Make us your home page

The best action movie of the '80s turns 25 years old this week



Die Hard, the movie that salvaged the career of Bruce Willis and began the amazing career of Alan Rickman, turns 25 years old this week. The movie, which I believe is easily the best action movie of the '80s was released -- depending on what source you believe -- on July 15 or July 22 in 1988.

When the movie came out, Willis was becoming a footnote in Hollywood. His turn as David Addison on Moonlighting had grown stale. He'd make a couple stinker movies -- Blind Date and The Return of Bruno -- though let's face it: The worst was yet to come (Hudson Hawk, Striking Distance). Meanwhile, Rickman, who played the deliciously evil Hans Gruber, was making his feature film debut after a career largely constructed of TV mini-series.

But what else do you remember from the original Die Hard? Here are five things we never knew about John McClane and friends.

1. PICK AN ACTOR, ANY ACTOR: The role of McClain was originally offered to Nike Nolte, who turned it down. Other actors considered before Willis were Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Tom Berenger, Charles Bronson, Burt Reynolds, Richard Gere, Harrison Ford, Richard Dean Anderson and Mel Gibson.

2. WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE: Only Rickman is speaking correct German. The other terrorists are speaking fragments of German and what they're saying in meaningless. When the movie was released in Germany, the terrorists were recast as being from "Europe" and their German names (Karl, Hans) were turned into English names (Charlie, Henry).

3. ONE EVIL WIFE: Bonnie Bedelia, who plays McClane's estranged wife, was personally recommended by Willis. Bedelia had previously been nominated for a Golden Globe for playing drag-racer Shirley Muldowney in 1983's Heart Like a Wheel. She'd play another notable wife role opposite Harrison Ford in Presumed Innocent in 1990.

4. HOME SUITE HOME: The Nakatomi tower is the real-life headquarters of 20th Century Fox. The company charged itself rent for the use of the then unfinished building. The building is a popular photo stop for tourists, though it's rumored the company tries to discourage it.

5. THE BIG LINE: The line "Yippee-ki-yay, motherf-----!" is used in every Die Hard movie and is listed as No. 97 among the Top 100 Greatest Movie Lines by Premiere magazine.

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 9:00am]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours