Die Hard

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Wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"Yippie-kay-ay, motherfucker!"

A landmark action movie franchise that started with the greatest Christmas movie ever made in 1988 when the world was introduced to Badass John McClane. He is usually called "the right man in the wrong place at the wrong time." The series is composed of four movies with a fifth one on the way:

Hans Gruber: "Do you really think you have a chance against us, Mr. Cowboy?"
John McClane: "Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker."

  • Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990) - Dulles International Airport, Washington DC

John McClane: "Another basement, another elevator. How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?"

  • Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995) - All over fuckin' New Yawk

Zeus Carver: "Damn McClane, you know I was just starting to like you."
John McClane: "Yeah, well don't, I'm an asshole."

  • Live Free or Die Hard (a.k.a. Die Hard 4.0) (2007) - Washington DC, Baltimore, and surrounding areas

Matt Farrell: "You just killed a helicopter with a car!"
John McClane: "I was out of bullets."

  • A Good Day to Die Hard (2013) - Russia

Bruce Willis stars as New York cop John McClane, who usually has to employ his skills in a situation that has since been called Die Hard on an X: he is usually trapped inside a location and has to climb around in air ducts and counter the bad guys' plot. The setup is slightly different in each film (mostly depending on the location), but he always finds himself in the way of terrorists hatching some sort of plot.

The first film arguably started the trend of modern action movies that had intelligent, well-acted villains with intricate, meticulously-planned schemes, instead of the usual paper-thin plot layered with extra helpings of dakka to keep you from caring. It also helped to codify the modern action hero (after Indiana Jones) where they are prone to sweat, bleed, snark and make things up as they go along while you feel they truly are in deadly danger. It was named to the National Film Registry in 2017.

If you came here expecting the trope Die Hard on an X from a link, go there instead and please change the link to it, and tell the troper who inserted that link that he/she is a silly goose.

Also a recent mini-series of comics that showcase John's early days in the force.

Now it has a character sheet. Ho ho ho.


These films provide examples of:
  • 555
  • Action Duo: McClane and Zeus in Die Hard with a Vengeance and McClane and Matt Farrell in Live Free or Die Hard.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Probably the most notable is McClane and Powell trading anecdotes as McClane pulls glass out of his feet.
    • That scene later got Bruce Willis his role in 12 Monkeys, as it helped convince Terry Gilliam that Willis had the necessary emotional depth.
  • Action Girl: In Live Free or Die Hard, McClane's daughter Lucy is almost a Distaff Counterpart of her dad.

Wow, I know that tone. It's just weird hearing it come from someone with... hair.

  • Agony of the Feet: John spends the entire Nakatomi events barefoot. The worst part is when he's forced to walk on glass...
    • "A million bad guys in the world, and I kill the one with feet smaller than my sister's."
  • Air Vent Passageway: Played straight, but at least they make the vent accurately sized:

McClane: "Now I know what a TV Dinner feels like."

  • Alcohol Is Poison: (Pregnant woman motioning at her belly to Holly) "Do you think she can stand a little sip?" Holly: "She's ready to tend bar!"
  • An Asskicking Christmas: Die Hard and Die Hard 2 both take place at Christmas time. The soundtrack uses sleigh bells as a memorable hook.

"If this is their idea of Christmas, I gotta be here for New Year's."

  • Are We Getting This?: The reporter in the first two films.
  • Armed Altruism: Seeing through Hans' charade, John pretends to be doing this when he gives him a gun.
  • Avenging the Villain: Die Hard with a Vengeance, and to a lesser extent, Karl in the first Die Hard.
  • Awesome McCoolname: There are probably a few more examples throughout the series, but Zeus Carver stands out.

John McClane: Guy back there called you Jésus.
Zeus: He didn't say Jésus. He said, "Hey, ZEUS!" My name is Zeus!
John McClane: Zeus?
Zeus: Yeah, Zeus! As in, father of Apollo? Mt. Olympus? Don't fuck with me or I'll shove a lightning bolt up your ass? Zeus! You got a problem with that?

  • Awesomeness By Analysis: In Die Hard, John is able to deduce quite a bit about the Mooks inside the office just by picking up on subtle clues.
  • Backwards-Firing Gun: An alternate ending for Die Hard with a Vengeance has McClane threatening Simon Gruber with a Chinese rocket launcher with the sights removed, allowing Gruber to point the rocket whichever way he liked. Gruber ultimately points the rocket launcher the wrong way.
  • Badass: John McClane, of course.
    • Badass Damsel: Although she doesn't beat up her captors, in Live Free or Die Hard, when John's daughter has a gun to her head and is told to plead into the radio to make her father surrender, she chooses instead to give him some much-needed intel. "Now there are only five of them."
    • Badass Family: The McClanes and the Grubers.
  • Bald of Awesome: John has become this by the fourth film.
  • Band of Brothers: McClane and his various sidekicks in each film (especially Al Powell), and weirdly enough, the Grubers:

Zeus: Didn't I hear you say you didn't even like your brother?
Simon: There's a difference, you know, between not liking one's brother and not caring when some dumb Irish flatfoot drops him out of a window.

    • And for that matter Tony and Karl in the first film.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: McClane punches a mook through a door in Live Free or Die Hard.
  • Basement Dweller: Warlock.
  • Batman Gambit: The Grubers' plans in the first and third movies. Hans' is dependent on standard FBI hostage procedure; Simon's is dependent on the NYPD worrying more about schoolkids than Wall Street (as well as McClane believing that Simon is out for revenge rather than money).
  • Beard of Evil: Hans sports one in Die Hard and Esperanza sports one in Die Hard 2.
  • Big Applesauce: Die Hard with a Vengeance. Although the New York centrism is fully on display with the other installments, notice how bumbling and ineffective the LAPD and FBI are in Die Hard compared to how well the NYPD is depicted in Die Hard with a Vengeance.
    • Also, in an unusual playing with of Fish Out of Water, it takes THREE movies for New York Police Department officer John McClane to get home.
  • Big Bad:
    • Hans Gruber from the original Die Hard.
    • Colonel Stuart from Die Hard 2: Die Harder.
    • Simon Gruber (brother of Hans) from Die Hard with a Vengeance.
    • Thomas Gabriel from Live Free or Die Hard.
  • Black and Nerdy: Theo the hacker in the first film.
  • Black Best Friend: Sgt. Al Powell in the first movie becomes McClane's staunchest ally and best source of moral support. Not as big a role in the second.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Averted in the first film. The only black member of Gruber's team (see Black and Nerdy above) is the only bad guy to survive the movie (all right, one Mook might have actually lived, too, but still).
    • Also, the black limo driver lives.
  • Black Helicopter: The first, third and fourth movies each have one, and they all explode. At the very least, the first is an FBI gunship.
    • A black helicopter does appear in the second film, and also explodes, but it isn't one of THOSE black helicopters.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: Tony and Karl in the first film and Simon in the third film.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Averted in the first three, and subverted in the fourth movie. Despite concerns over the PG-13 rating, it's still a pretty brutal film.
  • Bond One-Liner: John in Die Hard after he's dispatched a villain who suggested he never pass on an opportunity to kill his enemy:

