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Die Hard (1988)

 -  Action | Thriller  -  22 July 1988 (USA)
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 458,458 users   Metascore: 70/100
Reviews: 677 user | 214 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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Title: Die Hard (1988)

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Top 250 #114 | 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

New York City Detective John McClane has just arrived in Los Angeles to spend Christmas with his wife. Unfortunatly, it is not going to be a Merry Christmas for everyone. A group of terrorists, led by Hans Gruber is holding everyone in the Nakatomi Plaza building hostage. With no way of anyone getting in or out, it's up to McClane to stop them all. All 12! Written by Film_Fan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

40 Storeys. Twelve Terrorists. One Cop. See more »

Genres:

Action | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

22 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)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Before reporter Richard Thornburg hears Sgt Powell's call for backup over the radio he is discussing dinner reservations with a woman, saying "of course I can get a table, Wolfgang is a close personal friend of mine". This refers to Wolfgang Puck and his Sunset Strip restaurant "Spago", which opened in 1982. See more »

Goofs

When John first enters the lobby of the Nakatomi building, the Christmas tree is unlit, even though it's Christmas Eve and the company party is in progress upstairs. When Hans and the other terrorists enter the lobby just a few minutes later, the tree lights are on. 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 Virtuality (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
Written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne
Performed by Vaughn Monroe
Courtesy of MCA Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The most influential action film of the last half-century
21 August 2005 | by (The Penumbra) – See all my reviews

In the Sixties, author Roderick Thorp wrote a novel, The Detective, which was turned into a movie, starring Frank Sinatra in the title role of Joe Leland. A sequel was written, in which Joe becomes trapped in the Claxxon Oil Corporation skyscraper after it is taken over by German terrorists and he has to rescue his daughter and grandchildren. Two decades later, the skyscraper becomes Nakatomi, the daughter becomes the wife, Leland becomes John McClane and the title becomes Die Hard.

To say that Die Hard sets new standards for action movies is like calling Bill Gates well off. The movie was so innovative and groundbreaking that dozens of rip-offs followed - Passenger 57, Under Siege, Cliffhanger, Sudden Death, et al. Hostage/terrorist movies were all the rage in the early Nineties.

Very few came close, because Die Hard had so many strong points, not least of which was Alan Rickman's marvellous performance, as Hans Gruber - also the name of the villain in Our Man Flint - the classically educated, smartly dressed terrorist leader. This is not some hammy guy in a chain-mail shirt with spikes on his gloves (Commando). Gruber would have been well at home on Wall Street.

His plan is to break into the vault on the 30th floor of the Nakatomi Plaza and take away $640million in negotiable bearer bonds. When he and his 12 European henchmen round up the office workers, who are enjoying a Christmas Eve party, one man slips away unnoticed. He is John McClane, a New York cop who has come to LA to settle down with his estranged wife, Holly (Bonnie Bedelia). The odds are against him. But that's just the way he likes it.

The terrorists even have names. And we remember them. Most action movies these days have unidentified heavies, played by stunt men, who are lined up and knocked over.

In his battle to save his Holly, McClane is scorched, torched, beaten and blown up. He jumps off the roof and falls through air ducts. He uncovers deception and double-cross and picks broken glass out of his bare feet. No help comes from the naive and incompetent police, who are unable to get inside, and even less from the FBI.

McClane is not a supercop. He is an ordinary guy, who doesn't want a fight. When he is shot, he bleeds. He hurts. All he has are his pants, his vest, his gun - which runs out of ammo. This is the first realistic connection the audience has. When you don't want to be in McClane's position, it makes for much excitement.

John McTiernan, who's only previous mainstream movie was Predator, uses awesome photography and technical skills to give the film a truly polished and sophisticated look - it was nominated for four technical Academy Awards. He also allows for enough time for decent character development, most of which comes between McClane and a cop (Reginald Veljohnson) he makes friends with on a CB radio.

Die Hard manages to be heart-pounding and teeth-gritting every single time. And if you are one of those many people who have only ever been able to watch it on TV then now is definitely the time to rediscover a cool, classic and creative action picture.


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