Die Hard

Year: 1988
Directed By: John McTiernan
Written By: Roderick Thorp and Jeb Stuart


This is one of the greatest action movies of all time.  It set the bar for action films for a generation to come.  I wrote to some length about what I call the “Die Hard genre” in our Cliffhanger review, if you would like my thoughts on the subject click on the link.  This movie spawned both a franchise and a career for Bruce Willis that are both still going strong today.  Willis is still making action films and there is apparently a fifth addition to the franchise currently in the works.  I don’t particularly like what was done with the fourth film; it was just a pathetic effort to make money. This one is a classic though, and while the second was just a simple sequel I did think the third film was exceptional. This one, as well as the third was made by a good solid action director with one of America’s favorite action stars in the lead role.

This is probably John McTiernan’s most famous film and also his best.  He has made several action films of notoriety such as  Predator, The Hunt for Red October, Last Action Hero, and the third Die Hard film among others.  When this movie came out action films were dominated by these ultra-ripped muscle bound men like Schwarzenegger and Stallone. I think the casting of Bruce Willis made the character of John McClane easier for the audience to relate to. I’m talking about the cop we see in this Die Hard, not the one driving motorcycles into helicopters the fourth time around. Willis has made many great movies throughout his career and played many memorable characters. In this role of John McClane he proved to be believable, to be a reasonable down to Earth hero that the audience liked. He was able to parlay his success with this film into many opportunities. He has had a long and active career to say the least.  I have always been a fan of Bruce Willis, he is a badass.

Alan Rickman is terrific as the main antagonist Hans Gruber.  He has such a sinister sounding voice; he is always a good choice for the bad guy.  I am not a huge Harry Potter fan but I did like the films and he did a great job playing Professor Snape.  I watched a lot of Family Matters when I was a kid, and I have always liked the part Reginald VelJohnson plays in this movie. An interesting name RVJ has, I have always liked to think of him as “Reginald VelvettaJohnson” during my years killing time with Erkel.   Go figure the role Carl Winslow manages to snag in a film is that of a police officer.  Paul Gleason is also on board as an annoying authority figure, a role he has experience playing.

I have likened this movie to the male version of Pretty Woman before, as having a theme that was redone over in over again with a different cast.  I have spoken at length before about the many action movies made in the aftermath of this movie that have been just like it.  I think the fact that so many others emulated this film stands as a testament to how good the film actually is.  This movie is actually based on a book believe it or not.  The book was titled “Nothing Lasts Forever” and it was originally picked up as a sequel to Commando, but when Schwarzenegger turned it down Willis was cast and the story was rewritten a little bit.

I have heard before that this movie is called into question on whether it is or isn’t a Christmas film.  I do not know how anybody can deny that it is in fact a Christmas film.  It has Christmas music, a Christmas party, Christmas references, and I do believe Santa Claus is seen in multiple scenes. What more do you need for it to qualify? And who doesn’t find themselves feeling all Christmasy after seeing a classic American hero kill a bunch of greedy terrorist? When John McClane sends a dead terrorist down to the bad guys he doesn’t just say “hey thanks for the machine gun.” He follows his little quip with “HO HO HO”, to spread the Christmas cheer.

Like many of the movies we own you don’t need me to tell you why you should see this film, it’s freaking Die Hard. This is a great action movie that is always fun to watch.  I would suggest you see it at any and every opportunity and definitely around Christmas time.


I am really sorry guys, but I just had a baby and with the lack of sleep I couldn’t make it through this movie. And as sad as it is [apparently], I have never seen this move. GASP! I will re-watch this movie and post an updated review later.

NEXT MOVIE: Die Hard 2


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