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Unbreakable (2000) Poster

(2000)

Trivia

Jump to: Director Cameo (1) | Director Trademark (3) | Spoilers (21)
Writer/director M. Night Shyamalan always had Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson in mind to play the roles of David Dunn and Elijah Price.
Of all the films he's made, this is M. Night Shyamalan's personal favorite.
The glass cane that Elijah Price uses was Samuel L. Jackson's idea.
One of Quentin Tarantino's favorite films.
Charlayne Woodard, who plays the mother to Samuel L. Jackson's character, is actually almost a full five years younger than her on-screen son.
M. Night Shyamalan came up with the idea for the movie while filming The Sixth Sense (1999), which also starred Bruce Willis.
The film derived from the first third of the original script. M. Night Shyamalan felt no connection to the last two thirds of the text, and decided to discard them.
In the scene where Elijah's mother gives him a present placed across the street, it is wrapped in the color purple. This happens to be Samuel L. Jackson's favorite color. His character often wears the color purple. (Samuel also convinced George Lucas to make his lightsaber purple.)
This marks the fourth film to feature Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. The others were Loaded Weapon 1 (1993), Pulp Fiction (1994), and Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995).
The stadium that David Dunn (Bruce Willis) works at is actually Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania. It is the oldest stadium in the country, and the first to have an electronic scoreboard, an upper deck, and the first site of a live radio and television broadcast.
Julianne Moore was offered the part of Audrey Dunn but turned it down to work on Hannibal (2001).
In the scene where David looks back at the drug dealer, played by M. Night Shyamalan, and catches the character furtively staring back, the movie makes use of the scary shiny glasses trope. This trope is commonly used in Japanese manga and animé to indicate the sinister intentions of a villain.
Near the end of the movie, Samuel L. Jackson's character is sitting in his wheelchair below three comic book covers, Thor to the left, Daredevil to the right and Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury was redesigned around this time in the image of Jackson, who went on to play him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, which co-star Thor. Although Daredevil has yet to appear in a movie within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he has appeared in both his own self-titled series, and The Defenders (2017), which are television shows within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Elijah asks David what made him choose protection as a career out of all the things he could have done, such as "founding a chain of restaurants". In reality, Bruce Willis was one of the investors (and highly publicized celebrity "owners") of the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain.
The first comic that Elijah receives is an issue of "Active Comics". The logo is deliberately reminiscent of the original logo of "Action Comics", the series that introduced Superman.
Marsha Dietlein's scenes as "Claire" were all cut from the film.
Second collaboration between Bruce Willis and M. Night Shyamalan after previously working together on The Sixth Sense (1999). Between the two films, Willis transitioned his hairstyle from the receding hairline style he used throughout the 90s, to the completely bald look he has used for most roles and appearances since 2000.
Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, and Chance Kelly all play recurring characters in House of Cards (2013).
In April 2017 M. Night Shyamalan stated there will be a sequel to both "Unbreakable" and "Split", which will be titled "Glass." Actors slated to reprise their roles from the two movies are Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson from Unbreakable and James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy from Split. The current premiere date is set for January 18, 2019.
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Dedicated to Elizabeth Lawrence.

Director Cameo 

M. Night Shyamalan: Stadium drug dealer.

Director Trademark 

M. Night Shyamalan: [Philadelphia] Set in Philadelphia, like most of his films.
M. Night Shyamalan: [car accident] A car accident is a pivotal point in David and Audrey's relationship.
M. Night Shyamalan: [twist ending]

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Since the release of Split (2016), it has been confirmed by M. Night Shyamalan, that they happen in the same universe. He also stated that he intends to make a third movie with characters from both films.
The scene at the stadium of which David Dunn brushes past a mother and child and senses child abuse just before he confronts the drug dealer is believed to be Kevin Crumb and his mother from the movie Split (2016).
Osteogenesis Imperfecta is a real, but rare disease. Australian celebrity and reality television show personality Quentin Kenihan (who is disabled in real life - which was seen and depicted in Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)) was born with the disease.
As in comic books, the main characters have their identified color schemes. David's is green and Elijah's is purple. They show up in their clothes, the wallpaper and bed sheets in their houses, Elijah's note to David, and various personal items, among others.
Several scenes relating to the "Mr. Glass" character involve glass:
  • As a newborn, he's primarily seen reflected in mirrors.


