Black & Decker paid to have its cordless drill featured in a scene with Bruce Willis. When the scene was cut, the company sued 20th Century Fox in the first-ever product placement lawsuit for a film. The $150,000 claim was settled out of court.
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The General is from Val Verde, the fictitious Latin-American country used in Commando (1985).
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The scenes with Bruce Willis running through tunnels under the airport were filmed at a water treatment facility near Los Angeles. The facility has miles of underground tunnels, and was also used in Live Free or Die Hard (2007), doubling as the Woodlawn Social Security Administration building.
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According to John Leguizamo in his autobiography, his role was intended to be much larger until the filmmakers realized how short he was. His part was cut down to one line which was dubbed by someone else. However, he got his way years later in Executive Decision (1996), another picture produced by Joel Silver and often described as 'Die Hard on a Plane'.
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In the first Die Hard (1988), John McClane only had a few scripted one-liners. However, Bruce Willis ad-libbed so many one liners and audiences liked them so much that in this sequel (and the next one), more gags were added and Willis was told he could ad-lib as many more as he saw fit.
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The scene where McClane climbs the ladder from the service tunnels up onto the runway and then nearly gets run over by Esperanza's plane was filmed from eight different locations: - Granada Hills, California (McClain in the tunnel and climbing up the ladder) - Los Angeles, California (Close-ups of Esperanza inside the plane's cockpit) - Mojave Desert, California (Head-on view of plane in the sky on approach) - Alpena, Michigan (Exterior shot of the grating door on the runway) - San Francisco, California (Rear shot of plane on approach with runway lights in the background) - Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan (Plane after just landed rushing towards the screen) - Lake Tahoe, California (Plane rushing towards McClane in the foreground) - Denver, Colorado (Plane rushing towards McClane as seen from behind the front landing gear).
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Renny Harlin made sure that the scene where Major Grant says to McClane that he is "the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time", with McClane responding "Yeah, story of my life", ended up in the movie's trailer, because it perfectly summed up McClane's character.
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Denver was unseasonably snowless during the shooting of the snowstorm scenes and a fair amount of snow had to be created artificially.
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Most of the interior airport scenes were filmed in the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International airport.
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Major Grant's commando team is referred to as 'Blue Light'. This was the name of a real-life U.S. military anti-terrorist team formed within the U.S. Army Rangers in the 1970s. It was eventually replaced by the Delta Force who recruited personnel from the entire army, rather than just Green Berets.
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The first time Holly McClane is seen on the plane, the woman sitting next to her is reading a magazine advertising the VHS release of Lethal Weapon 2 (1989). Both the first two Die Hard movies and the Lethal Weapon series were produced by Joel Silver. Coincidentally, both Mel Gibson and Bruce Willis were considered for each other's roles of John McClane and Martin Riggs but turned it down and it went to each other vice versa.
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This film was shipped to theaters as "wet prints" - an industry term meaning that it was just barely completed before its release date.
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The part where Garber sticks his hand in front of the camera and says "No pictures, you pinko bitch." was unscripted. Don Harvey actually improvised this part and it was kept in the scene.
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The Russian title for "Die Hard" in all of the three movies is, "A Hard Nut to Crack".
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It was Renny Harlin's idea that Colonel Stuart (played by William Sadler), the film's main villain, be introduced naked doing martial arts exercises during the film's opening sequence. He would later say that it was "an effective, but unusual, way to introduce a character".
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John McTiernan had planned to direct this film, but could not because of his commitment to directing The Hunt for Red October (1990). Renny Harlin was hired after Fox executives were impressed by the dailies of The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990).
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When Fred Dalton Thompson's airport manager realises the peril the planes are in, he says that we only have 58 minutes to avert disaster. " Die Hard 2" is based on the novel "58 Minutes" by Walter Wager.
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Some of the shots of the airport (interior and exterior) were filmed at the old Stapleton Airport in Denver, Colorado. Also, the external shots of the church were filmed in Highland Lake, just north of Denver.
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The scenes filmed in Denver had to have snow machines brought from a local ski resort with truck loads of ice every night, because during the day it would all melt. Stapleton International Airport, where some external and internal shots were filmed, would shut down at night because of noise abatement laws.