McClane: Thanks for the advice.

Holly McClane: After all your posturing, all your little speeches, you're nothing but a common thief.
Hans Gruber: I am an exceptional thief, Mrs McClane. And since I'm moving up to kidnapping, you should be more polite.

  • Bottomless Magazines: Present and averted in the same scene in Die Hard: John McClane and two terrorists are blasting away at each other with submachine guns. John's runs out of ammunition, while the terrorists' don't.
    • It was one of the first action movies that had the characters carry around spare magazines.
    • More averted than present, since the film explicitly shows the terrorists reloading on multiple occasions. Since they are also shown to be carrying plenty of spare magazines, it can be assumed that they are reloading even in scenes where it is not shown.
    • Subverted, in a way, in Die Hard 2: McClane accompanies a special forces team to take out the group that has taken over the airport. We see them reload their guns BEFORE they start the move, and they take out the whole base... but McClane later realizes that they reloaded the guns with blanks.
  • Bowdlerization: Played straight with TV edits of the films (see: Mr. Falcon), but interestingly inverted in Die Hard with a Vengeance. At the beginning of the film, McClane is wearing a sign which reads "I hate niggers"; when the scene was originally filmed, the sign Bruce Willis wore actually read "I hate everybody" (which is what the sign reads in the TV edit of the film) in order to avoid any problems with the local residents... they filmed that particular scene in Harlem.
  • Brooklyn Rage: Guess where John is from.
  • By-The-Book Cop: Dwayne T. Robinson, at least initially.
  • Call Back: When John is forced by Simon to walk into Harlem with an offensive sandwich board on, he at least has the foresight to tape a gun to his back.
  • Car Cushion: In Die Hard, John throws a Mook out the window and onto the cop's car below to get his attention. By the time of Live Free or Die Hard, nobody can fall from any height without damaging a poor sod's car.
  • Car Fu: Live Free or Die Hard has McClane destroying a chopper with a car and a ramp, barbecuing a Dark Action Girl with an elevator shaft and a SUV, and destroying a fighter plane with a big truck and an interstate highway (though that later one is almost entirely involuntary).
    • No need to go to the last movie, as the first has an example. Argyle, the limousine driver, is oblivious to the hostage situation for half of the movie, and useless for most of the rest, but in the last 15 minutes or so, he slams his limo into the getaway vehicle, trapping it against the wall of the garage and preventing Theo from escaping.
  • Car Skiing: Live Free or Die Hard has McClane pull one off on the crumbling freeway with the assistance of a misguided pilot and missiles.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Mostly averted in Die Hard, as John's muttering to himself during his escapades is borderline schizophrenic.

"Why didn't you try to stop him, John? 'Cause then you'd be dead too, asshole..."

    • Speaking of which:

...all you gotta do ...is pick up a kid ...out of Jersey ...and take him down to D.C.! [gets into cop car] How hard can that be, huh? Nah, can't be that hard, can it? [turns on car's lights and sirens] Nah, gotta be a... Senior Detective. [starts speeding down tunnel as a sniper shoots at him from a helicopter] You think if I'm in a traffic jam... throwing a car at me's gonna stop me, huh? [the sniper shoots the car, causing it to light on fire.] Great. Car's on fire. [Jumps out of car just before it goes off of a ramp and crashes into the helicopter, absolutely destroying it.]

  • Catch Phrase: The page-topping quote.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: Subverted: the police always arrive early on, but they just can't do anything about the situation, as the villain has already factored their expected response into his plans.
  • Chekhov's Gun: John's friend's badge number, the stolen dump trucks, and the bottle of aspirin in Die Hard with a Vengeance. And, to be honest, everything that ever appears on-screen, especially in Die Hard, where if it shows up at all, it has an impact on the plot. Everything. Lighters. Shoes. Teddy bears. Glass. Detonators. Cigarettes. Heck, the advice John's seatmate on the airplane gives him in the very first scene of the very first movie. You name it.
    • Particularly notable is Holly's Rolex in the first movie, which is removed to kill the Big Bad.
    • In Die Hard 2, the fight moves we see Colonel Sanders practicing (naked) in the beginning are the exact same ones he uses to kick John's ass at the end.
    • Also in Die Hard 2, the radio with the inputted password that gets kicked away during the first fight in the luggage area, and, with a more humorous (though still awesome) bent, the old lady's stun gun.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: John has a violent version of this.
    • From the fourth movie:

John McClane: You know what you get for being a hero? Nothin'. You get shot at. You get a little pat on the back, blah, blah, blah, attaboy. You get divorced. Your wife can't remember your last name. Your kids don't want to talk to you. You get to eat a lot of meals by yourself. Trust me, kid, nobody wants to be that guy.
Matt Farrell: Then why you doing this?
John McClane: Because there's no body else to do it right now, that's why. Believe me, if there were somebody else to do it, I'd let them do it, but there's not. So we're doing it.
Matt Farrell: Ah. That's what makes you that guy.

