AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
Die Hard
Director: John McTiernan (Dir)
Release Date:   15 Jul 1988
Premiere Information:   Los Angeles and New York openings: 15 Jul 1988
Production Date:   ended Feb or Mar 1988 in Los Angeles, CA
Duration (in mins):   132
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Cast:   Bruce Willis (John McClane)  
    Alan Rickman (Hans Gruber, Terrorist)  
    Alexander Godunov (Karl, Terrorist)  
    Bonnie Bedelia (Holly Gennaro McClane)  
    Reginald Veljohnson (Sgt. Al Powell)  
    William Atherton ([Dick] Thornburg)  
    Paul Gleason (Dwayne T. Robinson)  
    Hart Bochner ([Harry] Ellis)  
    James Shigeta ([Joe] Takagi)  
    Bruno Doyon (Franco, Terrorist)  
    Andreas Wisniewski (Tony, Terrorist)  
    Clarence Gilyard, Jr. (Theo, Terrorist)  
    De'Voreaux White (Argyle)  
  Terrorists: Joey Plewa (Alexander)  
    Lorenzo Caccialanza (Marco)  
    Gerard Bonn (Kristoff)  
    Dennis Hayden (Eddie)  
    Al Leong (Uli)  
    Gary Roberts (Heinrich)  
    Hans Buhringer (Fritz)  
  [and] Wilhelm von Homburg (James)  
    Robert Davi (Big Johnson)  
    Grand L. Bush (Little Johnson)  
    Bill Marcus (City engineer)  
    Rick Docommun (City worker)  
    Matt Landers (Capt. Mitchell)  
    Carmine Zozzora (Rivers)  
    Dustyn Taylor (Ginny)  
    George Christy (Hasseldorf)  
    Anthony Peck (Young cop)  
    Cheryl Baker (Woman)  
    Richard Parker (Man)  
    David Ursin (Harvey Johnson)  
    Mary Ellen Trainor (Gail Wallens)  
    Diana James (Supervisor)  
    Shelley Pogoda (Dispatcher)  
    Selma Archerd (Hostage)  
    Scot Bennett (Hostage)  
    Rebecca Broussard (Hostage)  
    Kate Finlayson (Hostage)  
    Shanna Higgins (Hostage)  
    Kym Malin (Hostage)  
    Taylor Fry (Lucy McClane)  
    Noah Land (John [McClane] Jr. )  
    Betty Carvalho (Paulina)  
    Kip Waldo (Convenience store clerk)  
    Mark Goldstein (Station manager)  
    Tracy Reiner (Thornburg's assistant)  
    Rick Cicetti (Guard)  
    Fred Lerner (Guard)  
    Bill Margolin (Producer)  
    Bob Jennings (Cameraman)  
    Bruce P. Schultz (Cameraman)  
    David Katz (Soundman)  
    Robert Lesser (Businessman)  
    Stella Hall (Stewardess)  
    Terri Lynn Doss (Girl at airport)  
    Jon E. Greene (Boy at airport)  
    P. Randall Bowers (Kissing man)  
    Michele Laybourn (Girl in window)  

Summary: New York City police detective John McClane flies to Los Angeles, California, to visit his estranged wife, Holly, and their two children for Christmas. Argyle, an inexperienced limousine driver, picks John up at the airport and drives him to his wife’s office located on the thirtieth floor of Nakatomi Plaza. Uncertain whether Holly will invite him home that night, John enlists Argyle to wait for his call in the underground parking lot. At the lobby desk, he is disappointed to find his wife listed under her maiden name, “Holly Gennaro.” Riding the elevator to the thirtieth floor, John finds himself among revelers at the Nakatomi Corporation’s Christmas party. The President, Joe Takagi, recognizes him and leads him to Holly’s office, where they find her colleague, Harry Ellis, alone at her desk, snorting cocaine. When Holly returns, she is surprised to see John and shows him to the bathroom, where he washes up. Holly invites John to stay at the house and says she has missed him, but he confronts her about using her maiden name. Holly claims the Japanese businessmen prefer to think of a high-powered career woman as single. Holly is called away to make a speech, leaving John behind. Meanwhile, a group of international criminals led by a German man, Hans Gruber, park a truck in the underground parking lot and storm the building, killing two security guards and taking over the lobby desk. An African American computer expert, Theo, hacks into the security system to lock