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The subplot involving Esperanza being turned over to the U.S. government is a reference to the real-life Panamanian general, Manuel Noriega, who was overthrown for brutality and drug trafficking in Panama in the 1980s.
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After the film's initial release in theaters it played on TBS, which was heavily dubbed for content by voice actors. These dubs were noted for sounding nothing like the actors who played their respective roles. Most noteworthy, McClane's famous line "Yipee-ki-yay motherfucker" was dubbed into "Yipee-ki-yay Mr. Falcon." There's no character in the film named Mr. Falcon. Esperanza's codename is Falcon.
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The confrontation between John McClane and William Sadler on the airplane's wing took several nights to shoot. Huge fans were used to blow in the fake snow in the background because of lack of real snow.
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Although the movie was filmed using a fictitious airport and/or other airports which stood in for Dulles International Airport, the movie posters along with the VHS and DVD covers for the movie show a picture of the actual Dulles Airport.
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According to Renny Harlin in the DVD commentary, the shooting was originally going to take place in Washington D.C. around the winter time. But when the crew got there, it was uncharacteristically warm (mid 40 degrees). This prompted the crew to travel from the northeast to parts of the northwest and back in search of snow, which seemed to melt whenever they arrived. Most of the time the snow was either trucked in from Canada or was made up of an assortment of look alike snow (i.e.paper flakes, potato flakes, marble dust, rock salt, etc). However, when the crew landed in Colorado to film the snowmobile chase they had set up blankets of fake snow then a massive blizzard with well below freezing temperatures (17 degrees) swept the state and shooting had to be shut down. Harlin commented how hellish the shoot was.
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Based on the novel "58 Minutes" by Walter Wager. Hence the French title "58 Minutes Pour Vivre" ("58 Minutes To Live").
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In an interview, John Amos said there was actual tension between him and Bruce Willis during the course of filming which got reflected on screen. "Let's just say that he will never humiliate me in public again," Amos said. "You got that, Bruce?"
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All the airplane landing equipment used by the mercenaries in the church is close to the real equipment used in actual air traffic control towers, but simplified for the film's dramatic and action effects.
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In Die Hard (1988), Sergeant Al Powell is humming along with the song "Let It Snow!" sung by Vaughn Monroe; the same song plays both at the end of this film and Die Hard (1988).
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Was supposed to be filmed at Moses Lake, Washington but, like Minnesota, there was no snow.
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In the "Making of" featurette for Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), Reginald VelJohnson said that after his appearances in the first two "Die Hard" films, he would be frequently teased and joked at by friends and people on the street for his character's obsession with Twinkies, with some people even going so far as to buy Twinkies and throw them into his car while he was inside, and saying things like, "Oh, we knew you wanted some of those".
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During filming, Fred Thompson approached Steven E. de Souza to criticize the amount of four-letter words in the initial version of the screenplay. Steven assumed Fred objected because of conservative leanings, but was incorrect: Fred thought the excessive language made the movie unintentionally funny and hard to take seriously. When Steven viewed the dailies, he agreed with Fred, saying it sounded like a David Mamet play, and agreed to remove some of the curse words from the script.
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Bruce Willis was paid $7.5 million for his work on the film.
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The film exceeded all expectations, outgrossing the original Die Hard (1988) by nearly double.
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The music heard in the film's theatrical trailer is "Ode to Joy" from Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, which is heard throughout the first Die Hard (1988) film in Michael Kamen's score.
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Captain Lorenzo asks McClane if he thinks he is "playing John Wayne". In the first Die Hard, Hans Gruber also compares McClane to John Wayne.
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Renny Harlin edited this film and The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990) at the same time because of the relatively short post-production period for both films. The films were then released one month apart.
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The Polish title for "Die Hard" in all of the three movies is "The Glass Trap", as a reference to the first movie located in a glass skyscraper.
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SERIES TRADEMARK: The line "Yipee-ki-yay, motherfucker!"
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The General is from Val Verde, the fictitious Latin-American country used in Commando (1985). Die Hard 2 (1990) crew members, co-writer Steven E. de Souza (with Doug Richardson) and producer Joel Silver worked together on both films, however Steven wrote Commando (1985) himself.
