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Man Movie Encyclopedia - Die Hard

With the recent love for Die Hard in the previous thread, I got a couple requests for the MME article on it. Now we can talk about men's fashion and industrialization all day.

Year: 1988
John McTiernan
Bruce Willis
“40 Stories Of Sheer Adventure!”

Really, what you’ve got here is the Holy Grail of action films. A film so revolutionary that it created a sub-genre, launching millions of different action films that were described as “Die Hard on a _____”. The funny thing is, the plot is so absolutely simply, it’s shocking no one came up with it before.

John McClane is a New York cop who’s marriage is on the rocks, due to his wife not being happy with just being a homemaker. Pssh, just like a woman. So, he’s heading to LA in order to try and patch things up, because God-forbid Holly do it! Once he touches down in Los Angeles, he gets himself a limo with a talkative driver named Argyle. He instantly wins my respect by listening to Run DMC. The place John is dropped off at is The Nakatomi Plaza building where Holly’s Christmas party is going down. Since John is unsure whether or not he’s going to get busy with the Mrs, Argyle offers to hang out until he knows the deal for sure.

Now, while John is heading up stairs, playing meet n greet, a team of German terrorists are infiltrating the building in order to load up on the $640 million dollars worth of bearer bonds. The leader of the group is Hans Gruber, a smooth talking bad-ass who loves to wear a good suit, and isn’t afraid to put a bullet in someone should it seem fit. He’s got along with him many a thug, as well as a computer/electronics savant who’s here to break into the major vault.

As Holly & John are seemingly on the mend, gunfire erupts out in the banquet room as the bad-guys make their presence known. John takes the split second he has to duck out into the stairwell, and try to mount a plan. If it were me, my awesome plan would have been to run down the stairs screaming a combination of rape & fire.

One of John’s first plans is to pull the fire alarm and get some attention to this situation. Naturally, the baddies are on top of this, which should have been obvious because Hans is wearing a suit. You wear a suit, you know the score. So, Hans tells one of the fellow bad guys to check on the situation, and gets his neck broken for his troubles. That’s why I’ve never done anything my bosses have ever told me to do. I’m not getting my neck broken.

It’s now known by Hans and the group that there’s something afoot, due to John writing “Now I have a machine gun, ho ho ho” on the dead guys sweat shirt, and sending him down the elevator. Meanwhile, a simple beat cop known best to the World as Carl Winslow of Family Matters’ fame, has been called to check out the situation at Nakatomi Plaza. For his troubles, he gets his car shredded with a few machine guns, and ran off an embankment. After calling in the troops, he’s able to communicate with John who snatched a radio he nabbed from a dead guy.

So, the troops come in, and try to work this situation out. By work the situation out, I mean get knee capped, and have their LAPD tank blown to hell with a rocket launcher. John answers back with thee ol’ C4 & computer monitor trick. I’m sure in this day and age he’d tie it to an iPhone or something. Ellis, perhaps the greatest representation of the 80's yuppie, does a few snorts of coke, and tries to work out a deal with Hans & the gang. I never knew just what the hell kind of deal he was gonna strike. Although his 10,000 watt smile could damn near soften the heart of any terrorist. Except Hans, he blows his brains out because John won’t give up the detonators he boosted from one of Hans’ henchmen.

The FBI finally arrives, and they zap the power to the building, which is exactly what Hans wanted. Now that things are on their way, they split up to check on things and make sure shit is going down. Hans checks out the C4 on the roof, and happens to run into John. Naturally. John assumes that everyone is a terrorist, and doesn’t trust Bill Clay for a minute. That proves to be fruitful, as Hans tries to shoot John, only to realize the gun has no bullets. Before anything else can go down, the rest of the crew show up and shoot the hell out of the office, layering the floor in shards of glass. Which will prove to be detrimental to John’s shoeless feet. The gang manages to get the detonators back, and leave John to bleed.

They finally break through the safe they’ve been trying to crack, and start loading up the loot. Meanwhile, John figures out that they’re going to blow the roof when all the hostages are up there. That way the FBI thinks everyone has died, and will take a while to try and track them down. He runs up stairs, and gets the group to head the hell back downstairs. Of course, since there’s women, they won’t listen unless John is firing a freaking machine gun. Now that it’s all clear, he gets to jumping off the roof with a firehose tied around his waist. If it were me, they’d probably only have a garden hose, I’d only be able to jump about half a foot, and also get rubber burn. And I don’t think there’s much lotion in Nakatomi Plaza.

Well, it’s game time, the showdown between Hans & John McClane. Since John is the smartest motherfucker alive, he has a gun taped to his back, and blows some Germans away. I have a ton of back hair, and I can tell you how that plan would have gone. The tape would have adhered to my back hair so strongly that when I pulled on the gun I would have given myself a front flip.

Man Movie Encyclopedia Tally:

Guys Beat Up:
Guys Killed:
Swear Words:
Slow-Motion Scenes:
Car Chases:
Chases on Foot:
Broken Bones:
Fight at a Motel?
Guy Get Girl?
Guy Smoke Cigarettes?


Tony: ...there are rules for policemen.
John McClane: Yeah, that’s what my Captain keeps telling me.

Next time you have a chance to kill someone, don't hesitate.
[McClane pumps about 6 shots into him]
John McClane: Thanks for the advice, pal.

[after some cowboy talk, John pulls the gun from his back and shoots Hans]
John McClane: Happy trails, Hans.


The original poster release didn’t feature Bruce’s image, because the studio thought it’d hurt the box-office, since he wasn’t an action star.

When John falls down the elevator shaft, you see that he misses the first air vent. That was actually a mistake by the stuntman, as he didn’t grab it in time, but they dug it so they left it in.

Bruce was the 7th choice for John McClane. 7th, motherfucker. The line went like this;
Arnold, then Stallone, then Burt Reynolds, then Richard Gere, then Harrison Ford, then Mel Gibson. I don’t get it, how could you read this script and think “feh”?

This was originally meant to be a sequel to Commando.

The centerfold that John sees in the elevator shaft is that of Playboy’s Miss November, 1987, Pamela Stein.

The reaction that Alan Rickman has when being dropped is genuine. He was held 21ft above an airbag, and the stuntman let go at 2, not 3.

The Director, John McTiernan decided to change Hans & the gang from political terrorist, to dudes just out for a score. He felt it would be easier for people to enjoy a simple caper film.

Box-Office Business:
Created on a budget of $28 million dollars, Die Hard was released on July 15th, 1988 to 1,276 theaters. It opened up at #3, earning a weekend total of $7,105,514. It ended up earning a grand total of $140,767,956

C’mon Bennet, Let’s Party!:
Seriously, there’s nothing I could say that would do this film justice. It’s an absolute masterpiece. It’s not only one of the Top 3 action films of all time, it’s one of the Top 10 films of all time. There’s absolutely nobody who can’t enjoy this. The plot was so simple, but executed so goddamn well. There isn’t one gripe about this film, as it’s flawless from beginning to end. John McClane is one of the burliest movie characters of all time. Hands down.

5 Head-Butts Out Of 5.

My editor Steven Ferrari didn't edit this, but I'd still like to make mention of how I met him, which was when my brother-in-law, and good friend's wife died, and he asked myself, and Steven to help him raise his 3 daughters. Have mercy. 

Hope you guys dug the article. For those that did and want more, you can read this very entry, plus the rest of the original Die Hard trilogy in my book The Man Movie Encyclopedia, available at amazon for 99cents. 28 classics are covered, from First Blood, to Robocop, Commando, and Predator. It's been endorsed by Scott Keith, and New York Times Best-Selling Author, Maddox. Hell, even Fuj gave it a thumbs up.

For more Die Hard fun with Caliber, check out 12 Reasons Why Die Hard Is The Best Christmas Film Ever.

Any requests, questions, QOTDs, send'em on over to


  1. I think I resent being made to be Dave Coulier in this scenario. Cut it out!

  2. My cousin, a stand-up fan if there ever was one, saw Dave Coulier a few years ago and has raved about it ever since. He said he was just the right amount of self-aware and was doing all the old stuff like "cut it out" while adding in new stuff that was also funny. So, in a weird way, it's kind of a compliment?

  3. Caliber, awesome post.

  4. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomeryAugust 31, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    I saw his act too a couple of years ago and I thought he was pretty funny too. Had a good sense humor about himself.

  5. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomeryAugust 31, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    Apparently, Alan Rickman also was Zandig-levels of pissed when they lied and dropped him on 2.

    But yeah, best modern action movie ever.

    "This is Agent, the other one."

  6. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Hey, at least you're not stuck with a bitchy wife & twins who won't even let me enjoy my rockstar dreams in Japan!