down the building, while John, who has taken off his shirt and shoes, calls Argyle from the bathroom and tells him to keep waiting in his limousine. The phone line goes dead, and John senses something is wrong. Armed with automatic weapons, Hans’s group emerges from the elevator onto the thirtieth floor and takes the partygoers hostage. Hearing shots fired, John pulls his gun and escapes to the emergency stairwell. Railing against the Takami Corporation’s greed, Hans leads Takagi at gunpoint to his office on another floor. There, Hans announces his plan to steal $640 million in bearer bonds stored in the company’s vault, but Takagi claims he cannot provide the necessary access codes. John spies some of the terrorists moving explosives into the building, then sneaks up on Takagi’s office as Hans shoots Takagi dead. After retreating to an unoccupied floor, John pulls a fire alarm, and although police respond, one of the terrorists posing as a security guard, Eddie, convinces the officers that it was a false alarm. Pinpointing the floor where the alarm was pulled, another terrorist, Tony, pursues John. Activating a table saw to lure Tony out, John ambushes the terrorist and the men struggle until they fall down a stairwell, where Tony dies from his injuries. Still barefoot, John tries to steal Tony’s shoes but they are too small. John sends Tony’s corpse down in the elevator to the thirtieth floor with the message, “Now I have a machine gun,” scrawled on Tony's shirt. Tony’s brother, Karl, intends to avenge Tony’s death, but Hans reminds him they must prioritize the robbery. John procures a CB radio and gains access to the roof, where he radios police. Although a policewoman reprimands him for using a secure line, she overhears loud noises as Karl and two of his cohorts shoot at John, and sends Sgt. Al Powell to investigate. Running back inside, John uses the strap of Tony’s machine gun to descend into a ventilation shaft, where he almost falls to his death but saves himself by grabbing onto the edge of an air duct and climbing inside. Sensing John might be inside the duct, Karl shoots at it from below but is drawn away when he learns Sgt. Al Powell is outside the building. John retreats to Takagi’s office where he smashes the window with a chair to get Al’s attention. Two more assassins, Heinrich and Marco, pursue him, but John shoots them both dead. In the lobby, Eddie opens the door for Al, who performs a cursory walk-through and leaves. Before Al drives away, however, John drops Marco’s corpse onto Al’s police car, prompting Al to call for back-up. Hearing Al’s distress call, television reporter Sam Thornberg begs for a news truck to cover the event. Over the CB radio, John tells Al that nine terrorists, led by Hans Gruber, remain, along with roughly thirty hostages on the thirtieth floor of the building. Deputy police chief Dwayne T. Robinson takes Al’s radio and orders John to stand by. Introducing herself as “Miss Gennaro” to Hans, Holly asks to move her pregnant assistant to a couch and requests bathroom breaks for the hostages. In the parking lot, Argyle hears news of the attack over his CB radio and realizes it is taking place above him. While continuing to penetrate the vault’s security system, Theo watches surveillance cameras and announces when four SWAT [Special Weapons and Tactics] members attempt to infiltrate the building’s main floor. As the terrorists fire shots outside, Robinson wants the SWAT members to retreat but their leader insists they keep going. The SWAT men are killed, and two terrorists, James and Alexander, launch a missile at an armored police vehicle when it approaches another corner. John sends an explosive device down the elevator shaft to the floor where James and Alexander operate their rocket launcher, causing a major blast. Police chief Robinson reprimands John over the radio, but John demands