Die Hard
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

FAQ for
Die Hard (1988) More at IMDbPro »

The content of this page was created directly by users and has not been screened or verified by IMDb staff.
Visit our FAQ Help to learn more

FAQ Contents


A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Die Hard can be found here.

What is 'Die Hard' about?

NYC cop John McClane (Bruce Willis), newly arrived in Los Angeles on Christmas vacation, stops to visit with his estranged wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) at the Nakatomi Plaza where she works. While the Nakatomi employees are reveling on the 30th floor at their company's Christmas party and John is in the bathroom freshening up, a group of heavily armed thieves pretending to be terrorists, led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), stage a siege, taking all of the employees, including Holly, as hostages, leaving John to launch a one-man war in an attempt to stop them and save the hostages.

Yes. Die Hard is based on the novel Nothing Lasts Forever (1979) by American writer Roderick Thorp. The novel was adapted for the movie by American screenwriters Steven E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart. Die Hard was followed by Die Hard 2 (1990), Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995), Live Free or Die Hard (2007) and A Good Day to Die Hard (2013).

Who are the 'terrorists'?

Actually, the villiains are not terrorists, they are simply robbers who are posing as terrorists as part of their scheme to manipulate the authorities for their real apolitical goal. There are 13 "terrorists," led by the former German terrorist Hans Gruber. Hans' second-in-command is compatriot Karl (Alexander Godunov), whose brother Tony (Andreas Wisniewski) is also involved. There are two Americans: Eddie (Dennis Hayden), who impersonates a security guard in the lobby, and Theo (Clarence Gilyard Jr.), the computer whiz kid. Theo is assisted in cracking the vault by Kristoffe (Gérard Bonn), who appears to be French. The missile team is made up of marksman Alexander (Joey Plewa) and loader James (Wilhelm von Homburg). Heinrich (Gary Roberts) is tasked with rigging the explosives on the roof, a job he undertakes with Uli (Al Leong) and Marco (Lorenzo Caccialanza). Finally there is Fritz (Hans Buhringer) and Franco (Bruno Doyon), who each carry out a wide range of jobs during the heist.

They want the bonds worth $640 million that are locked in the Nakatomi vault. After adjusting for inflation that amount would be equivalent to 1.275 billion in 2014 dollars.

Holly told Hans that she wasn't married, but he can clearly see the pictures of her children on the desk. When he sees the same children on TV talking about their mother AND father, he lifts the face-down picture and sees Holly and John side-by-side posing with their kids.

Yes, Karl is German. He just wonders why Hans would give him an order like that. That's why Hans repeats the order aloud after Karl hesitates, and he does so in English so the audience could understand

When Hans asks John if he was a child who thought of himself as John Wayne, Rambo, or Marshall Dillon, John replies, "I was always partial to Roy Rogers actually". Hans then says, "Do you really think you have a chance against us, Mr Cowboy?" to which John responds with "Yippee ki-yay!" The reference is to a song on Roy Rogers' TV show about being a cowboy. The chorus went something like, "Yippee-ki-yay..ki-yay, yippee ki-yo, he's the toughest critter west of the Alamo.'

The most logical explanation is that John recognized Hans' voice, despite the accent. Although he witnessed both Gruber's execution of Takagi and also his reaction to finding Karl's brother dead in the elevator, he did not see Gruber's face. Also, John may have been observing for a moment as Hans checks on the explosives, which in and of itself is suspicious behavior, before approaching him. When they meet, John appears to pay close attention to how Hans holds his cigarette (as a German often holds a cigarette with his thumb and forefinger, unlike an American, who usually holds it simply between the first two fingers). Further, it is likely that police protocol or John's own policy is never to hand over a loaded weapon to a stranger. The scene also shows John recognizing Gruber's fake name on a nearby board listing staff names, revealing that Gruber is lying.

The Beretta 92F, a common handgun also used by the US Armed Forces since 1985. This was never issued to the NYPD so McClane must have bought it privately. He continues using the Beretta in the next two Die Hard films & changes to a SIG Sauer P220R for Live Free or Die Hard.

