NYPD cop John McClane’s plan to reconcile with his estranged wife is thrown for a serious loop when, minutes after he arrives at her office, the entire building is overtaken by a group of terrorists. With little help from the LAPD, wisecracking McClane sets out to single-handedly rescue the hostages and bring the bad guys down.
- John McClane: Bruce Willis
- Hans Gruber: Alan Rickman
- Karl: Alexander Godunov
- Holly Gennaro McClane: Bonnie Bedelia
- Sgt. Al Powell: Reginald VelJohnson
- Richard Thornburg: William Atherton
- Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson: Paul Gleason
- Harry Ellis: Hart Bochner
- Joseph Yoshinobu Takagi: James Shigeta
- Franco: Bruno Doyon
- Tony: Andreas Wisniewski
- Theo: Clarence Gilyard Jr.
- Argyle: De’voreaux White
- Alexander: Joey Plewa
- Marco: Lorenzo Caccialanza
- Kristoff: Gerard Bonn
- Eddie: Dennis Hayden
- Uli: Al Leong
- Heinrich: Gary Roberts
- Fritz: Hans Buhringer
- James: Wilhelm von Homburg
- Big Johnson: Robert Davi
- Little Johnson: Grand L. Bush
- City Engineer: Bill Marcus
- Walt, City Worker: Rick Ducommun
- Capt. Mitchell: Matt Landers
- Rivers: Carmine Zozzora
- Ginny: Dustyn Taylor
- Dr. Hasseldorf: George Christy
- Young Cop: Anthony Peck
- Woman: Cheryl Baker
- Man: Richard Parker
- Harvey Johnson: David Ursin
- Gail Wallens: Mary Ellen Trainor
- Police Supervisor: Harri James
- Dispatcher: Shelley Pogoda
- Hostage: Selma Archerd
- Hostage: Scot Bennett
- Hostage: Rebecca Broussard
- Hostage: Kate Finlayson
- Hostage: Shanna Higgins
- Hostage: Kym Malin
- Lucy McClane: Taylor Fry
- John McClane Jr.: Noah Land
- Paulina: Betty Carvalho
- Convenience Store Clerk: Kip Waldo
- Station Manager: Mark Goldstein
- Thornburg’s Assistant: Tracy Reiner
- Guard: Rick Cicetti
- Guard: Fred Lerner
- Producer: Bill Margolin
- Cameraman: Bob Jennings
- Cameraman: Bruce P. Schultz
- Soundman: David Katz
- Businessman: Robert Lesser
- Stewardess: Stella Hall
- Girl at Airport: Terri Lynn Doss
- Boy at Airport: Jon E. Greene
- Kissing Man: P. Randall Bowers
- Girl in Window: Michele Laybourn
- Dwayne T. Robinson’s Driver (uncredited): Charlie Picerni
- Police Detective (uncredited): Mark Winn
- Director: John McTiernan
- Producer: Joel Silver
- Producer: Lawrence Gordon
- Casting: Jackie Burch
- Editor: John F. Link
- Screenplay: Steven E. de Souza
- Screenplay: Jeb Stuart
- Associate Producer: Lloyd Levin
- Casting Associate: Ferne Cassel
- Director of Photography: Jan de Bont
- Editor: Frank J. Urioste
- Novel: Roderick Thorp
- Executive Producer: Charles Gordon
- Unit Production Manager: Beau Marks
- Original Music Composer: Michael Kamen
- Production Design: Jackson De Govia
- Art Direction: John R. Jensen
- Set Decoration: Philip Leonard
- Costume Design: Marilyn Vance
- Costume Supervisor: Barry Francis Delaney
- Foley: Ron Bartlett
- Visual Effects Editor: Dennis Michelson
- Assistant Art Director: William J. Durrell Jr.
- Visual Effects Producer: Richard Edlund
- Stunts: Glenn R. Wilder
- Stunts: George P. Wilbur
- Stunt Coordinator: Charlie Picerni
- Foley: Vanessa Theme Ament
- Dialogue Editor: Cindy Marty
- Stunts: Dick Ziker
- Sound Effects Editor: Stephen Hunter Flick
- Makeup Artist: Wes Dawn
- Camera Operator: Michael Scott
- Special Effects Coordinator: Al Di Sarro
- Hairstylist: Paul Abascal
- Foley: Robin Harlan
- Stunts: Victor Paul
- Makeup Department Head: Scott H. Eddo
- Stunts: Brian Christensen
- Set Costumer: Barbara Siebert
- Sound Re-Recording Mixer: Don J. Bassman
- Sound Re-Recording Mixer: Richard Overton
- Script Supervisor: Marion Tumen
- Assistant Art Director: Craig Edgar
- Sound Recordist: Robert Renga
- Sound Re-Recording Mixer: Kevin F. Cleary
- Property Master: Tommy Tomlinson
- Location Manager: Joel Marx
- Still Photographer: Peter Sorel
- Sound Recordist: Craig Heath
- ADR & Dubbing: Hank Salerno
- Sound Effects Editor: Catherine Shorr
- Construction Coordinator: Bruce J. Gfeller
- Hairstylist: Josée Normand
- Set Designer: E.C. Chen
- Set Designer: Roland E. Hill Jr.
