Die Hard

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

New this week 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

New this week 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?

New this week 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: 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.

Chosen 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.

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?

Kamal

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.

raywest

Question: Has Die Hard, Die Hard 2, Die Hard 3 and Live Free and Die Hard ever been spoofed? If so which ones and what is the film that spoofed it/them?

A Demon

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

SAZOO1975

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.

Chosen 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.

Myridon

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: 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.

Chosen 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.

LorgSkyegon

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.

zendaddy621

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: 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?

gambit

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 "SchieƟ auf das Fenster!"

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

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

Cubs Fan

New this month Question: What's with the scene where the cops drive towards the Nakotami building, but then turn around? Didn't Hans order 911 to be called so the FBI could be called out?

New this month Answer: It was all about timing. Hans' plan did require having the police and the F.B.I. involved eventually, but John McClane set off the fire alarm before Hans was ready for the authorities to intervene. That was why Hans then ordered Eddy, the terrorist impersonating the security guard at the front desk, to call 911 and cancel the alarm.

raywest

Question: How many hostages did Gruber take in total?

Answer: A head count was never given, but there appeared to be about 50 people.

raywest

New this month Answer: When John McClane went to the roof to call 911, on the Walkie Talkie, he said that the terrorists were holding 50 or so hostages.

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?

Chosen 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.

BaconIsMyBFF

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.

Chosen 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.

raywest

Question: In the scene where McClane kills the first terrorist,why doesn't he just shoot him? He wastes bullets and risks his life by fighting him. He's got a gun on him at point blank range,it would've been so much easier to just shoot him.

Chosen answer: As it is said during that scene, John is a cop, he won't shoot unless its neccessary. He is smart enough to try get information first. You can't get any information from a dead terrorist. Then when he tries to use force, the struggle eventuated. John actually didn't mean to kill him, he just so happened to be holding onto the right part of his head as they were rolling down the stairwell.

XIII

Question: Can someone please explain the scene where Mclain 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 signifcance of this? Does this give Hans away? And if so how?

Chosen 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.

Tailkinker

Question: When McClane kills one of the terrorists and sends him down the elevator, why the elaborate plan to send him down? He hits the buttons for floors 31 and 30, hits the stop button, props open the doors of the elevator and floor 32, crawls out, then flips the swith to run. As long something is in the door, it won't close. Why didn't he just put a chair in the doorway, put the bad guy in the elevator, hit floors 31 and 30, exit the elevator and remove the chair?

luchador

Chosen answer: He wants to ride on top of the elevator. If he did it the way you propose, he'd have to time it just right to reopen the doors on his floor and get on the roof without the elevator being too far down. By riding down in it, he allows himself to stop it past the point where the open doors on 32 will interfere with elevator operation, get out on 32, hit the switch to start the elevator again and still get on top before the elevator begins to descend to 30. It's all a matter of timing.

Kaite13
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Quotes

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

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Mistakes

In the first scene of the Christmas party when Takagi steps out of one the offices and greets a couple of his guests, the camera pans left to show the orchestra and other guests. A huge shadow of the camera and its operator is being shown on the back wall, then the stage light gets moved to light a different area and the shadow is gone.

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Trivia

During filming, Alan Rickman was found proficient at mimicking American accents; the scene in which McClane and Hans Gruber meet was then inserted.

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