Die Hard

Die Hard is a 1988 American action film directed by John McTiernan and written by Stephen E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart . It follows off-duty New York City Police Department officerJohn McClane ( Bruce Willis ) as he takes was group of highly Organized criminals led by Hans Gruber ( Alan Rickman ), Who perform a heist in a Los Angeles skyscraper under the way of a terrorist attack using hostages, including McClane ‘s wife Holly ( Bonnie Bedelia ), to keep the police at bay.

It’s based on Roderick Thorp’s 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever , the sequel to 1966’s The Detective , which was adapted to a 1968 film of the same name that starred Frank Sinatra. Fox was therefore contractually obligated to offer Sinatra the lead role in Die Hard , but he turned it down. The studio then pitched the film to Arnold Schwarzenegger as a sequel to his 1985 action movie Commando ; he turned it down, and the studio finally and reluctantly gave it to Willis, then known primarily as a comedic television actor.

Made for $ 28 million, Die Hard grossed over $ 140 million theatrically worldwide, and was given a positive reception from critics. The film turned into an action star, became a metonym for an action movie in which a lone hero fights overwhelming odds, and has been named one of the best action and Christmas-themed movies ever made . [3] [4] [5] The movie aussi ranks # 29 is Empire ‘ s 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time. [6] The film’s success spawned the Die Hard franchise, which includes four sequels ( Die Hard 2 , Die Hard with a VengeanceLive Free or Die Hard and A Good Day to Die Hard ), video games, and a comic book.


On Christmas Eve, Detective NYPD John McClane Arrives in Los Angeles. He intends to reconcile with his estranged wife, Holly, at the Christmas party of her employ, the Nakatomi corporation. McClane is driven to the party by Argyle, an airport limousine driver. While McClane changes clothes, the party is disrupted by the arrival of a German terrorist named Hans Gruber and his army: Karl, Tony, Franco, Theo, Alexander, Marco, Kristoff, Eddie, Uli, Heinrich, Fritz, and James. The group seizes the tower and secures those inside as hostages, except for McClane, who slips away.

Gruber singles out Nakatomi executive Joseph Takagi, and says he intends to teach the corporation a lesson for its greed. Isolated from the hostages, Gruber interrogates Takagi for the code to the building’s vault and reveals that he plans to steal $ 640 million in bearer bonds , with terrorism being a distraction. Takagi refuses to cooperate and is murdered by Gruber. McClane, who was secretly watching, accidentally gives away and is pursued by Tony. McClane Tony kills, pocketing his weapon and radio, which he uses to contact the Los Angeles Police Department(LAPD). As Sgt. Al Powell is sent to investigate, Gruber sends Heinrich and Marco to McClane, who kills them both. Powell arrives and is greeted by Eddie, who is posing as a janitor; he finds nothing strange about the building. As Powell turns to leave, McClane drops Marco’s body on his face to get his attention. Powell summons the LAPD, who lay siege to the building. McClane steals Heinrich’s bag containing C-4 explosives and detonators.

James and Alexander use anti-tank missiles to disable a SWAT armored car, but before they can finish its destruction, they are killed when their building floor is blown up by McClane using C-4. Holly’s Coworker, Harry Ellis, Attempts to mediate between Hans and McClane for the return of the detonators. McClane refused, so Gruber Ellis kills. While checking explosives attached to the roof, Gruber is confronted by McClane. Gruber passes himself off as an escaped hostage and is given a gun by McClane. Gruber attempts to shoot McClane but the gun is empty. Karl, Franco, and Fritz arrives and McClane kills Fritz and Franco, but is forced to flee, abandoning the detonators.

FBI agents take command of the police situation, ordering the building’s power shut off. The loss of power-as Gruber anticipated-disables the vault’s final lock. Gruber demands a helicopter on the rooftop for transport, but the FBI prepares to double-cross him by sending helicopter gunships to take over the terrorists. McClane discovers that Gruber’s true intention is to detonate the explosives on the roof, faking the deaths of his team so they can escape with the bearer bonds – a plan that would kill all the hostages. Gruber sees a news report by intrusive reporter Richard Thornburg that features McClane’s children, and from a desk photo, that McClane is Holly’s husband. The criminals order the hostages to the rooftop, but Gruber takes Holly with him to use against McClane. McClane defeats Karl in a fight, Uli kills

Theo goes to retrieve their getaway vehicle but is knocked unconscious by Argyle, who has been trapped in the garage throughout the siege. A weary McClane finds Holly with Gruber and her remaining men, and knocks Kristoff unconscious. McClane surrenders his machine to spare Holly, but then distracts Gruber and Eddie, allowing him to grab a pistol taped to his back. McClane shoots Gruber and then Eddie kills. Gruber crashes through a window but knows himself by grabbing onto Holly’s wrist. McClane unclasps Holly wristwatch, and Gruber falls to his death.

