Ten Of Bruce Willis’s Most Awesomely Badass Moments

slice die hard bruce willis 01 Ten Of Bruce Williss Most Awesomely Badass Moments

We all know that Bruce Willis is a badass. Even in Moonlighting, he was a badass.  Hell, when he did the voice of that baby opposite John Travolta? Even THEN he was a badass. He was a badass when he was just being Bruce, a badass when he was playing a character, a badass even when the role did not demand badassery.

Bruce Willis’s badass credentials did not really get going until a certain film about the difficulty of human expiration came out in 1988, at which point all the amalgamated badassness he had been storing up since he was a small child burst upon the screen. And it’s been pretty much uphill ever since. He’s played badasses who time traveled, badasses who saved the world, badasses who saved small children, badasses who became superheroes, badasses who never wanted to be superheroes, badasses who did the right thing even when it meant his own death.

He’s also worked with many great fellow badasses like Arnold Schwartzenegger, Samuel L. Jackson, Alan Rickman, Jeremy Irons, Sylvester Stallone, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Ving Rhames, and John Malkovich. He has educated the next generation of badasses in the ways of badassery. Basically, Bruce Willis one badass mutha.

With A Good Day To Die Hard coming out on that most auspicious of days – Valentine’s Day – we thought it a good idea to recall the sheer badassedness of this most badass of individuals in some of his selected badass moments across his badass career. Badass? Yup.

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Bruce Will Be Back (The Expendables 2)

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The Expendables 2 is so chock-full of badasses that the screen has difficulty holding them all at once. It was a film that brought together, if only for a few seconds, the badasses of yesteryear (Stallone, Schwartzenegger, Van Damme, Norris, Lundgren and our own Mr. Willis) with the badasses of today and tomorrow (Jason Statham, Liam Hemsworth, Terry Crews). And while it will never claim to be a great work of cinematic art, it was undoubtedly a work of cinematic badassery.

One of the more epic moments comes when Sly Stallone, Arnold Schwartzenegger and Bruce Willis all pick up guns together and blow some stuff up. Bruce’s Mr. Church is helped along in his badassness by his fellow Planet Hollywood compatriots.  I was so pleased to see Mr. Church, who only gets a few awesome seconds on screen in the first Expendables, finally getting to shoot things.

But the moment that really stands out is when he says to Arnie “You already got to be back. I’ll be back.”

Taking over another badass’s signature line? Yeah. You got to be awesome for that.

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Bruce Does Not Like Mayonnaise (The Whole Nine Yards)

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Of course, not all of Bruce’s badassery lies in his ability to blow things up. No, sometimes he’s a badass just by standing there. Witness the scene in The Whole Nine Yards, when Matthew Perry introduces himself to Bruce, his new neighbor.

First we learn that Bruce is a contract killer, through a series of flashbacks and newspaper headlines, after he exposes the tulip tattoo on his forearm. Matthew Perry is understandably freaked out by that, but then what happens? Bruce talks about mayonnaise and how wrong it is to put it on hamburgers.

“Every red-blooded American knows that the only condiment you put on your hamburger is KETCHUP!”

After freaking out, Bruce smiles that charming, Bruce Willis, ‘I’m pretty much awesome’ smile. Is he crazy? Yes. But crazy like a badass.

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Bruce Saves The Fifth Element (The Fifth Element)

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The Fifth Element
is Bruce Willis at the top of his badass game. As Korben Dallas, the toughest Brooklyn cab driver of the 23rd Century (and a former Special Op who’s the only one of his unit to survive), Bruce winds up rescuing Milla Jovovich from the police. In the end, he saves everyone from Gary Oldman and, you know, ultimate evil. Who do you call when you want to fight aliens in the 23rd Century? You call Bruce Willis, of course. Why wouldn’t you call Bruce Willis?

