“It’s one of the crappiest movies ever made”: Bruce Willis’ Biggest Regret is this Tom Hanks $15M Movie Which was Humiliated at the Box Office

Bruce Willis’ Biggest Regret is this Tom Hanks $15M Movie Which was Humiliated at the Box Office
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The quintessential action hero and rising movie stars of the late 80s and 90s, Bruce Willis and Tom Hanks, had taken an infamous and heavily celebrated fictional novel from 1987 – Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities and starred in the eponymous film only to be ruthlessly bullied into submission and critical failure by the press and media of the time. 

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The film was not yet out by the time the people’s verdict doomed Bonfire. Unfortunately, it seems even Willis and Hanks have also come to the same conclusion – deriding the film into accepting its preordained fate. 

Tom Hanks and Bruce Willis in The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)
Tom Hanks and Bruce Willis in The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)

Also read: “They’re going to laugh you off the screen”: Bruce Willis Was Trolled By Producer For Auditioning For Die Hard, Claimed He Didn’t Look Like an Action Hero

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Bruce Willis Cannot Forgive His Panned 1990 Film

Despite the infamy in which the 1987 source text was shrouded throughout its 3-year long installment-wise publication in Rolling Stone (later heavily revised before the novel’s publication in October 1987), the 1990 film adapted for the screen by Brian De Palma failed to bring in a similarly enthusiastic reception from the crowd. 

Bruce Willis claimed that among other reasons, the casting choices of the lead duo had a primary role to play in the malignment of the mass and media opinion. 

“It was stillborn, dead before it ever got out of the box. It was another film that was reviewed before it hit the screen. The critical media didn’t want to see a movie that cast the literary world in a shady light. But they were right. I was miscast. I know that Tom Hanks thinks he was, too.

The movie was based on a great book. But one problem with the story, when it came to the film, was that there was no one in it you could root for. In most successful movies, there’s someone to cheer on.”

Bruce Willis in The Bonfire of the Vanities
Bruce Willis in The Bonfire of the Vanities

Also read: Despite Appearing for Just 33% of the Movie, Bruce Willis Earned Top Dollar in Henry Cavill Film With Abysmal 4% Rotten Tomatoes Rating

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Willis grew to hate the film with such an unparalleled vehemence that he outright came out and claimed, “The only movie I would not do again, given the opportunity, is Bonfire of the Vanities.” The Die Hard star was not alone in his grief as Tom Hanks had issued a similar declaration calling it “one of the crappiest movies ever made.”

Bonfire of the Vanities Fails To Replicate Its Text’s Intensity

The Tom Wolfe novel, which stands out as a social critique on issues of race and class and the many facets of the legal system working to bring justice to those who seek it, was a complete narrative arc with an essential thread of relevance tying the entire plot together. Wolfe’s text was primarily inspired by several race-driven shootings and murders of Black individuals and youths across predominantly white American neighborhoods. 

The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)
The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)

Also read: “That was driving me nuts about the project”: Tom Hanks Was “Cranky” the Entire Time He Was Filming $227M Movie With Tom Cruise’s Top Gun 2 Co-star

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However, the film sought to bring the tenacity and grit of the text to its fullest form while also attempting to keep it irreverent, amusing, witty, fun, and satirical in its commentary for the sake of the audience. The plot simply couldn’t hold up to a grueling examination of its shortcomings simply because there were too many. The Bonfire of the Vanities holds a paltry 15% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 

The Bonfire of the Vanities is available for streaming on the Roku Channel. 

Source: The Oprah Winfrey Show

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Written by Diya Majumdar

Articles Published: 1488

With a degree in Literature from Miranda House, Diya Majumdar now has nearly 1500 published articles on FandomWire. Her passion and profession both include dissecting the world of cinema while being a liberally opinionated person with an overbearing love for Monet, Edvard Munch, and Van Gogh. Other skills include being the proud owner of an obsessive collection of Spotify playlists.