- Dialogue Editor: Jeff Rosen
- Dolby Consultant: David W. Gray
- Sound Effects Editor: David E. Stone
- Visual Effects Art Director: Brent Boates
- Camera Operator: Michael Ferris
- Camera Operator: M. Todd Henry
- Still Photographer: Virgil Mirano
- Gaffer: Ed Ayer
- Set Costumer: Michael Voght
- Transportation Coordinator: Myra Hill
- Picture Car Coordinator: Stanley R. Webber
- Location Manager: Ken H. Rosen
- Makeup Artist: Jim Kail
- Supervising Music Editor: Christopher Brooks
- Picture Car Coordinator: Tim Sisson
- Visual Effects: Matthew Yuricich
- Transportation Captain: James Nordberg
- Stunts: Kenny Endoso
- Stunts: Peter McKernan
- Music Producer: Stephen McLaughlin
- doktorkraesch: **This is one of the definitive 80s Action Films.**
There is no nonsense whatsoever, the plot moves along with such a pace that the viewer is not disturbed by implausabilities.
Bruce Willis plays the likeable “regular guy”, who is forced bare-foot into unleashing mayhem and destruction, to perfection.
His brilliant opposite is Alan Rickman, playing the German villain Hans Gruber in such a way that you almost root for him to get away with his heist. Also, he thankfully dispatches the office sleazeball, Ellis, in a wonderful scene.
The bad guys in Die Hard are more likeable than their counterparts in other movies. They are allowed to be funny and charming, which is good because we as viewers spend a lot of time with them, so it’s good that they are not complete douchebags.
John McLane gets to do what many adolescent boys wanted to try: to drop something off the ledge of a skyscraper or down an elevator shaft, and see what happens. But he uses an office chair armed with a PC monitor and a block of C4 and watches as it drops, then explodes, wiping out an entire floor!
Everything here is bigger and louder than other Action movies from it’s time.
McLane drops bad guys and one-liners left and right, things and people explode, culminating in a grand finale that is as well paced and executed as any action sequence that came after it.
This film started it’s own sub-genre, after it came not only it’s own sequels, but a load of films that were described as “Die hard on a…” or “Die Hard in a…” Most prominent examples were perhaps “**Speed**” and “**Under Siege**”.
This is entertaining as hell, it’s a must-watch!
- talisencrw: Just watched this inexplicably for the first time, after having seen and adoring its first two sequels. As a teenager when this hit theatres, I never really felt the urge or inclination to see this at the time. Action films weren’t big for me back then. Now as a father of a teenager myself, it’s interesting seeing what’s now considered ‘a classic’ for the first time.
This easily deserves its lofty status as one of the finest action movies ever made, especially of the 80’s. Alan Rickman, now deceased, played with distinction one of the finest cinematic villains ever. This film–closely followed by ‘Pulp Fiction’–is the most important work Bruce Willis ever made.
I enthusiastically hope that should someday Willis either leave this plain or decide not to make any more DH films that they simply put the franchise to rest. He was born to play this character. Anyone else in his shoes could never fit the iconic bill.
- Gimly: What can I even say about _Die Hard_? This is one of the most highly praised action movies of all time, and it has **actually earned that praise**.
_Final rating:★★★★ – Very strong appeal. A personal favourite._
- Wuchak: ***Big, dumb, fun action flick with Bruce Willis and a skyscraper***
RELEASED IN 1988 and directed by John McTiernan, “Die Hard” is the first of (currently) five installments in the Die Hard series. In this one New York cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) flies to Los Angeles to spend Christmas with his wife & kids. When McClane visits Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) at her company’s Christmas party a group of radical criminals take control of the skyscraper. Alan Rickman plays the nefarious mastermind of the operation while Reginald VelJohnson plays a cop on the ground that befriends McClane via walkie talkie. Meanwhile Paul Gleason is on hand as an exasperating police chief.
This franchise fills the bill if you’re in the mood for big, dumb, fun action thrills. Don’t get me wrong because a lot of work goes into making these kinds of films and it takes talent & genius to pull them off. I mean “dumb” in the sense that the focus is on unbelievable action rather than deeper themes beyond “genuinely good people may be flawed, cocky and somewhat profane, but they’re courageous and never give up in the face of evil.”
The Die Hard flicks are the natural progeny of over-the-top films like 1977’s “The Gauntlet” where the action scenes are so overdone they’re cartoony, but entertaining. There’s a thin line that filmmakers must tread with these kinds of blockbusters because they can easily fall into overKILL, like 2001’s “The Mummy Returns.” Thankfully, “Die Hard” evades that ditch because it’s not too over-the-top and it offers entertaining protagonists & antagonists, amusing one-liners, worthy bits of character development and a compelling comic booky story.