The badass moment? Well, there are lots, but on this one I’ll just go with Bruce doing the right thing. Despite having points on his license, despite being in a very precarious position, and despite not wanting to get into even more trouble, he decides against turning Jovovich over to the cops when she asks him for help. A damsel in distress asking Bruce Willis for help? He’s not going to pass that one up, is he? Nope. Cue an air-taxi chase across 23rd Century New York, with Bruce as cool as dry ice as the cops come after him. He even finds time to make a few wisecracks in between all the weaving around the skyways.

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Bruce Crashes A Police Car Into A Helicopter (Die Hard 4.0: Live Free Or Die Hard)

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Let’s face it: this entire list could be made up of moments from the four Die Hard movies. So I’m just going to choose one or two pretty badass moments and let it stand at that.

We can all agree that Die Hard 4.0 (I prefer the subtitle Live Free Or Die Hard) is not the best of the Die Hard sequels – my money goes to Die Hard With A Vengeance, due to the badass trifecta of Bruce, Jeremy Irons and Samuel L. Jackson. But, Die Hard 4.0 is simply a great thrill ride. It’s another example of our man just wanting to be left alone, but in this case he has to go all Liam Neeson and rush off to save his daughter from a evil bastard. With the help of his little hacker friend Justin Long, Bruce wrecks a good section of Washington D.C.

The badass moment here, though, is the scene where Bruce is chased down a tunnel, causes a massive pile-up, and finally launches a police car into the baddies’ helicopter. They thought they could bring Bruce Willis down with yet another helicopter? That did not work in 1988 and it is not going to work now.

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Bruce Chases Ben With A Shotgun (Armageddon)

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Armageddon is perhaps the only Michael Bay film I agreed to watch a second time.  Not because it’s a good film – it’s not – but because: Bruce Willis. He’s just out there, improbably saving the world from giant asteroids and Aerosmith via his amazing skills at drilling holes in things. He also finds time to reconnect with his daughter, learn to be an astronaut, and chase Ben Affleck with a shotgun.

Again, as with most Bruce movies, Bruce has a lot of badass moments here. Sacrificing yourself to save the life of your daughter’s boyfriend? Saving the earth from a comet just by virtue of your badass stare? That’s pretty badass. But here I have to go with a much earlier scene: the one where Bruce chases Ben Affleck with a shotgun. This is why you don’t sleep with Bruce’s daughter, Ben. Hope you learned your lesson.

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Bruce Defies The Laws Of Physics (RED)

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Was I the only one who thought RED was awesome? Old people blowing stuff up! Helen Mirren with a machine gun! John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, and Bruce Willis all on the same screen! C’mon! It’s overloaded with gravitas. I admit that I enjoy the kinds of movies that bring together great actors and just them let be together on the same screen. I would honestly watch this group of people sit around and talk about their grandkids.

Anyways, so many badass moments to choose from, but the award goes to the brief but really cool scene when Karl Urban’s rival hitman comes after Bruce and Mary Louise Parker. The car spins out of control and y’know what Bruce does? He gets out of the car, as it’s spinning, and shoots up Urban. Doesn’t even break stride as the fender whips past his heels. What he does, by the way, is physically impossible. F**k you, Isaac Newton. He’s Bruce Willis.

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Bruce Gets Hung (Sin City)

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I have mixed feelings about Sin City, but there’s nothing mixed about Bruce’s role in it: he’s all badass. As the toughest of tough cops, he goes after the Yellow Bastard (Nick Stahl) for all he’s worth. He’s shot, he’s beaten, he’s arrested for a crime he did not commit, but it’s OK, because the children he was trying to protect are safe. But when Junior returns and threatens Jessica Alba, there’s only one thing Bruce can do. He has to protect her no matter what.

For this badass moment, though, there’s none better than when all seems lost. Stahl has hung our Bruce in a motel room while he goes off to do unspeakable things to Jessica Alba. No one is going to survive this. No one but Bruce Willis. He smashes the window with his bare feet, cuts himself free, and beats the hell out of the two guys coming to collect his body. Only Bruce can kill Bruce, and of course he’ll do it in order to save Jessica Alba. Bruce Willis, ladies and gentlemen: the man with the iron neck.

