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Die Hard (1988)

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.

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Top Rated Movies #122 | Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Sgt. Al Powell (as Reginald Veljohnson)
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Bruno Doyon ...
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Joey Plewa ...
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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 bank 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:

Suspense, Excitement, Adventure, On every level! See more »

Genres:

Action | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

20 July 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Duro de matar  »

Box Office

Budget:

$28,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$81,350,242 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints) (4 channels)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Davi (FBI Special Agent Big Johnson) and Mary Ellen Trainor (Gail Wallens) were both in The Goonies (1985). See more »

Goofs

During a hostage crisis the Mayor of Los Angeles should be present to be oversee the logistics and communications with the terrorists, as acknowledged by the Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson at 1:42:00 into the movie when the FBI agents order the city engineers to shut down the building's electricity. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Night Before (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 In G Major, (Allegro Moderato)
(uncredited)
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The most influential action film of the last half-century
21 August 2005 | by (The Penumbra) – See all my reviews

In the Sixties, author Roderick Thorp wrote a novel, The Detective, which was turned into a movie, starring Frank Sinatra in the title role of Joe Leland. A sequel was written, in which Joe becomes trapped in the Claxxon Oil Corporation skyscraper after it is taken over by German terrorists and he has to rescue his daughter and grandchildren. Two decades later, the skyscraper becomes Nakatomi, the daughter becomes the wife, Leland becomes John McClane and the title becomes Die Hard.

To say that Die Hard sets new standards for action movies is like calling Bill Gates well off. The movie was so innovative and groundbreaking that dozens of rip-offs followed - Passenger 57, Under Siege, Cliffhanger, Sudden Death, et al. Hostage/terrorist movies were all the rage in the early Nineties.

Very few came close, because Die Hard had so many strong points, not least of which was Alan Rickman's marvellous performance, as Hans Gruber - also the name of the villain in Our Man Flint - the classically educated, smartly dressed terrorist leader. This is not some hammy guy in a chain-mail shirt with spikes on his gloves (Commando). Gruber would have been well at home on Wall Street.

His plan is to break into the vault on the 30th floor of the Nakatomi Plaza and take away $640million in negotiable bearer bonds. When he and his 12 European henchmen round up the office workers, who are enjoying a Christmas Eve party, one man slips away unnoticed. He is John McClane, a New York cop who has come to LA to settle down with his estranged wife, Holly (Bonnie Bedelia). The odds are against him. But that's just the way he likes it.

The terrorists even have names. And we remember them. Most action movies these days have unidentified heavies, played by stunt men, who are lined up and knocked over.

In his battle to save his Holly, McClane is scorched, torched, beaten and blown up. He jumps off the roof and falls through air ducts. He uncovers deception and double-cross and picks broken glass out of his bare feet. No help comes from the naive and incompetent police, who are unable to get inside, and even less from the FBI.

McClane is not a supercop. He is an ordinary guy, who doesn't want a fight. When he is shot, he bleeds. He hurts. All he has are his pants, his vest, his gun - which runs out of ammo. This is the first realistic connection the audience has. When you don't want to be in McClane's position, it makes for much excitement.

John McTiernan, who's only previous mainstream movie was Predator, uses awesome photography and technical skills to give the film a truly polished and sophisticated look - it was nominated for four technical Academy Awards. He also allows for enough time for decent character development, most of which comes between McClane and a cop (Reginald Veljohnson) he makes friends with on a CB radio.

Die Hard manages to be heart-pounding and teeth-gritting every single time. And if you are one of those many people who have only ever been able to watch it on TV then now is definitely the time to rediscover a cool, classic and creative action picture.


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