Die Hard

Die hard nc

Release Date
December 25, 2019
Running Time
Previous Review
Next Review

(The Channel Awesome logo and the intro play)

NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. There's two types of people in the world: those who think Die Hard is a Christmas movie, and the rest we pray for.

(To the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas", the title for this movie is shown, followed by footage of it)

NC (vo): Sure, it doesn't have the typical Christmas lessons or atmosphere or story or colors, but...

NC: (shrugs) Fuck you, it's Die Hard!

NC (vo): Released in 1988, this action masterpiece was actually seen at the time as kind of an oddball risk.

(Two back-to-back images of book titles that inspired are superimposed: "Nothing Last Forever" and "The Detective", both written by Roderick Thorp)

NC (vo): Based on a book that was a sequel to another book that was turned into...

(Cut to another superimposed image, this one a poster of the Frank Sinatra movie The Detective)

NC (vo): ...a Frank Sinatra movie... In fact, they were contractually obligated to ask Sinatra if he wanted to star in it...

(Another image is briefly superimposed, showing a man with Frank Sinatra's head edited on saying, "In the Wee Small Hours of The Morning, Mother Fucker")

NC (vo): Wouldn't that have been interesting? ...they turned it into a standalone film and cast then-comedic TV star (A poster for the TV show Moonlighting, starring Bruce Willis, is superimposed) Bruce Willis as the lead. Nowadays, we know him as a kick-ass icon, but back then, this was a bit of a weird choice. But somebody saw something in him and they cast him in the role. And thankfully, the risks paid off. The film was a monster hit, pleasing audiences as well as critics and giving us one of the greatest action movies of all time. So, in light of the holidays, we're gonna have fun looking over this bullet-filled bloodfest and celebrate it as one of the most non-traditional Christmas movies ever made. At least until it's given its own (Poster for Die Hard is shown, with a message beneath reading "24 Hours Christmas Day!") 24-hour marathon.

NC: (pointing to camera) You know there's no way this can be overplayed! Let's take a look at Die Hard.

(The movie begins with NYPD detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) on an flight to Los Angeles)

NC (vo): It opens with Bruce Willis playing the most '80s action hero name ever given...

John McClane: I'm John McClane.

NC (vo): he's nervous about being flown to L.A.

Fellow airplane passenger (Robert Lesser): (to McClane as he sits beside him) You want to know the secret to surviving air travel? After you get where you're going, take off your shoes and your socks, then walk around on the rug barefoot...

NC: (as McClane) What do I care?

(A clip of the movie Ernest Saves Christmas is shown where Lesser's character, Marty, is arresting Santa.)

NC (vo; as McClane): You put Mr. Santos in jail.

NC: (shaking index finger) That makes this double a Christmas movie!

Passenger: Trust me: I've been doing it for nine years. Better than a shower and a hot cup of coffee.

NC (as the passenger): Dropping acid also helps.

NC (vo): He gets picked up by a driver named Argyle.

Argyle (De'Voreaux White): Argyle, I'm your limo driver.

NC (vo): Ah, glad to see...

(Cut to a scene of Ray, played by Ray Charles, shooting at a young guitar thief, played by De'Voreaux White in Blues Brothers)

NC (vo): ...Ray Charles turned that boy's life around.

Ray: Now, go on, get!

(The young guitar thief runs away, and we return to the movie)

Argyle: We got everything in this mug man! Look say this!

(Argyle turns the radio on. Then the scene switches to show the sky is a brownish orange color)

NC (vo; as hypothetical weather man): Today's forecast: Brown orange. It is L.A., so you should be used to that.

Argyle: Hey, gotta work.

McClane: You got any Christmas music?

(A ding is heard as a wreath with the number 1 in it, followed by the words "Christmas References in this TOTALLY non-Christmas movie", with "TOTALLY" written in red)

NC (vo): He says he's going to patch things up with his wife, Holly, who's at her office Christmas party. Argyle offers to wait for him.

Argyle: You score, you give me a call from the car phone; you strike out, I'll get you a hotel.

McClane: You're all right, Argyle.

NC (as McClane): I'm still giving you one star. You look like a guy who'll listen to music while a hostage situation is going on.