  • Climbing Climax: The fate of Hans Gruber at the end of Die Hard.
  • Clothing Damage: John gets noticeably more raggedy from various injuries in each movie.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Many of John's lines are guilty of this trope.
  • Combat Pragmatist: You could almost rename this trope The McClane. I mean, inventory, please: in Die Hard, he defeats the villain with his wife's watch. In Die Hard 2, he defeats the villains with a cigarette lighter. In Die Hard 3, he prevents the villain from escaping AND defeats him using nothing more than a clue from an aspirin bottle that said villain gave him. In Die Hard 4, he shoots the villain with the gun that the villain was pointing at McClane himself.
    • The first film was praised for the Combat Pragmatist approach; in other words, eschewing the concepts of Boring Invincible Hero (by showing McClane legitimately afraid, and later, bleeding and limping by the last stand versus Hans), Bottomless Magazines (by showing people having to reload) and applying Indy Ploy to a hostage situation (i.e. McClane can't just shoot his way out; he has to think fast to save himself and the hostages).
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Subverted multiple times; one scene in the first movie has McClane shoot a mook through a table.
  • Continuity Nod: In Live Free or Die Hard, we are briefly introduced to another Agent Johnson.

John: Again?

  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Subverted with Joseph Takagi. At the beginning, we're led to believe that he might be one. He's not, though he might appear to be one to casual observers. Gruber knows this, and uses it to convince the police that he's a terrorist rather than a thief.
  • Cowboy Cop: Hans actually calls McClane out on this, and then the discussion turns to cowboys in movies, leading to the Catch Phrase.
    • The police chief in Die Hard 2 distrusts McClane, due to this.
      • Which is rather amusing when you consider the fact that their first clash is over the fact that Chief Lorenzo is the one disregarding police procedure.
  • The Cracker: All the hackers in Live Free or Die Hard.
    • And Theo in the original Die Hard. Theo is a more realistic black hat: his main displays of cracking skill consist of tapping in to the building's camera system and guessing Takagi's password to defeat the first of seven locks on the Nakatomi Corporation vault. To disable locks 2 through 6, he uses a big drill. He doesn't even know how to open the final electromagnetic time lock on the vault until he learns about Hans' gaming the FBI into shutting off the power to the entire city grid that the building is on, thus disabling the lock and giving them access to the vault.
  • Curse Cut Short: What happened to McClane's catch phrase in Live Free or Die Hard. It is just barely audible in the Die Hard 4.0 version released overseas, and fully intact in the "unrated" cut.
  • Damsel in Distress: Subverted in Live Free or Die Hard: no matter how much the villains try to force Lucy McClane into the role, she refuses to be remotely distressed. For example, they put her on the radio, expecting her to give the usual "Save me daddy!" speech or to try and calm him down. Instead, she stares the villain right in the eyes and calmly tells her father that "now there are only five of them."
  • Dark Action Girl: Katya in Die Hard with a Vengeance, Mai in Live Free or Die Hard.
  • Darkened Building Shootout: In the first and fourth films.
  • Date Rape Averted: McClane does this for his daughter at the beginning of Live Free or Die Hard. Well, that's what he's under the impression he's doing, anyway. All evidence points to his daughter being absolutely capable of taking care of herself.
  • Deadpan Snarker: McClane in all four episodes.
  • Destination Defenestration just ask John what he did to Hans Gruber, or better yet, ask his brother.
  • The Determinator: Every movie seems to involve McClane going through truly unholy quantities of punishment - including being shot, having his feet carved up by broken glass, getting severely thrashed in hand-to-hand combat, and falling over and over again - and still keeps going.

McClane: I'm like that fuckin' Energizer Bunny.

    • That's what makes him that guy.
      • Isn't that kind of the definition of a "diehard"?
    • Maggie Q's character in Live Free or Die Hard takes a totally absurd amount of punishment in the course of the film, particularly at the gas plant, and yet doesn't show anything worse than a few cuts as a result. Eventually, McClane has to throw her down an elevator shaft and then drop a truck on her in order to deal with her permanently. Even then though, fans have speculated that she probably survived that as well, and McClane just didn't bother hanging around long enough to check whether she was really dead.
    • Another villain from the same movie, described as the "Evil McClane" keeps surviving attempts at killing him, such as being hit by a car, slammed into a wire fence and clipped against the side of a garbage container. After this, he survives McClane's bit of Car Fu by jumping out of the helicopter, and not getting a single injury.
  • Did Not Do the Research: An in-universe example in the first movie, although it may be a deliberate error by the makers in order to allow a Shout-Out. A psychiatrist interviewed on the news brings up his book on "Helsinki Syndrome", as he calls it (it's actually Stockholm Syndrome) and the newsreader cuts in to say that Helsinki is in Sweden, but is quickly corrected: "Finland". Director Renny Harlin is Finnish, and has put mentions of Finland into other movies he's made. Or, for bonus points, it's a satirical dig at clueless newscasters and pundits! Take your pick...
    • Also, the German that the terrorists speak is sometimes grammatically incorrect and meaningless, so much so that in the German version of the film, the terrorists are not from Germany but from "Europe". This has been fixed for the Special Edition VHS and later home video releases. The only instances of incorrect use of German are Alan Rickman's (Hans Gruber) lines.
      • Also, you can't actually be interrupted while speaking on a walkie-talkie. You have to press one button to speak, then stop and press another button to listen, so if you're still speaking, you can't hear the other person if they say something.
  • Die Hard on an X: The Trope Namer and Trope Codifier. Happens to the one and only John McClane fairly often.
  • Disney Villain Death: Hans Gruber.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Although Die Hard was itself loosely based on a franchise of detective/action novels, each and every one of its sequels began life as unrelated projects which were re-written to accommodate the character of John McClane. At one point, Die Hard with a Vengeance was intended to be a Lethal Weapon installment, and Tears of the Sun was a working subtitle for the fourth Die Hard film. Bruce Willis agreed to do the movie if they let him use Tears of the Sun as a title for another, wholly unrelated film that he was working on.
    • Even the video games are not immune to this. The Sega Beat'Em Up Die Hard Arcade was originally Dynamite Deka in Japan, whose main character (Bruno Delinger) just happened to resembled Bruce Willis. Sega simply tacked on the Die Hard license for the international release and claimed that Bruno was actually John McClane himself, and remade the villain into Hans Gruber.
      • Also, the arcade game has nothing to do with any of the films, nothing to do with the archetype, and nothing about the main character that uniquely suggests John McClane; it's just a generic plot about rescuing the President's daughter with a cop named John McClane who kind of acts like the film character. The Japanese release was stand-alone.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: The first message from the hackers in Live Free or Die Hard.
  • The Dragon: Karl in Die Hard, the Kukri-wielding blonde in Die Hard with a Vengeance, and the Big Bad's... ninja mistress in Live Free or Die Hard.
    • Also the French acrobatic henchman always from Live Free or Die Hard.
    • The second movie seems completely devoid of a Dragon. Until you find out that Major Grant is in on it.
  • Dragon Their Feet: Karl.
  • The Driver: Argyle.
  • Drugs Are Bad
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: See Status Quo Is God below.
  • The Eighties: Can you say "smarmy, bearded, Gordon Gekko-type working for a company that has been bought out by the Japanese"? See also the price of gas when Sgt. Powell stops for doughnuts.
    • Not to mention that, when Theo first enters, he's describing a play involving four members of the remarkable late-eighties L. A. Lakers: James Worthy, A. C. Green, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
  • Eighties Hair: Holly in the first two movies.
  • Empathy Doll Shot: In the aftermath of Colonel Stuart's murder of a plane of innocents in Die Hard 2.
  • Eureka Moment: In Die Hard with a Vengeance, running into a band of under-aged looters makes McClane realize that the Big Bad's ploy is likely a distraction.
    • Also in that movie, McClane realizes that the cops with him at the Federal Reserve are impostors when one of them refers to the elevator they are riding as a "lift" as well as mention a hard rainstorm as raining "like dogs and cats". This leads him to examine the "cops" more closely, and he recognizes that one of them is wearing the badge of a friend of his (McClane had remarked on the badge number then). One final test question later, carnage occurs.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In the first movie, Mook Karl's brother is killed by McClane. Karl wants revenge against McClane, losing interest in the main mission for the rest of the movie.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Simon Gruber, after he reveals that the bomb planted in a school was a fake, in Die Hard with a Vengeance:

