The strange history of the Die Hard movies

The Die Hard series may be alive and well, but there's a unique story behind the writing of each one…

As any action fanatic will tell you, Die Hard is among the best films of its type ever made. Tautly directed by John McTiernan, deceptively well shot by cinematographer Jan de Bont, and full of charismatic turns from Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman and Bonnie Bedelia, it’s seldom been bettered, even by its sequels.

The key to the first film's success, and the sequels in their best moments, is hero John McClane. Tough, sarcastic but ultimately human and relatable, he cuts a very different figure from the beefed-up, larger-than-life heroes of 1980s and 90s action cinema. When John McClane gets shot or injured, he actually feels pain. It's something we were keenly aware of in the 1988 original, but gradually ebbed away as the Die Hard franchise drifted from thriller territory
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Invictus: better on Nelson Mandela than rugby

Clint Eastwood's retelling of how Nelson Mandela embraced the Springboks lacks that sporting thrill and passion for the game – and misses a fine metaphor for the racial struggle

• Reel history: Diana - a right royal mess

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Invictus (2009)

Director: Clint Eastwood

Entertainment grade: C–

History grade: B+

The South African national rugby union team has been known as the Springboks since the early 20th century. The 1995 World Cup was the first in which South Africa was readmitted to international competition after an apartheid-era boycott.


Invictus begins with the release from prison and election to the presidency of Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman), who appears in some meticulously recreated documentary-style footage. The film is right to suggest that rugby was an intensely political game in South Africa. "Rugby was 'the opium of the Boer', said Makhenkesi Arnold Stofile, an African National Congress activist who later served as sports minister.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Exclusive: Willis On The Changing Nature Of John McClane

Exclusive: Willis On The Changing Nature Of John McClane
It's 25 years since Bruce Willis first brought John McClane to the screen in the first of the 'Die Hard' films, kickstarting one of the big screen's most successful franchises.

In the original and four sequels, McClane has been the reluctant hero, invariably caught in the wrong place, and proving the only human obstacle between good and the triumph of evil.

Bruce Willis has made the reluctant hero all his own in the 'Die Hard' films over 25 years

To mark the 25th anniversary, plus the home entertainment release on DVD of 'A Good Day to Die Hard', Bruce Willis reflects on the changing nature of his die-hard character, through five films. Watch Him In Our Exclusive Clip Above.

Plus here are 25 mind-blowing facts from all five films. Did you know...

1. The line "yippee-ki-yay," translates in Urdu to "Here - eat this" and is used in
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What A Day To Die Hard – The Marathon Review

A little over a month ago, we posted that in celebration of it’s 25th anniversary there will be a Die Hard Marathon showing all four movies starting around Noon on February 13th followed by the premier of A Good Day To Die Hard at 10Pm getting out just before Midnight. That’s almost 12 action-packed hours of Die Hard awesomeness! As you can guess, there was no way I could refuse to take this opportunity to see one of the greatest action-movie series of all time for the first time on the big screen, or make that Mega-Screen since I decided to see this at Wehrenberg’s Chesterfield Galaxy 14 Cine, which in my opinion is one of the best movie theatres here in the St. Louis area. For $25 you got all five movies plus a collectable lanyard that entitles you to a 25% discount at concessions throughout the whole day and with their wide-selection,
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'Bourne' Helmer Paul Greengrass To Direct Sports Documentary On F.C. Barcelona

Despite being the world's favorite sport, and gaining increasing traction in the U.S., the number of great films about soccer (or football, as those of us in the rest of the world accurately call it), can be counted on the fingers of no hands. From John Huston's "Escape To Victory" to the would-be-blockbuster trilogy "Goal," virtually every attempt to capture the beautiful game on screen has stumbled badly, even as seemingly less cinematic sports like baseball and golf end up driving a string of classics.