to speak to Al, who informs him that he just killed two more terrorists. Holly’s colleague, Harry Ellis, attempts to make a deal with Hans, lying that he and John are longtime friends. Hans gives Ellis his CB radio to contact John; although Ellis tells John that Hans will kill him if John does not produce a bag of detonators that Heinrich was carrying, John refuses, and Hans shoots Ellis. To stall the police, Hans offers a deal: if they release a list of incarcerated revolutionaries in Northern Ireland, Canada, and Sri Lanka, he will release the hostages to awaiting helicopters on the roof. Two FBI agents, “Big” Johnson and “Little” Johnson, arrive, informing Robinson that they are taking over. John comes across Hans, who fakes an American accent and pretends to be a Nakatomi employee, Bill Clay. Identifying himself as a policeman from New York, John enlists Hans’s help, giving him a handgun. However, when Hans points the gun at John and demands the detonators, Hans discovers the gun is not loaded. Terrorists Karl, Fritz, and Franco emerge from the elevator and John shoots them both dead as he retreats, cutting his foot on broken glass. As Karl and Hans return to the thirtieth floor, Holly notices Karl’s frustration and grins, sensing John is still alive. In a bathroom, John removes the glass from his bloodied foot and radios Al, asking him to pass along an apology to Holly in case he dies. He says he should have been more supportive when she was promoted; instead, he allowed her to move to California without him. He asks why Al is just a beat cop, and Al confesses that he accidentally shot a child while on duty. When the FBI cuts power to the building, the vault opens and the terrorists remove the bearer bonds. FBI agents lie to Hans that the prisoners have been released in exchange for the hostages and helicopters are on the way. At the McClane residence, Sam forces his way inside with a news crew to put John and Holly’s children, Lucy and John Jr., on the air. Hans sees the report and realizes Holly and John are married; thus, he takes Holly at gunpoint while the other hostages are ushered to the roof. John realizes Hans is planning to blow up the roof as the helicopters descend, and radios Al to warn him, but Al does not hear. Near the roof, Karl ambushes John and shoots him in the shoulder; however, John overpowers Karl, tying a chain around his neck and leaving him to hang. On the roof, John demands Holly, but the other hostages alert him that Hans took her to the vault. After John sends the hostages back inside, FBI agents in helicopters mistake John for a terrorist and shoot at him. He ties a fire hose around his waist and jumps over the side of the building, shooting through a window and swinging inside just before the hose snaps. As the terrorists’ explosives blow up the roof, John heads to the vault, where he and Hans come to a stand off. Hans holds Holly at gunpoint and forces John to drop his weapon. However, John removes a second gun secretly taped to his back and shoots Hans and Eddie. Hans totters backward and falls through a window, still holding onto Holly’s wrist. Just in time, John undoes Holly’s watch, and the two watch as Hans loses his grip and falls to his death. Reunited, John and Holly kiss. Outside the building, John embraces Al and introduces Holly using her maiden name, but Holly corrects him, identifying herself as “Holly McClane.” Covered in blood, Karl emerges from the building and points his gun at John, but Al shoots him dead before anyone else can react. Excited by the evening’s dramatic turn, Argyle drives his limousine out of the parking lot and picks up Holly and John.  

Production Company: Gordon Company  
  Silver Pictures  
Production Text: A Gordon Company/Silver Pictures Production
A John McTiernan Film
Distribution Company: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.  