Outside, McClaine, with Holly, meets Powell. Karl emerges and attempts to shoot McClane, but is shot by Powell. Argyle crashes through the parking garage door in the limo. Thornburg arrives and attempts to interview McClane, but Holly punches him. McClane and Holly are driven away by Argyle.


Bruce Willis in 2010 and Alan Rickman in 2011
  • Bruce Willis as John McClane , a New York streetwise cop who has come to Los Angeles to reconcile with his wife
  • Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber, a German mastermind and the leader of the terrorists
  • Alexander Godunov as Karl, Hans’s savage hand henchman
  • Bonnie Bedelia and Holly Gennaro-McClane, John’s estranged wife
  • Reginald VelJohnson as Sgt. Al Powell
  • Paul Gleason as Deputy Chief of Police Dwayne T. Robinson
  • Devoureaux White as Argyle, John’s limousine driver
  • William Atherton and Richard Thornburg, arrogant reporter
  • Clarence Gilyard as Theo, Hans’s tech specialist
  • Hart Bochner as Harry Ellis, a sleazy Nakatomi executive
  • James Shigeta and Joseph Yoshinobu Takagi, Nakatomi’s head executive

Additional cast includes Hans’s henchmen: Bruno Doyon as Franco, Andreas Wisniewski as Tony, Joey Plewa as Alexander, Lorenzo Caccialanza as Marco, Gerard Bonn as Kristoff, Dennis Hayden as Eddie, Al Leong as Uli, Gary Roberts as Heinrich, Hans Buhringer as Fritz , and Wilhelm von Homburg as James. Robert Davi and Big L. Bush appear as FBI Special Agent Big Johnson and Agent Little Johnson, respectively, Tracy Reiner appears as Thornburg’s assistant, and Taylor Fry and Noah Land make minor appearances McClane’s children Lucy McClane and John Jr.


The Detective , the 1968 movie based on Roderick Thorp’s first novel, was a box office success. When a movie based on Thorp’s sequel went into production, the studio was contractually obliged to offer Sinatra the lead role. Sinatra, then in his early 70s, turned down the project. The story was changed to The Detective .

Although it has been rumored that this project was repurposed to a 1985 Arnold Schwarzenegger action movie Commando , Souza scriptwriter has denied this. [7] De Souza said he wrote the script as Hans Gruber were the protagonist. “If you had not planned the robbery and put it together, Bruce Willis would have just gone to the party and reconciled with his wife. driving the narrative. ” [8]

The Sylvester Stallone , Harrison Ford , and Don Johnson , all of whom have been turned down. [9] Demographic data from CinemaScore adjusts the studio and director John McTiernan to cast Willis. [10] He was paid $ 5 million to star in the film, a figure virtually unheard of at the time for an actor who had starred in only one moderately successful movie, and only paid to major stars such as Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty . Then-20th Century Fox President Leonard GoldbergJustified the cost Stating the movie Was linking it icts lead actor, while other sources dans le studio Would state That Fox Was desperate for a star for Die Hard , Intended to be ict big summer Action blockbuster, And They HAD already-been turned down by several actors, including Richard Gere , Clint Eastwood , [11] and Burt Reynolds . [12] At the time, Willis was working on the role of detective David Addison on the television series Moonlighting , and the studio did not believe in his action star appeal. The marketing campaign’s initial billboards and posters reflected this, and Willis’ face was not a focal point, [9]consist of CinemaScore’s suggestion to emphasize the film’s action instead of a star in these movies. [10]

