US Release Date: 07-15-1988
Directed by: John McTiernan
- Bruce Willis, as
- John McClane
- Alan Rickman, as
- Hans Gruber
- Bonnie Bedelia, as
- Holly Gennero McClane
- Reginald VelJohnson, as
- Sgt. Al Powell
- Alexander Godunov, as
- Paul Gleason, as
- Dwayne T. Robinson
- William Atherton, as
- Hart Bochner, as
- Andreas Wisniewski as
Bruce Willis in Die Hard.
Every so often a movie comes along whose concept sparks a flood of imitators. Die Hard is such a movie. The following summer after its release, several movies were described as 'Die Hard on a Boat' or 'Die Hard on a Train' and 'Die Hard on a [insert location here]'. Of course none of them lived up to the original.
Anyone, who decides to make an action movie, should view this film several times. As far as action movies go, this is the big one. It's got a fast paced plot, great fight scenes, funny lines, an over the top villain, and a hero that you really care about.
At the center of this whirlwind of a movie is Bruce Willis's character, John McClane. A New York cop, come to L.A. for a reunion with his estranged wife, but instead gets caught up in a terrorist attack on a skyscraper. As the tough cop, Willis displays vulnerability normally unseen in action film heroes.
The movie spawned two sequels, the first; Die Harder, equals the first in quality, but the second; Die Hard with a Vengeance, is sadly lacking the emotional punch of the first two, probably because the story came from a rejected Lethal Weapon script.
If you haven't seen this movie, do yourself a favor and rent it tonight. Rent it, even if you have seen it. This is a movie that bears repeat viewings.
Alan Rickman in Die Hard.
I agree with Scott on every point he made. Die Hard is a staple by which other action films should measure themselves. We meet John. We learn of his marital problems. We go with him as he is united with his wife and we feel the tension between them. Then a band of German criminals show up and John has to put his family reunion on hold.
The setup is brilliantly simple. John is trapped inside a building with 30 hostages and a dozen armed terrorists. He gets his ass kicked throughout the film as he slowly takes the bad guys down one at a time. It all climaxes with the famous jumping off the roof holding onto the fire hose and swinging through the big pane of glass.
John McClane has charm to spare. This New York cop likes to screw with the baddies. After taking out one of the Germans, John walkie talkies the head bad guy Hans and calls himself, "Just a fly in the ointment, Hans. The monkey in the wrench. The pain in the ass." He then goes about being just those things.
With such a likable lead character and a straight forward goal that involves rescuing his wife, you cannot help but root for John McClane. You feel his tension and cheer his victories. Die Hard is one of the greatest action films ever made.
Bonnie Bedelia and Alan Rickman in Die Hard.
This movie lures you in. It starts fast and doesn't let up. For an action movie it maintains a close to real feel to it. This is made easier by the fact that the criminal, for once, seeks only money; he's not bent on revenge or seeking world domination. The action scenes are vital without being too unbelievable. The fact that it is adapted from a book, I think, helps.
Die Hard is a quick-witted, testosterone driven ride, along the way poking fun at both the LAPD and FBI. And since this is, after all, the eighties it takes a few well-aimed shots at yuppies as well.
Bruce Willis is very good as the New York City cop caught in the L.A. skyscraper under siege. He makes his cop a regular guy whose feats of heroics are driven out of necessity rather than the need to be a hero. You can see him grow angrier and angrier, using this to keep himself going in the face of insurmountable odds. His memorable refrain 'Yippee Ki Yay Motherfucker' became a national catchphrase.
A fast paced, completely entertaining movie with more real depth than most action movies can aspire to. In short, a guy's movie with heart.
Photos © Copyright 20th Century Fox (1988)