John Travolta Opened Up About His Friendship With Bruce Willis As He And Pulp Fiction Cast Reunited Without The Actor For 30th Anniversary

 Bruce Willis and John Travolta starring roles in 1994's Pulp Fiction.
Bruce Willis and John Travolta starring roles in 1994's Pulp Fiction.

Believe it or not, 30 years have passed since the release of Quentin Tarantino’s acclaimed action movie and one of the best films of the 90s, Pulp Fiction. Known for its unique mix of wit and stylized action, one of Tarantino’s top-ranked movies continues to be cherished in fans' hearts and minds. Celebrating the milestone, the cast gathered to celebrate its 30th anniversary. One key player was notably absent: Bruce Willis, who retired from acting due to health issues. Amidst the fanfare and nostalgia of the reunion, his co-star, John Travolta, took a moment to warmly reflect on their deep-seated friendship.

The 70-year-old Saturday Night Fever star appeared at a special screening celebrating the 30th anniversary of Pulp Fiction. This event was a highlight of the 2024 TCM Classic Film Festival's Opening Night at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Accompanied by his daughter 24-year-old daughter, Ella, he graced the red carpet and took the opportunity to engage in a conversation with ET. During the chat, he fondly recalled moments from the filming days, paying particular attention to his experiences working alongside Bruce Willis:

Bruce and I had a history. We did Look Who's Talking together, and we had a massive success with it. So we were [friends]. We had been on vacation together, Kelly [Preston] and I with Bruce and Demi [Moore]. So this was not new. We were comfortable with each other.

The friendship between the two stars might have begun on the set of the surprising box office hit Look Who’s Talking but was further cemented during the filming of the Tarantino-helmed crime caper. Pulp Fiction revived John Travolta's career and solidified Bruce Willis' reputation as a versatile actor capable of transitioning from action-packed blockbusters to more nuanced, dramatic roles.

The iconic Blow Out actor noted the ease and genuine care present between the two actors, expressing gratitude for being part of such a remarkable film. He continued:

It was very easy to be with each other and relax, you know? And there was real genuine care. And we felt lucky we were in a very special movie.

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John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction
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Due to his battle with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), Bruce Willis could not be present at the screening. Nonetheless, his presence was felt through his wife, Emma Heming Willis, and his daughter, Tallulah Willis, with whom he shares with former spouse Demi Moore. Both women in his life attended the event on his behalf and definitely represented.

Pulp Fiction made its debut at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1994, securing the prestigious Palme d'Or. It was released in American cinemas in October of the same year to widespread praise. The film was a contender for seven Academy Awards, with the Get Shorty star receiving a nod for Best Actor. It did bring home the gold by winning Quentin Tarantino and his writing partner, Roger Avary, the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

Following Bruce Willis' retirement announcement, Quentin Tarantino paid homage to the celebrated actor's career. He noted how the Golden Globe recipient utilized his fame to collaborate with a diverse group of filmmakers, leaving behind a legacy of standout performances. It goes without saying that the 1994 action film wouldn't have been what it was without Willis' Butch Coolidge. With that in mind, it's wonderful that the likes of John Travolta and Quentin Tarantino continue to honor Willis, not just for his skills as an actor but for his character as a person.

You can revisit Pulp Fiction and enjoy the outstanding performances by John Travolta, Bruce Willis and co. by streaming the movie with a Max subscription. And be sure to look at our 2024 movie schedule to see what other movies are headed to a theater near you.