Die Hard

Question: On the some versions (TV), when Al walks in the lobby to check it out, right before he gets to the elevators and then leaves, the camera pans to the left and you see a terrorist with a machine gun waiting for him. On other versions (VHS) you don't see this terrorist. Why? NOTE: I've seen both on the same TV set.

Answer: The most likely reason is that the two versions have been "panned and scanned" differently. In the original theater version, both things are on screen at the same time at opposite sides of the screen. In one version, the person who did the TV P&S (not someone associated with the making of the film) chose to move the view from one side of the original picture to the other, showing the terrorist, while the person who did the VHS P&S stayed focused on one side of the frame, only showing Al.


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

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.

Just because a character doesn't do a thing I doesn't make it a plot hole. The plot was that he didn't do it. You may consider a different approach "better" but that's irrelevant. You may as well try to argue that any character choice that doesn't fit with a perceived meta is a plot hole. It isn't, it's just the plot.

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.


Answer: Hans Gruber needed the last vault lock to open by cutting off the electricity, he didn't wanna escalate it further so that the FBI would start getting more aggressive, he needed them to play ball so he could make it seem like he's just a terrorist who martyr's himself and the hostages, and by the time they figured out him and his men aren't among the remains, they'll already have left in the basement with the ambulance. Shooting 5 people would have escalated it to the point that the FBI wouldn't play ball with him.

Chosen answer: There was never 1 movie that spoofed Die Hard but they were spoofed in many movies. Here is the IMDB link where you can see all the movies they were spoofed in: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095016/movieconnections.


Answer: There was a Netflix movie in 2018 that directly spoofed "Die Hard." It's called "Game Over, Man!"

Question: If the guy at the reception desk knew that the only ones left in the building were on the 30th floor, why did he tell John to use the screen?

Answer: Most large companies, particularly hi-tech or multinational ones, require visitors to check-in, especially afterhours. By having John search for Holly's name, it can be verified that he actually knows someone who works there, that there is an actual employee with that name, and otherwise assess whether John is a legitimate visitor. This scene's real purpose, however, is for plot exposition. John learns from the monitor that Holly now goes by her maiden name (Gennero) rather than her married surname. We see John's annoyed reaction to learning this, which sets up a later confrontation between him and Holly over their troubled marriage.


Answer: Any answer is speculation; but a simple explanation is he may have forgotten the only people left were there for the Xmas party until John mentioned the 30th floor. The guard also seems fairly proud of their new high-tech touchscreen system so he might have just had John use it to show off how nice the building is.


Answer: Most likely he just wanted to showcase a nifty (by 80s standards) piece of technology to a visitor.

Jukka Nurmi

Answer: The party was on the 30th floor and John was asking for a specific employee, his wife. He had no idea where she was exactly.

Question: When Karl is cutting the phone lines with the chainsaw, what is his brother yelling at him in German?

Cubs Fan

Chosen answer: He is shouting "No, no, I'm not finished here!" as presumably if the lines are cut before he's finished rerouting them (or whatever exactly he's doing) an alarm or similar will be tripped.

Question: When John's infamous vest comes out and we can see his shoulders, he appears to have a scar on the front of one of his shoulders. Is this a genuine scar from earlier in Willis' life or was it put in by the makers of this film to add to the character? As far as I'm aware they never reference it in the film, which makes me think it is a genuine real life scar.

Answer: The scar is real and runs about half the length of his arm. It is a surgical scar from an operation he got at 17 to fix complications from a broken arm.


Question: When John is first on the construction floor, he looks across and the shot lingers on a woman in another building. There doesn't seem to be any real point to that shot - am I missing something?

Answer: When Hans and the gang enter the floor and take everyone hostage, that's when John's phone gets cut out while talking to Argyle in the garage. He then escapes up to the unfinished floors and sees the construction foreman's phone and runs over to try that phone and of course the same thing; the phone is dead. He looks out the window and sees the woman talking on her phone in the adjacent building and it confirms to John that the Nakatomi Towers phone lines have been cut since it's not affecting the building next door.

Answer: He's waiting to see if she looks in his direction, so he can try to signal her. She doesn't, so he moves on.

If you look closely, she is talking on the phone, which confirms to John that the phone lines had been cut.

Question: It is quite obvious that both Hans and Karl are Germans. So how is this possible that, when Hans ordered Karl to shoot the glass (Schieß dem Fenster) in German, Karl didn't understand it? He complied with this order only after Hans repeated it in English.

Answer: Karl understood what Hans was saying in German. He hesitated because he was puzzled by the request, probably unaware, unlike Hans, that John would have to run through shattered glass while barefooted. Hans repeating it in English is merely a plot device so that the audience understands what he's saying without subtitles being used and it emphasizes Hans' urgency.


My interpretation is that when Hans said it in German, he said it too quietly for Karl to hear. When Hans repeated his command in English, he said it louder.

Question: As Al arrives, the terrorists run to a window and talk in German, laughing at him. What are they saying?

