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Die Hard (1988)

R  |   |  Action, Thriller  |  20 July 1988 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 550,294 users   Metascore: 70/100
Reviews: 705 user | 221 critic | 13 from Metacritic.com

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



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Top Rated Movies #121 | 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 will blow you through the back wall of the theater! 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?


The firearms used in the film are, as in most action films, real firearms modified to function with blanks. Although modern small arms ammunition is intended to have minimum muzzle flash, director John McTiernan wanted vivid, "exaggerated realism" in the muzzle flashes. Weapons specialist Michael Papac hand fabricated some blanks that were so powerful that the standard firearms modifications weren't workable. Papac had to specially modify the firearms involved. Special effects coordinator Al Di Sarro said of these blanks that 'in the world of blanks, there are loads that are not so loud and loads that are deafening', and these were deafening. These blanks did cause some cast members, notably Alan Rickman, to flinch. Furthermore, normally most sound effects come from a studio library of sound effects. Sound designer Richard Shorr didn't want to use these clips as modern sound equipment would show their age, as some of them were recorded in the 1950s. To resolve this and further the "exaggerated realism", the sound crew took the appropriate firearms to a firing range in Texas and recorded them being fired with live ammunition. See more »


When Gail Wallens talk with Dr. Hasseldorf about the hostages situation, he speaks of "Helsinki Syndrome". The correct name is "Stockholm Syndrome". However, this was a joke satirizing the incompetence of so-called TV "experts", as the following lines ridicule Johnson for his mistake. 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 Have I Got News for You: Episode #40.1 (2010) See more »


Jingle Bells
Written by James Pierpont (as James Lord Pierpoint)
Performed by Bruce Willis (whistling)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Top action film of the 1980's
17 May 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Every so often,a film comes along that resets the standard for it's genre.Die Hard did just that very thing for action films.Any film that inspires copycats and wannabes really does it's job well.Bruce Willis made a very successful transition from the small screen to the big screen as the everyday Joe forced into being the hero.This film has all the necessary ingredients to qualify it as a great action film.All you have to do is see it for yourself.Particularly well done is the performance of Alan Rickman as the chief villain,Hans Gruber.You can come up with good arguments for many action films as to which is the best all time,and this one is no exception.Well done.

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Why did John Mclane say that he was invited by mistake ? gmunoz_no
This is NOT a Christmas Film patchesdf-62-114042
Most far-fetched moment in the film blanketman77
Favorite line in the film... kmay144
Can anybody explain.... nazcarfanatic24
What happened to John's shoulder holster? crazydave682000
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