Die Hard is a Hollywood action film released in 1988, written by Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Sousa, starring Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, Alan Rickman, William Atherton, and directed by John McTiernan. more...
The film features Willis as a sympathetic hero with typical human weaknesses, unlike the Übermensch heroes exemplified by Arnold Schwarzenegger. A huge critical and commercial success, Die Hard propelled Willis' film career, giving him more credibility in action and dramatic roles, and helped Alan Rickman become a popular player of villains in American film.
The movie is based on a 1979 novel by Roderick Thorp titled Nothing Lasts Forever, itself a sequel to the book The Detective, which was previously made into a 1968 movie starring Frank Sinatra. The movie is very faithful to the novel, though most of the characters' names are changed.
The film has spawned two sequels, Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990) and Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995). The fourth film in the series, currently in production, is titled Die Hard 4.0. A previous attempt at a fourth Die Hard eventually evolved into Tears of the Sun.
The popularity and impact of Die Hard on the action genre has also led to the coining of the phrase "Die Hard on/in a...", often used when casually referring to action movies of a similar "one man versus the bad guys" plot typically placed largely within a large building and/or vehicle. For example, the films Under Siege and Speed were both described by critics as "Die Hard on a boat" and "Die Hard on a bus", respectively.
The film opens with New York City police detective John McClane coming to Los Angeles to reunite with his estranged wife, played by Bonnie Bedelia, for the 1987 Christmas holidays. He is driven by the extremely talkative driver Argyle to her place of work, a large office building called the Nakatomi Tower, in a company limousine.
A company Christmas party is taking place on the 30th floor of the building. After an initial meeting, which includes strained greetings with her boss (Joseph Takagi) and an oily colleague (Ellis), the couple have an argument over their separation and her decision to be addressed by her maiden name "Gennero." Holly rejoins the party while John stays in a room kicking himself for picking a fight with his wife.
Unknown to them, a gang of terrorists, led by the German Hans Gruber, invade the building. Karl, a ruthless terrorist, kills one security guard with a bullet to the head using a silencer fitted pistol and kills the second guard with three bullets to the chest. They seize control of the security and communication systems, isolating them from the outside. Then they take the entire staff of the Nakatomi head office as hostages and take the regional director Takagi aside for some private business. Once alone, they reveal that they are not terrorists, but actually criminals who are posing as terrorists in their plan to steal $600 million worth of bearer bonds from the Nakatomi Plaza's main security vault. When the director is unable to give the access codes to the vault, he is shot dead and the gang implement their secondary plan to break into the vault. Secretly, they are also planning to murder all their hostages with explosives in a cold-blooded scheme to fake their deaths in order to hide their escape.
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