Die Hard (1988)

Die Hard is one of my favorite movies of all time.  When someone asks me what my favorite movies are, this is one of the first couple that comes out of my mouth.  I absolutely adore this movie.  This year is the 30th anniversary of the release of Die hard.

It is clearly going to be…

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The highest rating I have.

Let’s talk about this fantastic movie a bit.

I was a huge fan of Moonlighting the television program starring Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd so I was excited to see Bruce move into the world of film.  I had gone to see him in Blind Date, but that was anything but one of my favorites.

Then Die Hard came along.

It is just a brilliant action movie. One of the best, if not THE best action movie in history.  There are so many perfect beats in this film.

First of all, Bruce Willis is spot on.  He is so believable in the roll of everyman cop John McClane who finds himself in impossible situations in Nakatomi Plaza in California.  he is funny, witty, smart and brave and as easy to relate to as any protagonist you are going to find.

Then, we have one of the greatest villains in cinema history as well with Hans Gruber, the film debut of the brilliant Alan Rickman.  Hans was menacing and frightening without ever being over-the-top.  He was perfectly played by Rickman in his sinister manner.

The writing of the film is astounding.  Every little detail comes back and pays off.  There is nothing that is superficial in this movie.  “Fists with your toes”- a small unimportant conversation John has on an airplane leads to him running around the building with bare feet.  An off hand remark from Ellis (Hart Bochner) about Holly’s (Bonnie Bedelia) watch comes back in the final confrontation with Hans.   Al Powell (Reginald VelJohnson) and his story of being unable to use his gun pays off in a big way.  Every little detail is there for a reason and it is a wonder to watch.

The action is amazing. The fight sequences are off the charts, as is the major knock down drag out between John and Karl (Alexander Godunov).  Although I have a hard time buying Karl surviving that final fight with John, it is worth it for the last scene with Al.

The lines are quotable as can be.  Everyone knows the iconic “yippee etc etc” line but one of my own favorites is when John is on the roof and trying to call for help on an emergency channel and the cops are not believing him.  His response to “Sir, this line is reserved for emergency calls only” is “No f#*king sh#t lady, do I sound like I’m ordering a pizza?” I lose myself laughing every time I hear that.

The ridiculousness of the other LA cops and FBI agents add into the feel that John McClane must keep going because no one else will be able to stop these terrorists.  Paul Gleason, who plays Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson, gives his lines with such a dry delivery that he is one of the funniest parts of this movie.

Very few films have been done so well and Die Hard continues to be the class of all of the following Die Hard sequels.  It is one of the great movies of all time and will always have a place on my own top 5 list..

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