Hans uses a Heckler and Koch P7 pistol whilst Karl uses a Walther P38K. Heinrich uses the same gun as McClane, a Baretta 92F pistol (which is presumably where McClane gets his spare magazines from after killing him). All the other terrorists use Heckler and Koch MP5 submachineguns except for Karl who uses the futuristic looking Steyr AUG assault rifle. James uses a recoiless rifle against the police armoured vehicle and an M60 machine gun to shoot up Powell's car and take out the spotlights. They also use C4 plastic explosives and Karl makes use of stun grenades. Most of their weapons are of German origin like the terrorists themselves.

How does the movie end?

When the helicopters arrive, Gruber ushers all of the hostages up to the roof, which the terrorists have rigged with explosives. Taking Holly with him, Gruber then goes down to the vault to get the bonds. McClane climbs up to the roof and warns the hostages that they're going to be killed if they stay there, so everyone starts going downstairs. Unfortunately, the FBI helicopter mistakes McClane for one of the terrorists and starts shooting at him. Suddenly the roof explodes in flames, taking out the helicopter as well. McClane gets off the roof by tying himself to a firehose and jumping off the building. He then breaks the glass in a window and swings himself inside. He meets up with Gruber who is holding a gun to Holly's head. Gruber orders McClane to put down his gun, which he does, but when Gruber thinks that he's in control of the situation, McClane whips out a gun that he had taped to his back, shoots one of the remaining terrorists and wounding Gruber. Gruber falls backwards and out of a window, almost taking Holly with him. McClane releases Holly's wristwatch (to which Gruber was clinging), and Gruber falls to his death. Meanwhile, Argyle (De'voreaux White) crashes a car into Theo's van, preventing him from getting away with the bonds. McClane and Holly leave the building together, and McClane and Officer Powell (Reginald VelJohnson) meet face-to-face for the first time. Karl comes out of the building armed with a gun. When he tries to shoot McClane, Powell shoots Karl. Thornburg (William Atherton) attempts to interview McClane, but Holly punches him in the nose. Argyle comes crashing through the garage door in his limo and drives McClane and Holly away.

Going to Holly's house to interview the children on TV was an invasion of her family's privacy and would reveal to the terrorists that Holly had children and possibly where they were located. This would then give the terrorists the opportunity to find them and kill or kidnap them. At least, that's the excuse she gives in the second movie. On the other hand, Dick's actions caused Gruber to take Holly hostage and made the situation more difficult and dangerous for John by giving Hans that much leverage. The daughter also answers Dick's question,"is there something you would like to say to them (parents) if they're watching?" This tells Gruber that Holly's husband is also there at the tower and that he is likely John McClane, which is why he turns over the picture to verify it. Thus, Dick also endangers Holly and John, giving Gruber the leverage he needs to take care of McClane.

Tony has his neck broken by McClane during their struggle. Uli, Marco, Eddie, Fritz, Franco and Heinrich are all shot by McClane. James and Alexander are blown up by McClane as they operate the missile system. Hans is shot and wounded by McClane then dropped to his death from the 30th floor. Karl is shot by Powell.

Theo is knocked unconscious by Argyle. Kristoff is simply knocked out cold by John McClane just before his final confrontation with Hans and Eddie as he is taking a box of bonds towards the exit, John knocks him down, and Kristoff is never seen again. Presumably, both are captured by the police afterwards. Robinson is heard instructing his men to sweep the building in order to check if there are any more terrorists left.

He didn't, however, he did know that the elevator car they used was stopped at that floor. All he had to do was insert the detonator & let the chair with the C4 & the computer monitor strapped to it hit the elevator car & explode.

Marco, the guy McClane shoots through the table.

The novel is different in that it involves a much older hero, Joe Leland (John McClane in film) who is desperately trying to save his daughter and two grandchildren, rather than his wife. The realism factor is higher in the book, not that Die Hard wasn't believable, but when you puke after realizing you've killed someone, you're talking real life.

The Extended Version runs approx. 62 sec longer. The Extended Version includes a further plot scene. As a result some minor plotholes disappear. A detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here.

Page last updated by bj_kuehl, 1 week ago
Top 5 Contributors: !!!deleted!!! (2011934), BristleKRS, bj_kuehl, briangcb, !!!deleted!!! (15423427)

r73731


Related Links

Plot summary Plot synopsis Parents Guide
Trivia Quotes Goofs
Soundtrack listing Crazy credits Alternate versions
Movie connections User reviews Main details