Simon: I'm a soldier, not a monster. Even though I sometimes work for monsters.

    • This approach comes back to haunt Simon when McClane, strapped to the giant epoxy bomb in the boat, asks Simon for aspirin to get rid of his headache. Simon actually does, and tosses the bottle to McClane. Later, when it looks like Simon will get away, the bottle becomes Chekhov's Aspirin Bottle when McClane notices the seller's address printed on the bottom, and traces Simon to his rendezvous point in Canada.
    • Though he isn't evil, Warlock draws the line and decides to help McClane out, after previously being unwilling to cooperate, after he tells him they have his daughter.
    • In Die Hard with a Vengeance, Zeus passes off a suitcase bomb to two of Simon's disguised goons. They take it, as not doing so would have blown their cover, and one admonishes his partner for starting to leave it on the sidewalk.

Mook (in German): What are you... A kid could find that!

  • Everything Is Online: Used in Live Free or Die Hard. The hackers mess up the traffic lights, TV broadcasts and phone lines. They are, however, unable to remotely access the power grid and have to physically break into a power hub.
  • Evil Laugh: Hans and his colleague share one right before John reveals what he had taped to his back...
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The movies are about a guy who just.... won't.... die no matter what manner of immense danger, unholy pain and injuries happen to him. The villains just... can't kill this guy no matter what they try.
  • Exaggerated Trope: Harry Ellis was played as a comically over-the-top version of the sleezy, smarmy executive.
  • Extreme Graphical Representation
  • Eye Scream: McClane takes out a bad guy with an icicle to the eye in Die Hard 2.
  • Failsafe Failure: In Live Free or Die Hard, the bad guys blow up an entire natural gas facility by routing all the gas to it.
  • Filk Song: Guyz Nite made one, which is even on the fourth movie's DVD.
  • Fish Out of Water: Die Hard features a New York City cop with unpolished social skills (McClane) visiting California for a swank corporate party.
  • Foot Focus: McClane is barefoot for 90% of the first movie, which is referred to in the NES game.
  • Foreshadowing: There's quite a few hints that Major Grant is working with Colonel Stuart both in the different color tape for the gun magazines, and there's one point near the beginning where one of the mooks mentions that someone got sick and a replacement was brought in. Grant's radioman is the replacement.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The four main terrorists in the first film: Hans is choleric, Karl is melancholic, Eddie is phlegmatic, and Theo is sanguine.
  • Genre Savvy: When the Big Bad threatens to kill Lucy in Live Free or Die Hard, McClane (correctly) tells him he won't because he's afraid of McClane and will need a bargaining chip.
    • In the same film, Matt Farrell repeatedly insists that the Big Bad will kill him whether or not he uses his hacking skills to help him, so he steadfastly refuses. He finally (potentially) gives in when the Big Bad threatens to kill Lucy though.
  • Giving Them the Strip: Hans grabs Holly's wrist as he's about to fall to his Disney Villain Death. John saves her from being dragged down with the villain by unhinging her wristwatch, which looses Hans' grip.
  • Going by the Matchbook
  • Good Is Old-Fashioned: Thomas Gabriel mocks McClane this way.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: At least one scene in every film.
    • Subverted in Die Hard 2, where McClane has a brief fight with Big Bad Colonel Stuart, and gets his ass handed to him.
    • And it stopped being good ol' fisticuffs in Live Free or Die Hard when McClane decided to run the Dark Action Girl over with a car. Semi-played straight with the parkour runner earlier, which McClane stops dead by shooting him.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: John smokes cigs. He's a Badass good guy. The Big Bad in Die Hard also smokes, and even provides a clue for McClane by Gruber's holding the cigarette in the European manner, between thumb and index finger tips instead of between his index and middle fingers, as Americans commonly do.
    • Another clue is that Hans just holds the cigarette and only once takes a drag of it, telling John that he's not a smoker and therefore not being honest about himself.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck: "Yipee-ki-yay, Mister Falcon!!!"
    • On British television television, this was usually dubbed as "Yipee-ki-yay, kimosabe!"
    • Third movie has "Look, all brothers don't know how to shoot a gun, you racist melon farmer."
  • Groin Attack: McClane performs the ultimate Groin Attack in Die Hard by emptying half a pistol magazine into a terrorist's junk from under a table (the rest of the mag is emptied into his chest).
  • Guile Hero: John McClane.
  • Hacker Cave: Most of the assassinated hackers in Live Free or Die Hard. Hell, a fallen Terminator figurine saves the two main characters. In addition, the Hacker trailer.
  • Handguns
  • Hellish Copter: Various helicopters meet their ends due to rocket launchers, power lines and police cars.
  • Hello Again, Officer: The two brother cops at the airport in Die Hard 2... John just can't get them on his side until the very end.
  • Heroic Bystander: John's limo driver in the first movie... eventually.
  • Hero Insurance: Justified by McClane in the first film when the Deputy Chief yells at him.