Director: John McTiernan (Dir)
  Beau E. L. Marks (Unit prod mgr)
  Benjamin Rosenberg (1st asst dir)
  Terry Miller, Jr. (2d asst dir)
  Michael Alan Kahn (2d 2d asst dir)
  Beau E. L. Marks (2d unit dir)
  Paula Foster (DGA trainee)
Producer: Lawrence Gordon (Prod)
  Joel Silver (Prod)
  Charles Gordon (Exec prod)
  Beau E. L. Marks (Assoc prod)
Writer: Jeb Stuart (Scr)
  Steven E. de Souza (Scr)
Photography: Jan de Bont (Dir of photog)
  Michael Ferris (Cam op)
  Michael Scott (Cam op)
  M. Todd Henry (Cam op)
  Brian Armstrong (Cam asst)
  John Ellingwood (Cam asst)
  Les Zell (Cam asst)
  Ed Ayer (Gaffer)
  Michael Franz (Best boy)
  Blaise Dahlquist (Best boy)
  Brink Brydon (Elec)
  Steven C. Hodge (Elec)
  Doug Yonker (Elec)
  Roger Spurgeon (Musco Light op)
  Ron Kunecke (Musco Light op)
  Mike DeMeyer (Musco Light op)
  Brad Chelesvig (Musco Light op)
  William E. Decker, III (Key grip)
  Bernie Schwartz (Best boy grip)
  John Donnelly (Best boy grip)
  Glenn "Bear" Davis (Dolly grip)
  Brian Joe Holechek (Grip)
  Matthew Nelson (Grip)
  Jim Rankin (Grip)
  Peter Sorel (Still photog)
  Bob Isenberg (Still photog)
Art Direction: Jackson DeGovia (Prod des)
  John R. Jensen (Art dir)
  William J. Durrell, Jr. (Asst art dir)
  Craig Edgar (Asst art dir)
  John L. Jensen (Illustrator)
Film Editor: Frank J. Urioste (Film ed)
  John F. Link (Film ed)
  Derek G. Brechin (Asst ed)
  Gregory M. Gerlich (Asst ed)
  Bryan Carroll (Asst ed)
  Edward Malone (2d asst ed)
  Jeff Gullo (2d asst ed)
  Gary Burritt (Negative cutter)
Set Decoration: Phil M. Leonard (Set dec)
  E. C. Chen (Set des)
  Roland Hill (Set des)
  Tommy "Tom" Tomlinson (Prop master)
  Michael Blaze (Asst prop master)
  Michael Papac (Weapons specialist)
  Bruce J. Gfeller (Const coord)
  Steve Callas (Const foreman)
  Dick Girod (Const paint foreman)
  Jimmy Jay Hinkle (Prod painter)
  Bill Fannon, Jr. (Lead man)
  Richard Boris (Set dresser)
  Mike Bruner (Set dresser)
  Gus Feederle (Set dresser)
  Efrain Gonzalez (Set dresser)
  Kirk B. Jones (Set dresser)
  Donald Kaeding (Set dresser)
  Steve Nelson (Set dresser)
  Jack W. Crain Weatherford, Texas (Knives provided by)
  Paul Chaleff Los Angeles and New York (Spec ceramic vessels provided by)
  Tod M. Volpe Spec ceramic vessels provided by (Spec ceramic vessels provided by)
  Aaron G. Green F.A.I.A. San Francisco representative, The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation (Butterfly Wing Bridge model furnished courtesy of)
Costumes: Marilyn Vance-Straker (Cost des)
  Barry Delaney (Cost supv)
  Barbara Siebert Bolticoff (Women's set costumer)
  Michael J. Voght (Men's set costumer)
  Victoria Snow (Addl costumer)
  Charles Mercuri (Costumer to Bruce Willis)
Music: Michael Kamen (Mus)
  Segue Music (Mus ed)
  Christopher Brooks (Supv mus ed)
  Stephen E. McLaughlin (Mus prod)
  Michael Kamen (Orch cond by)
  Bruce Babcock (Addl orch)
  Chris Boardman (Addl orch)
  Philip Giffin (Addl orch)
  Fi Trench (Addl orch)
  Armin Steiner (Scoring mixer)
  Walt Borchers (Scoring eng)
  Terry Brown (Scoring eng)
  Chuck Garsha (Scoring eng)
Sound: Al Overton (Sd mixer)
  Dennis Jones (Boom op)
  Todd Overton (Cable op)
  Stephen H. Flick (Sd eff by)
  Richard Shorr (Sd eff by)
  David Stone (Sd eff ed)
  Catherine Shorr (Sd eff ed)
  Destiny Borden (Asst sd ed)
