Die Hard (1988): John McTieran’s Oscar Nominated Action-Thriller, Starring Bruce Willis

Set in L.A., during Christmas time, the satisfying, if formulaic acioner, “Die Hard,” is well directed by John McTieran, boasting a strong performance from a well cast (and then unknown as screen actor) Bruce Willis.

Main event is an employees party on the 30th floor of the Nakatomi Corporation building. Thing come to an abrupt end, when the partygoers are taken hostage by some terrorists, headed by the viscious Hans Gruber (British stage actor Alan Rickman).

The scheme of Gruber and his henchmen is to steal the $600 million locked in Nakatomi’s high-tech safe, while pretending to be politically motivated in their goal of throwing the authorities off track.

Vicious Gruber announce right away that he has no intention of allowing anyone to get out of the building alive.

Enters New York cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) who has come to L.A. to visit his estranged wife, Holly (Bonnie Bedelia).  It “just happens” that Holly is one of the hostages.

Disregarding the orders of the building’s security guards, McClane, armed with only one handgun, ddecided to take on the villains.

Making a big-screen splash, Bruce Willis, then mostly known from the TV series “Moonlighting,” carries the day—in the process becominga major and bankable Hollywood star.


Oscar Nominations: 4

Sound: Don Bassman, Kevin F. Cleary, Richard Overton, and Al Overton.

Film Editing: Frank J. Urioste and John F. Link

Visual Effects: Richard Edlund, Al DiSarro, Brent Boates, Thaine Morris

Sound Effects Editing: Stephen H. Flick and Richard Shorr.


Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

Esatwood’s “Bird” won the Sound Oscar.  Arthur Schmidt received the Editing Oscar for “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” which also won Visual Effects and Sound Effects Editing.




Running time: 114 Minutes.

Directed by John McTiernan.

Screenplay: Jeb Stuart, Steven E. de Souza.

Released: July 15, 1988.

DVD: March 9, 1999



Bruce Willis as John McClane

Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber

Bonnie Bedelia as Holly Gennero McClane

Alexander Godunov as Karl

Reginald VelJohnson as Sgt. Al Powell

William Atherton as Thornburg