(McClane walks through the lobby of the building, whistling "Jingle Bells" while a ding is heard and the "Christmas References" counter appears with the number 2. John looks around and sees people all around him as violin music plays)

NC (as McClane): Yes, this looks like the perfect building for terrorists and/or gremlins.

Joe Takagi (James Shigeta): Then, you must be John McClain. I'm Joe Takagi.

NC (vo; as Takagi): Well, it's 1988, and I'm Japanese. Top of the world, ma!

(Takagi takes McClane to the office of Harry Ellis (Hart Bochner) which has views of the city)

Takagi: Ellis?

Ellis: (getting up from his desk) I was just making a call...

NC (as Ellis): Oh, sorry, I was just doing some '80s in here.

NC (vo): This is Harry Ellis, the kind of guy you love to hate to love.

McClane: I didn't realize they celebrated Christmas in Japan.

(The "Christmas References" counter pops up, with the number 3 next to it)

Takagi: We're flexible. Pearl Harbor didn't work out, so we got you with tape decks.

(Ellis laughs uproariously at the remark)

NC (as Takagi): Apologies.

(An image of a person in a Batman cartoon movie appears in the corner; he is grinning psychotically as he is suffering from Smilex)

NC (as Takagi): He's still recovering from Smilex.

NC (vo): He meets up with his wife, Holly, as they bicker back and forth like Kevin Smith and, well, Bruce Willis.

McClane: You are a married woman, Holly. You're married to me.

Holly (Bonnie Bedelia): We're not gonna have this conversation again. We did this in July.

(After the argument, McClane looks himself in the bathroom mirror)

McClane: That was great, John.

NC: Bruce Willis' acting always sounds like he just woke up, but he did so in the coolest way.

McClane: (looking himself in the mirror) That was great, John. Good job. Very mature.

NC: (as McClane, sleepy tone) Yeah, my yawn blows up bank robbers.

(He yawns. Suddenly, there is an explosion offscreen)

Offscreen voice: Thanks, Bruce!

NC: (as McClane) No problem.

NC (vo): But trouble's a-brewin', as German evildoers throw explosive Ding Dongs into a building, breaking in.

(Having blown up the entrance to the building, the evildoers, led by ex-West German fanatic Hans Gruber (played by Alan Rickman), shoot a guard dead)

NC (vo; as Gruber): I have come to awesome your movie. (normal) The late Alan Rickman plays Hans Gruber, who continues to be one of the great action villains, as so much of the movie is almost played like he's the main character. There's so much focus on him, so much care and brilliant writing. But on top of that, he's so charming, so clever, and so in control, you easily buy that his plan took years to set up.

NC: (pointing to screen) If you told me he...

(The opening scene of McClane chatting with the acquaintance on the plane is shown again)

NC (vo): ...planted that guy on the plane to take his shoes off...

NC: ...I'd believe it.

(One terrorist, Tony Vreski (played by Andreas Wisniewski), makes his way through the building)

NC (vo; as Tony): Eyes on the job, eyes on the job, eyes on the job... (He slides down a flight of stairs) Vhee! (He lands on the bottom and continues from there) Eyes on the job...

(From outside his room, McClane hears the sound of gunfire coming from the terrorists, then peaks through a crack in the door to spot people being captured by the terrorists as hostages)

NC (vo): They start taking hostages as McClane sees them in time to avoid them.

(From his room, McClane spots another terrorist coming down the hall)

NC (vo; as McClane): Oh, shit, the Scourge of Carpathia!

(He runs down the hall and up a flight of stairs. Meanwhile, the terrorists force the hostages onto an outside terrace and hold them at gunpoint)

NC (vo): They gather them all together, as they're looking for one person in particular.

Gruber: Where is Mr. Takagi? (walks up to an elderly Japanese man, whom he suspects to be Takagi) Interned at Manzanar, 1942. MBA, Harvard, 1970.

NC: (as Gruber) We know everything about him. (beat) Except what he looks like.

Offscreen voice: Yeah, how did we miss that?

NC: (as Gruber) You're not helping, Karl!

Gruber: (looking at another Japanese man) President, Nakatomi Trading. Vice Chairman, Nakatomi Investment Group...

Takagi: (rising up behind Gruber) Enough.

NC (vo; as Takagi): I know I'm amazing.

Gruber: Mr. Takagi.

NC (vo): They ask for the code to break into his vault, but it seems that they can't get it out of him.

