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Die Hard (1988)

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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:

John McTiernan

Writers:

Roderick Thorp (novel), Jeb Stuart (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
475 ( 221)
Top Rated Movies #121 | Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bruce Willis ... John McClane
Bonnie Bedelia ... Holly Gennaro McClane
Reginald VelJohnson ... Sgt. Al Powell (as Reginald Veljohnson)
Paul Gleason ... Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson
William Atherton ... Richard Thornburg
Hart Bochner ... Harry Ellis
James Shigeta ... Joseph Yoshinobu Takagi
Alan Rickman ... Hans Gruber
Alexander Godunov ... Karl
Bruno Doyon Bruno Doyon ... Franco
De'voreaux White ... Argyle
Andreas Wisniewski ... Tony
Clarence Gilyard Jr. ... Theo
Joey Plewa Joey Plewa ... Alexander
Lorenzo Caccialanza ... Marco
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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 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:

40 Stories Of Sheer Adventure! See more »

Genres:

Action | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | Italian | Japanese

Release Date:

20 July 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Duro de matar See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$601,851, 17 July 1988, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$83,008,852

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$140,767,956
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints) (4 channels)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael Madsen was considered for the role of John McClane. See more »

Goofs

When the APC blows up and you are viewing the outside view of the vehicle exploding you can clearly see a camera man standing in the window where the rocket was shot from. 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 »

Crazy Credits

In the widescreen version, the 20th Century Fox logo is stretched. See more »

Alternate Versions

The FX Channel adds a scene prior to the electricity-controlled opening of the vault. In it, the city engineer pulls the plug locally, but even though the power goes off, the electromagnetic seal still holds. After realizing the building has alternate power sources, Hans orders Theo to "annoy them", which leads Theo to type in commands to turn the power back on. The lights come back on, where Special Agent Johnson () tells the city engineer to shut the whole grid down. A quick black-and-white frame flashes before it rejoins the original footage. See more »

Connections

Referenced in De slimste mens ter wereld: Episode #6.8 (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Ode to Joy
(uncredited)
from "Symphony No.9 in D- 'Choral', Op.125"
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Best Action Movie Ever Made?
7 May 2006 | by hoobamaSee all my reviews

There was a moment in an early scene of Die Hard when John McClane (Bruce Willis) is having an argument with his wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) in the executive washroom in Ellis's office. It's scripted so that the two of them end up talking over each other about what McClane's idea of their marriage is, and it's such an honest depiction of estranged spouses that I find myself forgetting what movie I'm watching when I get to that part.

Granted, not everyone has a terrorist takeover of their office building to teach them not to take each other for granted, but it works here.

That scene is one of the great things about Die Hard, not because it contributes anything to the action, but because it contributes everything to the characters. Most action films before and after this seem violence-driven, but this one manages to balance the humanity of its protagonist, and I can't even begin to measure how much of that balance comes from that one scene.

I think the other thing that most defines the spirit of this movie is McClane's shoes. It's such an obvious contrivance, set up right from the beginning, but it's worked into the entire story so artfully that I have completely forgiven it every time I've seen the film. Of all the bad luck, to be caught in the middle of a terrorist attack and then have to chase the bad guys around a 40-story building, all without shoes.

But, as McClane himself says, it's "better than being caught with your pants down." I know how much of the plot and the action hinges upon luck, timing, strong fingertips, and the Rube Goldberg machinery of the FBI-terrorist interplay, but I really don't care. I still get caught up in the nervous moments of this movie 18 years later. I still ache along with McClane as he pulls a three-inch piece of glass out of his foot in the emergency lighting in the bathroom. And I still root for him to get the bad guy, rescue his wife, save his marriage, and meet Al Powell even though I must have scene this movie 30 or 40 times already, and I know he's going to do it again the next time.

This is a great film, and easily the best written and best executed action movie I have ever seen. But more to the point, and more importantly, it's a fun movie to watch, no matter how many times you see it.


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