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Bruce Goes Back In Time To Beat Himself Up (Looper)

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Yes, yes, we all loved Looper. It screwed with our minds in a pleasant way. It brought together Bruce Willis and future badass Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It is an excellent entry in the sub-genre ‘Bruce Willis Travels Through Time’ movies (see also: 12 Monkeys). Even though I think they played fast and loose with some of those time-traveling rules, it was still a fun piece of cinema.

There are two really badass moments in Looper. One is the bloodbath nearing the end, where Bruce shoots just about everyone, including Jeff Daniels. That scene reminded me too much of other badass moment in Bruce’s stellar career, so I don’t feel the need to include it. Then there’s the scene in the diner where Bruce Willis meets his younger self in the form of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. After explaining to his younger self just what a dick he is, Bruce then proceeds to beat the kid up. So: Bruce Willis is such a badass that he travels back in time to kick his younger self’s ass.

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Bruce Kills Zed (Pulp Fiction)

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Bruce has a long history of being a somewhat reluctant badass. He doesn’t really want to fight people all the time – it just sort of happens to him. He’s the guy that just wants to go home to his wife and kids for Christmas. Will they let him? Of course they won’t. So he has to kill everyone.

Case in point: Bruce’s sequence in Pulp Fiction. The poor guy only wants to get his Dad’s watch back, but instead he winds up found out by the mob boss he screwed over (Ving Rhames), then imprisoned by crazy hillbilly rapists. Great. But after Bruce escapes and can get away totally free, y’know what he does? He goes back to save Ving Rhames. With a massive samurai sword and a LOT of blood. By the time Bruce gets through with him, Zed is really and truly dead, and Bruce has his motorcycle.

Having the option of hundreds of different weapons and choosing the samurai sword to enact righteous vengeance on the bad guys? That’s pretty badass.

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Bruce Says A Naughty Word (Die Hard)

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Die Hard inaugurated Bruce’s badassery. The whole film could adequately be described as one massive Badass Bruce Willis moment. There’s the scene where he walks barefoot across broken glass. Or the one where he kicks Alexander Gudonov’s ass. Or perhaps jumping off a building while the roof and a helicopter explode behind him. Or the part where he kills Alan Rickman.

But if I have to choose a scene – and there are so many to choose from – it would be wrong not to select Bruce’s most iconic line, that moment when he tells Alan Rickman (another cinematic badass) that he’s not going down without a fight. It’s a line that was sanitized in Die Hard 4.0, but will hopefully be back for A Good Day To Die Hard. It damn well better be.

So say it with me: “Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker.”

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bruce willis die hard 5 Ten Of Bruce Williss Most Awesomely Badass Moments

Is this a comprehensive list? No. Did I miss out on badass moments in 12 Monkeys, The Jackal, Unbreakable, and two out of four Die Hards? Yes I did. So here’s what you need to do: go to Netflix, or Red Box, and get some badass Bruce Willis movies. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Then go see A Good Day To Die Hard on February 14 for the next installment of Bruce Willis and his badass self.

All hail Bruce Willis, The Ultimate Badass.

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  • pick up bart

    or how about the moment he attended the premiere of Charlie’s Angels 2

  • skunkybeaumont

    That scene is almost bloodless and Zed doesn’t die on screen, Butch killed Maynard with the sword, Marsellus blew Zed’s genitals off with a shotgun and promised to get medieval later. Nice try though.

    • Lauren

      Dude, there’s blood everywhere. Just watched it. But you’re right – I confused Zed with Maynard. Peace.

    • Lauren

      That scene is not even remotely bloodless, but you’re right: I confused Maynard with Zed. I was blinded by the sheer intensity of Bruce’s badassery. It’s difficult to handle, y’know?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=746875316 Jon ‘Jonny’ Preece

    i think springsteen and willis can share “the boss” title aswell as bruce

  • Halsmovierevue15

    So many Die Hard references, which are great, but to leave out some of his shoot out scenes with Christopher Walken in Last Man Standing is ridiculous. At worst, they’re better than The 5th Element.