Following their popular Frank Sinatra on the Big Screen: The Singer as Actor and Filmmaker and From Connery to Craig: The James Bond Film Series, film historian and scholar James L. Neibaur and film critic Gary Schneeberger releases their third in-depth film book, THE FILMS OF BRUCE WILLIS.

Published by BearManor Media, in THE FILMS OF BRUCE WILLIS Neibaur and Schneeberger examine one of Hollywood’s A-list actors. The book offers the first-ever definitive critical assessment of Willis’ work, taking a deep-dive, film-by-film look at his commitment to stretching himself creatively and thematically in some of the most celebrated films of his generation.


In the chapter, “A BRILLIANT MIND: Willis Before the Movies,” the co-authors of THE FILMS OF BRUCE WILLIS wrote: “It was said of Bruce Willis by a syndicated entertainment columnist when he burst into the pop-culture consciousness as an actor in 1985 that he found overnight success after ten years of hard word. It’s an apt description.”

The book begins with a thumb-nail sketch of Willis’ pre-film life, from his childhood which included his dealing with stuttering, to going into a blue-collar job, to playing the harmonica with a band, to becoming a security guard, to going to college where his speech professor recommended Willis see a speech therapist which would give him the confidence needed to audition for/and land a role in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. That was the moment Willis was bitten by the acting bug. He continued acting in off-Broadway shows while working as a bartender to pay the bills. Then he was cast in ABC’s 1980s hit, Moonlighting, playing a cocksure private eye known for his ever-present smirk. That series launched his film career.

At this point, THE FILMS OF BRUCE WILLIS takes a film-by-film look at Willis’ work. Each chapter begins with the credits of the film, release date, the production company, and running time. It is followed by an in-depth look at the film’s storyline, the acting, the production process, along with quotes from people who were connected with the film and who had opportunity to see Willis’ performance. Each chapter includes the film’s poster and stills from the film.

The chapters also include interesting tidbits that highlight Willis’ dedication to his work, including selling his tickets to the Super Bowl—on the 50-yard line—to do a post-production shoot of an underwater kiss for Blind Date

In the chapter on The Sixth Sense, the authors explained Willis had accepted the role without having read the script. Once he knew the surprise ending, he had to forget about it and act as if his character was a normal person. Another surprise tidbit was the film garnered little interest before its release yet earned half of its $40 million budget on opening weekend, grossing nearly $700 million worldwide, coming in second for highest grossing film of 1999, behind, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

Beyond Willis’ body of work, co-author Neibaur said THE FILMS OF BRUCE WILLIS’s true revelation is Willis’ range as an actor. “He extended far beyond the action hero status by which he is often defined,” he said. “He played many different roles across several genres, and delivered strong, nuanced performances that often were superior to his material. He’d take less pay to do a strong supporting role because it was all about his craft as an actor.”

Co-author Schneeberger said, “Bruce Willis wasn’t always a serious actor, but he was always serious about acting. He delivered starring and supporting performances that were as varied as they were memorable in such films as Pulp Fiction, The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Hart’s War, 16 Blocks and Motherless Brooklyn. And that doesn’t even touch on his successful roles in comedies like Death Becomes Her, The Whole Nine Yards, and RED.”

Neibaur added, “We knew this was the first film-by-film study of Bruce Willis’ work, so we wanted it to be definitive. We hope the readers will come away with a greater respect for Willis as a serious actor who always offered his personal best.”

If you are a fan of Bruce Willis, THE FILMS OF BRUCE WILLIS is a must read. Do yourself a favor and buy two copies of the book. Keep one copy for yourself and use the other copy to loan out to your friends.

About the Authors

James L Neibaur is a film historian and scholar with more than 35 books and hundreds of articles appearing in Cineaste, Classic Images, Film Quarterly, Films in Review, Filmfax and Encyclopedia Brittanica.

Gary Schneeberger is a former journalist and entertainment critic who is president of the public-relations firm ROAR, where he has advised Hollywood studios, U.S. television networks, major publishing houses, and international nonprofits.

Other books by Neibaur and Schneeberger:

Frank Sinatra on the Big Screen: The Singer as Actor and Filmmaker

From Connery to Craig: The James Bond Film Series