With the news of Bruce Willis stepping away from acting due to his diagnosis of aphasia that has unfortunately progressed into frontotemporal dementia reaching many fans of his. A lot of people have showered him and his family with love and support. Bruce Willis was, and frankly, still is, a movie star if there ever was one. He hit the big screen in the action films of the late 1980s. In an era with big muscles and machine guns, Willis had his charm, and with it came a lot of memorable quotes.
Bruce Willis knew how to be macho on screen while also being an everyman. His iconic performance as Detective John McClane in the Die Hard franchise is a perfect example of just that. But some other roles also have included unforgettable quotes that we still try to incorporate into conversations to this day. Bruce is still here with us, and we want him to know his contribution to cinema will never be forgotten. Here are 10 of his most iconic quotes.
10 Die Hard 2 (1990) – “How can the same sh*t happen to the same guy twice?”
We love the character John McClane for many reasons, hence why Willis’ performance of the character will be on this list multiple times. But in Die Hard 2, McClane says what we are all thinking in regard to his situation of having to be the hero of the day when all he was doing was just waiting for his wife at the airport. The line can be heard right here, and it is another reason why we love McClane’s commentary on his frustrating situation of having to go kill terrorists. It’s proof that he is one of us if we are to ever fall into a hairy situation.
9 Looper (2012) – “I can remember what you do after you do it. And it hurts.”
Looper has one of the last great Bruce Willis roles we’ve had in the past decade. It’s bittersweet watching Willis in this scene now as he talks about memories, as we now know about his current state of well-being. Rian Johnson’s science fiction time travel film is a remarkable movie, and one of the most standout scenes of the whole film is where Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt both sit down face-to-face and have a harsh, existential discussion about time travel.
And just so you know, both actors play older and younger versions of the same character. Rian Johnson is a great director and an even greater writer. This diner scene is in the middle of the film and does a magnificent job of moving the plot forward.
8 Live Free or Die Hard (2007) – “I was out of bullets.”
By the time we reach the fourth installment in the Die Hard franchise, Live Free of Die Hard, John McClane is more of a superhero than an actual tough-as-nails cop. Regardless, McClane literally jumps out of a moving car, which launches into the sky and collides with a helicopter full of bad guys, killing them instantly. When Matt (Justin Long) approaches McClane, letting him know that he just took out a helicopter with a car, McClane replies, “I was out of bullets.”
7 The Fifth Element (1997) – “Look lady I’m all for conversation, but maybe you can shut up for a minute.”
One of the best things about The Fifth Element is the chemistry that both Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich share on screen. Both characters have a brilliant arcs. Willis plays Korbin Dallas, a guy who didn’t really ask to be in the situation he is in, as he has a supreme being land into his life. His relationship with Leelo is funny at times as she rants in a language he knows nothing of, and when he gets overwhelmed, he has to say the quote above to cool his nerves.
6 Die Hard (1988) “Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs.”
A true wisecracking New York City police detective, John McClane is. After defeating the first wave of bad guys in Die Hard, McClane finds himself climbing an elevator shaft and crawling through an air conditioning duct. Die Hard is full of memorable shots, and one of them is the close-up on McClane letting us know his inner monologue about how he really didn’t ask to be in this situation by speaking the line, “Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs.”
Knowing that actors like Schwarzenegger, Stallone, and many other macho action stars of the 1980s were in the running for this role is a crazy thought. Because nobody else could deliver this level of sarcasm like Willis could.
5 The Sixth Sense (1999) “What do you think these ghosts want when they talk to you?”
The Sixth Sense is one of the scariest movies of all time. But it is also a great drama, and the film shows Bruce Willis has a lot of range as an actor. Willis plays Dr. Malcolm Crowe, who shares the screen with Haley Joel Osment as Cole Sear, a boy who sees dead people in his everyday life. Osment delivers the iconic line, “I see dead people”, but Willis has a line in the film that is often overlooked when it comes to progressing the plot forward and even building to the movie’s unforgettable twist at the end. Malcolm asks Cole, “what do you think these ghosts want when they talk to you?” It is here that we learn that these ghosts don’t want to hurt or frighten him. They actually want help.
4 Armageddon (1998) “We Win, Gracie”
Armageddon has a lot going on in it. It’s a high-octane action film about saving the world from an asteroid the size of Texas that is coming right at us. An all-star cast outside of Willis that includes Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Billy Bob Thorton, and Steve Buscemi. Even in a bad Michael Bay film, and Armageddon isn’t even that bad, there is always a great sentimental theme in it. Here it’s the father-daughter bond between Willis’ character Harry Stamper and Liv Tyler’s role as his daughter, Grace.
In order for the world to be saved, a man must stay behind on the asteroid to detonate the nuke. Harry sacrifices himself after a tear-jerking scene where he says goodbye to his daughter. As he detonates the bomb, he utters the words, “We win, Gracie.”
3 Die Hard (1988) “Welcome to the party, pal”
The buildup to McClane delivering the line, “Welcome to the party, pal.” in Die Hard is a real crowd-pleaser. It’s a satisfying moment when, after a gunfight, McClane spots police officer Sgt. Powell (Reginald VelJohnson) leaving after thinking the distress call to Nakatomi Plaza was a fluke. He throws a dead body out the window and onto his police cruiser, scaring the crap out of Powell but thus getting the police involved now. The line fits perfectly, as this is the way McClane gets the ball rolling by exposing what’s going on in the building.
2 Pulp Fiction (1994) “Zed’s Dead, Baby. Zed’s Dead”
Pulp Fiction featured a long list of characters in major and minor roles. The film has an ensemble cast full of the best of the best at the time in a movie that wasn’t like what everyone else was doing at the time. Pulp Fiction has multiple stories, all woven into each other. In one of the stories, Willis plays Butch Coolidge, a boxer who runs off with the money from the mob after he refuses to lose a fight for them. What follows is a strange and wild occurrence as Butch ends up saving the mob boss whom he wronged from being tortured, sexually assaulted, and eventually killed by a criminal named Zed.
The story is capped off with Butch picking up his girlfriend, and she wonders where he got the motorcycle from. Butch tells him it’s Zed’s motorcycle. She asks who Zed is, and the line that follows puts a stamp on the story in a way only Quentin Tarantino could craft it : “Zed’s dead, baby. Zed’s dead.”
1 Die Hard (1988) “Yippie Ki Yay Mother F***er”
What else did you expect to top this list? If this hasn’t been mentioned yet, then you should get it by now: John McClane is the most iconic role of Bruce Willis’ career. There are so many catchphrases throughout the Die Hard franchise. But no matter where you rank them, the Roy Rodgers-inspired, “Yippie Ki-Yay” is the best one. McClane adds his own personal touch to it with a “Mother F***er” at the end as he chats with the film’s villain, Hans Gruber, over the radio. The delivery of the lie is subtle; it almost should be forgetful. But anytime in life when you are doing something wild, you just want to shout it from the rooftops.
McClane is a cowboy, as the film’s antagonist likes to call him. So hence, he needs a gunslinger slogan to go along with his persona and adds on to that his personal touch. It is argued that it is the greatest one-liner in movie history. That is debatable, but is sure does deserve to be at the top of this list.