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Die Hard (1988)

Trailer
1:28 | Trailer
An NYPD officer tries to save his wife and several others taken hostage by German terrorists during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.

Director:

John McTiernan

Writers:

Roderick Thorp (novel), Jeb Stuart (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
308 ( 104)
Top Rated Movies #121 | Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bruce Willis ... John McClane
Bonnie Bedelia ... Holly Gennaro McClane
Reginald VelJohnson ... Sgt. Al Powell
Paul Gleason ... Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson
William Atherton ... Richard Thornburg
Hart Bochner ... Harry Ellis
James Shigeta ... Joseph Yoshinobu Takagi
Alan Rickman ... Hans Gruber
Alexander Godunov ... Karl
Bruno Doyon Bruno Doyon ... Franco
De'voreaux White ... Argyle
Andreas Wisniewski ... Tony
Clarence Gilyard Jr. ... Theo
Joey Plewa Joey Plewa ... Alexander
Lorenzo Caccialanza ... Marco
Edit

Storyline

NYPD cop John McClane goes on a Christmas vacation to visit his wife Holly in Los Angeles where she works for the Nakatomi Corporation. While they are at the Nakatomi headquarters for a Christmas party, a group of robbers led by Hans Gruber take control of the building and hold everyone hostage, with the exception of John, while they plan to perform a lucrative heist. Unable to escape and with no immediate police response, John is forced to take matters into his own hands. Written by Sam

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

40 Stories Of Sheer Adventure! See more »

Genres:

Action | Thriller

Certificate:

16 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | Italian | Japanese

Release Date:

3 November 1988 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Duro de matar See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$601,851, 17 July 1988, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$83,008,852

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$140,767,956
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints) (4 channels)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bruce Willis worked with some of the actors who were considered for his role as John McClane later on. He worked with Don Johnson in an episode of Miami Vice (1985), Richard Gere in The Jackal (1997), Michael Madsen in Sin City (2005), and Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone in The Expendables (2010) and The Expendables 2 (2012). See more »

Goofs

When Hans Gruber is looking for Mr. Takagi and reciting his biography, he says Mr. Takagi was a "scholarship student, University of California, 1955." The various UC campuses are run as separate universities (and were in 1955), so Mr. Takagi would have been awarded a scholarship to a specific campus (e.g., UC Berkeley, UCLA, etc.). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Businessman: You don't like flying, do you?
John McClane: What gives you that idea?
Businessman: You wanna know the secret to surviving air travel? After you get where you're going, take off your shoes and your socks then walk around on the rug bare foot and make fists with your toes.
John McClane: Fists with your toes?
Businessman: I know, I know, it sounds crazy. Trust me, I've been doing it for nine years. Yes sir, better than a shower and a hot cup of coffee.
John McClane: Okay.
[the businessman sees John's gun]
John McClane: It's okay, I'm a cop. Trust me, I've been ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the widescreen version, the 20th Century Fox logo is stretched. See more »

Alternate Versions

The foreign languages used by the terrorists (mostly German) have been fixed for the remastered Special Edition VHS version. The grammar is now correct in almost all places. The only sequences in which the grammar and pronunciation are still poor are Hans Gruber's dialogs. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
Written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne
Performed by Vaughn Monroe
Courtesy of MCA Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
The most influential action film of the last half-century
21 August 2005 | by CuriosityKilledShawnSee all my reviews

In the Sixties, author Roderick Thorp wrote a novel, The Detective, which was turned into a movie, starring Frank Sinatra in the title role of Joe Leland. A sequel was written, in which Joe becomes trapped in the Claxxon Oil Corporation skyscraper after it is taken over by German terrorists and he has to rescue his daughter and grandchildren. Two decades later, the skyscraper becomes Nakatomi, the daughter becomes the wife, Leland becomes John McClane and the title becomes Die Hard.

To say that Die Hard sets new standards for action movies is like calling Bill Gates well off. The movie was so innovative and groundbreaking that dozens of rip-offs followed - Passenger 57, Under Siege, Cliffhanger, Sudden Death, et al. Hostage/terrorist movies were all the rage in the early Nineties.

Very few came close, because Die Hard had so many strong points, not least of which was Alan Rickman's marvellous performance, as Hans Gruber - also the name of the villain in Our Man Flint - the classically educated, smartly dressed terrorist leader. This is not some hammy guy in a chain-mail shirt with spikes on his gloves (Commando). Gruber would have been well at home on Wall Street.

His plan is to break into the vault on the 30th floor of the Nakatomi Plaza and take away $640million in negotiable bearer bonds. When he and his 12 European henchmen round up the office workers, who are enjoying a Christmas Eve party, one man slips away unnoticed. He is John McClane, a New York cop who has come to LA to settle down with his estranged wife, Holly (Bonnie Bedelia). The odds are against him. But that's just the way he likes it.

The terrorists even have names. And we remember them. Most action movies these days have unidentified heavies, played by stunt men, who are lined up and knocked over.

In his battle to save his Holly, McClane is scorched, torched, beaten and blown up. He jumps off the roof and falls through air ducts. He uncovers deception and double-cross and picks broken glass out of his bare feet. No help comes from the naive and incompetent police, who are unable to get inside, and even less from the FBI.

McClane is not a supercop. He is an ordinary guy, who doesn't want a fight. When he is shot, he bleeds. He hurts. All he has are his pants, his vest, his gun - which runs out of ammo. This is the first realistic connection the audience has. When you don't want to be in McClane's position, it makes for much excitement.

John McTiernan, who's only previous mainstream movie was Predator, uses awesome photography and technical skills to give the film a truly polished and sophisticated look - it was nominated for four technical Academy Awards. He also allows for enough time for decent character development, most of which comes between McClane and a cop (Reginald Veljohnson) he makes friends with on a CB radio.

Die Hard manages to be heart-pounding and teeth-gritting every single time. And if you are one of those many people who have only ever been able to watch it on TV then now is definitely the time to rediscover a cool, classic and creative action picture.


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