McTiernan did not want the villains to be terrorists, considering them too mean. He chose to avoid the terrorists’ policies in favor of thieves in pursuit of monetary gain, believing it would make the film more suitable for summer entertainment. The film’s ending had not been finalized by the time filming had begun; one result is that the truck depicted as transporting the terrorists to the building is too small to house the ambulance. Other scenes also lacked context: De Govia had built the building ‘s computer room before they knew what it would be used for. Likewise, the character of McClane had not been fully realized, when McTiernan and Willis decided that it was a man who did not like himself very much, was doing the best he could in a bad situation. In the original script,Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Die Hard took place over three days, but McTiernan was inspired by Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream . [13]

The corporate headquarters of 20th Century Fox , Fox Plaza in Century City , serves as the film’s setting for both external and internal scenes. At the time of filming, the building was still under construction, and the setting for a scene of McClane exploring Production designer Jackson De Govia came up with the idea to use the building. The Nakatomi building’s 30th floor, where the hostages are held, was a recreation of the Frank Lloyd Wright -designed house Fallingwater, including a large rock with water dripping from it. Govia’s inspiration came from Japanese corporations of the time buying up American products, whose rationale being that Nakatomi had bought Fallingwater and reassembled it in their own building. The building’s logo originally was too reminiscent of a swastika for McTiernan; the final design is closer to Samurai warrior’s helmet. A 380 foot long background painting provided the city backdrop as viewed from inside the Nakatomi building’s 30th floor. It featured animated lights and other lighting techniques for both moving and driving day and night cycles. As of 2011, the painting is still in print and is sometimes used in other films.

The scene in which the SWAT Greyhound armored vehicle knocks over a stair railing at the front of the Fox Plaza required. The end helicopter scene took six months of preparation, and the production was given only two hours in which to film it. It took place on the inside of Fox Plaza, nine camera crews, and one other than crew members within 500 feet of the line of flight. The scene of McClane falling down a ventilation shaft and catching onto a bottom of an accident after Willis’ stunt man fell. Editor Frank J. Urioste thing to use the unintentional scene in the final film. [13]

Alan Rickman’s Die Hard was first feature film role. [14] For his death scene, he was dropped 70 feet (21 m) on a green screen set. The shot used was the first take; Rickman was dropped sooner than he’d been told he would be, so the look of fear is real. [13] The DVD text commentary track reveals that the shooting script did not originally include the meeting between McClane and Gruber pretending to be hostage; It was only possible that Rickman could perform a convincing American accent.


The premiere of Die Hard took place on July 12, 1988, at the AVCO theater in Los Angeles, California. [15]

Box office

Die Hard opened in limited release in 21 theaters on July 15, 1988, earning $ 601,851-year average of $ 28,659 per theater. The film was released in North America on July 22, 1988, earning approximately $ 7.1 million from 1,276 theaters-an average of $ 5,568 per theater-finishing the weekend’s number three film. By the time Die Hard ended icts theatrical run, It Had earned $ 83 million in North America and has further Top $ 57.7 million from markets elsewhere, totaling $ 140.7 million. [2]

Critical reception

On Rotten Tomatoes , the film has an approval rating of 92% based on 64 reviews, with an average rating of 8.4 / 10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Its many imitators (and sequels) have never come close to matching the taut thrills of the definitive holiday action classic.” [16] On Metacritic , the film has a score of 70 out of 100, based on 13 critics, which indicates “generally favorable reviews”. [17] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “A +” on an A + to F scale, one of fewer than 60 films in the history of the service to receive such a score. [18]

British film critic Mark Kermode express admiration for the film, calling it an exciting setup of “Cowboys and Indians in The Towering Inferno .” However, Roger Ebert gave it a flattering review, rating it a mere two stars and criticizing the stupidity of the deputy police chief character, claiming that “all by himself has been undermined by the last half of the movie.” [19]

Critics’ rankings

Some critics have ranked the film on the lists of the all-time best Christmas movies as follows:

  • Digital Spy – # 5 [20]
  • Empire – # 1 [21]
  • Entertainment Weekly – # 4 [22]
  • Forbes – # 1 [23]
  • The Guardian – # 8 [24]
  • The Hollywood Reporter – # 4 [25]
  • San Francisco Gate – # 1 [26]


