Die Hard

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)

Continuity mistake: When Takagi explains to the terrorists that, "he doesn't have that code," the trees outside the window are clearly swaying in the wind. The next shot is a panoramic view of the room, but now, the trees outside are still. (00:27:50)

Other mistake: When John is on the roof being shot at, he shoots the lock off a door before charging through it. We see a close up of the door as it's shot, and there's a blood smear already on it. He then goes through it shoulder first, which is what would leave a smear like that - must be from an earlier take.

1

Continuity mistake: The scene after John jumps from the roof and enters the building, he jumps in a pond of water to evade the helicopter blast and comes out completely drenched, but in the next scene he is completely dry.

Kamal
1

Visible crew/equipment: Just after John has shot Hans, he falls and smashes the glass window. Look behind him: you can see a wire in two shots. It's meant to hold the stunt double for either Holly or Hans. No slow-mo required.

Continuity mistake: When McClane has killed the first terrorist and sends him down the lift, McClane is hidden in the lift shaft. During the ensuing conversation McClane writes the names "Hans" and "Karl" on his wrist in permanent marker. This disappears in the next scene.

skegjon

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)

Other mistake: When the terrorists shoot the armoured vehicle from high up in the building, the angle at which the rocket launcher is fired seen from inside the building is simply wrong for a target that is virtually directly below them. The angle shown would have hit much further away. This is true for both shots but more obvious for the second one.

tw_stuart

Character mistake: The psychologist on the TV news is talking about the "Helsinki syndrome", the news anchor comments that Helsinki is in Sweden (before being corrected). There is no such thing as a Helsinki syndrome. However there is a thing called the "Stockholm syndrome". This refers to an actual hostage situation in 1973 in Stockholm, Sweden, when bank robbers held the staff in a bank hostage for several days. During the time in the vault, the hostage and the bank robbers developed a strange kind of friendship, and this is called "the Stockholm syndrome".

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.

Continuity mistake: When the box truck (carrying the thief gang) drives down the ramp and the grey Mercedes continues on, you can see that the driver of the Mercedes is a white male without glasses. A minute later, the grey Mercedes pulls up to the front of Nakatomi Plaza. Alexander Gudunov gets out on the passenger side, and the driver gets out: he's now a black male with glasses.

fargo1

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.

Continuity mistake: When John and Karl are fighting and Karl reaches for the gun lying on the floor, John legs it out of an open door. Karl fires two shots, the first hits John and the second sprays blood all over the door. (01:47:35)

Continuity mistake: After McClane "kills" Karl by hanging him with the chain, Karl can be spotted at the top of the stairs on the right side as McClane is reloading his gun. (01:53:30)

Continuity mistake: During the fight between Karl and McClane, Karl shoots at John and it hits him in the shoulder. That wound then disappears and reappears several times throughout the movie.

Kamal

Continuity mistake: After John McClain has jumped off the top of the building, and the firehose hanger has got stuck to the railing, he has stopped at the top of the window, but in the next shot he is near the middle. (01:51:55)

barryween23

Revealing mistake: Having leapt from the rooftop, Bruce has his feet planted on the window. As he then goes to push himself back in order to smash the glass with his gun shots watch the rope. Someone above has kindly held the rope out several meters away from the building in the next shot, allowing him to get a much bigger swing.

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)

Revealing mistake: Bruce Willis jumps off the roof with the firehose. The hose hanger breaks off the wall and apparently gets stuck in the railings. The shot is very careless: slow motion shows that the firehose doesn't get stuck, but simply clings like a magnet to the top of the railings. (01:51:50)

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

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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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