Answer: Based on the original film, it's almost impossible to say, as the actors could not actually speak German and were faking it. A search of the Die Hard script shows no specific German words or phrases, only vague notations such as "they speak briefly in German"; so, the German dialogue scenes were improvised outside of the script. Thus, most of the terrorists' "German" dialogue is incoherent gibberish with terrible pronunciation and grammar, such that it's incomprehensible. When they released this film in Germany, they even changed the terrorists' nationality from German to "European" (rather than insult German audiences with the garbled, nonsensical dialogue). Supposedly, when the movie was first released on VHS, they went back and dubbed in real German dialogue, but I've never seen or heard that version.

Charles Austin Miller

Answer: "nür einmal" - literally "only one"

"Nür ein mann" - literally "only one man".

Answer: I wonder why they didn't take the German subbed version for it where they say "Wieviele Bullen sind es?" to which the other one replies "Nur so ein Fettsack" which translates to "how many cops are there?" "Just one fat guy" and is grammatically correct.

Answer: I always thought that they were discussing the fact that it was just the one policeman responding. Something about einman meaning one man. But that's my broken gcse German from secondary school.

Alan Keddie

Answer: "Neuer ein man..." literally means 'One new man." But he says it more Anglicised so "neuer" sounds like English "newer."

Nür ein Mann is what's said - Only one man.

I believe it was 'nur ein man' - or 'only one man'.

Question: After the scene Ellis was killed in McClane talks to Powell and stands up. After which he meets Hans at the roof, why did he go to the roof at the time?


Chosen answer: McClane had gone to the roof where he could get better transmitter reception when he made the emergency call to police. Hans, meanwhile, had gone to the top floor to inspect the work that was being done to wire the roof with explosives. McClane ran into Hans on his way back down.


Question: Can someone please explain the scene where McClane and Hans are alone near the roof. Hans says his name is "Bill Clay" and the camera zooms in on a board with the name Clay on it. What is the significance of this? Does this give Hans away? And if so how?

Answer: No, this doesn't give Hans away - the zoom represents McClane checking the board out - getting proof that there is indeed a person in the building with that name (listed as W. Clay, for William). Hans has obviously done his homework, but McClane doesn't trust him anyway, hence the trick with the empty gun.


The zoom to the board occurs before McClane turns around to glance at it. Most likely Gruber was improvising here - he heeded a name, scanned the board quickly and picked one off it.

He doesn't turn - the name board is just behind Hans to his left, in John's direct eyeline.

Answer: John already knew what Hans looked like. He saw him through the vent on the top of the elevator (after sending Karl's brother down wearing the sweater) - He also saw Hans shoot Takagi (which is why he says "Just like you did with Takagi" after Hans says he's gonna count to three).

Answer: It ties in to the earlier scene when McClane first enters the lobby and has to look up his wife in the fancy directory. It seemed like a pointless scene, but it establishes that the ONLY people left in the building are on the 30th floor. Bill Clay works on the 29th floor, and so isn't actually in the building at all. Gruber doesn't know this, he just picked the name, and that is how McClane knew he was lying.

The people on the 30th floor were attending the party, regardless of what floor they worked on, so Clay could have been there. I agree with Tailkinker's answer about Hans having done his homework. It appears that Hans had noticed Clay's name on the board and improvised a cover. As the others indicated, McClane wasn't fooled, though I don't think McClane was positive it was Hans. He'd previously only caught glimpses of Hans while in the elevator and also when Takagi was shot, but he did not see his full-face or close-up. McClane likely recognized his voice, even with the American accent.


Question: What is the name of the song which plays when the safe is unlocked and the camera pans around inside?

Answer: "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's 9th Symphony.

Cubs Fan

Question: After Karl and his henchmen go up to the 33rd floor to help Hans, one of the henchmen is shot in his legs and dies. Then Hans throw himself to the floor to take his machine gun, while he's saying something in German. Can someone translate what he said, please?


Chosen answer: Hans tells Karl, "Schiess den Fenster" - "shoot the window, although he then translates it himself more broadly as "shoot the glass." By the way it is wrong German grammar and should be "Schieß auf das Fenster!"

Question: While running away from the bad guys, John McClane severely wounds feet by stepping on broken glass. Wouldn't his feet be at risk of infections if they were as severely wounded as shown in the movie? He's feet don't appear to have any infections.

Answer: Infections take time to set in. The whole events of this film take place over 1 evening. Not long enough for an infection to set in. Especially since he receives medical attention at the end.


How long would John have to go without getting medical for his feet to get infected?

Per a google search: "An infection can develop any time between two or three days after the cut occurred until it's healed."


Answer: Infections take a while to develop - the events of Die Hard are borderline real time, and given the injuries happen towards the end of the film, that's way too soon for any significant side effects.

Answer: As mentioned, it would take time for an infection to set in. Also, even though John had some nasty cuts, it doesn't necessarily mean they will become infected and could heal without any complications as long as the feet are cleaned and bandaged.