The Film Was Nominated for four Academy Awards : Best Sound Effects Editing ( Stephen Hunter Flick and Richard Shorr ), Best Film Editing , Best Sound ( Don J. Bassman , Kevin F. Cleary , Richard Overton and Al Overton Jr. ) and Best Visual Effects ( Richard Edlund , Al Di Sarro , Brent Boates and Thaine Morris.) [27] Michael Kamen’s score earned him a BMI TV / Film Music Award in 1989. [28]


Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is featured prominently in Michael Kamen’s score throughout the film, in many guises and variations (mostly as a leitmotif for Gruber and the terrorists), and thematic variations on ” Singin ‘in the Rain ” are also featured, as theme for the character Theo. McTiernan Said That he Those themes incorporated into the movie’s soundtrack as an homage to Stanley Kubrick ‘s A Clockwork Orange (qui featured Both pieces of music). Basing his score on thematic variations is well known that Kamen previously used in Brazil . Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3is playing during the party sequence near the movie’s beginning.

As the film has a Christmas setting, it also features sleigh bells in some cues, as well as the standard Christmas pop ” Winter Wonderland “. Two 1987 pop songs are being used as a source of music: Argyle plays the rap song ” Christmas in Hollis “, performed by Run-DMC , and later, while talking on the phone in the limo, Argyle is listening to Stevie Wonder’s ” Skeletons “. The end credits of the film begin with the Christmas song ” Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! ” (Performed by Vaughn Monroe ) and continues / concludes with Beethoven’s 9th Symphony .

Twentieth Century Fox features – these were ‘temp’ tracks which the studio was decided to leave in the movie. The music heard when McClane and Powell see John Scott’s score for the 1987 film Man on Fire . When Karl appears with his rifle, McTiernan decided that he did not like it. The piece was part of the score composed by James Horner for the 1986 science fiction action film Aliens . [13]

Similar to Aliens , the score by Michael Kamen was heavily edited, with music samples added. The most notable example is the “brass blast”, heard when Marco, then Heinrich appears and he kills him, and later when Hans Gruber falls to his death. [29]

The score was heard in the film was released by Varese Sarabande in February 2002, but was limited to 3000 copies. [30] It was subsequently reissued by La-La Land Records in November 2011, in a two-disc limited edition of 3500 copies. [31] In addition to the Kamen score, this release also includes the Monroe and Beethoven end credits, Run-DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis,” and the John Scott track from Man on Fire .


The film spawned four sequels: Die Hard 2 (1990), Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), Live Free or Die Hard (2007), and A Good Day to Die Hard (2013). In July 2007, Bruce Willis donated the underside of the film to the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution . [32] The film’s title and its story of a hero battling a multitude of single-minded opponents in an isolated setting also became a common descriptor for later action films: ” Die Hard on a _____” became a simple and easy way to define the plot of many action movies that came in its wake. For example, the 1992 movie Under Siegewas referred to as ” Die Hard on a battleship”, the 1992 film Passenger 57 was nicknamed ” Die Hard on a plane”, the 1994 film Speed was called ” Die Hard on a bus”, [33] and the 1996 film The Rock was dubbed ” Die Hard on an island “. [34] The 2013 Olympus Has Fallen films and White House Down were dubbed ” Die Hard in The White House”, [35] [36] and even television shows, such as the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Starship Mine “, which was described as” Die Hard in space “. [37]

In 2001, Die Hard was listed at # 39 on AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Thrills , a list of America’s most heart-pounding movies. [38] In 2003, Hans Gruber was listed at # 46 on the AFI 100 Year … 100 Heroes and Villains list. [39]Additionally, the film received nominations for AFI’s 100 Years lists between 1998 and 2007, including AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movies (1998), [40] John McClane in the hero category on AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Heroes & Villains , [41]McClane’s line “Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker!” for AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movie Quotes , [42]and the movie was again nominated for the tenth anniversary edition of AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movies . [43] It was also selected by Empire magazine as # 29 on their “500 Greatest Movies of All Time” list. [44]

In 2006, Gruber was listed as the 17th greatest film character by Empire . [14] John McClane was placed at number 12 on the same list. [45] In the June 22, 2007 issue of Entertainment Weekly it was named the best action movie of all time. [46] In 2010, Die Hard was voted as “The Greatest Christmas Movie of All Time” by Empire . [47] In 2012, IGN listed it at the top spot on their list of “The Top 25 Action Movies”. [48]


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