8.2/10
594,219
721 user 233 critic

Die Hard (1988)

Trailer
2:28 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON TV
ON DISC
ALL
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.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
867 ( 35)
Top Rated Movies #119 | Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Die Hard 2 (1990)
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

John McClane attempts to avert disaster as rogue military operatives seize control of Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C.

Director: Renny Harlin
Stars: Bruce Willis, William Atherton, Bonnie Bedelia
Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

John McClane and a Harlem store owner are targeted by German terrorist Simon Gruber in New York City, where he plans to rob the Federal Reserve Building.

Director: John McTiernan
Stars: Bruce Willis, Jeremy Irons, Samuel L. Jackson
Action | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A human-looking indestructible cyborg is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs.

Director: James Cameron
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn
Action | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, must now protect her young son, John Connor, from a more advanced cyborg, made out of liquid metal.

Director: James Cameron
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman
Action | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

When Dr. Henry Jones Sr. suddenly goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, eminent archaeologist Indiana Jones must follow in his father's footsteps and stop the Nazis.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Alison Doody
Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

John McClane and a young hacker join forces to take down master cyber-terrorist Thomas Gabriel in Washington D.C.

Director: Len Wiseman
Stars: Bruce Willis, Justin Long, Timothy Olyphant
Adventure | Comedy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent 30 years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown.

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson
Jurassic Park (1993)
Adventure | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum
Alien (1979)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

After a space merchant vessel perceives an unknown transmission as distress call, their landing on the source moon finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious lifeform. Continuing their journey back to Earth with the attacked crew having recovered and the critter deceased, they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun.

Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt
Action | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

After rescuing Han Solo from the palace of Jabba the Hutt, the rebels attempt to destroy the second Death Star, while Luke struggles to make Vader return from the dark side of the Force.

Director: Richard Marquand
Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A boy who communicates with spirits that don't know they're dead seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist.

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Stars: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette
Edit

Cast

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

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

| |

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
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Bruce Willis observed in an interview that many of the real police officers he met with to help prepare for the role and who served as technical advisers on the film all had a very dark, macabre sense of humour, which he tried to factor into his performance. Ironically, action hero type characters are often criticised for joking around in films even though, as Willis himself noted, telling jokes in such dire situations is not that uncommon. See more »

Goofs

The first and second rocket attacks both blow out the same window on the APC. 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 The Middleman: The Manicoid Teleportation Conundrum (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 In G Major, (Allegro Moderato)
(uncredited)
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The Perfect Modern Action Film
31 July 2001 | by (Oldwick, NJ) – See all my reviews

"Die Hard" is the prototype type for the modern action film. Since it's also one of the best action films ever made, that happens to be a very good thing. "Die Hard" is lean, mean, and doesn't contain a single second of wasted screen time. The direction, the action, the story, the acting . . . every aspect of this film comes close to big-budget action movie perfection. Since "Die Hard" was first released in 1988, it's difficult to think of a blockbuster action film that doesn't follow the basic structure and format of "Die Hard" . . . or, for that matter, is better than "Die Hard".

"Die Hard" is about John McClane (Bruce Willis, in one of his all-time best film performances), a basically good, honest New York cop with a penchant for annoying authority figures. Traveling to Los Angeles in a last ditch attempt to patch things up with his estranged wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia), John McClane suddenly finds himself involved in a hostage situation. Terrorists, led by the enigmatic Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), have taken over the office building in which Holly is working, and with Gruber holding the upper hand over the LAPD and FBI forces in Los Angeles, it's up to John McClane to save the day . . . .

Kudos should be given to both director John McTiernan and screenwriters Jeb Stuart and Steven DeSouza -- the film is tight, electrifying, and clever, which is something few action films can ever claim. The story isn't completely believable, but it's believable enough, and it manages to move along at a quick enough pace to where the most glaring plotholes can easily be glossed over. There's also enough twists and wrinkles thrown into the story to keep the audience guessing as to what's going to happen next . . . and the surprises don't come out of left field, but are actually clever and well thought-out. (The fact that McClane often relies on his brains instead of his bullets to get out of his predicaments is also a big plus.) Simply put, "Die Hard" is one of the smartest and savviest action screenplays ever written. McTiernan holds up his end of the film admirably as well -- he uses the claustrophobic nature of the office building to great effect (particularly in any scene involving an elevator shaft), and he keeps the film rolling at a rollercoaster pace, building up the anticipation of the audience before unleashing the action. A lot of recent action films just fly along at a mindless, breakneck pace, without ever allowing the story to breathe or the suspense to build . . . unlike those films, "Die Hard" knows how to maximize the impact of each and every scene, and that's why it stands out so clearly from them all. With "Die Hard", John McTiernan puts on a perfect clinic as to how to pace an action movie.

As for the acting, it's darn near close to perfect. Bruce Willis is awesome as John McClane. As played by Willis, McClane's a smartass with a distinct disdain for being given orders . . . but McClane's also clever, and knows how to keep cool under pressure. There's more to McClane than the stereotypical tough guy hero. Fortunately, the role was given to Bruce Willis, who infuses McClane with the perfect mix of cocky arrogance and stone-cold heroism. The fact that Willis plays McClane as a man often in disbelief of his own situation, and who struggles in his fight against bad guys instead of just killing bad guys with ease, like most stereotypical action heroes -- well, not only does it make the character much more believable, it's darn brilliant. (The fact that Willis also knows how to deliver a deadpan one-liner better than anybody else in Hollywood makes the character all the better.) There's only a handful of movies where both character and actor are a completely perfect match; Bruce Willis as John McClane is one such perfect match.

Also worthy of mention is Alan Rickman's performance as the villain Hans Gruber. The Machiavellian Gruber would've been an easy villain to turn into little more than a scenery-chewing Bond villain . . . fortunately, Rickman doesn't travel the easy route. Gruber, as played by Rickman, is cold and calculating, and actually acts smart, instead of merely claiming to be smart and then being thoroughly outwitted by the hero. He always appears to have an ace hidden up his sleeve, and is so convincing at giving this impression, it's hard to tell throughout the film whether he or McClane truly have the upper hand. Other actors probably could've played Gruber fairly well, but Rickman makes Gruber one of the all-time great villains. As for the rest of the cast, they're all pretty good. Bonnie Bedelia does a nice job as John's soon-to-be-ex-wife Holly -- she plays her with enough smarts and feistiness to break the usual "damsel in distress" mold. It's also worth mentioning that Paul Gleason, who plays the obstinate police chief Robinson, pretty much sets up the modern action movie stereotype of the authority figure who refuses to heed the advice of the maverick hero. The character is stupid to a fault, and he's wonderful because of it.

"Die Hard" is a terrific example of what happens when all the pieces of a film fall together perfectly. There simply are no weak spots or dull moments in the film. Is "Die Hard" one of the best overall movies ever made? Probably not. But it's undeniably one of the best action movies ever made, and it just might well be the perfect modern action film. Grade: A


287 of 396 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
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
Discuss Die Hard (1988) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page