On This Day: ‘Die Hard’ Hits Theaters in 1988

by Joe Rutland
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Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman had one of the great movie showdowns appear as “Die Hard” rolled out on this day in movie theaters in 1988.

Willis played John McClane, a New York Police Department officer who tries to save his wife and others taken hostage by German terrorists. Bonnie Bedelia played McCain’s wife while the always entertaining Rickman played Hans Gruber. The setting was a skyscraper right in the middle of Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.

Now this movie, which debuted in 1988, also starred Reginald Vel Johnson before his “Family Matters” role as Sgt. Al Powell. Paul Gleason, known by many for his role in “The Breakfast Club,” portrayed Dwayne T. Robinson.

James Shigeta played Joseph Takagi, who gets knocked off by Gruber for not giving him the passcode to collect $640 million in untraceable bearer bonds in the vault.

‘Die Hard’ Showed Off Willis’ Sense of Toughness, Humor

“Die Hard” is one whale of an action-adventure movie. Willis, who had made inroads playing on ABC’s crime show “Moonlighting,” brought a lot of toughness and a touch of humor to McClaine. He was all business, though, when it came time to rescue his wife from the hands of Gruber’s goons.

McClaine arrived in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve and ends up having to go to work ASAP.

Ultimately, Gruber doesn’t win at the end of “Die Hard.” When all is said and done, McClane meets up with Gruber, who has Holly McClane hostage. McClane sees that he’s outmatched with Gruber and his crew, so he surrenders. Yeah, that’ll be the day. McClane snags a pistol taped to his back and fires his final two rounds into Gruber and kills an accomplice.

Gruber goes through a window and tries holding on for dear life to Holly McClane’s watch. John said no dice, in a sense, and viewers watch Gruber fall multiple stories to his death.

The Great Debate: Is This Movie A Christmas Movie Or Not?

People love watching “Die Hard” during the Christmas holidays. After all, the movie is set on McClane arriving at LAX to be with his wife on Christmas Eve.

But this has become one of that barstool-type of conversation pieces. Is this movie a Christmas movie or not? Fans of the movie might say yes, while others simply say no. We can all agree that “It’s A Wonderful Life” is a Christmas movie, right?

Count country music star Carrie Underwood as a “Yes” in the Christmas movie category. In 2020, she appeared on “The Kelly Clarkson Show” and shared her thoughts on it.

“I also consider ‘Die Hard’ a Christmas movie,” Underwood said. Clarkson replied, “Oh my gosh, I love all the ‘Die Hard’ movies! And it’s at Christmas time – the party. It counts.” Underwood agreed, saying, “It’s a Christmas movie.”

Let’s let John McClane himself have the last word in this scene from “Die Hard.”

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