Die Hardis a 1988 American action film and the first in theDie Hardfilm 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 titledNothing Lasts Forever, itself a sequel to the bookThe 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 in his feature film debut as thief Hans Gruber. The film was followed by three sequels;Die Hard 2in 1990,Die Hard With A Vengeancein 1995, andLive Free or Die Hardin 2007.
On Christmas Eve , Detective John McClane of the New York City Police Department arrives in Los Angeles to reconcile with his estranged wife, Holly Gennaro-McClane. McClane is driven to the Nakatomi Plaza building for a company Christmas party by a limo driver named Argyle. The party is disrupted by the arrival of twelve armed men led by Hans Gruber. They cut the telephone lines and 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, barefoot , into a stairwell.
Gruber portrays himself to the police as a terrorist, but they are actually trying to steal $ 640 million in bearer bonds from the Nakatomi vault (Though it is later revealed that Gruber actually was a terrorist having gone rogue). When Nakatomi executive Joseph Takagi 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.
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 to investigate. Gruber sends his men, led by Karl, 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. Gruber's men then open fire on Powell, severely damaging his car, prompting Powell to call in back up. McClane explains the situation via the two-way radio as the police, led by Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson, 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 kills two of the terrorists attacking the SWAT team with C4. One of Holly's coworkers, Harry Ellis, 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 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, and then goes to the garage to retrieve an ambulance to be used as their getaway vehicle. Argyle rams his limo into the ambulance and knocks Theo unconscious.
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 shoot McClane, however, he discovers that McClane only trusted him enough to give him an unloaded gun. Gruber's men appear from an elevator and fire at McClane, who flees, 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 reporter Richard Thornburg mentioning that McClane is Holly's husband. The helicopter nearing with the FBI on board, Gruber orders the hostages to the roof, taking personal control over Holly. McClane arrives at the roof, dispatches the terrorists, including Karl, escorts the hostages, and scares the hostages back downstairs before the roof explodes. The subsequent explosion engulfs the FBI helicopters and kills everyone on board.
Realising Gruber holds Holly, McClane offers to give himself over, and uses a feint to shoot Gruber in the shoulder and Gruber's last armed henchman in the head. Gruber falls backwards through a window, still hanging onto Holly by her watch. McClane unclasps Holly's watch in time while Gruber falls 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. Thornburg arrives and attempts to get a quote from McClane but is punched in the nose by Holly. John and Holly are driven off by Argyle.