DIE HARD (1988)
Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Paul Gleason,
De'Voreaux White, Alexander Godunov, Reginald Veljohnson
Gordon, Joel Silver
Stuart, Steven E. de Souza
The Plot: As the Nakatumi Corporation celebrate Christmas
and a successful new year, a bunch of German 'terrorists' are
planning to invade the building. Shortly before the terrorists
get there, John McClane (Bruce Willis), a New York cop separated
from successful Nakatumi executive, Holly Gennaro, arrives to
spend Christmas with his children. While he is freshening up in
an executive bathroom, the terrorists gatecrash the party and
take take the CEO. While the terrorists are rounding up everyone,
McClane makes an escape and begins a sequence of events to try
and foil the terrorists without bringing harm to any of the innocent
people of the Nakatumi Corporation.
Comment: At the time, this was an ambitious movie, casting
the relatively unknown Alan Rickman, against the mediocre TV star
of Moonlighting (a 1980's detective/comedy series), Bruce Willis.
And from such origins, arose two star actors who went on to lead
very different but successful film careers... Oh yeah, the film
was a box office smash spawning 2 sequels.
The basic is plot is the hackneyed 'good guy against multiple
villains,' but thanks to copious amounts of special effects, some
humorous scenes, a clever villain and a bruised and battered hero,
the films premise works. Willis and Rickman also apparently collaborated
with the scriptwriters after filming began to add jokes and ideas.
Although most people were familiar with Bruce Willis from his
Moonlighting days, this was the debut movie role that was to allow
Willis to enter the stratosphere in Hollywood. It also seems to
have set the scene for the character Bruce Willis has played in
pretty much every movie since... Willis convincingly (as he should
know how!) plays the tough guy with a soft heart and a body of
steel who manages to outsmart the villains.
Alan Rickman was cast as Hans Gruber as Joel Silver saw him in
the play, Les Liaisons Dangereuses on Broadway. Although
Rickman claims he got the part because he came cheap (after Bruce
Willis's $7million fee), he made Hans Gruber appear as an intelligent
gentleman thief, not a violent terrorist. This added a level of
class to the film that might have been missing if anyone else
had been cast and played the conventional villain. It set the
stage for a new class of Hollywood villain: intelligent, humorous,
It is probably fortunate that McClane and Gruber were convincing
lead roles because the supporting cast are all pretty cheesy...
As rumor would have it, Bedelia was saved from certain ruin by
Rickman stating it was beneath Gruber to rip her blouse open (although
one semi-naked woman was still snuck into the movie as the terrorists
take over the party...). However, Al (Reginald Veljohnson), the
cop who becomes McClane's liaison with the police and Argyle (De'Voreaux
White), McClane's limo driver for the evening are not spared and
are pretty corny in their respective roles.
Die Hard is a fun action movie with some good casting, good lines
and plenty of special effects.