Die Hard (1988)

die hard poster 1988 movie bruce willis
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great action, strong acting, big explosions


Movie Info

Movie Name: Die Hard

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Genre(s): Action/Adventure/Seasonal

Release Date(s): July 15, 1988

MPAA Rating: R

die hard bruce willis airduct lighter

Christmas has come!

Merry Christmas!  John McClane (Bruce Willis) comes to L. A. for the holidays to try to mend differences with his wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia), but finds himself caught in the middle of a hostage situation at her office building.  While John is trying to battle Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) and his men inside the building, Sergeant Al Powell (Reginald VelJohnson) is fighting to keep the LAPD and FBI off of McLain’s back.  McLain is out to stop the terrorists, save the hostages, and save his marriage.

Die Hard was directed by John McTiernan and adapted the novel Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp.  The main hero of Thorp’s novel’s name was changed but was the same character portrayed by Frank Sinatra in The Detective in 1968.  The movie was nominated for four Academy Awards for Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Effects Editing, and Best Visual Effects.

die hard bruce willis bloody feet glass

First you want out of the building…now you want back in…make up your mind!

Still considered one of the best action films of all time, Die Hard has held up well.  It still is smartly written, smartly acted, and full of explosions…pre-computer generated, so they carry some weight.  This helps the movie from dating as badly as other early ‘90s movies where all the effects were tweaked by computers that at the time looked good, but now just look cheesy.

Bruce Willis was still a new movie actor when Die Hard was released and in the middle of his run on Moonlighting as David Addison.  This movie made him a star (and pretty much put the stamp on the cancellation of Moonlighting).  His John McClane is quick enough with his wits to make him enjoyable, but not so full of catch phrases that he becomes annoying (something that does seem to happen throughout the sequels).

In spite of the big explosions and crazy fights, the action for the most part seems realistic.  He doesn’t come out of unscarred.  Running across the glass is still one of the most painful scenes and I highly doubt he’d be able to walk in real life after that, but it is played in a fashion that makes it work in the movie.

die hard hans gruber alan rickman yippee ki yay

Yippee ki yay!!!

All of this is interesting in that it kind of is a Christmas movie in my opinion.  The themes of family etc. are there and the high contrast of violence and death when juxtaposed with the holiday makes it all the more fun…and funny.  The directors played with the idea by mixing in the Christmas music at interesting times.

Die Hard started a franchise that does not seem to die.  The second film in the franchise just felt like this movie but on a bigger scale while the third film at least tried something different.  However, Die Hard remains the classic to beat and still is a pillar among action movies that are unable to find the happy balance like this film.  Watch it at Christmas, watch it on the Fourth of July…just watch it!!!  Die Hard was followed by Die Hard 2:  Die Harder in 1990.

Related Links:

Die Hard 2:  Die Harder (1990)

Die Hard:  With a Vengeance (1995)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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