Taking on the bad guy and trying to woo back your wife – well for John McClane that’s just another day in Die Hard.
Directed by John McTiernan, Die Hard was based on the novel Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp, and adapted to the screen by Steve De Souza and Jeb Stuart.
Thorp’s first book The Detective, was initially considered for the big screen, with Frank Sinatra as the title character.
The film closely follows the book’s story of a NYC cop who comes to Los Angeles to reunite with his estranged wife, but is confronted with her being part of a plot that has been kidnapped by terrorists. Several locations and dialogue is seen on the screen that come from the book.
Bruce Willis was cast as McClane, the hard-nosed cop who takes on the 12 terrorists, led by Hans Gruber, played by Alan Rickman and rescue his wife Holly played by Bonnie Bedelia, who happens to work for the company owned by a very wealthy Japanese businessman who has $640 million in bonds in his safe.
With SWAT and the FBI trying to control the situation, McClane uses his street smarts to out manoeuvre Gruber and his gang of terrorists who have taken over the officer tower.
Made for US$28 million, Die Hard was released in mid July 1988 by Twentieth Century Fox to a small group of theatres, but with its success went into wide release and became a summer blockbuster, making US$83 million domestically and $140 million worldwide.
The film earned four Academy Award nominations for sound, sound effects editing, film editing and visual effects.
Solidifying Willis as an action star – his jokey comedic side I had gotten used to in Moonlighting was replaced by a cop on a mission, who wasn’t going to play by the rules against the bad guys. Die Hard has spawned several sequels – Die Hard 2, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Live Free or Die Hard and next year A Good Day to Die Hard.
John McClane joins the elite group of cop films where their belief means they won’t take no for answer or worry about what their boss thinks until the job is done.