But it sounds like one of Hollywood's biggest A-list directors is about to try and crack the code, albeit in documentary form, as 24 Frames report that Paul Greengrass, the British helmer behind "The Bourne Supremacy" and "The Bourne Ultimatum," is planning to make a film on one of the world's most successful clubs, F.C. Barcelona. Entitled "Barca," the film will look at the Spanish club,
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Cinematic Senna drives home the joy of a pre-corporate sporting age

The film of Ayrton Senna's life shows he was answering not to a series of commercial opportunities but to a compulsion to race

Senna, the film, strikes with elegiac force and is not alone in modern cinema in augmenting memories that were already safe and deep. Lurching out of the dark, the viewer asks why the hot new genre of sports documentaries is so unsettling and effective.

One answer is that they return us to the pre-corporate age when sport was a means of expression and not a branch of business. When Ayrton Senna defends himself as a pure "racer", who drove against other men and their machines, rather than a scoreboard, or a clock, there is a subconscious pull to another time, before Formula One was a game of computer technology and industrialised product-shifting.

The moment in history we are all attempting to identify is when sport became
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Robert Downey Jr. Looks to Yucatan

Anthony Peckham, the screenwriter behind Sherlock Holmes , has signed on to write Yucatan for Warner Bros., with Robert Downey Jr. attached to star, says a report at Deadline . Yucatan is based on a story by the late actor Steve McQueen, who had intended starring in a film version himself. The story would feature Downey as a deep sea diver for-hire who is hired to uncover lost Mayan treasure. In addition to Sherlock Holmes , Peckham also adapted John Carlin's Invictus for Clint Eastwood's 2009 film.
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Talking Freeman and Damon, Mandela and Eastwood -- with John Carlin, Author of Invictus Book

John Carlin is a much accomplished journalist and author who ranked as the dean of foreign correspondents (for the UK Independent) in South Africa during the last days of apartheid and the birth of the new South Africa. He was a significant witness to Mandela--and his book Playing the Enemy, about the 1995 rugby World Cup final--a moment so galvanic to the nation, involving Mandela and the team that epitomized white Afrikaaner pride--was the basis for Clint Eastwood's Invictus. I first met John at a chefs' conference in San Sebastian, Spain some years back. He was new to the topic (he wrote mainly about politics and sport) and was wandering around a bit bemused among the molecular chefs. (He's half-Spanish, half-English though, so language wasn't a problem.) I caught up with him via email from Barcelona, where he lives, ahead of the...
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Review: Invictus

  • HeyUGuys
Invictus isn’t a word I’d ever heard before and until watching the movie, I had no idea what it was or meant. Well, let me tell you! Invictus is a poem written by William Ernest Henley (1849–1903) which becomes the backbone for reuniting a country when it was on the brink of collapse. Borrowing the poem’s name Clint Eastwood’s new movie takes us through that journey about how a man who was a prisoner becomes the president of his country to lead and unite it in a way that no one thought possible.

Invictus the movie is based on the book by John Carlin (Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed a Nation) and stars Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela and the movie begins with stock news bulletins from the 90s which show him being released from prison, and then moving on to showing
See full article at HeyUGuys »

Adjoa Andoh on her star role in Invictus | Interview

A starring role opposite Morgan Freeman is a deserved Hollywood break for British actor Adjoa Andoh. She talks to Kate Kellaway

The audition for Nelson Mandela's chief of staff in Clint Eastwood's new film Invictus was down to three actors – two South Africans and a British Ghanaian – Adjoa Andoh. When she got the call – "Mr Eastwood wants you" – she danced for joy round her living room in south London. Andoh could not be more deserving of this breakthrough into Hollywood. She is one of our most talented yet unsung black actors. She was Condoleezza Rice in David Hare's Stuff Happens at the National Theatre. She's had lead roles at the Almeida and the Royal Court. She's even been in Doctor Who

In Invictus she is wonderful opposite Morgan Freeman's Nelson Mandela. The film's opening is timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Mandela's release.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Morgan Freeman's long walk to Nelson Mandela

Portraying Nelson Mandela has defeated many actors, but not Morgan Freeman. The star of Invictus tells Bill Keller about shadowing – and embodying – the South African leader

Morgan Freeman has been cast as God – twice – so he evidently has no trouble projecting moral authority. The challenge of portraying Nelson Mandela, then, was not the size of the halo, but knowing the performance would be measured against the real, familiar Mandela, and his myth. "If we can say any part of acting is hard, then playing someone who is living and everybody knows would be the hardest," Freeman says.