Gruber: The code, please.

NC: Another reason to love Alan Rickman in this?

NC (vo): It always look like he smells something terrible, but he's too polite to say anything.

(Set to piano music (like the kind that Vince Guaraldi plays in Peanuts cartoons), there is a montage of scenes in the movie showing looking nervous, as though smelling something. The sound of sniffing is added in. Then the movie proper resumes as Gruber shoots Takagi in the head)

Gruber: We do it the hard way.

NC (vo): He shoots him, leaving the code breaker [Theo] to crack the safe.

Gruber: You can break the code?

Theo (Clarence Gilyard): You didn't bring me along for my charming personality.

NC: (as Gruber) You know, what if I did fail? You'd sell yourself short.

McClane: Argyle, tell me you heard the shots. You calling police right now?

(Argyle is seen talking to his girlfriend on the phone in the limo. A huge teddy bear is on the seat next to him. Funky music plays on the car radio)

Argyle: Of course I'm still coming by later. Sweetheart, have I ever lied to you?

NC: (as Argyle, pretending to talk on the phone) Yeah, I'm just sitting in a limo with a teddy bear! For some reason, this is the coolest thing to me!

NC (vo): McClane does his nerd face (An image of the Angry Video Game Nerd is superimposed) as one of the henchmen, Tony Vreski, figures out what floor he's on.

(Machine gun at the ready, Tony finds McClane's hiding spot, but McClane is hiding behind a pile of construction wood)

Tony: You might as well come out and join the others. I promise I won't hurt you.

(Tony jumps around behind the pile and opens fire, hoping to kill McClane, but stops when he notice that McClane is not there. He continues to look around)

NC (vo; as Tony): Okay, starting now, I von't hurt you.

(Suddenly, McClane appears and punches Tony, then grabs him by the neck. The resultant struggle sends them tumbling down a flight of stairs, killing Tony)

NC (vo): McClane attacks, killing him off, as he should probably hide the body so the others can't deduce what happened.

(Tony's body is placed in full view of the other terrorists, as he is seen wearing a sweatshirt that has a message on it, reading: "NOW I HAVE A MACHINE GUN - HO-HO-HO")

NC (vo): Aw, screw it, let's meme that corpse!

(To a ding, the "Christmas References in this TOTALLY non-Christmas movie" counter pops up, with the number 4 next to it)

Gruber: (reading) "Now I have a machine gun. Ho... ho... ho."

NC: (as Gruber) "Message continued on ass." (pretends to turn body over) "Ho."

NC (vo): Tony forgets dead people can't blink, and McClane is finally able to get a call out for help.

Female police officer: This channel is reserved for emergency calls only.

McClane (on radio): No fucking shit, lady! Do I sound like I'm ordering a pizza?!

NC: (as McClane, pretending to talk on radio) Though while you're at it, I haven't eaten. Is there a Lou Malnati's in L.A.?

(Sgt. Al Powell (Reginald VelJohnson) is at a convenience store, humming "Let It Snow", as he buys some snacks)

NC (vo; as Powell): Well, I got Christmas Eve dinner

Clerk: Thought you guys just ate doughnuts.

Powell: They're for my wife.

Clerk: Yeah.

Powell: She's pregnant.

Clerk: Yeah.

NC: (as clerk, whose image appears in the corner) As an incredibly healthy specimen myself, you disgust me!

(Powell continues humming "Let It Snow" while walking to his car as the "Christmas References" counter goes to 5)

NC (vo): This is Sergent Powell, played by Reginald VelJohnson, whose called to check out the disturbance at the building... A moment of anger for thirty-year-old gas prices (The camera zooms in on the gas prices: 74 cents) THE FUCK?! Thank you. the Germans find McClane and try gunning him down.

(McClane and the Germans shoot at each other as Karl walks slowly)

NC: (as Karl) I know I could run, but I savor my dessert the German way!

NC (vo): McClane makes another (Another shot of AVGN appears off to the side) Nerd face...

(Another counter appears showing the number of Nerd Faces and the number 2)

NC (vo): Am I going to need another counter for this too? they chase him into the vents.

McClane: Come out to the coast! We'll get together, have a few laughs.

NC: To their credit, (An image of a neighborhood with a car on fire appears in the corner) this is kind of the typical L.A. welcome.