  Oscar Mitt (Asst sd ed)
  Norman B. Schwartz (Post prod dial)
  George Anderson (Supv dial ed)
  Jeff Rosen (Dial ed)
  Cindy Marty (Dial ed)
  Kevin Barlia (Asst dial ed)
  Hank Salerno (Supv ADR ed)
  James R. Simcik (ADR ed)
  Ronald Sinclair (ADR ed)
  Bill Voigtlander (ADR ed)
  Rosemarie Wheeler (Asst ADR ed)
  Sherrie Bayer Burke (Asst ADR ed)
  Lisa M. Risen (Apprentice ADR ed)
  Matthew Peerce (Apprentice ADR ed)
  Ron Bartlett (Foley ed)
  Rick Mitchell (Foley ed)
  Vanessa Ament (Foley by)
  Robin Harlan (Foley by)
  Lee Tinkham (Foley mixer)
  Don Bassman (Rerec mixer)
  Kevin F. Cleary (Rerec mixer)
  Richard Overton (Rerec mixer)
  Robert Renga (Rec)
  Craig Heath (Rec)
  Phyllis Drury (Machine op)
  Kevin Carpenter (ADR mixer)
  Dennis Rogers (ADR rec)
  David Gray (Dolby Stereo consultant)
Special Effects: Richard Edlund (Visual eff prod)
  Al Di Sarro (Spec eff coord)
  William Aldridge (Spec eff foreman)
  James Camomile (Spec eff asst)
  Bruno Van Zeebroeck (Spec eff asst)
  Andrew Sebok (Spec eff asst)
  Jay Bartus (Spec eff asst)
  Richard L. Thompson (Spec eff asst)
  Dennis Dion (Spec eff asst)
  Larry DeUnger (Spec eff asst)
  Darrill Prichett (Spec eff asst)
  Joe Ramsey (Spec eff asst)
  Jay Hirsch (Spec eff asst)
  Steve Suits (Spec eff asst)
  Richard Zarro (Spec eff asst)
  Hal Bigger (Spec eff asst)
  Michael A. Tice (Spec eff asst)
  Patrick R. Gordon (Spec eff transportation)
  Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles (Spec visual eff in 65mm by)
  William Neil (Dir of photog, Boss Film Corporation)
  Brent Boates (Visual eff art dir, Boss Film Corporation)
  Dennis Michelson (Visual eff ed, Boss Film Corporation)
  Donald R. Fly (Chief financial offer, Boss Film Corporation)
  Thaine Morris (Spec eff foreman, Boss Film Corporation)
  Chris Regan (Opt dept supv, Boss Film Corporation)
  Mark Stetson (Model shop supv, Boss Film Corporation)
  Garry Waller (Spec projects supv, Boss Film Corporation)
  Gene Whiteman (Chief eng, Boss Film Corporation)
  Matthew Yuricich (Chief matte artist, Boss Film Corporation)
  Claire Wilson (Asst to Richard Edlund, Boss Film Corporation)
  Michael Van Himbergen (Prod coord, Boss Film Corporation)
  Al Cox (Opt supv "Die Hard," Boss Film Corporation)
  James Sleeper (Opt cam op, Boss Film Corporation)
  Kevin Clark (Opt line-up, Boss Film Corporation)
  Peter Yanovitch (Opt line-up, Boss Film Corporation)
  Paul Jenson (Negative development, Boss Film Corporation)
  Clinton Palmer (Cam op, Boss Film Corporation)
  Stefanie Wiseman (1st asst cam, Boss Film Corporation)
  Virgil Mirano (Still photog, Boss Film Corporation)
  Samuel Recinos (Tech anim supv, Boss Film Corporation)
  Maura Alvarez (Anim prod asst, Boss Film Corporation)
  Meg Freeman (Anim prod asst, Boss Film Corporation)
  Lisa Krepela (Anim prod asst, Boss Film Corporation)
  Debra Wolff (Asst visual eff ed, Boss Film Corporation)
  Daniel Hutten (Eff tech, Boss Film Corporation)
  Robert Eyslee (Chief lighting tech, Boss Film Corporation)
  Patrick Van Auken (Key grip, Boss Film Corporation)
  Kelly Kerby (Stage asst, Boss Film Corporation)
  Chrissa Owens (Stage asst, Boss Film Corporation)
  Jeff Rand (Stage asst, Boss Film Corporation)
  Patrick McClung (Chief model maker, Boss Film Corporation)
  Milius Romyn (Model const foreman, Boss Film Corporation)
