Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 195 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: When terrorists take over a Los Angeles skyscraper on Christmas Eve, visting New York cop John McClane (Willis) thwarts their plans.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. 100
    Not only is it a thrill-a-minute ride, but it has one of the best film villains in recent memory, a hero everyone can relate to, dialogue that crackles with wit, and a lot of very impressive pyrotechnics.
  2. Reviewed by: Carmel Dagan
    This brash, clever picture caught the attention of audiences after years of moribund product from the likes of Schwarzenegger and Stallone.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    The result is a foot-stomping rouser. Where else can you get a cop in his underwear boogalooing with skyscraper terrorists? [15 July 1988, Life, p.4D]
  4. Reviewed by: Hal Hinson
    A logistical wonder, a marvel of engineering, and relentlessly, mercilessly thrilling.
  5. Reviewed by: Caryn James
    Has to be the most excessive film around. It piles every known element of the action genre onto the flimsy story. [15 July 1988]
  6. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    As high tech, rock hard and souped up as an action film can be.
  7. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    What Willis proves in Die Hard is that it is not one you can ease through, especially if your preparation runs more to body building than to character building. [July 25, 1988]

See all 13 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 37
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 37
  3. Negative: 1 out of 37
  1. Sep 15, 2013
    In 1988, when Die Hard came out, my parents and a family friend went to see it in New York City in a big theater. The movie was so crowded, they all did not even get to sit together. (And I don't even think it was opening weekend!) Take that into consideration for how big a movie this was back then and still is.

    Die Hard is the best action movie, and probably my favorite movie, with a close second or tie with The Shawshank Redemption.

    Die Hard combines well-executed action scenes with cheesy but iconic one-liners and a great main character. As sarcastic, profane, and messed up John McClane is, you have to find yourself rooting for him.

    Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, and Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald Veljohnson, and many others will have their acting skills defined by this movie forever. After all, it definitely gave a career boost to some, although Willis already had a nice acting resume on his plate. Nevertheless, it redefined the whole genre.

    Action movies consist of a bunch of key elements that come together to form a coherent picture. (At least I hope it will be coherent, as some tend to fail at this process.) They combine action scenes (obviously), at least a couple one-liners, a car (there's always a car or some kind of vehicle), a villain, and usually an explosion or two. Or three. All of these elements and many more were all in Die Hard, and it kind of changed the genre for good. You will hear people say "Oh, that movie is a Die Hard rip-off", or "That stunt was first made famous in Die Hard." It's not that action movies didn't have these elements before Die Hard, it's just that Die Hard made them better and/or famous.