Dwayne T. Robinson: I don't know who you think you are but you just blew up a BUILDING! I've got a hundred people down here, and they're covered with glass!
McClane: Glass? Who gives a shit about glass? Who the fuck is this?

  • Hollywood CB: Mostly averted, with McClane's talks with Al the cop audible to the terrorists (hence his use of "Roy" instead of his real name), except for one bit where he interrupts Hans at one point, on a walkie talkie.
  • Hollywood Darkness: The runways in the second movie.
  • Hollywood Density: Averted in Die Hard with a Vengeance, when Zeus tries to carry a gold brick, not knowing how heavy one is. Of course, later on they throw gold bricks as though they were footballs...
  • Hollywood Hacking: Live Free or Die Hard. Skewered by Penny Arcade.
  • Hollywood Healing: Averted: McClane keeps on limping throughout the the movies from all the damage.
  • Honor Before Reason: No matter how brutally damaged and horrifying under-equipped McClane may be, he just never gives up and lets the bad guys get away, ever.
  • Hostage Situation: It wouldn't be Die Hard if each film didn't involve one at some point.
    • Special mention must go to Live Free or Die Hard, where McClane utterly denies the Big Bad's attempt to use his daughter Lucy against him. By his reasoning, if the Big Bad has reached the point where he feels threatening McClane's family to be necessary, then he surely won't act on it because then McClane would have that much more motivation to kill him. Even Lucy refuses to act the part.
  • Idiot Ball: Glued to the hands of Deputy Chief Robinson in the first movie, until the FBI agents (who may well qualify for Too Dumb to Live) take it away from him.
    • Of course, by the end of the movie, Robinson has picked it up again. After McClane single-handedly saved the day, Robinson thanks him by telling him he has a lot to answer for, including Ellis' murder and interfering with police business.
  • If I Do Not Return: McClane to Sgt. Al Powell during the first film.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: For highly trained and well-supplied insurgents, very few of the Mooks in the films even get close with their shots. In the first movie, this makes a little sense as most of them are using automatic weapons, it's hard to hit anything with those things.
    • Fridge Brilliance: In almost every single case, McClane isn't getting into a fair gunfight with the bad guys: either he's got an advantage (usually surprise), or he gets through by the skin of his teeth because of the arrogance of the bad guys.
    • Furthermore, a lot of the "missed rounds" from both sides can be handwaved as suppression fire.
  • Improv: Much of the script was improvised due to the constant screenplay tweaks that were being made during filming.
  • Indy Ploy: Practically anything McClane does is without previous planning. He lampshades it frequently: "Oh, John, what the fuck are you doing?" (first, as he ties a fire hose around his waist), "Ah John, what the fuck are you doing out on the wing of this plane?" (second, trying to stop the plane from taking off), "This is a bad idea!" (third, before jumping into a subway train from the sidewalk, and fourth, just before taking down a helicopter with a car).
    • Also lampshaded by Zeus in the third:

John: I know what I'm doing.
Zeus: Not even God knows what you're doing!

  • Informed Ability: Simon Gruber is identified in Die Hard with a Vengeance as an elite East German spy. Then Jeremy Irons actually attempts an American accent and... hoo, boy. Probably played for laughs though.
    • Definitely, since if you see him in other films, he is capable of a passable American accent (although not quite as good as Alan Rickman's).
  • Ironic Echo: "Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs!" -- John McClane, reciting his wife's invitation in the first film.
  • Irony: "Glass? Who gives a shit about glass?
  • I Surrender, Suckers: McClane does this to the terrorists/thieves at the end.
  • It Has Only Just Begun: In Die Hard.

Trudeau: McClane, is this what you were expecting?
John McClane: No. This is just the beginning.