  7. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    Thank you kindly, Farva. Glad you dug it.

  8. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    Thank you, Kirk. I don't suppose this is Kirk Cameron of Growing Pains fame, is it?

  9. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    It's one of those films where a person can actually be wrong if they don't like it.

  10. Well FFLoD2 Yahoo league draft has been done, and its safe to say.

    I'm gonna win.

  11. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    When you play FF, can you have old school players? Like, could a person have a team with Larry Czonka ['72 Dolphins], Broadway Joe, Neon Deion, and The Boz?

  12. No Mike Seaver here. Just plan ol Kirk R from Everett

  13. "Just like back in Khe Sanh"
    "I was in the 8th grade."

  14. Saying Die Hard was originally meant as a sequel to Commando is incredibly misleading. It's based on a book written in 1979. When they wanted self-made man (LOL!) Arnold to be in it, they pitched it as a sequel. Which would consist of changing John McClane's name to John Matrix.

  15. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    Everett, WA?

  16. Did you just delete my post pointing out that die hard was based on a book from 1979?

  17. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    Dougie, you don't like my work. Yet you come and read it. You start threads to troll and create hostility. I don't want you in my threads. Go some where else.

    And yeah, everyone knows this is based on a book. They could easily make it a sequel to Commando. Details in book to screen adaptations are changed all the time. So, whatever stupid point you made is null. I'm posting this to let you know why I'm gonna delete your comment again in the next few minutes.

  18. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Huh, crazy. I live in Seattle.Just moved from Everett about 8 months ago. What part of Everett do you live in?

  19. Fragile much, Mr Glass?

    And you clearly didn't know.

  20. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Yes, you're right, I didn't. Despite the fact it's posted in the beginning of the films wikipedia, you dolt.

  21. Why would you reply to me, then delete your own post? That just makes no sense.

  22. Actually Bruce should be 8th on the list of actors asked to play John McClane. If memory serves they had to offer Frank Sinatra the role due to him starring in the movie The Detective which was the first book. Due to his age there was no way he would do it but they still had to offer so they wouldn't get sued.

    Great article about a great movie.

    Caliber have you seen the set pic from Expendable 3 with Arnold and Harrison Ford. Can't wait for Expendable 3. Kurt Russell and Carl Weathers need to be in number 4.

  23. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    You're very correct, Marc. That's something I learned after writing the book, and I should have added it to the post here, so thanks for bringing it up. I didn't know the part about being sued though, I thought they just offered it to him as a kindness, knowing he could never do it.

    I appreciate the kind words, I'm really glad you dug it. If you ever buy the ebook, please let me know what you think of it.

    I did in fact. I'm very glad that Arnold has no qualms with sharing cool things like that. I love Bruce and everything, but I don't think the series is going to be at a loss without Mr. Church. I'm very excited to see what Ford, Snipes, Gibson, and I believe Cage, will all bring to the 3rd one. Which is apparently going to "out raid The Raid" as Stallone said.

  24. Charismatic e-Negro Jef VinsonAugust 31, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    "I was in junior high, dickhead...."

  25. On 112th just west of the carpool exit on I-5

  26. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    I lived in Fulton's Crossing apartments, which are right off 3rd, by the Target/AmPm/McDonalds area. That's pretty close.

  27. Just bought the ebook. Based on the list of movies covered in the book i should really enjoy it. A little bummed there is no Action Jackson. Always had a soft spot for that movie.

  28. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    Thank you very much, Marc, I appreciate it.

    Man, I think only you and I know about Action Jackson. I'm actually saving that for Vol. 2, which will focus on more of the lesser-known, B-movie type of action films. Such as The American Ninja series, Action Jackson, Revenge of the Ninja, Lone Wolf McQuade, things like that. Nothing beats an evil Craig T. Nelson

  29. Some lesser known movies that I like from the 80's:

    Nighthawks-Sylvester Stallone and Billy Dee Williams tracking a terrorist played by Rutger Hauer.

    Uncommon Valor- Gene Hackman and Patrick Swayze go back to Vietnam to find Prisoners of War.

    King Solomon's Mines- Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone. Cheesy as hell but I loved it when I was a kid.

    To Live and Die in LA-William Peterson The movie has some pretty badass car chases.

    Firewalker-- The dream team of Chuck Norris and Louis Gossett Jr.

