Neo-noir fans, comic book enthusiasts, and people who think Gotham City is too cheery
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 124 minutes

Hailing from comic book writer Frank Miller, Rodriguez, and special guest director Tarantino, this neo-noir crime anthology explores the shrouded and dreary underworld of Basin City, where its crime-ridden characters are looking for vengeance, redemption, and everything in between. Willis plays a jaded seasoned cop in one part of the city, and cast members Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Jessica Alba, Benicio Del Toro, and Brittany Murphy round out the quartet of stories.

"It's a hard, viciously funny little movie, one with all the subtlety of a billy club. But there's artistry here." — Stephanie Zacharek, Salon

Die Hard

Metascore: 72
Best for: Fans of Speedand stories where a strong-willed protagonist saves the day
Where to watch:

, Google PlayiTunesVudu
Runtime: 131 minutes

An '80s action classic that paved the way for later blockbuster movies like Speed, John McTiernan's Die Hard sees a New York City cop John McClane (Willis) visiting his estranged wife (Bonnie Bedelia) and two daughters on Christmas Eve in Los Angeles. But the family's night out at a company headquarters holiday party takes a dark turn when the high-rise is taken hostage by a group of terrorists led by the radical Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman). McClane manages to slip away from the hostages and quickly realizes he must step up to save the skyscraper's occupants. 

"A logistical wonder, a marvel of engineering, and relentlessly, mercilessly thrilling." — Hal Hinson, The Washington Post