John Watson (Bruce) refers to the version of John Watson portrayed by English actor Nigel Bruce. He appeared in a series of fourteen US-produced films based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories that were released between 1939 and 1946. Basil Rathbone played Holmes.
Bruce's portrayal of Dr Watson as a doddering old fool is quite different from Conan Doyle's conception of him in the original stories, where he is a competent, if unexceptional, physician. Most people were happy with Bruce's portrayal of Watson, however some purists found that he was not as serious and capable as the original character. He was a bit bumbling, and he is often used for comic relief. However, Rathbone himself defended his friend's acting, saying that Watson was a very lovable character.