    The Delta Force- Pretty well known but when you have Chuck Norris AND Lee Marvin you have a classic. Bonus points for a very tan Robert Forster playing the lead bad guy.

  30. Wait are we deleting posts now?

  31. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    Yup. I don't need Dougie coming into my threads and being the prick that he always is.

  32. Interesting.

    I will take note of this.

  33. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    Please do. After he couldn't get his rocks off here, he went over to my site and started talking shit, only posing as Jesse Baker. It's scary that adults act like this.

  34. Charismatic e-Negro Jef VinsonAugust 31, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    ...wait, WHAT?

  35. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    Yeah, he went over to my site to be a big boy and hurl insults at me, yet he was doing it under Jesse Baker's name.

  36. Action Jackson fan over here. You're not the only one. As a kid, I thought there was a 100% chance Carl Weathers was our next action hero.

  37. Alan Rickman is near the top of the list of "Actors Who You Can't Believe Were Never Nominated For Oscars." The Academy is more flexible nowadays about nominating actors from action movies and thrillers, so if Die Hard comes out in 2013, Rickman wins a supporting actor award in a walk.

  38. Dougie needed an alias to throw insults?

  39. Deleting posts is bullshiy.

  40. No way dude, you'll be surprised how many Action Jackson fans there are.

  41. He does realize we can see IP's, doesn't he?

  42. Namath would be DEATH to a fantasy team, Deion and Boz's defenses were mostly average or worse, I'm not too sure about Czonka's value.

  43. I pointed out a spelling error. IT WAS TOTALLY OUTRAGEOUS!

  44. Great line I saw in another review of this: "Hans Gruber is the best Bond villain who was never in a Bond film."

  45. Did you really pretend to be Jesse? That's pretty sad if you did and way too much effort to put into something as benign as having a post deleted.

  46. BTW, I usually enjoy your writing, but this was even better than I expected. I think I bought your movie book but haven't read it yet. If I haven't bought it, I definitely will.

  47. Can you see the post he deleted? I pointed out that Die Hard was based on a book from 1979. This apparently was more than he could take.

  48. I did and I didn't agree with him, but it's his call.

    Are you going to answer the Jesse question though?

  49. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    Yeah, he also asked me if I'd ever had sex as well. Why he wants to know is beyond me. And yes, he posed as Jesse because he's too stupid to know about IP's.

  50. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    Flair, the post I deleted wasn't just him pointing something out. He came in talking his normal bullshit, bringing up something from yesterday that he thought would rile me up. Something that I tried to discuss with him, but he kept backing down. So then today he comes in here to talk shit, despite the fact he's said he dislikes my work. He can take his bullshit elsewhere.

  51. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    Also, flair, you're a mod, you can go back and see his deleted post, tell me he wasn't trying to start shit. For the millionth time. Scott needs to just ban him outright. Especially since he's posing as other members and talking shit. I mean, he's an adult! And he does these things.

  52. On his blog, your name can be anything you like. You can change it every post and don't need to register. I could've said my name was Fresh Prince. Who cares? I believe I pointed out fascinaiting is incorrect. It's not like I wrote a 12 paragraph fantasy booking scenario. It was hardly a clever ruse.

  53. Like I said, it's your call and I'm ok with it. If you feel he disrespected and trolled you, you're a Mod and it's within your right. I don't have to agree with it, but it's no big deal. Do what you gotta do.

  54. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Thanks, Kenny. I really appreciate that. And yeah, you told me a while ago that you bought it, because you said you enjoy supporting upstarts. Hell, you bought it when it was $2.99. Please let me know what you think of the book when you finish it.

  55. Well, you didn't use Fresh Prince, or Will Smith, or any other name - you used Jesse. We all know how you feel about him, so this "vendetta" went a little deeper. At the end of the day, he deleted your post, he felt you were trolling him. Let it go, it's not that big of a deal. To go the extra mile and post a negative comment on his blog should be beneath you, but apparently it's not. Pretty sad.

  56. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    It was more than one, and if I hadn't stopped him, he would have kept going. I don't understand why people like him are tolerated. Who hasn't this prick had a run in with? See, and look at this thread, we were all enjoying ourselves, having a nice talk about Die Hard, and this mook has to come and gunk it all up.

  57. I think I told you in the Cuuch thread that Scott has always been very tolerant and you have to do some egregious shit to be banned. It's his house, we just enforce some rules.

