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Die Hard (1988)

Trailer
1:28 | Trailer
An NYPD officer tries to save his wife and several others taken hostage by German terrorists during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.

Director:

John McTiernan

Writers:

Roderick Thorp (novel), Jeb Stuart (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
337 ( 184)
Top Rated Movies #124 | Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 8 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
Paul Gleason ... Dwayne T. Robinson
De'voreaux White ... Argyle
William Atherton ... Thornburg
Hart Bochner ... Ellis
James Shigeta ... Takagi
Alan Rickman ... Hans Gruber
Alexander Godunov ... Karl
Bruno Doyon Bruno Doyon ... Franco
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:

It will blow you through the back wall of the theater! See more »

Genres:

Action | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | Italian | Japanese

Release Date:

20 July 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Hard See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$601,851, 17 July 1988

Gross USA:

$83,519,093

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$141,482,154
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

In the spring of 1987, producer Joel Silver and director John McTiernan attended a performance of the play Dangerous Liaisons, in which Alan Rickman played the evil Vicomte de Valmont. Immediately, Silver and McTiernan realized they had found Hans Gruber. See more »

Goofs

On the VHS and DVD box for this movie, the description says, "Armed with only a service revolver and his cunning, McClane launches his own one-man war." McClane uses a Beretta Model 92 semi-automatic pistol, not a revolver. 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 Ultimate edition DVD contains the following deleted/extended scenes:
  • Extended power shutdown sequence.
  • Extended opening flight scene.
  • Brief dialogue in the first Hans/McClane confrontation.
  • Extended scene where Robinson/Powell brief the FBI on the tower situation.
  • Brief dialogue when Hans interrogates Takagi.
  • Brief dialogue after Theo says "You didn't bring me along for my charming personality".
  • Extended/alternate dialogue in McClane/Powell conversation after McClane uses the plastic explosives.
  • Brief scene of FBI agents getting stuck in thorn bushes as they make their way towards the building.
  • At the end, McClane says "You got a warranty for this (Holly's watch, a gift from Ellis)?" to which Holly laughs.
  • Argyle's dialogue as Powell's police cruiser flies by in the background.
  • Brief Ellis dialogue reacting to the terrorist intrusion.
  • City engineer briefly coughs before pulling out the power cord.
  • Brief dialogue in Hans/Karl argument about "neutralizing" McClane.
  • Additional Holly dialogue after seeing Karl's reaction to McClane's escape.
See more »


Soundtracks

Jingle Bells
(uncredited)
Written by James Pierpont
Whistled by Bruce Willis
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

A trenchant action film classic
26 August 2013 | by antonjsw1See all my reviews

John McTiernan's second mainstream film manages to amazingly top an outstanding previous effort, Predator. This even better film will resonate will audiences even more than Predator. While Predator was a superbly crafted and fairly straightforward sci-fi action thriller, this film takes the archetypal imperfect everyman loner, saddled with personal issues(in the form as an estranged relationship with is corporate high flying wife) and through a twist of fate has him battling, against the odds an international team of highly motivated and competent) bank robbers while trying to protect his wife, who is amongst the hostages these robbers have taken.

It differed from both Predator and other action-thriller films of the period in that the hero was more human in physique, rather than the physical super-men such as Stallone, Norris and Schwarzenegger. He survives through determination and his wits rather than on brute strength, and Bruce Willis was a refreshingly original casting choice.

The plot is cleverly structured and sets up all the characters seamlessly. There are good performances from most of the key players. The robbers are all interesting, but clearly most time is spent with Clarence Gilyard Jr. and the late Alexander Gudunov, who are both charismatic, albeit it is their boss, the relatively unknown at the time British actor Alan Rickman, who steals the show and is terrific in this film, and makes for a worthy rival and antagonist for Bruce Willis's John McClane. Bonnie Bedelia and Reginald Veljohnson are also good value, as is James Shigeta as Mr Takagi. However a couple of the characters do stray into caricatures, notably De'Voreaux White and Hart Bochner as Argyle and Ellis respectively. Fortunately the other performances and the film itself as so fast paced and involving you can overlook these slightly over the top performances, and they do not detract from the enjoyment of the picture.

The good performances are woven into an expertly crafted film. Technical credits are outstanding. Jan De Bont's photography is stylish, and makes fantastic use of the Fox Plaza Tower to double for the Nakatomi building. He also makes clever use, but not over use of lens flares to create an excellent mood and atmosphere. Frank J Urioste's stunning editing, Michael Kamen's great music and Richard Edlund's brilliant but incredibly subtle visual effects all work together with truly fantastic action sequences and stuntwork, and director John McTiernan deserves huge credit. He draws out entertaining performances from most of the cast, but mixes this brilliantly clever setting up of the characters, and then orchestrating some truly outstanding action sequences with a pervading atmosphere of growing tension and suspense. It has stood the test of time brilliantly, it still by some way the best of the series, and overall comes off as a truly outstanding and emotionally satisfying thriller.

Overall a terrific achievement that has not been bettered.


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