  Jarek Alfer (Model maker, Boss Film Corporation)
  Kent Gebo (Model maker, Boss Film Corporation)
  Bruce MacRae (Model maker, Boss Film Corporation)
  Suzy Schneider (Model maker, Boss Film Corporation)
  Dennis Schultz (Model maker, Boss Film Corporation)
  Dana Yuricich (Model maker, Boss Film Corporation)
  Alan Faucher (Standby model maker, Boss Film Corporation)
  Richard Chronister (Model electronics, Boss Film Corporation)
  Robert Johnston (Model eff key man, Boss Film Corporation)
  Paul Sabourin (Model eff, Boss Film Corporation)
  Ron Gress (Model painter, Boss Film Corporation)
  Larry Jolly (Model helicopter consultant, Boss Film Corporation)
  David Schwartz (Chief miniature moldmaker, Boss Film Corporation)
  Mark West (Des eng, Boss Film Corporation)
  Philip Crescenzo (Chief electronics eng, Boss Film Corporation)
  Ken Dudderar (Precision cinetech, Boss Film Corporation)
  Maryjane Zelicskovics (Prod accountant, Boss Film Corporation)
  Video Image (Video and graphic displays by)
  Rhonda C. Gunner (Video and graphic displays, Video Image)
  Richard E. Hollander (Video and graphic displays, Video Image)
  Gregory L. McMurry (Video and graphic displays, Video Image)
  John C. Wash (Video and graphic displays, Video Image)
  R/Greenberg Associates, Inc. New York City (Addl opt eff and main and end titles des by)
Make Up: Scott H. Eddo (Makeup supv)
  Wes Dawn (Makeup artist)
  Jim Kail (Makeup artist)
  Paul Abascal (Hairstylist)
  Josee Normand (Hairstylist to Bruce Willis)
Production Misc: Jackie Burch (Casting)
  Peter McKernan (Pilot)
  Peter McKernan, Jr. (Pilot)
  Alan Purwin (Pilot)
  Charles A. Tamburro (Pilot)
  Michael Tamburro (Pilot)
  Tony Tamburro (Pilot)
  Tamara Smith (Prod assoc)
  Riley Kathryn Ellis (Prod exec)
  Marion Tumen (Scr supv)
  Joel B. Marx (Loc mgr)
  Ken H. Rosen (Loc mgr)
  Antoinette Simmrin (Asst loc mgr)
  Dan Carroll (Loc liaison)
  Dana Lynne Taylor (Prod coord)
  Elizabeth Galloway (Prod coord)
  Kellett Tighe (Asst to Lawrence Gordon)
  Shari Schneider (Asst to Lawrence Gordon)
  Susan Joy Beallor (Asst to Joel Silver)
  Ladd Rosenberg-Vance (Asst to Joel Silver)
  Carol Land (Asst to John McTiernan)
  Pamela Alessandrelli (Asst to John McTiernan)
  Annie Saunders (Asst to Charles Gordon)
  Deborah Johnson (Asst to Bruce Willis)
  Clare Leavenworth (Asst to Bruce Willis)
  Keith Cubba (Trainer for Bruce Willis)
  Brook Altman (Prod asst)
  Kari Ann Messina (Prod asst)
  Lisa Miller (Prod asst)
  Frank Reinhard (Prod asst)
  Phil Robinson (Prod asst)
  Ferne Cassel (Casting assoc)
  Central Casting (Extras casting)
  Carl Joy (Extras casting)
  Marilynn B. Frank (First aid)
  Myra L. Hill (Transportation coord)
  Dean Mason (Transportation capt)
  Jim Nordberg (Transportation capt)
  Stanley Webber (Picture car coord)
  Tony Kerum (Caterer)
  Rick Chavez (Craft service)
  Art Fransen (Police tech adv)
  Bobby Bass (Spec weapons training)
  L. Gary Goldman (Military tech adv)
  K. Lenna Kunkel (Prod accountant)
  Alison Harstedt (Asst prod accountant)
  Jyllel Syage (Asst prod accountant)
  Andrew Lipschultz (Pub coord)
  Ken Stone (Maintenance eng)
  Alex Algarin (Dubbing projectionist)
Stand In: Ken Bates (Stunts)
  Janet Brady (Stunts)
  Nick Brett (Stunts)
  Jophery Brown (Stunts)
  Kurt Bryant (Stunts)