The role has defeated actors as varied as Danny Glover (in the 1987 TV film Mandela), Sidney Poitier (Mandela and de Klerk, 1997, also for TV) and Dennis Haysbert (Goodbye Bafana, 2007), in vehicles that were reverential and mostly forgettable. But as someone who studied Mandela over the course of three years while he replaced an
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Invictus Review

Short Version: Invictus is a drama of hope that tugs on some cliched emotional strings.

Screen Rant’s Kofi Outlaw reviews Invictus

Invictus is Clint Eastwood’s latest directorial offering, adapted from the book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation, by John Carlin. The screenplay was written by Anthony Peckham (Sherlock Holmes) and the film stars Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar (the real-life captain of the South African Rugby team during the mid-90s), and Morgan Freeman in a gripping performance as Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black President of the post-apartheid era.

The film tells the true story of Mandela’s early days in office, as he fights to bridge the gap of hate and mistrust that has existed for so long between South Africa’s white and black citizens. While Mandela is waging that uphill battle on every front of state and government,
See full article at Screen Rant »


Warner Bros

Reviewed for Arizona Reporter by Harvey Karten

Grade: B

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Written By: Anthony Peckham, based on John Carlin.s book .Playing the Enemy.

Cast: Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Tony Kgoroge, Julian Lewis Jones, Adjoa Andoh, Patrick Mofokeng, Matt Stern, Leleti Khumalo

Screened at: Tribeca, NYC, 12/2/09

If you look at John Carlin.s book .Playing the Enemy,. surprisingly marked down from $24.95 to $7.77 at Amazon, you will realize that the title has a double meaning. One deals with the competition of South Africa.s rugby team in its thrust toward the World Cup in 1995. The other relates to the unusual fact that when South Africa.s rugby team played that of England, the majority of South Africans in the audience cheered for England! This would like seeing New York flying the flags at half staff when the New York Yankees won the World Series instead of our
See full article at Arizona Reporter »

The Conquerer

Morgan Freeman was born to play Nelson Mandela. Or maybe Nelson Mandela was destined to be played by Morgan Freeman. Whichever it is, when posters and other advertisements began sprouting for the new film "Invictus," in which Freeman stars as the former South African president, the casting felt inevitable. Of course one of America's most revered and respected actors would be portraying a man of such greatness.Even in 1995, when Mandela published his autobiography, "Long Walk to Freedom," detailing the 27 years he spent in prison struggling against apartheid, the activist had the actor in mind, saying Freeman should be the one to play him if the book became a movie. Admits Freeman, "It's been a foregone conclusion that, at some point or another, I would play him."Freeman, who runs the company Revelations Entertainment with his producing partner Lori McReady, spent years trying to help get a film version off
See full article at Backstage »

Cruz, Freeman on Golden Globes short list

Morgan Freeman playing Nelson Mandela in "Invictus" and Penelope Cruz in "Nine" look likely to take home Golden Globes nominations Tuesday along with films "Julie & Julia," "Inglourious Basterds," "The Hurt Locker" and "Up in the Air."Organized and chosen by members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (Hfpa), the Golden Globes will be held in Beverly Hills on January 17; they are traditionally seen as a key indicator in the battle for honors at the Oscars.The excitement starts at 1300 GMT as singer-actor Justin Timberlake joins actor John Krasinski to unveil nominees in 25 categories in film and television.Though 67.4 percent of films that won best picture at the Academy Awards also won a Golden Globe, in recent years the awards have proved an unreliable barometer of Oscar winners.The rags-to-riches drama "Slumdog Millionaire" is the only
See full article at Filmicafe »