(Karl starts shooting at McClane in the vent)

NC (vo; as one of Gruber's thugs): Karl, the A.C. vent out down here. Can you fix it when you get the chance?

(Powell starts walking towards the building)

NC (vo): (sarcastically) We're saved! The cop from Ghostbusters, Turner and Hooch, and Family Matters is here!

Powell: You don't mind if I take a look around, do you?

Eddie (Dennis Hayden): Nah, help yourself.

NC (vo): So Powell does a thorough inspection of–

Powell: Ah, the hell with this!

NC: How do you always get cast as cops?! You suck at it!

NC (vo): McClane is trapped by the Germans, but pretentious furniture saves the day.

Marco (Lorenzo Caccialanza): Next time you have a chance to kill someone, don't hesitate.

(McClane kills Marco under the table by shooting him in the groin)

NC (vo; as Marco): Ah! My jingle balls!

(Meanwhile, Powell spots one of the guards coming toward him)

Powell: Merry Christmas.

(The "Christmas References" counter goes up to 6. Having spotted nothing out of the ordinary, Powell goes out to his car as he sings "Let It Snow". At this, the "Christmas References" goes up to 7)

NC (vo): McClane persuades him [Powell] to come back...

(Suddenly, Marco's corpse is thrown by McClane through Powell's car windshield, shattering it)

Powell: (startled) Goddamn it!

NC (vo): ...resulting in him calling for backup. McClane also gets one of the Germans' radios and finally talks to Hans.

Gruber: (speaking through radio) Who are you, then?

McClane: (speaking through radio as he rummages through a bag) Pain in the ass.

(He pulls out of the bag a box of C-4 explosives, all while smoking a cigarette)

NC (vo; as McClane): Oh, man, maybe I should put out the ciga– (He gets interrupted by an obviously edited-in explosion that presumably kills him (it was just edited in by NC, however))

Gruber: (on the radio to McClane) Do you really think you have a chance against us, Mr. Cowboy?

McClane: Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker.

NC (vo): There it is...

NC: ...the line TV channels could never figure out how to censor.

(A clip of Die Hard 2 is shown, showing a bloody McClane lying in the snow)

McClane: (his lips movements not matching the audio) Yippee-ki-yay, Mr. Falcon! (lights a line of powder on fire)

NC: You know, to their credit, I do think...

NC (vo): ...there was a Mr. Falcon in that movie.

NC: Yet it's still somehow amazingly lame.

(At this, we got a commercial break. Upon return, the movie resumes at a TV news station, where an arrogant news reporter, Richard Thornburg (William Atherton) wants to cover what's going down at the Nakatomi Corporation)

NC (vo): So, as if having one Walter Peck wasn't enough in this movie, we get two – actually played by Walter Peck, William Atherton. He's a reporter who wants to cover the story of the building taken hostage and will piss off all the anchors at the station until he gets it.

Harvey Johnson (David Ursin): Give us a break, Thornburg.

Thornburg: Eat it, Harvey!

Cameraman: Harvey, we're on the air.

(Johnson hastily puts on a smile for the camera)

NC (vo; chuckles): You should have seen the reactions he got from reporters on...

(Cut to a clip of Bill O'Reilly's infamous outburst on...)

NC (vo): ...Inside Edition.

O'Reilly: We'll do it live! Fuck it!

(Cut back to Thornburg)

NC (vo): He's given the okay as, back at the building, the police chief, played by Paul Gleason, is called in to say, "Everything you're doing is wrong!"

Police Chief Robinson: Jesus Christ, Powell! He could be a fucking bartender for all we know!

NC (vo): This is the only cliche that gets pretty old pretty fast, as even back then, it was done over and over and over.

NC: But it does lead to a pretty funny running joke.

NC (vo): That being that, even though Powell was clearly not the most efficient officer...

Powell: Aw, the hell with this!

NC (vo): ...he's still the best compared to not only the police chief, but also the FBI. So every time someone who's supposed to know more comes along to make things better, it's always someone who knows less and makes things worse. On top of that, the media that's supposed to spread helpful information also puts lives in danger later on. What they have in common is, all of them let their lust for glory fuck things up so that the one that wants the least amount of glory does the smallest amount of damage.

