Die Hard

Factual error: Powell says he has a desk job, but he is driving a cruiser. Cruisers are for cops on patrol. A cruiser would not be issued for a cop at a desk, especially not one who's on his way home, as Al says he is.

5
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Suggested correction: Obviously, since he is out on patrol he's finally back in the field.

Jason Hoffman

He wasn't on patrol, that's the point of the mistake. Powell would never had been in a cruiser (and shouldn't have been asked to check out of the situation). Powell says to McClane "I'm just a desk jockey who was on my way home when you rang." To which McClane says "the way you drove that car I figured you for the street, Al" (meaning patrol). Powell replies "in my youth. In my youth." Ever since Powell shot the kid by mistake, he's been on desk duty and afraid to pull his gun on anyone.

Bishop73
1

That could have been his own choice though, he could still be an actual street cop but prefers to hang around his desk. That way he still drives a patrol car.

lionhead

Factual error: Throughout the film, characters are able to break through on radio transmissions and speak to the other person talking, and the other person would hear them. In reality, they would have to wait until the first transmitter un-keyed the radio before any other discernable radio traffic could have be heard. (A good example of this is the scene where Ellis is giving up McClane.) (01:18:40)

14

Factual error: The cops try to get in the building by cutting some metal part of the door, it might be the lock. All they have to do is break the glass. SWAT teams aren't going to worry about a bit of property damage with hostages' lives on the line.

4
Die Hard mistake picture

Factual error: When Willis kills the terrorist and throws him out the window onto the police car, the body lands on the windshield, and it shatters into little bits. The windshields on 80's cars were double paned with a thin, strong plastic between each pane, to keep them from breaking into little bits in accidents. Only the side and back windows would shatter like that. (00:54:45)

Factual error: The rocket-launcher used to destroy the LAPD Armoured car appears to be a French 'MISTRAL' infra-red homing, man-portable surface-to-air missile that is meant for shooting down aircraft and is not designed for a surface target role. Even if the missile seeker could acquire a surface target like the armored car as a correct infra-red signature (required before it will fire), its flight profile would not be suitable for attack and it would probably not even arm the missile warhead at such a close distance. The missile is also not re-loadable in the manner shown.

1

Factual error: Bruce Willis arrives in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve around 6 p.m. There is no way we would see that beautiful golden sunset we see. During that time of the year, the sun would have set more than an hour earlier. (00:07:50)

Factual error: The shrink on the news refers to the Helsinki syndrome. This should be the Stockholm syndrome. Being an expert, he should know the difference, and there's no suggestion it's a deliberate oversight to imply a lack of knowledge. (01:25:25)

Factual error: John McClane wraps a fire hose around his waist, uses it to jump 100 feet until the coil catches the lip of the building, and the hose catches him. This should have seriously injured him due to the inelastic material fire hoses are made of, and the fact that he was not wearing a safety harness, but he barely gets the wind knocked out of him.

Factual error: When the police officer first comes to the tower and looks around there is a football game the terrorist is watching on television. The movie takes place on Christmas Eve. The Southern California vs. Notre Dame game, which is the one being played in the movie, is a classic rivalry game played in either late November or early October. This is especially true in 1988 as ND and USC were ranked 1 and 2. Notice the terrorist display displeasure when the announcer notes that ND just scored. USC is the home town team. It is also apparent that the game is being played during daylight hours, but at this point it is dark outside.

Factual error: The walkie talkies used are Kenwood TH21BT 2 meter VHF ham radio walkie talkies. Stubby rubber ducky antennas, if they are made for VHF, wouldn't transmit very far - likely they are UHF antennas which is even worse. The police dispatchers would not be listening to them on any Channel 9 on 2 meter or 440 Mhz ham radio. Also Al Powell would not have a radio for that in his car. If there was a Channel 9, an emergency channel, Hans Gruber's radio would not have been tuned to that during John McClane's rooftop call for help picked up by police - monitoring channel 9? Also on Thornberg's desk at the TV station there is a Kenwood TS-711 according to RigPix Database info (I thought it was an HF rig) - with the proper antenna it would allow Thornberg to communicate from his office with John McClane and the terrorists. But why would he need to do that? He doesn't seem to be the kind of guy to have an All Mode (FM, SSB, CW) VHF transceiver on his desktop. Probably most hams don't even have that. Maybe an FM 2 meter and 440, maybe an HF or HF and 6 Meters. But only a VHF all mode (expensive for single purpose) interested ham radio operator would have such a rig.

Factual error: The news reporter is listening to the police scanner, when Willis is heard talking, the channel lights that blink on the scanner are supposed to stop on the channel being used, but they keep flashing. (00:55:50)

Factual error: Cutting through phone lines will not electrocute you. At best there a 80v AC ringing current per line which gives a mild shock. Also, when the technical expert kits the data cabinets the sensitive electrical equipment is highly unlikely to explode in a shower of sparks.

PeterAkelaAllen

Factual error: If the hose hanger isn't heavy enough to instantly yank McClane out of the window, but instead slowly pulls him down, then it should be light enough for McClane to simply stand up and reel it in. If his weight is enough to slow the hanger's decent, then that means it only weighs slightly more than he does. He should have no trouble standing up and walking backwards to pull the hanger back up. The mistake is that the hanger pulls him slowly at all, it should have yanked him directly out of the window the second the line ran out of slack because McClane is not anchored to the floor in any way. This scene suggest that the hanger is both heavy enough to pull McClane but light enough that McClane's weight significantly slows it, which is impossible.

BaconIsMyBFF
Die Hard mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When the terrorists launch the rocket at the RV, they break the same window of the building twice. (01:11:55)

More mistakes in Die Hard

John McClane: A hundred million terrorists in the world and I gotta kill one with feet smaller than my sister.

More quotes from Die Hard

Trivia: The teddy bear that Bruce Willis brings to his son is the same bear Alec Baldwin brings home to his daughter at the end of "The Hunt for Red October," which is another John McTiernan film.

Cubs Fan
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Question: Why didn't Hans Gruber simply place 5 hostages in a room and threaten to blow their brains out if John McClane doesn't hand himself in? John McClane is the good guy with a conscience and Hans Gruber is the ruthless killer that kills 2 people in a heartbeat, John would have been forced to hand himself in or be responsible for their deaths. Even if Hans didn't want to kill anyone, he could have pretended to shoot people one by one. John wouldn't know any better.

Answer: We don't know what John would have done in that circumstance. Obviously Hans was planning to kill everyone with the explosives anyway at the end. Perhaps John would have suspected that. Also, doing that would invite more police incursions.

Greg Dwyer

The fact that we don't know how John McClane would have acted doesn't remove the fact that it would most likely have been a good way to coax him out. Also, depending on when Hans Gruber would have decided do implement this strategy, John probably wouldn't have known about the explosives on the roof as he only finds out about them at the 3rd act break. As for the "more police incursions" part, I couldn't disagree more; Hans already killed two hostages - one on speaker with the police -, all the cops in LA seem to be there already, and don't forget that the involvement of the FBI is part of their plan anyway. This is definitely the one major plot hole of this otherwise perfect film.

It would have been, but plenty of movie plots don't pan out the "perfect" way without it being a plot hole. Killing Ellis is a reasonable first step, it doesn't work, and then the events of the plot pick up pace - Gruber goes to check the detonators, as that's a priority. He's hoping/assuming they can get through the rest of their plan by isolating McClane, or at least prevent him causing more chaos. They want the power shut off - they don't want to cause such massive carnage that the building is stormed before then. They need to get helicopters, blow the roof, and escape as planned. Hans doesn't want to derail things any more than they already have been.

Jon Sandys Premium member

Seems to me like they have all their bases covered; the police isn't even able to get in with a tank as he blows them up so I don't think the police "storming the building" is even a possibility in the reality of the film. Also, after blowing up that tank, that's two hostages and a bunch of cops dead so I would say the situation is pretty derailed. Everything is going as planned for Hans and his team, except for McClane, so he should be in damage control mode and this is an obvious solution. He doesn't even have to change his plans, just tell McClane he's gonna kill one hostage every 10 minutes until he shows up unarmed and tell one of his henchmen guarding the hostages to do it while they go along with the plan and maybe even try to find McClane at the same time. I think this is something Hans should have at least considered, but the screenwriters just didn't think about it/didn't want to address because they couldn't think of a good reason for him not to do it.

There are no cops dead, Hans says "Just wound them" and despite the awesome explosion, the APC isn't actually penetrated or destroyed. But Hans needed this to turn into a standoff, a show of force would prevent a SWAT raid from expediting the deadline, he needed to get all of the hostages up on the roof to make his getaway downstairs, and executing a bunch of them would bring suspicion onto how cooperative he is (His plan to blow up the roof relies heavily on the police sending in choppers) they cooperate with him, which they won't do if they think Hans is a crazed lunatic who's only interested in more and more carnage, if he wounds the cops and only shows he can defend himself, and that he was being reasonable. The cops would play ball, and they would believe he's willing to spare the hostages lives, plus he always planned on taking one hostage as a contingency, if they thought they were gonna be killed they'd become a liability. Patton Oswalt talks of a real plothole though lol.

John McClane would know they'd kill him as soon as he shows up, as soon as he heard "We'll have to tell Karl that his brother is dead" he knew that all bets were off, he lost his chance to end it civil, if they had no personal connection to the first terrorist John kills then maybe putting 5 people into a room and doing an Air Force One on them would work, but not when John knows he'll be body number 6. Al says it best "If he gave himself up they'd both be dead" with Ellis execution, John watched them take control of the hostages, watched them execute the Takagi, and when the first Terrorist thinks he's found John he shoots first after saying "I promise I won't hurt you" and then taking his bag and realizing how well financed and equipped, these guys weren't domestic terrorists, they used serious money, serious contacts, and serious planning to get themselves into this building on this night. He knew the only way to play ball with them was fists and elbows.

Hans thought Ellis was a good friend of John's and John still didn't give up when he was going to shoot him. If John wouldn't save his friend, why would he care about others. Plus Hans told Karl earlier he could stall the police but not if they heard gun shots. The police would have absolutely stormed the building if he started killing the hostages.

Zorz
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