  • It Works Better with Bullets: "What, do you think I'm fucking stupid, Hans?"
  • Jerkass: Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson in the first film, Airport Police Captain Lorenzo in the second film, and Dick Thornburg in both films.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Between the FBI and the LAPD in the first film. Gruber even predicted it and incorporated it into his plan.
    • Averted in Die Hard with a Vengeance. The NYPD Captain is ordering his men to search the schools and challenges the FBI agent not to pull a jurisdictional stunt. The FBI agent has kids in one of the threatened schools, and he's more than happy to help.
  • Just Plane Wrong: The F-35 scene in Live Free or Die Hard. Also counts as Rare Vehicles since the F-35 wasn't in production, let alone operational service, in 2007.
  • Kinda Busy Here: John's pager goes off at a very inconvenient time in Die Hard 2.
  • Last Breath Bullet: Averted in Die Hard, where Hans almost gets a shot off before falling to his death.
  • Leave Him to Me: In Die Hard, after McClane kills Karl's brother: when Karl is informed by Hans that John is on the roof, he and some Mooks go up in an elevator to get him, and Karl tells the Mooks that "no one kills him but me."
  • Le Parkour: One of the terrorists in Live Free or Die Hard, who gets ground into paste anyway.
    • He was called the "evil McClane" on the film's DVD commentary, since he survives a lot of things for a faceless mook; he was played by Cyril Raffaelli, who appeared in Banlieue 13, a French Parkour film.
  • Live Action Escort Mission: The first half of Live Free or Die Hard involves McClane trying to bring hacker Matt Farrell into the FBI while protecting Matt from the terrorists trying to kill him. Since they're headed to the Feds, at first Matt isn't exactly cooperative.
  • Made of Explodium: The airplane the terrorists force into crashing in the second movie. Despite being low on fuel, not only does it burst into a roaring fireball upon hitting the runway, but it then explodes.
    • It's still over the top and Explodium-y, but being low on fuel would actually make it far more likely to go up: fuel fumes are way more volatile than the fuel itself.
  • Made of Iron: Karl in Die Hard, The Dragon from Live Free or Die Hard. McClane and Zeus would count, but he's shows his pain.
    • Targo from Die Hard with a Vengeance. McClane stabs a big sharp piece of metal into the guy's leg, and it does nothing.
  • Magic Bullets: Averted in the first film, where John kills a Mook by shooting him through a table, almost gets shot himself while hiding in an air duct, and all the other "missed" shots still leaving pretty obvious holes in whatever they hit.
  • Magic Floppy Disk: Averted. Live Free or Die Hard has USB thumb drives: just to give yourself an idea of how long it took Hollywood to adopt these devices, the film came out in 2007 and was one of the first films that use them.
    • Well USB drives only really became practical and affordable in about 2005, and most films can easily spend 2 years in the scripting, planning and pre-production stages.
  • Malcolm Xerox: Zeus Carver.
  • Male Gaze: While McClane is battling terrorists in Die Hard, he gives a quick look at a nudie calender on the wall. This is a bit of Fridge Brilliance: he's doing it because he doesn't know his way around the bowels of the building and it's a landmark.
  • Manipulative Editing: The baddies' video in Live Free or Die Hard mixes together clips from various American presidents to voice their speech.
  • Manly Tears: McClane bitterly weeping for the deaths of the murdered passengers in Die Hard 2.
  • Market-Based Title: Live Free or Die Hard is known as Die Hard 4.0 in the UK.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The FBI agents named Johnson in Die Hard.
    • The Jerkass reporter is actually named Dick. Go figure.
      • It's true. This Dick has no man.
  • Mistaken for Terrorist: The Mooks in Die Hard in a rare pre-9/11, non-Muslim example. Of course, it helps that they're posing as terrorists, so the mistake is deliberate.
    • McClane himself is mistaken for one of the "terrorists" when he's trying to get the hostages off the roof... with an MP5.
      • This was an intentional subterfuge to stop the FBI from gunning down the hostages, as they were expecting the terrorists to be massed on the rooftop.
  • The Mole: A whole platoon (save one poor innocent rookie who wasn't in on it) in Die Hard 2.
  • More Dakka: "Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho."
    • In the fourth film, the F-35.
  • Motivational Lie: Realizing that Zeus won't help him if it's just one white dude blowing up some others, John tells him that one of Simon's bombs was found in a playground in a black neighborhood.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Quite a few of the mooks in Die Hard were played by male models.
    • Not to mention one of them was played by a tall Russian ballet dancer with blond hair (Alexander Godunov rest in peace),and they were all led by Alan Rickman.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Averted in Die Hard 2, where Col. Stuart specifically betrays the USA because of its policies.
    • Well, so he says. But as is the recurring theme in Die Hard, he's really just in it for the money.
  • My Greatest Failure: The LAPD cop in Die Hard who cannot forgive himself for shooting a kid with a plastic gun. He averts this when he fires on The Dragon to save John at the end of the film in his personal Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • N-Word Privileges: John doesn't have them (obviously) and Simon exploits this in an attempt to get him killed. To elaborate: he must wear a sign saying "I Hate Niggers" in Harlem. Unsurprisingly, he's nearly killed.
  • Never Mess with Granny: The little old lady sitting next to Holly on the plane at the beginning of Die Hard 2. She absolutely revels in the fact that she now has a stun baton to protect herself, and the fact that she tested it on her dog (who she notes limped for a week before recovering) makes her seem just a wee bit Axe Crazy.
  • No One Should Survive That: This trope is invoked at least once every 10 minutes while watching these films.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Alan Rickman plays a German with his usual British accent, as does Jeremy Irons.
    • Justified in Hans' (Rickman's) case: he mentions getting his suits from a London tailor and alludes to a classical education. It's likely he was educated in England and probably spent a lot of time there.
  • Not Quite Dead:
    • At least in the case of Karl in the first film, not until Al puts a few bullets in him, after professing his fear of using his firearm in the line of duty earlier on.
  • Not with the Safety On, You Won't: Apparently, an electrician played by Samuel L. Jackson isn't magically better with guns than the average electrician.
  • Nuclear Candle: John's lighter in the air vent in Die Hard.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: A recurring theme. In the first movie, there's the 911 dispatchers, the police captain, and the FBI. In the second movie, there's the air traffic controllers.
  • Oddly-Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo
  • One-Liner Echo: Hans tries to turn "Yippee-ki-yeah, motherfucker" into his own Pre-Mortem One-Liner. Then John shoots him.
  • One-Man Army: Practically a Trope Codifier.
  • One Bullet Left: Well, two in the first movie, but there were also two bad guys left.
  • One Riot, One Ranger: In the second film, when McClane complains about only getting one platoon, the response is "One crisis, one platoon".
  • One Steve Limit: Averted in the first movie. There are two FBI agents both named Johnson.

Special Agent Johnson: "I'm Special Agent Johnson. This is Agent Johnson. No relation."

    • The "No relation" bit is rather amusing given that one's white and the other is black.
    • A little later on, while one is on the phone, he goes, "This is Agent Johnson. ...No, the other one."
  • Online Alias: Kevin Smith's character in Live Free or Die Hard goes by "Warlock".
  • Only a Model
  • Only One: In Die Hard, the FBI and the LA police department. In Die Hard 2, the airport police (for most of the movie) and the military troops sent to take out the terrorists.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You
  • The Operators Must Be Crazy: A police dispatcher gives John McClane a hard time when is trying to report a terrorist attack.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Subverted in Die Hard with a Vengeance: after being told that a bomb was in a garbage can by the phone booth, both Zeus and McClane try to push people aside and then dive to the ground; when no explosion happens, the terrorist's laughing reveals the joke.
    • Somewhat used in Die Hard, where McClane has to leap off before a bomb destroys the skyscraper rooftop.
  • Pac-Man Fever: Averted in Live Free or Die Hard: one of the hackers is clearly seen playing Gears of War, and he's pressing the buttons in the way a normal player would
  • Pants-Positive Safety: In Die Hard with a Vengeance, McClane puts his pistol in his waistband instead of in the shoulder holster he is wearing!
  • Paparazzi: Dick, in the first and second movies. He's especially douchetacular in the second. The people in the airport are not told about the terrorist incident, so as not to cause a panic. Dick happens to be on a plane with Holly, in a holding pattern over the airport. When he figures out what's going on, he immediately calls in the story to his producers, smelling a Pulitzer. Then the folks in the airport and the planes see the special news bulletin...
  • Papa Wolf: Don't you dare mess with McClane's daughter.
  • Perma-Stubble: McClane.
  • Plot Armor: While the films always show John coming out pretty roughed off, he still tends to pull off highly improbable survivals, especially when confronted with an army of Mooks with automatic weapons. Then again, if they all attended the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy...
  • Plot Hole: Airliners in distress are not slaves to Air Traffic Control and are free (and indeed required) to divert to another airport if they can't land at their destination. There are dozens of airports that they could have reached with the fuel they are depicted as carrying, including Andrews Air Force Base, less then 50 miles away.
  • Police Are Useless: Except for Al and John himself, this is played straight in the first two, but averted in the second two. In the first movie:

Dispatcher: Sir, this frequency is for emergencies only.
McClane: No fuckin' shit, lady! Do I sound like I'm ordering a pizza???

    • In the second, John empties an entire magazine from a submachine gun at Chief Lorenzo inside the police station and doesn't get gunned down by the rest of the officers? They were blanks, but still, the cops didn't know that!
  • Pop Culture Osmosis Failure/Recognition Failure: In Live Free or Die Hard, McClane fails spectacularly to pass himself off as a member of the culture. Most notably is when he fails to recognize a cutout of Boba Fett and tries to cover it by saying he's only familiar with Star Wars.
    • Possible Fridge Brilliance, in that McClane may have been messing with Warlock out of exasperation, something which would have been totally in character for him in the first place. This is considering that McClane is shown to be a bit of a movie buff in Die Hard.
  • Power Walk: Col. Stuart and his cohorts do one when they start their operation in Die Hard 2.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Hans in the first movie:

Holly: There's a pregnant woman out there. [alarmed looks from the bad guys] Don't worry, she's not due for a couple of weeks. But the constant standing isn't doing her back any favors. I'd like to request she be moved to a room with a sofa.
Hans: ...No, but I'll have one brought out to her. Good enough?
Holly: Good enough.

Gruber: This time John Wayne does not walk off into the sunset with Grace Kelly.
McClane: That was Gary Cooper, asshole.

  • Rooftop Confrontation: The original movie has this, with the plot-relevant roof being special because it doesn't survive the fight.
  • Rule of Cool: Most of the stunts performed by John, although the first movie at least complies with physics fairly well.
  • Salt and Pepper: In Die Hard with a Vengeance, McClane is partnered up with Samuel L. Jackson Zeus, a black man.
  • Save the Villain: Averted. Totally averted.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness
  • Sequel Escalation: The series goes from a single office building to a scheme affecting all of America. Apparently, the plan for the fifth movie is to go international.
  • Serial Escalation: Each movie's stunts try to top the last, culminating in Live Free and Die Hard's indoor car chases, as well as McClane using a car to take out a helicopter. Whether this is awesome or so overboard it's too unbelievable to be cool depends on you. They also try to set a new record for "amount of punishment ever inflicted upon an action star without killing him."
    • And then, as if the car-helicopter collision isn't enough, McClane defeats Starscream, the shortest way of saying that he took out an F-35 jet.
  • Set Piece Puzzle: Die Hard with a Vengance.
  • Shoot Him! He Has a Wallet!: Sergeant Al Powell did this to a 13 year old boy. Gave him a Heroic BSOD.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: In Die Hard 2, when the access grate to the Dulles Airport runway is blocked by a padlock, McLane shoots it. He also does it in the first movie.
  • Shoot the Hostage: Taken to a whole new level in Live Free or Die Hard by the fact that McClane is the hostage: he shoots himself in the shoulder to kill the Big Bad.
  • Short-Lived Aerial Escape: The finales of Die Hard 2 (directed by Harlin) and Die Hard with a Vengeance.
  • Shout-Out
  • Side Bet: In the scene where Hans interrogates Mr. Takagi, Theo says "Told you" and Karl replies "It's not over yet" when Takagi won't talk. When Hans shoots Takagi, Karl hands Theo a bill.
  • Skeptic No Longer: In Die Hard 2, Captain Lorenzo only believes John McClane about Colonel Stuart and Major Grant working together only after McClane empties a submachine gun (the same kind used by the soldiers in their attack against the terrorist) full of blanks at him. Lorenzo then calls in the cavalry.
  • Smooch of Victory: John and Holly.
  • Soft Glass: Averted in Die Hard: McClane shoots the window he's swinging towards to weaken it before smashing through, and he looks terrible afterward.
    • In one scene, Gruber and Karl shoot out the plate glass in some offices so that barefooted McClane will have to walk across broken glass to reach the door. He does so, but has to tear off his shirt and make a bandage for his bleeding foot, and pull a huge fucking shard of glass from it. Test audiences were horrified when he yanked it out.
  • Sound Effect Bleep
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Usually involving Christmas music. For instance, the end of the first Die Hard: after everything that's happened, including one last hail of bullets less than a minute earlier, as John and Holly drive off with the smoky backdrop behind them, the cheerful lyrics "Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful...".
  • Staggered Zoom: Used in Die Hard 2 when the bad guys blow up stuff.
  • Standard Snippet: A hallmark of the series:
    • Die Hard uses Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, most notably when the vault is opened.
    • Die Hard 2 incorporates Finlandia by Jean Sibelius into its ending.
    • Die Hard with a Vengeance features "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" (under the other title, "Ants Go Marching") for the villains, and makes it sound epic. Note the third film is the first actually set in New York, where Johnny (McClane) is a police officer.
  • Status Quo Is God: No matter what adventures McClane may go on, by the start of the next film, he'll be back to being a Jerkass with a miserable home life. Seriously, this is a man who has now single-handedly thwarted four major terrorist attacks on the country (well, only one was actually terrorism, the other three where robberies disguised as terrorist acts, but still). McClane should seriously be in charge of Homeland Security or something.
    • The second film was the only one in the series to suggest McClane has achieved any level of fame from his actions, with various people scoffing at his media appearances. In real life, the passengers on United 93 are lauded as heroes, and they didn't survive their counterattack on the 9/11 hijackers. If McClane was a real person, his face would have been added to the U.S. flag by now...
    • "You know what you get for being a hero? Nothin'. You get shot at. You get a little pat on the back, blah, blah, blah, attaboy. You get divorced. Your wife can't remember your last name. Your kids don't want to talk to you. You get to eat a lot of meals by yourself. Trust me, kid, nobody wants to be that guy."
    • It actually sort of makes sense. He was fairly well known in the second, mostly because of the reporter forcing Holly's maid to give an interview or be deported. The reporter who he worked with in the second clearly had ethics, so she probably downplayed his involvement. The third movie: you are a reporter. Are you going to focus on the little kids who were saved by cops or some bank robber? And by the fourth, it had probably been 10-12 years. And one can easily argue that his involvement in the fourth would be downplayed for national security reasons, leaving him as somewhat known to law enforcement, but largely anonymous by the fifth.
  • Stereotype Reaction Gag
  • Stock Lateral Thinking Puzzle: Simon forces John and Zeus to solve several of these in Die Hard with a Vengeance.
  • Stock Scream: The Wilhelm Scream is heard in Die Hard with a Vengeance when McClane is driving through the park.
  • Super Window Jump: John does this and doesn't hurt himself.
  • Take That: The dialog between McClane and Gruber about "American cowboys" is an extended Take That by screenwriter Steven de Souza against a number of pretentious European intellectuals and film critics. Gruber's lines about McClane as "Just another American who saw too many movies as a child? Another orphan of a bankrupt culture..." were actually a close paraphrase of a writer's critique of American movies like de Souza's earlier Commando. McClane's famous Catch Phrase retort is essentially de Souza's response.
  • Taking the Kids: Holly leaves for California due to a great career opportunity and takes the children with her, much to McClane's dismay. They argue about her having done this and her going back to her maiden name.
  • Tempting Fate: Glass? Who gives a shit about glass?
  • Terrorists Without a Cause: Not really. They're bank robbers, or they're ones seeking revenge for being fired, or assisting a corrupt dictator in escaping.
  • They Just Didn't Care (In-Universe): Gruber asks for the release of a variety of terrorist cells to keep up the image of being a terrorist. When asked by one of his mooks about the one Asian cell out of a list of mostly European terrorist groups, he shrugs and says, "I read about them in Time magazine." Amusingly, it's the Asian terrorists that the police are later shown experiencing red tape with.

