A cultural phenomenon. After filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan debuted The Sixth Sense in August 1999, it became an instant hit. The supernatural thriller garnered an instant fanbase as it scared up a massive $672.8 million at the box office worldwide.
Starring American treasure Bruce Willis, The Sixth Sense follows a young boy — Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) — who is visited by spirits. He is unable to communicate his problem until he confides in Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Willis), a therapist who aims to help determine the truth behind the child’s full capabilities.
What has allowed The Sixth Sense’s legacy to live on is not just the stellar performances given by stars such as Willis and Osment, but the film’s spectacular twist ending. The conclusion’s strong execution arguably makes it one of the best movie endings of all time. (Spoiler alert: Willis’ Malcolm was dead the whole time!)
The film resonated among voters within The Academy as it nabbed an impressive six Oscars nominations in 2000, including one for Best Picture and another for Best Director. A then-11-year-old Osment additionally scored an Oscar nod within the Best Supporting Actor category, making him one of the youngest nominees of all time.
“I was at an age where I knew it was a bigger movie than I had done before, but we didn’t have the expectations for it that it would become a big hit or be part of awards season,” Osment told The Hollywood Reporter in February 2019. “We all just had this sense that we had this great story on our hands, and if we all just worked well together as a team, it would turn out to be something special.”
Osment applauded Shyamalan’s ability to cultivate a realistic environment on the set when asked how he mastered his performance at such a young age. “You really felt like you were in that world,” he noted.
Willis, for his part, delighted in playing a character that fans were not used to seeing from him at the time. “He’s the guy who didn’t have the gun. When [Donnie Wahlberg’s] character shows up in the beginning, he doesn’t know what to do. He loved playing somebody who didn’t know what to do,” Shyamalan told The Hollywood Reporter in August 2019. “I think that just kind of launched us into a more vulnerable, complicated version of Bruce that’s so lovely.”
The Sixth Sense celebrates its anniversary on August 6 — which also happens to be Shyamalan’s birthday. Scroll down below to see what the film’s cast has been up to since the movie’s debut!