    Die Hard will keep you on the edge of your seat, and is an extremely well-done picture that doesn't lag or slow down at all. It eases into the action in such a way that it feels natural and not forced or unnecessary.
  2. Apr 10, 2013
    This is the perfect action movie. Bruce Willis is the witty action hero every movie wishes it had and Alan Rickman the classy badass villain every movie wishes it had. Expand
  3. Apr 2, 2012
    First off, I would give this a 9.5 out of 10. Acting is great. The villian is great, and Bruce Willis is awesome. The story is really good, and the score is really good. The action sequences are great. This is such a great, intense, action movie. Overall, this is a great action movie. It's really good. You should go see it. Highly recommended. Expand
  4. Dec 14, 2011
    There is a reason that Die Hard is a classic and that's because it is just so very entertaining. It has a good story, a claustrophobic setting, a dynamic lead, wonderful villain and action that holds up even now, 23 years after its initial release.
    Sure it's a man's film but it doesn't try to be anything other than that. It does its job and in the process creates one of the best movie villains of all time. Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) is a terrific antagonist with everything from his demeanour to his delivery being spot on. He plays well off of Bonnie Bedelia who is great as the strong female presence of the film. Bruce Willis takes his place as one of the best action stars of this generation, taking the reigns from the likes of Stallone and Van Damme. It's a great movie.
  5. Apr 2, 2011
    German terrorists, a skyscraper, Christmas Eve and LA. When these elements are combined, you get Die Hard, a 1988 rip-roaring action epic that shot Bruce Willis to international fame. The plot is delightfully simple; John McClane is a New York cop who is visiting his wife Holly in LA during Christmas Eve. He meets up with her at her business company's Christmas party. All goes well until a few uninvited guests in the form of creepy terrorists seize control of the building and take all 30 of the guests hostage, demanding a ransom. McClane, in the bathroom at their time of arrival, escapes into the unfinished skyscraper armed only with his standard issue 9mm at his disposal. His main objective; find out what the hell is going on. His only help is a flatfooted cop on the ground played by Reginald VelJohnson of Family Matters. Along the way, he is listening to radio messages between the villains with a stolen walkie talkie in an attempt to figure out their nefarious plan. Alan Rickman is great as Hans Gruber, leader of the baddies, and delivers a performance he echoes in the Harry Potter films as Prof. Severus Snape. One of the best movie villains of all time. This festival of explosions, guns and epic battles was directed by John McTiernan, famous already for the original Predator. He delivers a movie that entertains as well as it shocks. In particular, the sequence in which one of the hostages attempts to save his own life by offering McClane to the terrorists. Correctly anticipating a liar, Hans shoots him in the head. The film was one of the biggest box office hits of the 1980s and spawned three sequels throughout the 1990s and 2000s, firmly placing John McClane as an action hero alongside the Terminator and Rambo. Also, it is the best Christmas movie ever made. Expand
  6. Nov 20, 2011
    Die Hard is flat-out amazing, it is a great action movie that is nice for the holidays. The plot is great and Bruce Willis' acting is hands-down amazing along with the antogonists' acting, this creates for an intense and gripping movie. The dialogue is all great and I kept wanting to know what would happen next as it is that intense. The violence and action is well-played out and very entertaining, it is a great watch. The flaws are that the story sometimes slows down and this can be annoying but this happens rarely and is uncommon. Overall "Die Hard" is a great movie that action junkies must watch as well as a great entertainment fix for anyone that watches it. Breakdown for "Die Hard": Presentation: 9.2, Plot: 9.0, Acting: 9.5, Dialogue: 8.7, Lasting Appeal: 9.2, Verdict: 9.1 out of 10 "Amazing" Expand
  7. Feb 28, 2012
    In spirit, this is the simple story of a man who saves Christmas; a kind of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians scenario, in which the greedy German terrorists are defeated by the noble and just bullets of Bruce Willis' MP5 - delivering the meaning of sharing and caring right into their heads. Of course, trying to define Die Hard as nothing more than a hollow-day (!) movie would be doing it a great disservice. The characterisation of both McLane and Gruber (or Grinch - a coincidence? You decide) is done superbly by their respective actors. They draw you in with their personalities so well, that you find yourself cheering both of them on, just to see them continue to snap at each other. It's like a bizarro buddy-cop routine that took the 'good cop, bad cop' play a little too seriously. It's not incidental that the characters themselves often refer to cowboys and Westerns - this is a veritable wild-west duel, taken at a number of vertical paces rather than a standard back-to-back reflex test. That being said, however, some of the best moments are when McLane is just talking to himself, cracking wise while in the middle of a seemingly impossible situation. You don't have to convince anyone that you're a badass when you've just jumped off an exploding rooftop, Roy. You could try and make a case for the ending being cheesy and unnecessarily joyous, or that there are many implausible moments, but that would just be ill-spirited pedantry. This is action at its finest, and you better take what Mr. McTiernan gives you. There's no CGI or giant robots flying around - just good old-fashioned action, and it quickly becomes very obvious that films these days are just plain old doing it wrong. So sit back and plug in for two hours; you'll be yippie-kai-yaying in no time. Written for: Expand

See all 37 User Reviews


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