Die Hard (1988) Poster



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  • NYC cop John McClane (Bruce Willis), newly arrived in Los Angeles on Christmas vacation, stops to visit with his estranged wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) at the Nakatomi Plaza where she works. While the Nakatomi employees are reveling on the 30th floor at their company's Christmas party and John is in the bathroom freshening up, a group of heavily armed thieves pretending to be terrorists, led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), stage a siege, taking all of the employees, including Holly, as hostages, leaving John to launch a one-man war in an attempt to stop them and save the hostages. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Die Hard is based on the novel Nothing Lasts Forever (1979) by American writer Roderick Thorp. The novel was adapted for the movie by American screenwriters Steven E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart. Die Hard was followed by Die Hard 2 (1990) (1990), Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995) (1995), Live Free or Die Hard (2007) (2007) and A Good Day to Die Hard (2013) (2013). Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Normally when bonds are issued they are issued to a specific person or company. This is beneficial to the recipient, so that if the bond is ever lost, stolen, or destroyed, it can be replaced by the issuer at no loss. Bearer bonds are not issued to anyone in particular and are therefore more like blank checks. If they are lost or stolen there is no recovery possible, as there is no record kept of the original owner. Anyone who has physical possession of a bearer bond is free to redeem it, which makes them very tempting targets for thieves. In the early 1980s, the U.S. Government made issuance of bearer bonds illegal, as their use made it much easier for drug lords and organized crime to conduct their illegal activity, hide their assets, and avoid paying their taxes. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Yes, Karl is German. He just wonders why Hans would give him an order like that. That's why Hans repeats the order aloud after Karl hesitates, and he does so in English so the audience could understand—making the moment a bit more dramatic. Another possibility is that Karl did not realize immediately what his order was, i.e., the gunfire and shattering glass either distracted Karl or it prevented him from being able to hear Hans. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • When Hans asks John if he was a child who thought of himself as John Wayne, Rambo, or Marshall Dillon, John replies, "I was always partial to Roy Rogers actually". Hans then says, "Do you really think you have a chance against us, Mr Cowboy?" to which John responds with "Yippee ki-yay!" The reference is to a song on Roy Rogers' TV show about being a cowboy. The chorus is expressed something like "Yippee-ki-yay..ki-yay, yippee ki-yo, he's the toughest critter west of the Alamo." Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The Beretta 92F, a common handgun also used by the US Armed Forces since 1985. This was never issued to the NYPD, so McClane must have bought it privately. He continues using the Beretta in the next two Die Hard films and changes to a SIG Sauer P220R for Live Free or Die Hard. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Hans uses a Heckler and Koch P7 pistol whilst Karl uses a Walther PPK with a suppressor (silencer). Heinrich uses the same firearm as McClane, a Beretta 92F pistol (which is presumably where McClane gets his spare magazines from after killing him). All the other terrorists use Heckler and Koch MP5 submachineguns except for Karl who uses the futuristic looking Steyr AUG assault rifle. James uses a recoilless rifle against the police armoured vehicle and an M60 machine gun to shoot up Powell's car and take out the spotlights. They also use C4 plastic explosives and Karl makes use of stun grenades (the little hockey puck-like things he slides on the floor). Most of their weapons are of German origin like the terrorists themselves. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The Extended Special Edition runs approximately 62 seconds longer and includes a further plot scene. As a result, some minor plotholes disappear. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • "In Die Hard, John McClane is only in Los Angeles because he wants to visit his estranged wife and kids at Christmas, in hopes of making amends. His plans are derailed by a terrorist plot in his wifes office, and before he has any chance of fixing his family situation, he has to lay down some out-of-jurisdictional justice. It isnt that far a stretch from Home Alone, where Christmas is the background to a story about family reconciliation interrupted by the violent beating of some criminals." ... Edit (Coming Soon)


The FAQ items below may give away important plot points.