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Esperanza speaks in Spanish to his team throughout the film. However, it is very clear that he isn't a native speaker. He has quite a strong Italian accent, since actor Franco Nero is from there.
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In interviews Bruce Willis has expressed displeasure with this film because he felt it was too similar to the original Die Hard (1988) and he didn't like the constant references to that film.
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Actors Dennis Franz and Robert Costanzo, who played Carmine and Vito Lorenzo, would work together again in 1993, during the first season of NYPD Blue (1993), when Costanzo would play mobster Alphonse Giardella, with whom Franz's Sipowicz had an ongoing feud that would end in the detective's near-execution in the pilot episode.
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The aircraft that General Esperanza arrives on is a Fairchild C-123K Provider. This is a twin engine propeller airplane modified to appear with four jet engines for the film. The pods for the J-85 jet booster engines are still visible under the wings between the mock-up jet engines.
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The plane interiors were filmed on the back lot at Universal Studios in Hollywood.
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Robert Patrick and Jai Courtney share the distinction of appearing in the Die Hard series and the Terminator series. Patrick appears in this film as a henchman and in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) as the T-1000. Courtney appears as John McClane, Jr. (Jack) in A Good Day to Die Hard (2013) and as Kyle Reese in Terminator Genisys (2015).
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The Boeing 747-121/SF that General Esperanza, Colonel Stuart, and the other terrorists use to try to escape in bears the livery colors of Evergreen International Air Cargo Lines, but with the company name whited out.
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Steven E. de Souza, later admitted in an interview for the book Action Speaks Louder: Violence, Spectacle, and the American Action Movie that the villains were based on America's "Central American" meddling, primarily the Iran-Contra affair.
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Grant's statement, "One crisis, one platoon," is a nod to a statement reportedly made in 1852 by Texas Ranger Captain Bill McDonald: "One riot, one ranger."
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The original Die Hard (1988) was based on the novel Nothing Lasts Forever, which was written as a sequel to The Detective (1968). The film versions of those novels, however, are unrelated. This film is based on a completely different novel, 58 Minutes, which is not related to Nothing Lasts Forever. One plot element is similar to both novels, however: Joe Leland in the former, and Frank Malone in the latter, arrive in the story to meet their respective daughters. In both films, this is changed to John McClane arriving to meet his wife.
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There is a war reference in each of the first three Die Hard films. This film's references include Marvin mentioning both Iwo Jima and Pearl Harbor and the Commando team reminiscing about Grenada.
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Bruce Willis greatly enjoyed filming with Renny Harlin.
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In one scene, Holly McClane Is looking through files in a "Nakatomi Corporation" folder.
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John McClaine's weapon is an Italian Baretta 92F, the same weapon of choice of Martin Riggs; as stated elsewhere, both actors turned down each other's roles but ended up using the same weapon.
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The Spanish title for "Die Hard" in all of the three movies is "The Glass Jungle", as a reference to the first Die Hard (1988) movie being set in a glass skyscraper.
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Colonel Stuart is the only villain whose motive is not money albeit directly, General Esperanza's motive was money, and promised to reward Stuart's men for freeing him with large sums of money.
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Cast members Bruce Willis, William Sadler, and Fred Thompson all appeared on the ABC sitcom Roseanne (1988) during its first season (1988-89), with Willis appearing as himself. Taylor Fry, who played Lucy McClane in "Die Hard" (1988), appeared on that show. Colleen Camp, who played Connie Kowalski in "Die Hard with a Vengeance" (1995), played 3 different characters on that sitcom. Duane Whitaker, who played Maynard the pawn shop keeper in Pulp Fiction (1994) which also starred Bruce Willis, appeared on the show as well.
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EASTER EGG: On Disc 2 of the 2-Disc DVD (the Special Features disc), push right on the remote control from the last menu selection, and the "stair rail" will light up. Select it to display credits for the creators of the Special Features disc.
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Each of the first three 'Die Hard' films has a connection and/or reference to at least one of three countries in Northern Europe: Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Here, in the second one, the director, Renny Harlin, is from Finland, and the musical piece "Finlandia" by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius is featured twice during the film.