  • As a young child, he's seen reflected in a blank television screen.


  • He leaves his calling card on the windshield of David Dunn's car.


  • He's reflected in a glass frame in his art gallery.


  • His walking stick is made of glass.


Comic books seen behind him in one scene are of Thor, who, for a time during the 1980s, had a curse upon him that made his bones turn brittle and easy to break.
The film is shot as a series of long (very long, by Hollywood standards) tracking shots, often with stark shadows or unusual camera angles, to mimic the storyboard flow of a comic book.
The name Elijah is a Biblical reference. Elijah was prophesied to return to Earth to pave the way for the coming of the Son of David, a savior.
When Elijah's mother gives her son his first comic book, she mentions that it is a good one with a surprise ending. Her quote foreshadows the plot of the movie.
Bruce Willis' character is named David Dunn. It is very common for the "secret identities" of comic book heroes, particularly the Marvel ones, to be alliterative (e.g. Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Matt Murdock and Reed Richards). Even DC's Superman was also Clark Kent who had a somewhat alliterative name, and many "LL" costars including Lois Lane and Lex Luthor.
At the end of Split (2016), there is a cameo from Bruce Willis reprising his roll as David Dunn, which hints at a possible movie tie-in.
The use of bright saturated colors (red, blue, orange, et cetera) in a scene of muted color is intended to be reminiscent of a comic-book. This is used most notably to highlight the people in David's visions, but is also used on other occasions (e.g. the little girl in the yellow coat on the train).
M. Night Shymalan has said that the only way he'll make a third "Unbreakable" movie is if he can come with an idea for a movie that can also stand on it's own.
The newspaper article telling of David's heroism reads: SAVED "Hero" Rescues two children; Parents found dead in house Byline: By Nicole Marsella TELEGRAPH STAFF WRITER Story: Police today are investigating what appears to have been a home invasion that left three dead in Bala Cynwyd. Law enforcement agents and detectives are baffled by the circumstances and motivations of a good Samaritan who last night rescued two small children. Details of the incident are sketchy, but police believe that after freeing the children, the unknown hero struggled with, and killed, the home invader responsible for the deaths of the parents. The police are still puzzling over the identity of the "hero". The children described him as approximately six feet tall, wearing a dark green hooded rain poncho. The children's names have been withheld until notification of next of kin. Police, at this time, are still trying to determine the identity of the alleged assailant. Any information leading to his identity would be greatly appreciated by the Philadelphia Police. Police made a grisly discovery after being summoned to the suburban house by neighbors. ...(illegible).
Elijah Price's distinctive hairstyle was based on the Civil War-era activist Frederick Douglass, whose name coincidentally contains the word "Glass".
When David and his son first meet Elijah, there is a protracted shot, when the son has gone out of the room, when the lampshade on the desk is perfectly positioned behind David's head and looks like an aura or halo.
David's green raincoat makes him bear a striking resemblance to the DC Comics character The Spectre, an Immortal being, tasked with punishing the wicked. Like David, he wears a green hood that obscures his face.
In the train scene at the beginning of the movie, a ticking clock noise can be heard. This ticking stops just before the train accelerates and loses control.
We see four characters die on-screen, and hear about a total of 513 other off-screen deaths.
David often wears a hooded raincoat, resembling the cape-and-hood costumes of many traditional superhero characters.
At 1:39:58 into the movie, there is a newspaper headline that reads "Mudslide in Mexico kills all expect newborn". Possible movie typo should read Mudslide in Mexico kills all 'except' newborn.
As a hint to the "why" of David's situation, the back of his parka reads "Security". Also when he follows the worker in the railroad station, a sign above the door the worker exits through reads "Maintenance".

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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