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If it’s a high-octane ‘shoot-em-up’ inside a skyscraper or an airport with a love interest, seriously bad baddies, bumbling, incompetent officials and a conscience you’re after, the Die Hard films won’t let you down!
Bruce Willis plays hard-drinking, ‘don’t give a shit’ NYPD cop John McClane who goes to LA to see his estranged wife. He gets caught up in intellectual arch-villain Hans Gruber’s plans (played with chilling authenticity by Alan Rickman) to steal $600m from the Nakatomi building’s safe. Under the cover of politics, Gruber and his goons systematically kill the office workers to get to their prize, but they hadn’t counted on McClane.
Armed with a pistol and more front than Southend, he takes them all on alone after getting rebuffed by the LAPD officers waiting patiently outside. The shooting scenes are pure Hollywood, as are the stunts. The conscience comes in the form of Sgt Powell who stays in radio contact with McClane throughout. It gets personal and we are exposed to a little more of the human John McClane.
The second film is similar in concept, but this time the action take place at Washington Dulles airport. A rogue military officer (Sadler) and his band of terrorists hold the airport hostage by crippling the control tower’s communications systems while they rescue a generic South American drug lord from justice. Unsurprisingly Holly is on an incoming flight and McClane is in a race against time to save the circling planes from running out of fuel and crashing into the ground.
These are proper action thrillers. They are over-the-top Hollywood but they work. Bruce Willis is at his consummate best with a wry sense of humour and the baddies are absolutely believable. The explosions are loud and aggressive, helicopters blow up and the creativity McClane uses to kill the tough-guys borders on extreme but still, we remain glued to the screen! What more of an endorsement do you need!
Some of our favourite Die Hard quotes…
Hans Gruber: Do you really think you have a chance against us, Mr. Cowboy?
John McClane: Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker.
John McClane: Nine million terrorists in the world and I gotta kill one with feet smaller than my sister.
Holly Gennero McClane: I have a request.
Hans Gruber: What idiot put you in charge?
Holly Gennero McClane: You did. When you murdered my boss. Now everybody’s looking to me. Personally, I’d pass on the job. I don’t enjoy being this close to you.
John McClane: Oh man, I can’t fucking believe this. Another basement, another elevator. How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?
Holly Gennero McClane: Honey, it’s the ’90s, remember? Microchips, microwaves, faxes, air phones…
John McClane: Hey, well, as far as I’m concerned, progress peaked with frozen pizza.
John McClane: Oh, we are just up to our ass in terrorists again, John.
Policewoman: Sir, this line is for emergencies only.
John McClane: No fucking shit, lady! Do I sound like I’m ordering a pizza?!
Die Hard Trivia!
The addresses and phone numbers depicted on the LAPD dispatch’s computer for the Nakatomi Plaza management are the actual numbers for management of Fox Plaza, where the film was shot.
Bruce Willis trousered a previously unheard of $5m fee for Die Hard.
Don Johnson and Richard Gere were both considered for the role of John McClane and before Willis got it, it was offered to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds, Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson.
Amazingly, it takes 18 minutes for the first gunshot in Die Hard.
The majority of Bruce Willis’s scenes were shot at night because he was still filming Moonlighting during the day!
Die Hard II director Renny Harlin made sure that the scene where Major Grant says to McClane that he is ‘the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time’, with McClane responding ‘Yeah, story of my life’, ended up in the movie’s trailer, because it perfectly summed up McClane’s character.
Black & Decker paid to have its cordless drill featured in a scene with Bruce Willis. When the scene was cut, the company sued 20th Century Fox in the first-ever product placement lawsuit for a film. The $150,000 claim was settled out of court.
Producers of Die Hard II were concerned that actual terrorists could use the information in the film to disrupt airport/airplane communications in real life. Most of the ‘sensitive’ information in the film is not only wrong, it is purposely misleading to prevent terrorists from attempting what we see in the movie.
The Stars of Die Hard – Where Are They Now?
Still a headline act, Bruce Willis has been in all five Die Hard movies as well as blockbusters The Last Boy Scout, Pulp Fiction, 12 Monkeys, The Sixth Sense, The Fifth Element and Looper. Married to and divorced from Demi Moore, he’s now married to model Emma Heming and they have one daughter.
Bizarrely she’s Macaulay Culkin’s aunt and after the Die Hard films, she is known for her role in Presumed Innocent with Harrison Ford. From 2010 she has starred in NBC series Parenthood.
A classically trained, award-winning actor, Hans Gruber was named by the American Film Institute as the 46th best villain in movie history! Best known for his performances in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Michael Collins, he’s perhaps better known by younger audiences as Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series.
After Die Hard, he played Carl Winslow in ABCs Family Matters for over 200 episodes, he’s lent his voice to the Die Hard videogame series and has had recurring roles in US sitcoms I’m With The Band and Mike & Molly.
After the sinister Colonel Stuart, he appeared in Hard to Kill with Steven Seagal, as Heywood in The Shawshank Redemption as well as Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey and The Green Mile. TV appearances include Roswell, Hawaii Five-0 and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.