Bruce Willis celebrates his 63rd birthday today. But rather than get too down about the fact we’re never going to be able to go for a beer with him – we’re free Tuesday and Thursday, Bruce! – we thought we’d celebrate the occasion by giving a run-down of our Top 5 favourite Willis films… Yippee ki-yay, mo-fos!

Top 5 Best Bruce Willis Films

5) The Sixth Sense (1999)

Usually cited as M. Night Shyamalan’s best film – though we’d argue the competition is far from stiff – The Sixth Sense sees Willis stars opposite child star Haley Joel Osment as an accomplished yet troubled child psychologist named Malcolm Crow, who attempts to help the boy through trauma while he sees and talks to the dead. It might not pack nearly as much of a punch on second viewing, but The Sixth Sense is dark, twisted, and packed full of ambience. It’s hard to argue that The Sixth Sense isn’t one of the true great twist films of all time, and a great departure from Willis’ bold and brash heritage.

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4) 12 Monkeys (1995)

Set in the year 2035 where 99% of the world’s population has been wiped out by a deadly virus, 12 Monkeys gives us arguably Bruce Willis’ greatest ever performance. He plays the convict James Cole, and is selected to go back in time to 1996 to investigate the release of the virus. Naturally, things go awry and he’s sent back to 1990 only to be thrown into an asylum, where he meets Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt) who helps him escape. Now back in 1996, Willis and Pitt must save the world from the virus by stopping the army of Twelve Monkeys. Given the film was in the hands of Terry Gilliam, nothing is ever simple in 12 Monkeys with a whole plethora of sci-fi themes dealt with, including time-travel, dystopian futures, and mental health. But it’s the performances of Willis and Pitt which really keep things on track and make the movie a genuine classic of its genre.

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3) The Fifth Element (1997)

Though he’s best known for his place in action movie history, Willis has never been afraid to take on something a bit different. And that description can most definitely be applied to Luc Besson’s futuristic sci-fi thriller, The Fifth Element. Willis plays ex-Major of the Federated Army’s Special Forces turned taxi driver named Korben Dallas. Set in 2263, a spaceship carrying a celestial fifth element is destroyed by the devilish Mangalores. Scientists use the fifth element to create a female humanoid named Leeloo, who escapes the lab and end up in the cab of you know who… Even now, many CGI-filled movies fail to deliver on spectacle, but The Fifth Element is as visually captivating as it is inventive. It’s pop and almost camp undertones also make it much more of a joyride than you’d ever expect from a sci-fi flick.

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2) Pulp Fiction (1994)

Though he was undoubtedly a major star at the time, most of Willis’ early 90s films had been critical and box office disappointments. This meant he had start getting creative with his role choices and went for a secondary character role in a low budget film by Quentin Tarantino, who was fresh off the success of Reservoir Dogs. The film was called Pulp Fiction and his gamble paid off, earning him new respect as an actor and several million dollars in royalties. Pulp Fiction is unquestionably one of the greatest movies ever made with Willis’ Butch Coolidge character perfect for Tarantino’s irreverent and visceral style. It would have taken top spot had our No.1 not been so damn iconic…

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1) Die Hard (1988)

It couldn’t be anything else could it? Die Hard is not about reinventing the wheel – after all it is just an alpha protagonist single-handedly fighting against all the odds to save the day. But John McClane’s (Willis) escapees at Nakatomi Plaza set the standard. Willis is perfect as the blood-soaked NYPD cop who’s as handy with a pistol (and fire hose) as he is a one-liner, while Alan Rickman’s villainous Hans Gruber is as likeable as he ruthless. Add in some of the action genre’s best ever sequences and a zinging script, and what more could you possibly want?! Die Hard is not only the greatest Christmas film of all time (it is), it’s also probably the most iconic action film ever made.

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Another one of our favourite actors, check out what we think are the Top 5 best films of Brad Pitt!

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