While all five Die Hard movies are of the same action expertise, I prefer the sequels because this one takes place almost entirely in and around a skyscraper. I favor the wider location scope of the others.
THE MOVIE RUNS 2 hours, 12 minutes and was shot entirely in Los Angeles.
- John Chard: One seized tower block, one sweaty vest and one big set of action cojones.
Based on ex cop Roderick Thorpe’s 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever, Die Hard, directed by John McTiernan, changed the face of the action movie. Starring Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald Veljohnson, Alexander Godunov, William Atherton & Paul Gleason, McTiernan’s movie went on to make over $100 million in profit at the box office alone. Spawning three equally successful sequels (at the time of writing), it began a franchise that showed that if done well, the action movie could be a dominant force in the world of cinema.
The set up is relatively simple, Willis plays New York cop John McLane who during the Christmas holidays is in L.A. to visit his estranged wife Holly (Bedelia). She works for the Japanese Corporation of Nakatomi, and currently she’s attending the company Christmas party up on the 30th floor of the humongous Nakatomi Plaza tower block. Bad day at the office because a group of apparent German terrorists, led by the charismatic Hans Gruber (Rickman), take the whole building hostage: with one exception; McLane, who evades capture and launches a one man war against the terrorists.
What follows is just over two hours of high octane action, smart dialogue and technical smarts. McTiernan had already endeared himself to the action movie fan with the ball busting beef stew that was Predator in 87, a fact not lost on Die Hard’s co producer Joel Silver, who clearly knew that McTiernan could smoothly shift the action from the Val Verde jungle to the urban jungle of L.A. And he did. Next was to get the right man for McLane. Richard Gere was first choice but passed, so the makers took a gamble on Willis, whose career was at a standstill after his leap from TV show Moonlighting on to the big screen with the likes of Blind Date & Sunset barely making a ripple in Hollywood. The rest for Willis, as they say, is history. McLane is an everyman hero, streetwise, even slobbish, but identifiable to many with his work ethics, desperate heroics and emotional vulnerability. Willis attacks the role with a hunger rarely seen from the big male earners in filmdom. During the two hours and ten minute running time of Die Hard, Willis as McLane changed the face of the action hero for ever; even making a dirty white vest iconic in the process; the latter of which couples nicely with the hero being bare footed throughout for a nifty bit of writing.
Across the board the casting is flawless, Bedelia is spunky and driven, a woman worth fighting for. Veljohnson as beat copper Al Powell-McLane’s walkie-talkie buddy and only link to the outside world-is memorable because it feels real, he has his own issue gnawing away at him, but his exchanges with Willis keeps the humanity grounded as the carnage unfolds. Gleason & Atherton are wonderfully anal as Deputy Police Chief and TV Reporter respectively, while Hart Bochner as Ellis dishes out one of the best weasel turns to have ever graced a movie featuring corporate suit types. But as Die Hard resembles the great Westerns of yesteryear, much like the great Oaters, Die Hard could only be as good as its chief villain. As Willis’ McLane ushered in a new action hero to copy, Rickman’s uber intelligent villain set a new benchmark.
Snappily dressed, well versed and as charming as they come, Gruber in Rickman’s hands is a villain you could quite easily root for! That’s further testament to Willis’ turn that Rickman doesn’t walk away with the movie, both men are from different sides of the fence, good and evil, yet both are characters you can hang your hat on. Quite a trick from McTiernan that. Rickman is ably supported by the scary Godunov as right hand man Karl and Clarence Gilyard Jr. as the cold hearted Theo. Elsewhere the impact of Robert Davi & Grand L. Bush as the two cocksure FBI agents Johnson & Johnson (no relation) should not be underestimated. All the actors, of course, are indebted to the sizzling script by Steven E. de Souza & Jeb Stuart. So to is praise due to photographer Jan de Bont, who in collaboration with McTiernan, produces a camera work lesson for action movies, as the camera swoops in and around the tower, down elevator shafts and up tilt to roofs; with the fight scenes afforded a spatial sheen not expected in the confines of a tower block setting (the film was actually shot at 20th Century Fox’s own 2121 Fox Plaza). Even the scoring from Michael Kamen and the sound tracking are of a high standard; check out the various “mood” uses of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy from Symphony No.9 and Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 In G Major: Brilliant.
The 80s was well served by action movies with the likes of Lethal Weapon and Beverly Hills Cop proving massively popular. But just as Raiders Of The Lost Ark changed the game for action/adventure, so too did Die Hard. It’s now the benchmark movie for action, a film that unlike Hills Cop & Lethal Weapon remarkably shows no signs of ageing either. It’s no monkey in the wrench or a fly in the ointment, it’s the daddy, and the one that all other action movies have to answer to. 10/10