  Brian Christensen (Stunts)
  Gil Combs (Stunts)
  Kerrie Cullen (Stunts)
  Kenny Endoso (Stunts)
  Andrew Epper (Stunts)
  Randy Hall (Stunts)
  Norman Howell (Stunts)
  Keii Johnston (Stunts)
  Henry M. Kingi (Stunts)
  Julius Le Flore (Stunts)
  Fred Lerner (Stunts)
  Michael Marasco (Stunts)
  Don McGovern (Stunts)
  John Meier (Stunts)
  Alan Oliney (Stunts)
  Victor Paul (Stunts)
  Charles Picerni, Jr. (Stunts)
  Paul V. Picerni, Jr. (Stunts)
  Steve Picerni (Stunts)
  Bernie Pock (Stunts)
  Chad Randall (Stunts)
  R. A. Rondell (Stunts)
  Benjamin Rosenberg (Stunts)
  John Sherrod (Stunts)
  Russell Solberg (Stunts)
  Steve Vandeman (Stunts)
  George Wilbur (Stunts)
  Glenn Wilder (Stunts)
  Dick Ziker (Stunts)
  Charles Picerni (Stunt coord)
Color Personnel: Bob Hagans (Col timer)
  Dale Grahn (Col timer)
  DeLuxe® (Col by)
MPAA Rating: R
Country: United States
Language: English

Songs: "Singin' In The Rain," by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown; "Winter Wonderland," by Felix Bernard and Dick Smith; "Christmas In Hollis," by Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels and Jason Mizell, performed by Run-D.M.C., courtesy of Profile Records, Inc.; "Skeletons," written and performed by Stevie Wonder, courtesy of Motown Record Corp.; "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne, performed by Vaughn Monroe, courtesy of MCA Records.
Composer: Felix Bernard
  Nacio Herb Brown
  Sammy Cahn
  Arthur Freed
  Darryl McDaniels
  Jason Mizell
  Joseph Simmons
  Dick Smith
  Jule Styne
  Stevie Wonder
Source Text: Based on the novel Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp (New York, 1979).
Authors: Roderick Thorp

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation 17/8/1988 dd/mm/yyyy PA374331

PCA NO: 29160
Physical Properties: Sd: Dolby Stereo® in selected theatres
  Lenses/Prints: Filmed in Panavision®
  gauge: 35mm anamorphic

Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Action
Subjects (Major): Hostages
  Police detectives
  Search and rescue operations
  Terrorists and terrorism
Subjects (Minor): Abduction
  Japanese Americans
  Multiple murderers
  Separation (Marital)
  Television news and information

Note: End credits include “Special Thanks” to the following organizations and individuals: C. Itoh Electronics, Inc.; Carver Corporation; Control Data Corporation & ETA Systems Incorporated; Eldon Office Products; Hamilton Sorter Company, Inc.; Javelin Electronics; Pitney Bowes, Inc.; Ford Showcase; Freightliner; Hadler Public Relations; Norm Marshall & Associates, Inc.; Unique Product Placement; Vista Group; and Allen Peana, KTTV, Los Angeles. End credits also contain the following statement: “The Producers wish to gratefully acknowledge all of the supportive neighbors and businesses of Century City. A special thanks to the following individuals and companies for their help: Dick Beving, George Meehan, City of Los Angeles Motion Picture Coordination Office; Eli Tawil, West Los Angeles Area Los Angeles Police Department; Jim Gembala & The Residents of Century Hill Condominiums; Maria Morris & The Residents of Century Park Place Condominiums; Georgian Francisco & The Staff of the Century Plaza Hotel & Tower; Patty Brewer & The Management of The Century Plaza Towers; JMB Property Management; Marriott Corporation.”