  58. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    I agree with that, to some degree. His aspirations were a bit small for a Bond villain. Plus, he was into sharing the wealth, and was fine with killing people with just a gun. He didn't need a bear driving a tractor, or a large, man eating plant or something.

  59. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    I was once banned because Chad Bryant posted as me else where, and was bragging about how I was trolling him on Scott's blog.

    No one here has a nice thing to say about Dougie, and he's off doing worse things. The BoD would be a much better place without him. It's ridiculous that he's tolerated.

  60. E-mail Scott and state your case, I doubt he reads every post.

  61. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    I already did a few hours ago. I absolutely hate to bother him with such trivial, pathetic matters, but such is Dougie.

  62. Was he posing as other members here or at your blog?

    I was also surprised you didn't point out Die Hard is based on a book. It blew my mind when I first found out Die Hard was kind of a sequel to a Sinatra movie


    Have you ever been to this site Caliber? I used to read their action reviews back in the day

  64. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 7:28 PM

    At my blog. And he was on a rip, if I hadn't stopped him, he would have kept posting.

    Honestly, I truly can't tell you why I didn't. I talked about Cobra being based on a book, as well as others.

    Dougie didn't just point that out. He also made a remark to an argument we had yesterday, where he acted like a petulant child after my repeated attempts to get him to engage in a normal, adult discussion. So, he came here, to a thread that's clearly a work of Caliber, a guy he's repeatedly said he hates [despite the fact he reads my website] and posts. Purposely bringing up the discussion from yesterday in a mocking manner. I consider the BoD a place where I work, and I'm no longer going to tolerate purposeful trolling like that in my threads. People who follow my work are smart people who can have actual discussions without mud-slinging and other bullshit. I don't want it.

    I've made many attempts to be cool with Dougie, but he refuses. Hell, you and I didn't like each other, but we've been more than civil lately and even had some out-right interesting conversations.

  65. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdAugust 31, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    Nah, never heard of it. I'll have to give it a look, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  66. Oh God, just shut up and man up. It's the fucking internet.

  67. I think it would have been easier back then. Sigourney Weaver got nominated for Brest Actress in Aliens, and Kevin Kline won Best Supporting Actor for A Fish Called Wanda, and he spent most of the movie running around screaming "ASSHOOOOOLLLLLLEEEEEE!!!!!!"

  68. Die Hard is an awesome film and one of those legendary films that only come along every couple of decades. The kind of film that redefines the genre, to the point that it becomes a marker point for talking about the genre in question (IE Pre-Die Hard and Post-Die Hard) as far as being the beginning of a whole new era.

  69. Stranger in the AlpsAugust 31, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    Any one of the guys listed as possible John McClane would have completely changed the dynamic of this film. Bruce Willis has made a career out of the flawed hero that every male viewer can relate to. He's vulnerable, not bullet proof like Schwarzenegger; he's a smart ass, which Richard Gere can't comprehend. The only other guy that may have come close is Burt Reynolds, but fuck, would he have hammed it up. I picture The Bandit without his cowboy hat; and then Dom DeLuise in the Reginald Vel Johnson role. Then you would have funny outtakes during the end credits.

  70. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomeryAugust 31, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    You could always use a bear driving a tractor.

  71. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomeryAugust 31, 2013 at 10:13 PM

    Yeah, it's surprising. Hell, I think he should've gotten a nod for Deathly Hallows Pt. 2.

  72. Your hissy fit is making this more than trivial.

  73. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomerySeptember 1, 2013 at 1:29 AM

    For my money, To Live and Die in LA's car chase is the GOAT.

  74. If you guys all break up do I have to go live with grandma?

  75. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdSeptember 1, 2013 at 4:17 AM

    Yeah! What he sai....wait, you aren't talking to me, are you?

  76. Caliber_Winfield_The_3rdSeptember 1, 2013 at 4:19 AM

    Oh man, Jackie Gleason as Hans.

  77. uh oh, another cracked article?

  78. This is the real Jesse Baker. I use my facebook to log into the blog to post so you will always know it's me by the fact that my facebook profile pic is my BoD profile pic....

    Dougie's too much of a coward to even post a photo of himself anywhere.

  79. Kline's Oscar was 100 percent deserved, that was one of the funniest roles ever and Kline hit it out of the park.

  80. Stranger in the AlpsSeptember 1, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    I downvoted you because that is a horrible, horrible idea. That sort of thinking gets you shot in Russia. But other than that we're cool.


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