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One cannot simply switch between blanks rounds and live rounds in an Heckler & Koch MP5A3/MP5K or an M16A1 as seen in the movie. All firearms that 'autoload', i.e. are either semiautomatic or fully automatic, must be blank adapted in order to cycle. This does not apply to revolvers or other manually operated firearms like pump shotguns or lever/bolt action rifles. If a gun like an MP5 has been firing blanks, one cannot just switch magazines and start firing live rounds. The blank adapter (which restricts the barrel down to anywhere from 50% to 75% of the original barrel interior) would have to be removed or else the first live round would blow up the firearm.
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The end of the movie shows the wide shot of NEA Lockheed TriStar L-1011 from the rear, clearly showing an FAA registration number "N765BE", formerly operated by All Nippon Airways, Hawaiian Airlines and Rich International Airlines. The aircraft was later scrapped in 2004. One of the scenes shows the NEA livery is slowly fading off. Looking at the forward section of the L-1011, near at the NEA logo, the name of the former operator HAWAIIAN can be seen.
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1:08:19 (NTSC) The radios that the terrorists are using are Kenwood TH-45AT 440MHz amateur ("ham") radios.
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Initially received an NC-17 rating.
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Shot over a period of five months.
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There are no opening credits.
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Only Die Hard movie where a terrorist is killed by a cop other than Powell or McClane (in the antenna array battle).
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The first gunshots take place 13 minutes into the film.
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Bruce Willis' character's (John McClane) wife (Holly McClane) says, "I knocked out two of his (Dick Thornberg's) teeth". His character said the same thing in The Last Boy Scout (1991).
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The most glaring misconception is that the Glock 7 (actuality Glock 17) is undetectable to the X-Ray machines at the airport, while in reality, Glock never produced such a handgun. In fact, 83.7% (by weight) of the Glock pistol is normal ordnance steel and the "plastic" parts are a dense nylon Zytel-based polymer known as "Polymer 2", which is radio-opaque and is therefore visible to X-ray security equipment. In addition, virtually all of these "plastic" parts contain embedded steel not to make the firearms "detectable", but to increase functionality and shooting accuracy. Contrary to popular movies like Die Hard 2, neither Glock nor any other gun maker has ever produced a "porcelain", "ceramic" or "plastic" firearm which is undetectable by ordinary security screening devices. Even if a pistol that was completely undetectable by either X-ray machines or metal detectors were to be developed, the ammunition inside would still be detectable. Another mistake is the claim the Glocks are made in Germany when in reality, they are manufactured in Austria. When Glock pistols were first introduced to the U.S. market, they were promoted as being lightweight because of their extensive use of non-metallic components. This generated controversy from people fearing that this would make them easier to conceal from metal detectors and X-ray devices - hence the scene in the movie. However, as described, the scenario shown in the film is pure Hollywood fiction. Armorer Mike Papac, whose company Cinema Weaponry supplied all of the firearms used in Die Hard 2, has commented, "I remember when we did that scene, I tried to talk them out of it. There's no such thing as a gun invisible to metal detectors, and there shouldn't be, but they wouldn't budge. They had it written into the script and that was that."
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This is one of two sequels to come out in 1990 to feature Bruce Willis. The other being Look Who's Talking Too (1990).
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The fact that Val Verde (fictional country) is used in this movie as well as 'Commando' suggests that these movies share the same universe.
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According to the screenplay, Colonel Stuart's first name is William, same as the actor who portrayed him, William Sadler.
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The first and only Die Hard sequel to have a number in the title, although the fourth film is known as Die Hard 4.0 overseas, as the New Hampshire state motto is not as well known outside the US.
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Don Harvey, the actor who plays Garber, Colonel Stuart's second-in-command, played a bar patron in the film Striking Distance (1993), also starring Bruce Willis.
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Released one week prior to The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990), which Renny Harlin finished filming two months before production began on this film.
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Moved back five days from its June 29, 1990 release date, which was listed on the film's final one-sheet poster.
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The radioplay TKKG - Folge 183: Blindgänger im Villenviertel makes many references to the Die Hard movies, including the character name John McClane.
