Revisit the best Bill Pullman movies before Independence Day: Resurgence!
For thirty years, Bill Pullman has regularly appeared in feature films, but he’ll always be one of our favorite cinematic presidents for his turn in the first Independence Day film. Harrison Ford’s president may have kicked terrorists off of his plane in Air Force One, but Pullman’s president Thomas J. Whitmore got to kick aliens off the entire planet and fly a jet during the pivotal battle for humanity. Whitmore also had that famous “4th of July” speech that will be on YouTube until the end of time.
Pullman will revisit that role in just under a month in the long-awaited Independence Day: Resurgence. Not even Hollywood can keep President Whitmore in office two decades later, but we’d be shocked if he didn’t have a major inspirational speech in this one too.
Ahead of his return in Independence Day: Resurgence on June 24, ComingSoon.net is looking back at ten of the best Bill Pullman movies.
Bill Pullman Movies Spotlight: Ruthless People (1986)
Ruthless People was actually Pullman’s big break into the industry, and it’s a pretty good start when you can co-star alongside Danny DeVito and Bette Midler at the peak of their careers! Pullman played Earl, the boyfriend of Carol (Anita Morris), who just happened to be the mistress of DeVito’s Sam Stone. Midler was Sam’s kidnapped wife, Barbara, whom he would rather see dead then returned to him.
Despite what it sounds like, this film actually was a comedy… and a pretty good one too! It also set Pullman on the road to bigger roles.
Bill Pullman Movies Spotlight: Spaceballs (1987)
Spaceballs may not be considered one of Mel Brooks‘ greatest comedies, but it’s still really funny! Pullman played the Han Solo-like Lone Starr, who also had to end up taking the Luke Skywalker role against Rick Moranis’ pathetically evil Dark Helmet. The late, great John Candy co-starred as Barf, who was basically Lone Starr’s Chewbacca.
Believe it or not, this was actually Pullman’s second movie and he’s technically in the leading role, although Brooks, Candy, and Moranis all had their names above Pullman’s in the film’s posters.
Bill Pullman Movies Spotlight: The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)
Back in the ‘80s, appearing in a horror film was like starring in a superhero movie today. Everybody did it! For Pullman’s rite of passage, he starred in director Wes Craven’s The Serpent and the Rainbow. Pullman had the leading role as Dennis Alan, an anthropologist who was sent to Haiti in order to recover a so-called zombie drug.
Naturally, Dennis found more than he bargained for, and even fleeing back to the States didn’t stop his seemingly otherworldly enemy from following him. This was one of Craven’s less flashy horror films, and this time Pulman’s name was at the top of the credits.
Bill Pullman Movies Spotlight: Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
Sleepless in Seattle is one of the most famous romantic comedies of all time, and you probably forgot that Pullman was even in this movie. That’s because he was the Ralph Bellamy. You know, the guy who doesn’t end up with the girl. In this case, the girl was Meg Ryan’s Annie, who had stronger feelings for Tom Hanks’ Sam. But first, Annie had to break things off with Pullman’s Walter.
But this wasn’t Pullman’s last romantic comedy, and he had better luck the next time!
Bill Pullman Movies Spotlight: While You Were Sleeping (1995)
Just when Sandra Bullock started hitting it big, she headlined the romantic comedy While You Were Sleeping as Lucy, a woman who inadvertently conned an injured man’s family into thinking that she was engaged to him. It’s actually more innocent than it sounds, especially since she saved his life.
Pullman played Jack, the brother of Lucy’s fake fiancé who inevitably fell in love with her. That’s just how these things go, people! But this time, Pullman wasn’t the Bellamy and Jack got his happy ending with Lucy.
Bill Pullman Movies Spotlight: Independence Day (1996)
Independence Day is widely considered to be the movie that made Will Smith a box office draw, but it did a lot for Bill Pullman too. His character, President Thomas J. Whitmore, was one of the central figures in the film. And while Jeff Goldblum’s character was technically in the lead, everyone still remembers Whitmore’s speech as one of the most iconic part of the movie.
It may have been totally unrealistic for Whitmore to join the final assault on the alien ship, but don’t you just love a president who could do that?
Bill Pullman Movies Spotlight: Lost Highway (1997)
The year after ID4 hit, Pullman starred in David Lynch’s Lost Highway… and it’s a weird one! Pullman played a man named Fred, who was framed for the murder of his wife Renée (Patricia Arquette), and then somehow he morphed into Balthazar Getty’s Pete and encountered a doppelganger of his wife who was calling herself Alice.
Some of the events in the movie are open to interpretation, and that ending was certainly ambiguous…
Bill Pullman Movies Spotlight: Zero Effect (1998)
Zero Effect wasn’t exactly loved by audiences or critics upon its release, and it was a relatively inexpensive bomb at the box office. But there was definitely something fun about Pullman’s turn as “the world’s greatest detective,” Daryl Zero, with Ben Stiller as his reluctant sidekick, Steve Arlo. NBC even tried to make Zero Effect into a TV series four years later with Alan Cumming taking over the role from Pullman. It didn’t go beyond the pilot episode, so Zero Effect is still only a flawed film that is also enjoyable.
Bill Pullman Movies Spotlight: Lake Placid (1999)
The late ‘90s was the beginning of Pullman’s career nadir. He still worked constantly, but he wasn’t getting the same roles that he used to land. One of Pullman’s last headlining roles in the ‘90s came in Lake Placid, a horror comedy written by David E. Kelley, which is just odd when you think about it.
Lake Placid was actually a modest box office hit, and it spawned several direct-to-video sequels and even TV movies, but Pullman didn’t appear in any of those. He got out while he could.
Bill Pullman Movies Spotlight: Surveillance (2008)
In 2008, Pullman and Julia Ormond headlined Jennifer Lynch’s Surveillance, a thriller in which they played FBI agents Hallaway and Anderson. The duo was investigating a series of killings in Nebraska by interviewing the survivors. After nearly a decade of smaller and supporting roles, this film offered Pullman a chance to once again play the most important character in the movie.[Gallery not found]