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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.



(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
736 ( 13)
Top Rated Movies #119 | Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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


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


It's Christmas Eve In L.A. And The Party Action's About To Explode... On The Fortieth Floor! See more »


Action | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



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Release Date:

20 July 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Duro de matar  »

Box Office


$28,000,000 (estimated)


$81,350,242 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This was the feature film (and Hollywood) debut of Alan Rickman, who had previously only appeared onstage and on British television. Rickman was 41 at the time. See more »


In the fight between John and Karl, John jumps onto Karl's back and knocks him onto his stomach on the rolling cart. In the next shot, however, Karl is lying on his back. See more »


[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 »


Referenced in Spider-Man (2000) See more »


Resolution & Hyperspace
from Aliens (1986)
Composed by James Horner
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The ultimate thrill-ride – and still the standard by which I judge an action movie
27 July 2014 | by (wherever good films play) – See all my reviews

Seeing 'Die Hard' for the first time as a teenager was a one-of-a-kind experience. This level of raw, "edge-of-your-seat" action was unknown to me prior to this film; it made my head spin and the intensity of it was nearly unbearable. When it was over, I could only think of one word: Wow!

For a long time - at least in western cinema - the only "true" action movies (by that I mean films that were all about the action and you went to see them because of the action) were the 'James Bond' movies. They had the most unreal stunts and crazy, over the top action sequences that you could imagine at the time, and they were (and still are) great fun. However, they usually lacked three vital ingredients:

1. A sense of realism (meaning: the hero is only human and can get hurt)

2. Grit (messy, unpolished action, dirty people and LOTS of swearing)

3. R-rated violence (showing the audience what real weapons do to the human body)

Well, it took John McTiernan to bring those three key elements together in 'Die Hard' - and thus the modern action film was born (it had a good run through the late eighties until the end of the nineties – then the studios figured out they could maximise the box-office by taming down the swearing, violence and sex and thus, alas, the contemporary, toothless PG-13 action film was born). Sure, there have been a couple of others before McTiernan's masterpiece ('First Blood', 'Terminator', 'Predator' - which was also by McTiernan - or 'Lethal Weapon' and probably some more), but those films could have fallen into any number of other categories as well ('Adventure-/Survival-/War-', 'Sci- Fi', 'Horror-' or 'Buddy-movie') – and I can't think of another film that was just such a relentless, pure-action-from-the-beginning-to-the-end film as was 'Die Hard'. To me, it's the ultimate thrill ride. The formula has since been repeated so many times, but the original still sets the standard by which I judge an action film. Should be seen every Christmas. 10 stars out of 10.

Favorite Films: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls054200841/

Lesser-known Masterpieces: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls070242495/

Favorite Low-Budget and B-movies: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls054808375/

Favorite TV-Shows reviewed: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls075552387/

97 of 103 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Best action film? theveneficus
Die Hard is pretty much like Predator reginaldbp
Did touch screens really exist back then? BlueNoodle79
Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) Has Died lewisray2
Favorite line in the film... kmay144
Most far-fetched moment in the film blanketman77
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