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Die Hard [1988]

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Director:John McTiernan
Writer:Jeb Stuart
Steven E. de Souza
Composer:Michael Kamen
Length:132 minutes
(2 hours 12 minutes)
MPAA Rating:R
Sorting Category:Action
IMDB Rating:8.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating:96%
Amazon Rating:4.5/5 stars
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Classifications:
  • Action
  • Comedy
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Synopsis: John McClaine flies in to LA for a work Christmas party with his estranged wife, but the festivities are cut short when a group of terrorists invades the building.


Reaction: The action movie that defined action movies for a generation. Though old, it stands up very well to today's standards.


Personal Rating: 9/10

Select Cast and Crew
John McTiernan => Director
Jeb Stuart => Writer
Steven E. de Souza => Writer
Michael Kamen => Composer
Joel Silver => Producer
Roderick Thorp => Novel 'Nothing Lasts Forever'
Al Leong => Uli
Alan Rickman => Hans Gruber
Alexander Godunov => Karl
Andreas Wisniewski => Tony
Bonnie Bedelia => Holly Gennaro McClane
Bruce Willis => Officer John McClane
Clarence Gilyard Jr. => Theo
De'voreaux White => Argyle
Gary Roberts => Heinrich
Grand L. Bush => FBI Agent Little Johnson
Hart Bochner => Harry Ellis
James Shigeta => Joseph Yoshinobu Takagi
Mary Ellen Trainor => Gail Wallens
Noah Land => John McClane Jr.
Paul Gleason => Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson
Reginald VelJohnson => Sgt. Al Powell (as Reginald Veljohnson)
Rick Ducommun => Walt, City Worker
Robert Davi => FBI Special Agent Big Johnson
Robert Lesser => Businessman
Taylor Fry => Lucy McClane
Tracy Reiner => Thornburg's Assistant
Wilhelm von Homburg => James
William Atherton => Richard Thornburg

Random Trivia For This Title:

  • The original script called for terrorists to hijack the building, and for a super-hero cop to stop them. Director John McTiernan modified the script to change the bad guys into robbers pretending to be terrorists so that the audience could enjoy their intention of grabbing a load of money. He felt having terrorists as the villains would make the movie less enjoyable and give it a political angle, which he wanted to avoid. McTiernan also changed the hero, John McClane, into an everyday, flawed man that rises to the occasion in dire circumstances. He felt the audience would identify more with him than with a "super-cop".
  • The Roderick Thorp book Nothing Lasts Forever, which serves as the basis for this movie, was actually a sequel to the book and film The Detective, with Frank Sinatra as Joe Leland. Surprisingly, few of the book's details are changed. Originally, a much older Leland (changed to McClain) was visiting his daughter, Steffie Leland Gennaro, who worked for the Klaxxon oil company. Takagi was originally a VP of sales named Rivers. Harry Ellis, Al Powell, and Dwayne Robinson were essentially the same, but the FBI was not involved. Hans Gruber was originally Anton "Little Tony" Gruber, while Hans was Karl's brother. The purpose of the terrorist takeover was to allow the West German radical group to uncover an illegal arms shipment Klaxxon was making to a Chilean dictatorship. Finally, in the end scene (which was Christmas morning at 10 AM), Anton Gruber is shot by Leland and falls out the window, also catching a finger on Gennaro's watch, but in this case he pulls her out the window to her death.
  • For Alan Rickman's death plunge down the side of the skyscraper, Rickman actually dropped onto an airbag against a green screen. Director John McTiernan had to jump first to convince Rickman to do it. For the actual shot, Rickman was holding on to a stunt man before falling onto the air bag. To get the right reaction, the stunt man dropped Rickman on the count of two, not three.
  • The Helsinki Syndrome mentioned in the film is a reference to the real-world Stockholm Syndrome. Why it was changed in the film is unknown. Coincidentally, the newscaster incorrectly informs his viewers that it refers to Helsinki, Sweden (Helsinki is actually in Finland, while Stockholm is in Sweden).
  • Bruce Willis personally recommended Bonnie Bedelia for the role of his estranged wife.
  • The Hungarian title is Give your life expensive, the title of the sequel is Your life is more expensive, and the third part is The life is always expensive
  • McClane has a teddy bear for his family. Jack Ryan takes a teddy bear home with him at the end of The Hunt for Red October (it's the same bear).
  • The title in Spain was translated into Crystal Jungle, in Poland the title was The Glass Trap. It is worth to notice, that Polish title sounds and fits to this movie very good in Poland, while original title is hard to translate correctly (it would sound like: "It is hard to kill him" or "He dies slowly"). The same titles are used for the sequels (although the meanings have no relation in the sequels).
  • In the German version the names and backgrounds of the German-born terrorists were changed into English forms (mostly into their British equivalents): Hans became Jack, Karl became Charlie, Heinrich turned into Henry etc... the new background depicted them as radical Irish activists having gone freelance and for profit rather than ideals. (This led to some odd plot holes in this movie and continuity problems with Die Hard: With a Vengeance; there, the villain is considered to be the brother of Hans Gruber, yet he's German.) This was because German terrorism, especially by the Rote Armee Fraktion (the Red Army Faction), was still considered a sensitive issue by the German government in the 1980s.
  • Bruce Willis received a then unheard of $5 million, a fee that was OK'd by [?] Rupert Murdoch. Bruce and Demi Moore tied the knot at the Golden Nugget hotel in Las Vegas during this shoot, Moore having recently broken her engagement to actor Emilio Estevez. Little Richard presided over the ceremony and former brat packer Ally Sheedy was a bridesmaid.
  • The scene in which Gruber and McClane meet was inserted in to the script after Alan Rickman (Hans Gruber) was found to be proficient at mimicking American accents. The filmmakers had been looking for a way to have the two characters meet prior to the climax and capitalized on Rickman's talent.
  • The original poster for the film did not feature Bruce Willis' likeness, just the building. The producers originally thought it might deter non-Willis fans from seeing the movie. Posters were later altered after the early box office success.
  • Alan Rickman's feature film debut.