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David Dunn is a fictional character and protagonist in M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable film series, portrayed by American actor Bruce Willis. Dunn is a former college football prodigy and a security guard who discovers he has superhuman abilities. He is the protagonist in Unbreakable, has a minor cameo in Split, and again is a major character in Glass.

David Dunn
Unbreakable character
David Dunn as portrayed by Bruce Willis in Unbreakable
First appearanceUnbreakable (2000)
Last appearanceGlass (2019)
Created byM. Night Shyamalan
Portrayed byBruce Willis
Davis Duffield
  • The Overseer
  • The Green Guard / Guardian
  • The Tip Toe Man
  • The Enforcer
  • The Protector
OccupationSecurity guard
Football player (formerly)
SpouseAudrey Dunn (deceased)
ChildrenJoseph Dunn (son)


Fictional character biographyEdit

David Dunn was born in Philadelphia and became a football player during college before being caught in a car accident with his girlfriend Audrey. David is left unharmed but Audrey is injured. This causes David to quit football to be with Audrey.

In the year 2000, David boards the Eastrail 177 train home but is later caught in a crash. David is recovered and is examined by doctors who reveal he was the only survivor of 132 other passengers and hasn't broken a single bone. This grabs the attention of comic book store owner Elijah Price who contacts David to taunt him by convincing David he has unique superhuman abilities. He then interrogates David about any similar past incidents in an attempt to expose his abilities. This begins to scare David and leaves the store. The following day, Elijah visits David at the stadium where David becomes suspicious of a man carrying a gun. The man quickly leaves in a rush but Elijah reluctantly follows the man who did have a gun proving Elijah's theory correct about David. Joseph also convinces David he is a superhero so he decides to do some bench presses revealing his super strength. Eventually, David becomes more aware of his powers and decides to test them out in a subway by allowing people to push through him. As people walk pass him, David begins to see visions of the crimes the person committed. David sees a crime committed by a janitor who had killed a mother and holds her children hostage. That night, David follows the man to the home where he frees the children but the janitor confronts then pushes David into a pool where David struggles to get out of, exposing that his weakness is water. The children rescue David who kills the janitor.[N 1] The following day, David is hailed a superhero in the newspaper and exposes Elijah of conducting the train crash. He is then sent an institution for the criminally insane.

Sixteen years later, David has become a superhero vigilante named "The Overseer" and is working with Joseph. While not being a vigilante, David runs a home security store. When David learns about the emergence of Kevin Wendell Crumb, a supervillain with a identity disorder involving 24 personalities dubbed by the media as "The Horde", he decides to track him down but is lead to an abandoned building where The Horde is keeping hostage of a group of cheerleaders. David rescues the cheerleaders but is confronted by one The Horde's personalities "The Beast". Their confrontation is interrupted by a group of Philadelphia police officers lead by Dr. Ellie Staple. Staple places the two in an institution where Elijah has been held since his arrest. David and Kevin are put in separate rooms which hold security measure holding their weaknesses to maintain them. Later, Elijah becomes interested in the Beast so he decides to free him and team up together to escape. However, before leaving, Elijah contacts David over the PA to reveal to him his plan to destroy the Osaka Tower in Philadelphia before Elijah would expose real-life superheroes. This prompts David to escape his room and confronts the Beast again outside the facility. The fight is interrupted when Joseph exposes that Kevin's father was also on the Eastrail 177 leaving Kevin alone to his mother who begins abusing him leaving Elijah to come to the conclusion of his creation of both David and Kevin's alter egos The Overseer and The Horde. The Beast thanks Elijah for his creation and brutally injures him then throws David into a water tank in an attempt to drown him but manages to regain strength to escape but is weakened due to the water. An FBI agent then drags David over to a flooded pothole and repeatedly shoves his head in it, which kills him. Staple reveals that she is part of an organization with the goal of silencing people with superhuman abilities to maintain a societal balance. She additionally calls on a sniper to kill Kevin while Elijah dies from his injuries. Joseph is eventually sent the security footage of the brawl between David and Kevin at the institution, which Casey Cooke and Elijah's mother also receive. They collaborate to upload the footage to the internet, revealing to the world the existence of superhuman abilities.


