Taglines: 40 Storeys. Twelve Terrorists. One Cop.
NYPD cop John McClane goes on a Christmas vacation to visit his wife Holly in Los Angeles where she works for the Nakatomi Corporation. While they are at the Nakatomi headquarters for a Christmas party, a group of bank robbers led by Hans Gruber take control of the building and hold everyone hostage, with the exception of John, while they plan to perform a lucrative heist. Unable to escape and with no immediate police response, John is forced to take matters into his own hands.
Die Hard is a 1988 American action film directed by John McTiernan and written by Steven E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart. It follows off-duty New York City Police Department officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) as he takes on a group of highly organized criminals led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), who perform a heist in a Los Angeles skyscraper under the guise of a terrorist attack using hostages, including McClane’s wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia), to keep the police at bay.
It is based on Roderick Thorp’s 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever, the sequel to 1966’s The Detective, which was adapted into a 1968 film of the same name that starred Frank Sinatra. Fox was therefore contractually obligated to offer Sinatra the lead role in Die Hard, but he turned it down. The studio then pitched the film to Arnold Schwarzenegger as a sequel to his 1985 action film Commando; he turned it down, as well, and the studio finally and reluctantly gave it to Willis, then known primarily as a comedic television actor.
Made for $28 million, Die Hard grossed over $140 million theatrically worldwide, and was given a positive reception from critics. The film turned Willis into an action star, became a metonym for an action film in which a lone hero fights overwhelming odds, and has been named one of the best action movies ever made. The film also ranks #29 on Empire magazine’s 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time. The film’s success spawned the Die Hard franchise, which includes four sequels (Die Hard 2, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Live Free or Die Hard and A Good Day to Die Hard), video games, and a comic book.
Die Hard (1988)
Directed by: John McTiernan
Starring: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Alexander Godunov, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson, Hart Bochner, James Shigeta, Paul Gleason, William Atherton
Screenplay by: Jeb Stuart, Steven E. de Souza
Production Design by: Jackson De Govia
Cinematography by: Jan de Bont
Film Editing by: John F. Link, Frank J. Urioste
Costume Design by: Marilyn Vance
Set Decoration by: Philip Leonard
Art Direction by: John R. Jensen
Music by: Michael Kamen
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: July 15, 1988