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The general's plane is instructed to use runway one-five. This indicates a runway angled 150º east of magnetic north, with winds coming from a general northwesterly direction. If the winds were from the southeast, this same runway would be designated "runway three-three" which is exactly 180º opposite. Dulles does not have such a runway.
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At 9:18, after the henchmen synchronize their watches, Miller (Vondie Curtis Hall) reaches for the package under the table. A close-up of a white hand grabs the gift. The same exact close up appears at 9:58, used for the second henchman.
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Cast members Art Evans, Don Harvey, and John Amos guest starred in season 5 (1996-97) of Walker, Texas Ranger (1993).
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The MP5K used by Ken Baldwin jammed repeatedly firing blanks while filming this scene, so his angry outbursts (including the instance where he curses at the gun) were unscripted and genuine expressions of frustration.
Is this interesting? Interesting? |
In earlier screenplay drafts, there was a more prominent female role that was earmarked for Linda Fiorentino.
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Mark Boone Junior (Shockley) and Tom Verica (Kahn) later guest starred on the popular NBC sitcom "Seinfeld" (1989-98), in the episodes 'The Subway' and Seinfeld: The Conversion (1993), respectively.
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William Sadler (Colonel Stuart) appeared as a special guest star in 3 episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993), in which Colm Meaney (pilot of the plane that crashes) was part of the main cast.
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This has the biggest body count of any die hard movie.
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In the military red tape on mags means live rounds, while blue means blanks. The tape is used in training exercises to prevent accidentally wounding soldiers with live rounds.
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Several scenes were filmed but cut from the final release of the film: An extended version of the scene when McClane enters the terminal, featuring shots of a children's choir singing Christmas carols (the audio of the choir singing still remains in the final cut, but only heard in the background), A scene of two of the terrorists killing off two painters and stealing their truck as well as their uniforms (to pose as painters later in the Skywalk SWAT team ambush scene). An extended version of the scene where McClane first meets up with Marvin the janitor, and finally an extended scene of Marvin showing McClane the best way to access the tunnels to get to the runways, which includes a scene where McClane has to walk carefully across a narrow beam over a hot boiler. All of these cut scenes can be viewed in the Deleted Scenes section of the Special Features disc.
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This has the highest body count of any Die Hard movie. It is also the only one where all the villains are definitively killed off, and all of them by the hand of McClane.
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William Sadler trained for several months in Karate and Tai Chi to prepare for the ending fight scene in this film.
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In the "Making of" featurette for Die Hard 2 (1990), actor William Sadler (Colonel Stuart) said that for this movie, his favorite part pertaining to his character was when Colonel Stuart crashes the Windsor Air plane by pretending to be someone from the tower.
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Local transmission of The Simpsons (1989) shown on the plane to "calm the passengers" is the episode The Simpsons: There's No Disgrace Like Home (1990), where Dr. Monroe allows each family member to use shock therapy on other family members. Later, Holly McClane shocks Richard Thornburg in the lavatory.
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All of the airlines featured in the film are invented. No real airline would agree to be featured in a film depicting terrorist acts at an airport.
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There are quite a few hints Major Grant is working with Colonel Stuart both in the different color tape for the gun magazines. There's also one point near the beginning when Garber is telling Stuart someone got sick and a replacement was brought in. Grant's radioman is the replacement. He even grabs the note Carmine is writing, with the location of the bad guys, and says they had their location without even reading it or hearing any announcement. Also, when Grant is snarling threats at Stuart on the communicator, Stuart and his men are smiling broadly. While it looks like they're just chuckling at the boasts, it turns out they're getting a kick out of Grant hamming it up for the cops.
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By switching from ammunition magazines marked with red tape to ones with blue tape prior to the firefight at the church, the connection between Colonel Stuart's team and Major Grant's team is revealed.
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Jet fuel has a lower flash point than gasoline. Airline mechanics put out lit cigarettes in jet fuel all the time. So McClane could not blow up a plane by tossing a cigarette into the leaked fuel.
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Although he is fourth billed, Reginald VelJohnson only appears in one scene.
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Major Grant's death is very similar to Gustav Graves and Damian Crays from the James Bond movie Die Another Day (2002) and the Alex Rider story 'Eagle Strike'.
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