The Best Bruce Willis Military Movie Is Leaving Netflix

By Douglas Helm | Updated

Tears of the Sun

The great Bruce Willis is, unfortunately, retiring from acting due to his aphasia diagnosis, but the actor has given us plenty of amazing films over the years that we can look back on and enjoy. One of his more underseen films is the military movie Tears of the Sun from 2003. If you’ve never seen this one, it’s a great time to head over to Netflix and watch it this week, before it leaves the service on September 1.

Bruce Willis stars in Tears of the Sun with the director of Training Day, Antoine Fuqua, and it’s now on Netflix.

Tears of the Sun stars Bruce Willis as Lieutenant A.K. Waters, who leads a unit of US Navy Seals who seek to extract U.S. citizen Dr. Lena Fiore Kendricks (Monica Bellucci) from a hospital during the Nigerian Civil War. Along with starring in the film, Willis also produced it through his Cheyenne Enterprises company. The film was directed by Antoine Fuqua with a screenplay co-written by Alex Lasker and Patrick Cirillo.

Along with Bruce Willis and Monica Bellucci, the film starred Tom Skerritt, Cole Hauser, Paul Francis, Eamonn Walker, Johnny Messner, Nick Chinlund, Charles Ingram, Chad Smith, Cornelia Hayes O’Herlihy, Fionnula Flanagan, Pierrino Mascarino, Peter Mensah, Malick Bowens, Akosua Busia, Sammi Rotibi, and Benjamin Ochieng. The cast also consisted of African refugees living in the United States.

Adding to the film’s commitment to realism, scenes were even shot on the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier, which frequently had to be turned about so Fuqua could get the right lighting conditions for his scenes.

Monica Belluci in Tears of the Sun

Tears of the Sun did manage to be a modest box office success, pulling in around $86.4 million at the global box office. It may have done better, but the film was critically panned, with many of the critiques citing the film’s lack of substance, those it’s stylish and pretty to look at. Audiences were warmer with their reviews, as it has a 69 percent on Rotten Tomatoes from audiences who cited Bruce Willis’ solid performance and the visuals as reasons to check the movie out.

Bruce Willis and Antoine Fuqua didn’t get along on the set of Tears of the Sun, but the film was well-received by fans and turned a profit despite the on-set turmoil.

Tears of the Sun certainly won’t be considered one of Bruce Willis’ best efforts, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the watch. If you’re looking for an action movie, then there are certainly worse options out there.

Now that Bruce Willis has officially retired from acting, we likely won’t be seeing any new projects from him. His worsening aphasia has made it difficult for Willis to work, and now he can focus on his health rather than acting in various projects. Over the past few years, Willis has been cranking out a ton of movies that have low budgets and that have been critically panned.

Bruce Willis in Tears of the Sun

The most recent movie Bruce Willis made was Assassin, which came out in 2023 and was similarly panned as his other previous efforts. Some other films that Willis has made over the past few years include Vendetta, Paradise City, Gasoline Alley, and multiple films in the Detective Knight franchise. If you haven’t heard of these films, it’s likely because they weren’t made for much, and many of them didn’t get wide theatrical releases.

When it was revealed that Bruce Willis had aphasia, it made more sense that he was pumping out these low-budget films, considering they have shorter production runways and allowed him to make money without the typically lengthy production process that comes with big-budget films.

In fact, 2019 is the last time we’ve seen Willis in a properly big-budget blockbuster. 2019 was a solid year for Willis, as we saw him in films like Motherless Brooklyn, The Lego Movie Part 2: The Second Part, and the end of his M. Night Shyamalan Unbreakable trilogy, Glass.

Bruce Willis has tragically retired from acting but left behind a vast catalog of fun films for generations to enjoy.

While his recent B-movie efforts are mostly skippable, we can always turn to Netflix and other streamers to see some of Bruce Willis’ best efforts. For instance, you can check out films like Pulp Fiction and Unbreakable on Max, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. If you’re in the mood for a full-on action film then you can also watch Willis’ classic Die Hard on Hulu and, weirdly, Disney+.

In the meantime, make sure to check out Tears of the Sun before it leaves on September 1. As mentioned, it isn’t the best Bruce Willis film out there, but it isn’t the worst. You can stream it now on Netflix.