Celebrating the Cinematic Legacy of an Unbreakable Hollywood Icon


Reviewed in The L.A. Times, June 11, 2024.

"It’s hard not to read O’Connell’s book as a valediction of sorts, though it is also, as the title suggests, a celebration. The author offers a film-by-film breakdown of Willis’ career, dividing his body of work into categories (including comedies, action movies, sci-fi and the like. The Die Hard franchise gets its own section).

O’Connell, a veteran journalist and author, proves a thoughtful guide, and given the circumstances, it’s perfectly understandable if the book can be overly generous (for instance, describing the critical reaction to the 1991 cat burglar fiasco Hudson Hawk as 'lukewarm').

Here we ride along on a fascinating career that encompassed both stardom and acting as its own reward."

-- Chris Vognar

On a nondescript Wednesday morning in the waning days of March 2023, one of the biggest movie stars on the planet called it quits.

No press conference had been organized, the Hollywood trades received no advance notice, and there was a conspicuous lack of the fanfare that usually accompanies such bombshell announcements. Instead, the news that Bruce Willis was retiring from acting came in a simple statement on his ex-wife Demi Moore's Instagram page--along with the tragic news that Willis was suffering from aphasia, a cognitive disorder that subsequently worsened to become frontotemporal dementia.

It was a sad conclusion to the storied career of a man who had at one point been the highest-paid actor in Hollywood.

That career is the subject of Sean O'Connell's BRUCE WILLIS, a definitive survey of the actor, the cultural icon, and the man. Here, O'Connell compiles exclusive, original interviews with directors who have worked with Willis, as well as film critics and journalists who have analyzed his career, into a celebratory compendium.

It also features the author's analysis of Willis's films, his career arc, and the industry that made him a star. And it includes capsule reviews of every Bruce Willis film, making this a complete handbook to a true American original.


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