  • Actually, the villains are not terrorists but rather simply robbers who are posing as terrorists as part of their scheme to manipulate the authorities for their real apolitical goal. There are 13 of these "terrorists", and they are led by the former German terrorist Hans Gruber. Hans' second-in-command is compatriot Karl (Alexander Godunov), whose brother Tony (Andreas Wisniewski) is also involved. There are two Americans: Eddie (Dennis Hayden), who impersonates a security guard in the lobby, and Theo (Clarence Gilyard Jr.), the computer whiz kid. Theo is assisted in cracking the vault by Kristoffe (Gérard Bonn), who appears to be French. The missile team is made up of marksman Alexander (Joey Plewa) and loader James (Wilhelm von Homburg). Heinrich (Gary Roberts) is tasked with rigging the explosives on the roof, a job he undertakes with Uli (Al Leong) and Marco (Lorenzo Caccialanza). Finally there is Fritz (Hans Buhringer) and Franco (Bruno Doyon), who each carry out a wide range of jobs during the heist. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • They want the bearer bonds worth $640 million that are locked in the Nakatomi vault. After adjusting for inflation that amount would be equivalent to $1.275 billion in 2014 dollars. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Holly told Hans that she wasn't married, but he can clearly see the pictures of her children on the desk. When he sees the same children on TV talking about their mother and father, he looks at Holly and sees her reaction, which prompts him to lift the face-down picture, whereupon he sees Holly and John side-by-side posing with their kids. Primarily, Hans is incredibly intelligent & intuitive and was able to put two and two together. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • It is never explicitly mentioned by any of the terrorists how they plan to get away with the money while the area is full of policemen and FBI agents. Hans only says at one point: "when you steal 600 million, they will find you, unless they think you're already dead." Later, one of his demands is for helicopters, suggesting that he wants to fly out of the building to a safe destination. However, he then confides to his henchmen that he intends to blow up the roof, together with the helicopters and hostages, in an attempt to confuse the authorities into thinking that everybody died in the explosion. At the end, we see Theo, one of the terrorists, driving an ambulance out of the terrorists' truck while wearing a paramedic's uniform. So it seems that the terrorists were planning to fake their own deaths by killing everyone, hoping that they could escape with an ambulance while posing as paramedics in the ensuing chaos. They would have escaped to a safe place long before the authorities discovered that the terrorists weren't among the dead bodies. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The "real" reason, according to screenwriter Steven E. De Souza, is that the terrorists were supposed to be shown wearing and synchronizing the same type of watch in the beginning of the movie. After killing a couple of terrorists, John McClane started to notice the watches, so when Hans handed John a cigarette, John saw the watch on Hans' wrist, which tipped him off. However, due to some script changes during the shooting of the movie, the scene of the terrorists synchronizing their watches was dropped, leaving this clue unaddressed to the viewer. That, of course, does not rule out that John still identified Hans as one of the terrorists by his watch. Another logical explanation is that John simply recognized Gruber's voice. John was hiding on the roof of the elevator in the beginning, where he could hear Gruber's distinct voice quite well, and later he had several conversations with him over the radio. And even if John did not recognize the voice, he may have just been overly careful, since giving a gun to a stranger in this sort of situation is after all very risky. Gruber's pseudonym of Bill Clay appearing on the staff board is a reason to trust him, although there are a few subtle reasons to raise suspicion. Even if Gruber was actually an escaped hostage, John may have expected him to hide somewhere, instead of wandering around. John may have been observing for a moment as Hans was checking on the explosives, which is certainly suspicious behavior, before approaching him. John probably knew from the beginning that Hans was one of the hostage takers but decided to humor him to see how Hans would try to trick him. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Tony has his neck broken by McClane during the struggle when the two fall down a flight of stairs. McClane kills the majority of the terrorists as so: Uli is shot several times in the chest on the roof. Marco gets shot in the legs, groin and possibly the head through the table. Eddie is shot in the head. Fritz gets shot while exiting the elevator. Franco gets shot in the knees as he runs towards McClane and lands head-first through a glass window, appearing to impale himself in the throat. Heinrich tries to get the drop on McClane and is shot in the chest. James and Alexander are blown up by McClane as they operate the missile launcher. Hans is shot in the shoulder by McClane then dropped to his death from the 30th floor. Karl is shot by Powell. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Theo is knocked unconscious by Argyle. Kristoff is simply knocked out cold by John McClane just before his final confrontation with Hans and Eddie as he is taking a box of bonds towards the exit, John knocks him down, and Kristoff is never seen again. Presumably, both are captured by the police afterwards. Robinson is heard instructing his men to sweep the building in order to check if there are any more terrorists left. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • He didn't, however, he did know that the elevator car they used was stopped at that floor. All he had to do was insert the detonator and let the chair with the C4 & computer monitor strapped to it hit the elevator car and explode. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Marco, the guy McClane shoots through the table. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • When the helicopters arrive, Gruber ushers all of the hostages up to the roof, which the terrorists have rigged with explosives. Taking Holly with him, Gruber then goes down to the vault to get the bonds. McClane climbs up to the roof and warns the hostages that they're going to be killed if they stay there, shooting his gun into the air to scare them, so everyone starts going downstairs. Unfortunately, the FBI helicopter mistakes McClane for one of the terrorists and starts shooting at him. Suddenly the roof explodes in flames, taking out the helicopter as well. McClane gets off the roof by tying himself to a firehose and jumping off the building. He then breaks the glass in a window and swings himself inside. He meets up with Gruber who is holding a gun to Holly's head. Gruber orders McClane to put down his gun, which he does, but when Gruber thinks that he's in control of the situation, McClane whips out a gun that he had taped to his back, shoots one of the remaining terrorists and wounding Gruber. Gruber falls backwards and out of a window, almost taking Holly with him. McClane releases Holly's wristwatch (to which Gruber was clinging), and Gruber falls to his death. Meanwhile, Argyle (De'voreaux White) crashes his limo into Theo's van (it's disguised as an ambulance), preventing him from getting away with the bonds. McClane and Holly leave the building together, and McClane and Officer Powell (Reginald VelJohnson) meet face-to-face for the first time. Karl comes out of the building armed with a gun. When he takes aim at McClane, Powell shoots Karl. Thornburg (William Atherton) attempts to interview McClane, but Holly punches him in the nose. Argyle comes crashing through the garage door in his limo and drives McClane and Holly away. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Going to Holly's house to interview the children on TV was an invasion of her family's privacy and would reveal to the terrorists that Holly had children and possibly where they were located. This would then give the terrorists the opportunity to find them and kill or kidnap them -- at least, that's the reason she gives in the second movie. Also, Dick threatened Holly's babysitter (or nanny) with contacting the INS (Immigration & Naturalization Service) to gain entry to the house as well -- VERY unethical for a news reporter. On the other hand, Dick's actions caused Gruber to take Holly hostage and made the situation more difficult and dangerous for John by giving Hans that much leverage. The daughter also answers Dick's question,"is there something you would like to say to them (parents) if they're watching?" This tells Gruber that Holly's husband is also there at the tower and that he is likely John McClane, which is why he turns over the picture to verify it. Thus, Dick also endangers Holly and John, giving Gruber the leverage he needs to take care of McClane. Edit (Coming Soon)

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