Friends listen to each other! And they don't shoot each other, do they Audrey?
~ David to Joseph

David Dunn, aka The Overseer, is the main protagonist in the Unbreakable trilogy, appearing as the main protagonist of Unbreakable, a cameo character in Split and the deuteragonist of Glass. Dunn is a former college football prodigy, who is a security guard that discovers he has superhuman abilities.

He was portrayed by Bruce Willis, who also plays John McClane.



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, later expanding it into a trilogy.


Once upon a time, David Dunn was a football prodigy sought out by professional teams, but in later life, he finds himself in a dying marriage with his college sweetheart, Audrey, much to the distress of their son Joseph, and working as security guard at a football stadium. As he returns home from an unsuccessful job interview in New York City, David's train crashes, killing the other 131 passengers, while he is the only survivor, sustaining no injuries.


David is a fairly stoic and serious-minded individual. He also loves his family very much, not wanting his strange powers to interfere with their lives. Despite this David at the same time also has a strong sense of responsibility and justice, causing him to decide to use his powers to help people, despite his desire to keep to himself.



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 "Mister 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 frailty there must be an "unbreakable" human in existence as well and revealed in the ending, sets out committing mass murders through manufactured disasters in order to find such a being. As various people bump into him, he 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. David 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. David nearly drowns (since he cannot swim), but the children rescue him. He then attacks the janitor from behind and strangles him to death while once more remaining uninjured. That night, he and Audrey reconcile. The following morning, he secretly shows a newspaper article on the anonymous heroic act, featuring a sketch of David in his rain poncho, to his son, who recognizes the hero as his father. At the end of the film, Dunn turns in Price to authorities, Price is arrested and convicted of murder and terrorism and committed to an institution for the criminally insane.


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.

In the diner, patrons listen to the media coverage of DID sufferer Kevin Wendell Crumb's crimes, "The Beast", the super-villain portrayed by James McAvoy. One notes the resemblance between "The Beast" and a wheelchair-bound terrorist arrested 15 years prior, struggling to remember the man's name. Dunn, who is sitting in the same diner, reminds the patron that the wheelchair-bound man was called "Mister Glass".


Following the conclusion of Split, Glass reveals that David, despite having discovered his entire superhero career was orchestrated by Mr. Glass, has continued his role as one (having been nicknamed 'The Overseer' by the public). David has been revealed to have been pursuing The Beast/Horde in an attempt to bring him to justice. The film starts with him pursuing to young men through the subway to their apartment. One of the men, Ronald, does surprise attacks on random people who walk by, attacking them by what he calls "Superman punch." His friend records the attacks and posts them to the internet. They encounter David, who quickly subdues Ronald, then it is implied that he attacks Ronald's friend. He heads back to his business, Dunn Home Security, which his son, Joseph, helps him run. Joseph tells him that people on the internet have agreed to call him "The Overseer". He triangulates attacks on three different groups of girls by Kevin Wendell Crumb/The Horde/The Beast. They figure out that the Horde has made base in an abandoned factory. Going on a walk, he bumps into Kevin's Hedwig personality, and he sees a vision of Hedwigs going in a cirlce on roller skates around four captive cheerleaders. David heads to the factory, and frees the cheerleaders. Kevin's superhuman personailty, the Beast, arrives, and battles the Overseer. The Beast hurls a table at the Overseer, who quickly catches it, and throw it back. The Beast dodges it, and begin struggling with the Overseer, each one hitting a support beam, and notable stress movement being heard as a result of their brute strength. The Beast tries to gain the upper hand by climbing a support beam, and leaping behind David in order to crush David against him with his brute strength. What the Beast doesn't realize is that David's strength is a result of his bones being extra dense, which means the Beast can't crush his spine like previous victims. Their fight spills out of the factory, and they are quickly subdued by Dr. Ellie Staple, and her men. They are taken to Ravenhill Memorial, the same mental institution Elijah Price/Mr.Glass resides in. Dr. Staple convinces The Horde as well as David they are not powerful. Elijah unravels her plan by staging a fight between the Beast and David outside the institution, and streaming the security feed to a private site. All three are killed in different ways. Mr Glass's ribs are broken by the Beast after he discovers the former killed Kevin's dad (indirectly), David is drowned by Staple's henchmen, and Kevin is shot in the gut. Staple reveals herself to be part of a 10,000 year old secret superhuman suppression society, referred to as the Clover Organization. Staple expresses sadness that it had came to this, especially since had not Mr. Glass interferred, she would have convinced him he was normal. Fortunately, it was revealed that Mr. Glass and the Beast going to the chemical company was merely a diversion so that Elijah could successfully capture footage that proved the existence of superheroes. Before the final battle, Mr. Glass sent video footage of the fight to his mother, Joseph and Casey, who upload it onto the internet. Exposing the existence of superheroes and avenging the deaths of Mr. Glass, the Beast and the Overseer.


  • David is the only character to appear in all three films in the Unbreakable trilogy.
  • He is aquaphobic as shown he is afraid of water in the films.
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