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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 »
621 ( 236)
Top Rated Movies #122 | Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 7 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:



| |

Release Date:

20 July 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Duro de matar  »


Box Office


$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$601,851, 17 July 1988, Limited Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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


Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?


Sally Field, Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, and Glenn Close were each considered for the role of Holly McClane. But, Bruce Willis rejected them, because he wanted Bonnie Bedelia to play her, since he was a fan of her work. See more »


John's tank top changes from white to gray in various scenes. 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 »

Crazy Credits

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


Referenced in Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff (2014) See more »


Singin' in the Rain
Written by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Action-packed thrill ride that could be the best in the genre!!!
13 April 2001 | by See all my reviews

Quite possibly the best modern action movie since the classic "Dirty Harry", "Die Hard" simply rocks. Based on the interesting novel "Nothing Lasts Forever" by Roderick Thorp, "Die Hard" made headlines for its combination of a terrific cast, excellent script, amazing action sequences and superb direction. Headed up by screen favorite Bruce Willis (The Sixth Sense), "Die Hard" also features the talented Alan Rickman (Galaxy Quest) and Bonnie Bedelia (Needful Things). Directed by action veteran John McTiernan, the mastermind behind such action spectaculars as "Predator", "The Hunt For Red October", "The Thomas Crown Affair" (1999), and "Die Hard With A Vengeance".

In the role that shot him to stardom, Willis plays Detective John McClane, a hard-hitting cop from New York on Christmas Vacation in LA. He is there to visit his wife (whom he is separated from), Holly Gennaro, who recently got a great job working for the Nakatomi corporation and has permanently moved to Los Angeles with their two children. John arrives at Nakatomi Plaza expecting a fun Christmas party and a relaxing night. Man was he wrong! A few minutes after getting settled, twelve gun-toting Eastern Europeans take the entire 30th floor hostage. The supposed terrorists are headed up by the brilliant megalomaniac Hans Gruber (Rickman), who actually wants the $640 million dollars inside the floor's vault. Somehow, McClane escapes upstairs armed only with a handgun and starts causing a ruckus, slowly hunting down each well-equipped thug.

"Die Hard" succeeds is because it presents every challenge McClane has to face realistically and clearly. As the tension mounts, the ordeals for John become increasingly harder. First, it's just a terrorist. Then a whole slew of them. Later, it's the NYPD and even the FBI! Director McTiernan gives the film a good pace and makes the film work by showing that John isn't superhuman; he only uses his brain more than his gun. Also, screenwriters Jeb Stuart (The Fugitive) & Steven E. De Souza (48 Hrs.) add touches of humor that lighten up the viewer and classic one-liners ("Yippy-Ki-Yay, !@#$") that ignite the screen. Their subplots actually add to the story instead of overcomplicating it, especially one featuring good cop Sgt. Al Powell (Rejinald VelJohnson of TV's "Family Matters").

Overall, this movie was awesome. Willis is very believable and has significant screen presence. Character development is superb, and even though Stuart and De Souza leave some loose ends untied - like how a man gets hung with a chain and still comes back for more - the film remains to be an action classic. Note to Parents: the nudity, drug use, continual profanity, and extreme violence would make this a bad choice for kids under 13. Otherwise, see "Die Hard" ASAP! Overall Rating: *** Worth 9 out of 10 dollars ***

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