Question: At the start of the movie we see McClane arriving on the plane and he has his gun on him, would a detective really be allowed to carry his gun on board a plane?

dan coakley..

Chosen answer: Yes, at the time this film was made; McClane would only need to have his badge and credentials verified by airport security.


I'm not sure how this works now but even as recently as 10 years ago, many departments required off-duty carry, except in certain situations. Now I know it's optional for many.

Question: My question is about radio chatter. Sometimes in the movie McClane talks on the radio and the bad guys hear him, and sometimes the bad guys talk and everybody hears. Now there are times that McClane is talking to the Sergeant and it appears only him and the Sergeant are listening - can everyone listen to them? Also when talking with Theo about the safe, can McClane hear their conversation?

Pedro Teixeira De Freitas

Chosen answer: The gangster/terrorists were using a set of what are called "commercial" or business walkie-talkies which have special, dedicated channels so that they only communicate with other radios within the set. These are typically used by security and event-staff personnel, and they can't be monitored by general-purpose or citizens-band radios. Even the police wouldn't be able to monitor commercial radio traffic unless they had special tuning gear and scanners. The major mistake in "Die Hard" was that John used one of those commercial radios to contact a police dispatcher and then an individual police officer. No can do.

Charles Austin Miller

Question: Why did John send the elevator down to floor 31 and then floor 30 with the body inside it? Wouldn't it have been better to send it straight to floor 30?

Answer: He sent the elevator down and stopped it halfway between floors so he could get on the top of the car. Once he's on top of the car, he won't be able to hit the button for the 30th floor, so he has to hit both buttons before he gets on top of the car.


Answer: I always thought of it more of a last resort thing. His plan was to get on top of it, but if he ran into issues he had time to get out. If he sent it to floor 30 and found out he couldn't stop it or anything to climb up on top, the baddies would have got hold of him. By sending it to 31 and then 30, if he found out he couldn't stop it then he'd just be able to get out on floor 31 instead meaning the baddies wouldn't catch him.

Question: Were the terrorists intending to blow up the entire building, as opposed to just the roof, to fake their deaths? If that's the case, then how can they continue with the plan to fake their deaths if McClane already took some of the explosives on the lower floor?


Answer: They were planning to blow up just the roof, with the hostages on it, while they (Hans and crew) were safely below, to make law enforcement, the FBI, etc. think they'd been killed along with everyone else in the roof explosion. The plan was to then escape with the loot in the ambulance that Theo was driving and flee the country before anyone could discover their bodies were not among the scores of others. The former element was foiled by McClane's intervention on the roof, leading Hans to activate the explosives prematurely, while the latter was stopped by Argyle when he t-boned the ambulance and punched Theo unconscious in the parking garage.

But what would cause the authorities to think that the terrorists would be on the roof when it blew up? They could have been on the bottom floor for all they knew. I remember the movie quite well, but may have missed a line that clarifies to the authorities that they were going to be on or close to the roof.


As Hans says: "When they touch down, we’ll blow the roof. They’ll spend a month sifting through rubble, and by the time they figure out what went wrong, we’ll be sitting on a beach, earning twenty percent." I don't think Hans was expecting the authorities to assume they were all dead forever, just cause enough carnage and confusion that they can escape. The FBI might think they were dead, or if nothing else not know where they went. The bodies McClane had left behind might even help muddy the waters. They could then escape to a non-extradition country and live in peace, no matter if anyone figured out they were alive or not.

Shortly after he kills Ellis, Hans radios Deputy Chief of police Dwayne T. Robison. He tells him to get his "comrades" released. He lists off several actual terrorists, then tells Dwayne that after those people are released, the hostages will be taken to the roof and accompany them by helicopter to the airport. Later, Agent Johnson of the FBI tells Hans that his demands have been met and that helicopters are en route as requested. That's why the Feds think the bad guys will be on the roof.


Question: John McClane wraps a fire hose around his waist, and uses it to jump 100 feet until the coil catches the lip of the building, the hose catches him. Wouldn't that have seriously injured him, given the inelastic materiel which fire hoses are made of, and the fact that he was not wearing a safety harness?

Answer: In reality, yes tying a fire hose (or any rope strong enough to hold your weight for that matter) around your waist and using it as shown in the film could cause serious injury. It was worth it to try, however because staying where he was would have meant certain death when the bomb explodes.


Question: Near the end of Die Hard, who is the terrorist carrying the bonds that Bruce knocks out? What happens to him? He obviously isn't dead from a punch. Just is out cold and on the floor as Bruce shoots Hans and the other terrorist.

Answer: There were a few terrorist survivors. Kristof the guy carrying the bonds, and also Theo, who Argyle knocked out, would be arrested and eventually sentenced to prison.


Die Hard mistake picture

Continuity mistake: After he climbs out of the air duct, John McClane's shirt goes from white to green. The dirt and grime from the air duct would cause discolouration only where the shirt comes in contact with the duct. However, his shirt is uniformly green including places that wouldn't make contact and it is impossible for all surfaces to make contact even in small areas. (00:23:05 - 00:56:30)


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