Karl: Do you think they will even try to do it?
Hans: Who cares.

  • Those Two Guys: Agent Johnson and Special Agent Johnson. No relation.
  • Throw-Away Guns: Subverted: John McClane tries to convince the airport police chief that there is a serious problem:

"He pulled a Glock 7 on me. That's a porcelain gun, so it doesn't show up on your x-ray machines, and it costs more than you make in a month."
"You'd be surprised how much I make in a month."
"If it's more than $1.98 I'd be really amazed."

  • Too Dumb to Live: In the first film, Douchebag Who Thinks Too Much of Himself Ellis decides that he is perfectly capable of handling Gruber himself, and chats with him in a far too casual and egotistical manner. To clarify, he acts as though he is in charge, not them, they need him, and that he can work things out to everyone's satisfaction because clearly he's smart enough to have them figured out. He does manage to provide them with information, but Gruber coldly kills him to prove a point to McClane. Acting like the situation is of no real importance is not a good way to handle hostage takers.
  • Translation Convention: One possible reason for the scenes in which the terrorists talk to each other in English despite other scenes in which they are heard talking in German (and the obvious benefit in talking to each other in German whenever possible).
    • Though no explanation as to why the German terrorist doesn't understand when Hans tells him to "schieß dem Fenster", until he repeats it in English. Or even why he repeats it in English.
    • If this is when Hans tells Karl to shoot the glass, it could be because Karl doesn't understand the order... why waste bullets on glass when they can shoot him dead? If so, this is a Call Back to Hans' plan to have John neutralized, as if the glass cripples him, he would no longer be a threat, presumably.
  • Treasure Room: The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where Uncle Sam keeps a lot of gold, almost all of it for other countries' central banks.

Simon: Fort Knox (ha!) is for tourists!

  • True Love Is Boring: Poor John and Holly just couldn't catch a break.
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: Argyle, the limo driver in Die Hard. He is, however, useful in foiling the robbers.
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: From the first movie: "Nice suit. John Phillips... London. I have two myself. Rumor has it, Arafat buys his there."
    • And in the third movie, with an initially unsuspecting McClane sharing a small elevator with 4-5 mooks, most of them significantly larger than himself. It gets bloody once he realizes.
  • The Unfettered: The Dragon in each movie.
  • Unorthodox Reload
  • Vapor Trail
  • The Villain Makes the Plot: The film series was widely applauded by fans and critics for elevating the action movie genre by incorporating genuinely intelligent and resourceful villains. Bruce Willis' quote on the matter is spot on: "Any story where you have good guys versus bad guys can only be as smart as the intelligence of your baddest guy."
  • We Do the Impossible: Rather, just John. It's actually a source of scorn for some people in-universe, who think he's jumpy and cocky after the events of the first film... it's part of the problem why the Airport Chief won't believe him in Die Hard 2.
  • What an Idiot!: Lampshaded In-Universe.

McClane: "Do you think I'm fucking stupid, Hans?"
(Elevator arrives bringing the mooks Hans just called on his radio)
Gruber: "You were saying?"

  • What Happened to the Mouse?: McClane's son John Jr., who has not been seen or heard from since the first movie (at one point, in Live Free or Die Hard's production, he would've been the hacker (possibly played by Justin Timberlake, no less), but this was dropped in favor of bringing back his sister Lucy).
    • It has been confirmed that the fifth movie (A Good Day to Die Hard) is going to be about John and John Jr.
  • Wicked Cultured: Hans Gruber.
    • He lampshades this by quoting Plutarch's "Life of Alexander" and then comments, "One of the benefits of a classical education."
  • You Look Familiar: Anthony Peck appears as a random L.A. cop ("Something about a double cross!") in the first film and comes back as NYPD detective Ricky Walsh in the third one.
  • Younger and Hipper: The movie is this when compared to Roderick Thorp's Nothing Lasts Forever, the novel it is based on. When the novel was optioned for filming, sixty-something Joe Leland from the book became late-thirty-something John McClane for the movie.