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Die Hard (1988)

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John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save his wife Holly Gennaro and several others that were taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.

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(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Top Rated Movies #122 | Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Sgt. Al Powell (as Reginald Veljohnson)
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Bruno Doyon ...
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Joey Plewa ...
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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 bank 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:

Twelve terrorists. One cop. The odds are against John McClane... That's just the way he likes it. See more »

Genres:

Action | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

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Release Date:

20 July 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Duro de matar  »

Box Office

Budget:

$28,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$81,350,242 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints) (4 channels)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sam Neill turned down the role of Hans Gruber. See more »

Goofs

When McClane drops the monitor with the C4 down the elevator shaft, he has time to jump away from the door as the explosion rises. The gases from C4 actually expand faster than the speed of sound, so his face would have been melted off. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in Brake (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Christmas in Hollis
Written by Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels and Jason Mizell
Performed by Run-D.M.C.
Courtesy of Profile Records, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
You'll "Die Hard" with this action-lover's action movie
4 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

One could claim that 1988's "Die Hard" is one of the most influential action movies ever made because it basically revolutionized one of the most copied (but never matched, at least in terms of quality) formulas: a loner, by some unique twist of fate, battles it out with an "x" number of terrorists in an enclosed environment.

By the time that "Die Hard" was released, the action movies were most often dominated by the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Chuck Norris. Star Bruce Willis, whose only notable credits at the time were television's "Moonlighting" and 1987's "Blind Date," which was released the year before, was the unlikeliest of them all.

Willis was a wild card - an unlikely choice for the role of our hero "John McClane" - since he didn't have any action credits on his resume' and let's face it: Bruce Willis just didn't have the bulging biceps required for a role like this. But that's the beauty of his performance in this movie: he's an everyday guy, caught in a not-so-everyday situation.

On Christmas, McClane's estranged wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) invites him from New York all the way out to Los Angeles to spend the holidays with the family. But it requires him to make a stop at the Nakatomi offices, which is having an after-hours Christmas party. Riding for the first time in a limo, he's introduced to the suave driver, Argyle (De'voreaux White), who gives him some pretty useful advice on trying to win over the wife.

At Nakatomi, things of course get off to a rough start for McClane, as he gets into an argument with the wife and is left to wallow in his misery. However, those problems are about to take a backseat to the real "party" - twelve terrorists, led by Hans Gruber (all-purpose bad guy Alan Rickman, perfectly cast) - seize control of the building and proceed to rob the Nakatomi building of its assets, most of which include negotiable bonds and other valuables. But they didn't count on the "fly in the ointment" (pain in the a**) to make things hell for these so-called party crashers.

Certainly one of the best known action movies ever, "Die Hard" did receive the scorn of critics upon its 1988 summer release, but the audiences sung a completely different tune.

The film was most often praised for the production, with the brand-new Fox Plaza office tower serving as the fictional Nakatomi building. It was also praised for the energetic and skillful direction of John McTiernan, whose most notable credit was the action-sci-fi thriller "Predator," which was released the year before and starred Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Bruce Willis was the perfect actor for this performance, since he brings the wit and vulnerability to a role like this one. If Stallone or Schwarzenegger were in this movie, I'm sure the effect would have been a lot different.

Personally, I think "Die Hard" is one of the greatest action movies ever, up there close to my favorite action movie of all time, "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Like Indiana Jones in that film, "Die Hard" had an Everyman cast in the role; McClane, like Indiana Jones, wasn't a larger-than-life musclebound grotesque: he was a real guy that you cared about, who got hurt, and had real feelings.

That's why I think both of these movies have sort of stood the test of time as becoming what they are best known for today: action classics, and they're here to stay, ladies and gentlemen.

10/10


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