Die Hard is a 1988 American action film and the first in the Die Hard film series. The film was directed by John McTiernan and written by Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Souza. It is based on a 1979 novel by Roderick Thorp titled Nothing Lasts Forever, itself a sequel to the book The Detective, which was previously made into a 1968 film starring Frank Sinatra. The film was produced by Lawrence and Charles Gordon, along with Joel Silver. It stars Bruce Willis as NYPD officer John McClane, Bonnie Bedelia as his wife, Holly, and Alan Rickman as thief Hans Gruber. The film was followed by three sequels; Die Hard 2 in 1990, Die Hard With A Vengeance in 1995, and Live Free or Die Hard in 2007.
On Christmas Eve, Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) of the New York City Police Department arrives in Los Angeles to reconcile with his estranged wife, Holly Gennaro-McClane (Bonnie Bedelia). McClane is driven to the Nakatomi Plaza building for a company Christmas party by a limo driver named Argyle (De'voreaux White). The party is disrupted by the arrival of twelve international terrorists led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman). The terrorists cut the telephone lines, seal the building doors, trapping Argyle and the limo inside the parking garage and replacing the building guard with one of their own men. Hans and his group secure the party goers as hostages, but McClane manages to slip into the stairwell of the building. Gruber portrays himself to the police as a terrorist working towards various extremist goals, but it is revealed that they are actually trying to steal $640 million in bearer bonds from the Nakatomi vault. When Nakatomi executive Joseph Takagi (James Shigeta) refuses to reveal the code for one of the vault's seven locks, Gruber executes him. Gruber orders Theo (Clarence Gilyard), the technical member of his team, to break through the locks on the vault. Theo reminds Hans that the final lock is powered by circuits that cannot be cut locally. Gruber promises to handle the last lock. McClane moves through the building, hiding from or shooting the terrorists he sees. He learns more of their objectives while acquiring a two-way radio and C4 explosives. McClane uses the radio to attract the attention of the LAPD, who send Sergeant Al Powell (Reginald VelJohnson) to investigate. Gruber sends his men, led by Karl (Alexander Godunov), to kill McClane and retrieve the detonators. Fooled by the impostor guard, Powell is about to leave when McClane drops the corpse of a terrorist onto Powell's police car. At the same moment one of Gruber's men opens fire on Powell, severely damaging his car as Powell calls in back up. McClane explains the situation via the two-way radio as the police, led by Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson (Paul Gleason), arrive. The police send in a SWAT team and an armored vehicle. McClane and Powell are unable to prevent the SWAT team from being ambushed, but McClane manages to kill the terrorists attacking the SWAT team with C4. One of Holly's coworkers, Harry Ellis (Hart Bochner), tries to negotiate with Hans and McClane for the return of the detonators. McClane refuses to return them, and Gruber shoots Ellis. The FBI arrive, in the form of Special Agent Johnson (Robert Davi) and Agent Johnson (Grand L. Bush), and take control from the police. They order the power to the building shut down, which deactivates the vault's final lock as Gruber had anticipated. Theo ransacks the now open vault, loading the bearer bonds into an ambulance to be used as their getaway vehicle. McClane continues to sneak through the building to detain the terrorists. When he finds Gruber working at the explosives planted on the roof, Gruber passes himself off as a terrified hostage who escaped. McClane makes friendly conversation and gives Gruber a pistol; when Gruber attempts to fire the weapon at McClane, however, it is discovered that McClane inserted an empty magazine in the gun and gave him the gun to test his trustworthiness. As this happens, Gruber's men appear from an elevator and fire at McClane, who is forced to flee, leaving behind the detonators. The roof is rigged to explode with the detonators, and Gruber lures the FBI into the trap by asking for helicopter transport for him and his men to Los Angeles International Airport in exchange for the hostages; Gruber plans to use the roof explosion to make the authorities believe him to be dead and allow him to escape with the bonds. As the helicopters travel to the scene, Gruber observes a television news story from investigative reporter Richard Thornburg (William Atherton) and learns that Holly is McClane's wife. With the helicopter nearing with both agents Johnson on board, Gruber orders the hostages to the roof, taking personal control over Holly. McClane arrives at the roof, dispatches the terrorists escorting the hostages including Karl, and scares the hostages back downstairs before the roof explodes. The subsequent explosion engulfs the FBI helicopters, killing both Johnsons. At the final confrontation, realizing Gruber holds Holly and that he is down to his last two bullets, McClane offers to give himself over, and uses the feint to shoot Gruber in the shoulder and Gruber's last armed henchman, Eddie (Dennis Hayden) in the head. Gruber falls backwards through a window, still hanging onto Holly by her watch, and attempts to drag her along with him, but McClane is able to unclasp Holly's watch in time and catch her while Gruber falls 32 stories to his death. McClane and Holly are escorted from the building, meeting Powell in person. Karl, whom McClane had thought was dead, is helped out of the building as if he was one of the hostages before he rises up with a gun and points it at McClane. Karl is shot by Powell before he can open fire, and Argyle comes crashing out the parking garage in the limo, after having detained Theo attempting to escape in the ambulance. Thornburg arrives and attempts to get one last quote from McClane but instead gets a punch to the nose from Holly for carelessly endangering both her and the children earlier. John and Holly are then driven off by Argyle.  German version In the German dub, the names and backgrounds of the German-born terrorists were changed into English forms (mostly into their British equivalents, with the exception of Marco and Franco, who remained Italian as they were in the original English version): Hans became Jack, Karl became Charlie, Heinrich turned into Henry. In the scene where John is writing down the names of the terrorists, a voiceover in the German version says "I'm gonna call you Hans and Karl, just like the two evil giants in the fairy tale" while referring to them as Jack and Charlie later. The new background depicts them as some internationally organized terrorists having gone freelance and for profit rather than ideals. This was because German terrorism (especially by the Red Army Faction) was still considered a sensitive issue by the West German government in the 1980s.