When M. Night Shyamalan conceived the idea for Unbreakable, the outline had a comic book's traditional three-part structure (the superhero's "birth", his struggles against general evil-doers, and the hero's ultimate battle against the "archenemy"). However, he found the origin story most interesting, and chose to write Unbreakable as one. Willis became attached while shooting The Sixth Sense, also directed by Shyamalan.[1]

Appearances in filmsEdit


Unbreakable was first released in November 2000. In the film, Dunn is a security guard who discovers he has supernatural abilities, with superhuman levels of strength, stamina, and invulnerability, as well as an extrasensory ability to see the crimes people have committed by touching them. Throughout the film, he is encouraged by Elijah Price, also known as "Mr. Glass" (Samuel L. Jackson) to become a superhero. Price, whose bones break easily because of a disease, develops a theory that if there is an extreme fragility there must be an "unbreakable" human in existence. As various people bump into him, Dunn senses the crimes they perpetrated, such as theft and rape, and finds one he can act on: a sadistic janitor who invaded a family home, killed the parents and is holding the children captive. Dunn follows the janitor to the victims' house and frees the children, but the janitor ambushes him and pushes him off a balcony into a swimming pool. Dunn nearly drowns (since mass amounts of water harm him), but the children rescue him. He then attacks the janitor from behind and strangles him to death while once more remaining uninjured. At the end of the film, through his abilities, Dunn senses that Elijah orchestrated the train crash he had been in previously and countless other disasters that have resulted in massive losses of life, in an attempt to find Dunn. Price's justification for this seemingly is claiming the purpose of his life and condition was to be Dunn's archenemy. Dunn turns Price in to authorities, and Price is arrested for murder and terrorism and later committed to an institution for the criminally insane.

Split Edit

In a final reveal in the 2016 film Split, Dunn appears in a cameo role, revealing that the film takes place in the same universe as Unbreakable.[2]

While sitting in a diner, Dunn and several other patrons listen to the media coverage of the crimes committed by Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man who has been nicknamed "The Horde". The patron sitting next to Dunn notes the resemblance between "The Horde" and a wheelchair-bound criminal who was arrested 15 years prior. When she struggles to remember the man's name, Dunn tells her it was "Mr. Glass".[2]


Shyamalan expressed hope for a third installment following Split, saying, "I hope [a third Unbreakable film happens]. The answer is yes. I'm just such a wimp sometimes. I don't know what's going to happen when I go off in my room, a week after this film opens, to write the script. But I'm going to start writing. [I have] a really robust outline, which is pretty intricate. But now the standards for my outlines are higher. I need to know I've won already. I'm almost there but I'm not quite there."[3] In April 2017, Shyamalan announced that the film would be titled Glass, with Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Anya Taylor-Joy, and James McAvoy reprising their respective roles in the series.[4]


Willis received critical praise for his performance as Dunn in Unbreakable. Critic Roger Ebert believed that Willis' "subtle acting" was positively different from the actor's usual work in "brainless action movies".[5] Quentin Tarantino, who directed Willis in Pulp Fiction, has also praised his performance in Unbreakable, saying he considers it his best work.[6]


  1. ^ Dubbed by fans as the Orange Man.


  1. ^ M. Night Shyamalan, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Barry Mendel, Sam Mercer, Eduardo Serra, James Newton Howard, The Making of Unbreakable, 2001, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
  2. ^ a b Couch, Aaron (January 22, 2017). "'Split': M. Night Shyamalan Explains an Ending Years in the Making". The Hollywood Reporter.
  3. ^ Joe McGovern (January 20, 2017). "Split spoiler: M. Night Shyamalan breaks down film's shock ending". Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  4. ^ Eric Eisenberg (April 26, 2017). "The Unbreakable And Split Crossover Movie Reveals Official Title And Four Stars". Cinemablend.
  5. ^ Roger Ebert (2000-11-22). "Unbreakable". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2008-12-20.
  6. ^ Tarantino's Top 20. Spike.

External linksEdit