Thornburg: (giving the news) And the only communication now possible has been through the use of CB communicators.

NC: (as Thornburg) People think they're seeing terrorists, and they call these sitcom actors...

(Titles for Moonlighting and Family Matters appear in both corners)

NC: come in, put on a show, (points to camera) and they'll cause an explosion!

NC (vo): The cops try charging in, but the Germans have everything planned out. To Christmas rhymes, too.

Theo: 'Twas the night before Christmas, (The "Christmas References" counter goes up to 8) and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except the four assholes coming in the rear in standard.

NC: (as Theo) I have a poem for every update.

NC (vo; as Theo): Frosty the Snowman was a team of five at the south entrance. I came upon a midnight three men at the north entrance trying to break down the door. Chingedy-ching, hee-haw, hee-haw, it's Dominick the cyber-truck heading right down Santa Claus Lane!

NC: (as Gruber, pretending to speak into walkie-talkie) You're right, Theo, I did not hire you for your charming personality.

NC (vo): The Germans fight them as Harry Ellis has a plan to schmooze them over. (beat) In the most Harry Ellis way possible.

Ellis: Sprechen sie talk, huh?

(Ellis is then seen talking to Gruber)

Ellis: Personally, I couldn't care less about your politics. Maybe you're pissed off at the camel jockeys. Maybe it's the Hebes, Northern Ireland. It's none of my business.

NC: I love a character I can't wait to see die, but I also don't want to die.

NC (vo): And they draw this death out big time as he tries talking John into turning himself in, putting his own life down as collateral. It's such a dumb plan, only a smirking beard with a douche attached could pull it off.

Ellis: (talking to John on walkie-talkie) I told them we were old friends and you were my guest at the party.

McClane: Ellis, you shouldn't be doing this.

Ellis: Tell me about it.

(One of the terrorists places a glass and a can of Coke on the table)

NC: (as Ellis) No, no, no, when I said "Coke", I meant... Oh, never mind.


Gruber (vo; on radio): In Sri Lanka, the nine members of the Asian Dawn.

Gruber: I read about them in Time magazine.


Gruber (with an american accent): Please, God. No. You're one of them, aren't you? You're one of them.


Gruber (with an american accent): You don't work for Nakatomi.

McClane: Got invited to the Christmas party by mistake.

Gruber (with an american accent): I spent a weekend at a combat ranch. You know, that game with the guns that shoot red paint.


McClane: I'm John McClane. You're, uh...


Gruber (with an american accent): Bill Clay.


McClane: No bullets. What do you think... I'm fucking stupid, Hans?

(The evelator rings)

Gruber: You were saying?


Gruber: Karl. Schie dem Fenster.

(Karl seems confuse)

Gruber: Shoot the glass!


Powell: I shot a kid.


Powell (vo; on radio): Oh, it was dark. I couldn't see him.

Powell: You know, when you're a rookie, they can teach you everything about being a cop except how to live with a mistake.


Theo: Merry Christmas.


Agent "Little" Johnson: We've shut them down. We let them sweat for a while, then we give them helicopters.

Agent "Big" Johnson: Right up the ass.


Agent "Big" Johnson (vo; on radio): The State Department has arranged for the return of your comrades.

Gruber (vo; on radio): We'll be ready.

Agent "Big" Johnson: By the time he figures out what hit him, he'll be in a body bag.


McClane: I'm starting to get a bad feeling up here.


McClane: Will you tell her that, uh... John said... that he was sorry. OK? You got that, man?


Thornburg: You let me in right now, or I call the INS, comprende?


Holly: All right!


Gruber: Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker.

(McClane and Gruber starts to laugh)


McClane: No. This one's with me.


Thornburg: Now that it's all over, after this incredible ordeal, what are your feelings?

(Holly punches Thornburg on the nose and some people laughs at it)


McClane: Merry Christmas, Argyle.

(The "Christmas References" counter pops up, with the number 12 next to it)

Argyle: Merry Christmas.

(McClane and Holly enters the limo)

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

(The "Christmas References" counter pops up, with the number 13 next to it)

(The song Let It Snow began as the limo leaves Nakatomi Tower)

(The "Christmas References" counter pops up, with the number 10000000000000000000 next to it)


Channel Awesome Tagline: Gruber: Ho... ho... ho.

(The end credits roll)

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.