Invictus Review

Invictus” is Latin for “undefeated” and comes from a poem by William Ernest Henley. Henley was twenty-six and confined to a hospital bed when he wrote the poem; his leg had been amputated just below the knee due to tuberculosis of the bone. Henley wrote the poem to state that despite a crippling and potentially life-ending situation, he would be unbowed and would bounce back stronger than ever before. The country of South Africa was in a similar period of recovery in the mid-1990’s. With apartheid having just been put to an end and Nelson Mandela elected to the office of the President. Mandela had served twenty-seven years in prison for being a leader of the anti-apartheid movement and upon his release was looked upon as a hero from anti-apartheid groups both in and out of the country…read more []

Clint Eastwood’s Invictus is just about what you
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Invictus Review: A Rudimentary Sports Drama

Ever since his 1992 Oscar-winning triumph Unforgiven pushed him into the realm of great American filmmakers, Eastwood has been on a pretty remarkable creative streak. Sure, there have been a few bumps in the road, such as last year's Changeling, 1999's True Crime and 2002's Blood Work. More often than not though, the Man from Malpaso has been consistently turning out solid, sometimes great, directorial efforts over the past two decades.

Invictus falls somewhere in between. While it's a film from the 79-year old that keeps you entertained from start to finish, it's also one that could have been so much more.

Based on the novel by John Carlin, Invictus is set in South Africa during the first half of the 1990s. The film, directed by Clint Eastwood, chronicles the efforts of newly-elected president Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) to unify his country through sports, in particular Rugby. The only problem is that the national team,
See full article at TheHDRoom »

Movie Review: “Invictus”

Seen on: December 1, 2009

The players: Director: Clint Eastwood, Writer: Anthony Peckham, Cast: Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Tony Kgoroge, Patrick Mofokeng, Matt Stern

Facts of interest: Based on John Carlin's book.

The plot: The film tells the true story of how Nelson Mandela tried to unite his country with the help of South Africa's rugby team.

Our quick thoughts: Clint Eastwood’s “Invictus” keeps things simple in telling the true story of how Nelson Mandela tried to reunite his country through rugby, but the film is nonetheless a fascinating big-screen experience and without doubt one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. Intriguing, emotional and beautifully shot and acted, this is an instant winner.
See full article at screeninglog »

Damon Risked Wrath Of Eastwood For Invictus Reshoot

  • WENN
Damon Risked Wrath Of Eastwood For Invictus Reshoot
Matt Damon was forced to perfect his scenes for new movie Invictus in one take after he was chastised by director Clint Eastwood when he asked for a reshoot.

The Bourne Identity star portrays Francois Pienaar, the captain of South Africa's rugby team, who attempts to lead them to victory during the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

Eastwood is famed for his single take shoots, but Damon decided to pluck up the courage and push for a second try - only to be reprimanded by the legendary actor-turned-filmmaker.

Damon says, "The first scene I did with him I asked if I could do a second take, so I could try it a different way. So I asked him and he said, 'Why, so you can waste everybody's time?' (I was like,) 'Ok, moving on then!'"

The movie, based on author John Carlin's book, Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed a Nation, features Morgan Freeman as the former South African president.

Review: Invictus

After the success of his first sports movie, Million Dollar Baby, Clint Eastwood takes on the sport of rugby, but with a social consciousness slant. Based on the novel by John Carlin, Invictus tells the story of Nelson Mandela's ambitious plan to use South Africa's national rugby team, the Springboks, to help unite the country in the wake of apartheid. The Springboks had to defy the odds to be able to make it to the 1995 Rugby World Cup Championship, held in South Africa.

After the first democratically run election in 1994, South Africa was still divided racially in the financial and political sectors as well as the sports arena. Reminders in the colors and symbols of the white supremacist rule are despised, but President Mandela recognized the opportunity to unify both races of his recovering country through the universal language of sport. Mandela's decision to keep the Springbok name,
See full article at Slackerwood »
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