Director: John McTiernan
Starring: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia
What’s the score? $640 million in bearer bonds
Who’s calling the shots? Hans Gruber, a flashy and ambitious vault robber that uses terrorism as a front.
Would I rob a bank with him? No. Hans literally needed to snag one executive as he wobbled drunk out of the Christmas party to pull off his planned job, and there would have been no witnesses. Like Paul Ryan, he looks and talks like a mastermind, but really, he’s just a guy who will let people die so he can get more money.
What happens? The only difference between a good guy robbing a bank and a bad guy robbing a bank is their approach to the hostages. If Hans Gruber (Rickman) hadn’t been so willing to kill, he might be the good guy in this picture. Think about it: he’s trying to rob the Nakatomi corporation—which makes unknown products and employs sleaze-sacks like this dude—of $640 million in bearer bonds to teach them a lesson about greed. His terrorism is purportedly just a distraction. Add a little more context and if this movie got made in 2009, he’d be the good guy. But the 80’s loved capitalism and so, to defend a mysterious corporation, barefoot cop John McClane (Willis) does his darndest to save the hostages which include his estranged wife. He walkie-talkies with a donut-loving cop while he and Hans play some cheeky games of cat-and-mouse that involve a lot of C4. Eventually, Hans is undone by choosing the Christmas Party as the time for a robbery and not several hours later—when there LITERALLY WOULD HAVE BEEN NO ONE THERE, Hans, you idiot. Even still, Die Hard is a pillar in action movie history. It’s a film that knows how to tip-toe down the line between cheesy and dope, while still crafting likable characters with believable relationships—oh, and there’s a ton of sweet explosions. That too.