       A 27 Jul 1988 DV article cited the production budget as $28 million, including a $5 million salary for lead actor Bruce Willis as “John McClane,” according to a 9 Aug 1988 HR article. Willis’s filming schedule on the television series, Moonlighting, (3 Mar 1985--14 May 1989, ABC) overlapped with Die Hard production at least one day when he had to work on both, according to a 29 Jan 1988 DV news item. On Die Hard, he performed some of his own stunts, as did Alan Rickman as “Hans Gruber.”
       Production notes in AMPAS library files stated that the film was shot entirely in Los Angeles, CA, where the newly built Fox Plaza (owned by Twentieth Century Fox at the time, according to the 27 Jul 1988 DV ) stood in for “Nakatomi Plaza.” As the building was still under construction, director John McTiernan was able to stage some action on the unfinished floors. Fox Plaza’s thirty-third and thirty-fourth floor stood in for the Nakatomi Corporation’s offices, where a 1940s model bridge designed by Frank Lloyd Wright was used as a centerpiece in the boardroom.
       In addition to the Fox Plaza location, “another entire floor” of the Nakatomi Corporation was constructed on Stage 15 at the Twentieth Century Fox studio lot. The set was three stories high, with a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired waterfall and a 350-foot-long, 30-foot-high cyclorama surrounding the stage that replicated the view from Fox Plaza’s thirty-fourth floor. As stated in the 29 Jan 1988 DV, the set cost $1.5 million. The film was shot in “35mm anamorphic,” according to an article in the Dec 1988 issue of AmCin, and completion of principal photography was announced in a 4 Mar 1988 DV item.
       According to a 16 Aug 1988 LAT news item, the film opened 15 Jul 1988 in twenty-one theaters. Prints were 70mm with six-track Dolby Stereo, as noted in an 11 Jul 1988 HR item. The 9 Aug 1988 HR reported the release had widened to 1,750 screens, and the cumulative box-office gross was cited as $68,217,305, to date, by a 28 Sep 1988 HR “Hollywood Report” column.
       Reviews were mixed. While the 11 Jul 1988 HR called it “a sleeper surprise” and a “riveting action thriller,” the 15 Jul 1988 LAT review complained that the “human drama” was “silly and disgusting,” but predicted the film would launch Bruce Willis to “movie stardom at last.” Describing the film’s characterizations as clichéd, the 15 Jul 1988 NYT review nonetheless deemed it “exceedingly stupid, but escapist fun.” Die Hard received the following Academy Award nominations: Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Effects Editing, and Best Visual Effects.

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
American Cinematographer   Dec 1988.   
Daily Variety   18 Dec 1987.   
Daily Variety   29 Jan 1988.   
Daily Variety   27 Jul 1988   p. 28.
Hollywood Reporter   11 Jul 1988   p. 3, 24.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Aug 1988   p. 3, 14.
Hollywood Reporter   28 Sep 1988.   
Los Angeles Times   15 Jul 1988   Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times   16 Aug 1988   Calendar, p. 1.
New York Times   15 Jul 1988   p. 14.
Variety   13 Jul 1988   p. 12.
Variety   27 Jul 1988   p. 28.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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