the book that inspired die hard

(This week marks the 30th anniversary of Die Hard, arguably the greatest action movie of all time. To celebrate, /Film is exploring the film from every angle with a series of articles. Today: a look back at the 1979 novel that inspired the film.)

There are few movies that bring me pure, unadulterated joy the way John McTiernan’s Die Hard brings me joy. Recently, I flew from New York to Los Angeles for the first time and as I looked around the Los Angeles airport, I couldn’t help but shake my head and say “California” with pure disdain. In truth, I have no beef with the state, but I had just traveled the same route that John McClane took nearly 30 years earlier and I wasn’t going to miss my opportunity of recreation.

In fact, the purpose of this trip was to celebrate my birthday with a Die Hard drinking game party. I visited Fox Plaza (the real Nakatomi Plaza), soaked in the lobby (which looks similar despite the Peet’s Coffee), and stole a rock from the courtyard as a souvenir (don’t report me).

After 30 years, Die Hard remains the best and most quintessential action film of all time. If you hold this movie close to your heart, well, welcome to the party, pal. But the film began its life as something very different: a 1979 thriller novel called Nothing Lasts Forever.

Read More »

Die Hard interviews

(This week marks the 30th anniversary of Die Hard, arguably the greatest action movie of all time. To celebrate, /Film is exploring the film from every angle with a series of articles. Today: the cast and crew look back on the making of an action classic.)

John McTiernan‘s 1988 action tour de force is one of my favorite movies ever made. It’s a masterclass on every level: building entertaining characters, crafting escalating action, establishing and navigating geography, and putting an empathetic hero through the ringer in the face of extraordinary odds. McTiernan and his collaborators made this all look easy, but as the rash of Hollywood imitators that followed quickly proved, it was anything but.

Die Hard turns 30 years old this weekend, and to celebrate, I spoke with cinematographer Jan de Bont, writer Steven E. de Souza, and actor Reginald VelJohnson (who played Sergeant Al Powell) about why the film still holds up, how some of its most memorable scenes came together, and much more.  Read More »

The 9 Best and Worst ‘Die Hard’ Knock-Offs

die hard

(This week marks the 30th anniversary of Die Hard, arguably the greatest action movie of all time. To celebrate, /Film is exploring the film from every angle with a series of articles. Today: examining the film’s legacy through the numerous rip-offs and knock-offs it inspired in the ’90s.)

If you’ve ever seen the Honest Trailer for Die Hard, then you may recall the lightning round of references at the end riffing on how it was “the original masterpiece that inspired countless knockoffs.” Director John McTiernan’s 1988 film redefined Bruce Willis as an action star and gave rise to a pervasive action-movie formula in which the proverbial one man *epic movie trailer voice* is trapped in a single setting with a bunch of bad guys.

Owing to this, the movie’s title has become a metonym used to refer to other flicks with similar plots. “Die Hard on a plane, Die Hard on a train,” etc. If you grew up during the heyday of ‘90s action movies like I did, then it’s possible you may have been snapping open Blockbuster Video cases to watch some of these flicks at home in your living room before you ever even saw Die Hard or realized that it had influenced them.

As we celebrate its 30th anniversary here on /Film, let’s take a look back at nine key instances from the ‘90s where Hollywood movies recapitulated the Die Hard formula and in some cases launched or reinvented the careers of other notable action movie stars and franchises. Viewed with an appreciation for genre history, these nine derivative actioners (coupled with some honorable mentions from the ’90s and beyond) still hold rewatch value, while illuminating special aspects of Die Hard and showing how it was the gift that kept on giving.

Spoilers for all of these movies lie ahead.

Read More »

Gallery 1988 30 Years Later

Every year, Gallery 1988 takes an opportunity to look back 30 years by featuring pop culture artwork inspired by the movies that came out three decades previously. This year it just so happens that the flashback is the same year of their namesake: 1988.

The entire gallery of pieces from the Gallery 1988 30 Years Later art show is available, and it features artwork from movies such as Beetlejuice, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Child’s Play, Die Hard, The Land Before Time, Twins, Bloodsport, Big, Coming to America, The Naked Gun and more.

Gallery 1988 30 Years Later Art Gallery

As you can see, there’s far more representation for Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Beetlejuice, two of the most popular movies of the year. But there’s plenty of love for some of the other hits of the year as well. Personally, I wish that the Best Picture winning Rain Man was featured in this collection, but maybe that’s just me.

Featured artists for this show include Xander Lee, Shian Ng, Simon Delart, Nicholas Moegly, Matthew Lineham, Josh Eckert, John Barry Ballaran, Jason Yang, James Loram, Hans Woody, Fiona McCall, Erin Hunting, Danny Haas, Daniel Clark, Dan Nash, Chris McGuire, Catherine Moor, Bruce White and many more.

This is just a sample of our favorite pieces from the new art show. You can check out a bunch more pieces available, including some sculptures and originals, over at the Gallery 1988 shop. Some of the prints are already sold out, but there are plenty of others with larger edition sizes for you to pick up.

sequel bits IT 2

In this edition of sequel bits:

  • It 2 working title revealed
  • Rob Zombie begins shooting Devil’s Rejects sequel Three From Hell
  • What’s up with Enchanted 2?
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger says Twins sequel Triplets is still happening
  • Michael Giacchino begins recording Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom score
  • Jeff Goldblum will play Ian Malcolm again in a Jurassic World videogame
  • An update on the new Die Hard sequel no one wants
  • Danny McBride provides an update on Halloween

Read More »

die hard

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the landmark film Die Hard. To children of the ‘80s, it feels like we’ve never not had Die Hard in our lives. New fans may not even realize how they’re still feeling the impact of Die Hard today.

/Film attended a 30th anniversary screening of Die Hard this week as part of Laemmle’s Anniversary Classics series. They screened a new 4K restoration of the film, which may have been sharper than the original film prints in 1988. Since most of the film is set at night in darkened building hallways, 4K makes sure every punch McClane throws lands clearly on a terrorists’ face.

Read More »

John McTiernan Art Show

For their last show of the year, Hero Complex Gallery decided to pay tribute to the director behind not only one of the best Christmas movies, but one of the best action movies ever made. In fact, director John McTiernan is responsible for several outstanding action thrillers, and many of them were given some outstanding new pieces of pop culture artwork for a show paying tribute to the films of John McTiernan.

If you’re looking for a place to burn some of your Christmas money, check out incredible new prints commemorating the likes of Die Hard, Predator, The Hunt for Red October, The Last Action Hero and even Medicine Man and The 13 Warrior. See our favorites below. Read More »

Stephen Colbert - Silence of the Lambs - Morning Watch

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, Kevin Smith gives a lengthy video review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Plus, learn the cost of certain  residences and buildings from famous Christmas movies and see Jodie Foster reprise her role as Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lambs in a sketch from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Read More »

die hard

This is not the first time Mondo has tackled Die Hard, but it is the first time Olly Moss, one of the most talented poster artists working today, has tackled the 1988 action classic. A new Olly Moss Die Hard poster was revealed today and will go on sale tomorrow, alongside a new poster based on the comic book series Mouse Guard. You can check them both out below.

Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Die Hard Christmas Book

It’s hard for some to accept the fact that Die Hard is a Christmas movie, and therefore even harder for them to accept that it’s one of the best holiday movies ever made. But that’s just a fact. Now you can relive the story every Christmas in a new way, thanks to an abridged, illustrated adaptation of the classic action movie coming to shelves in October.

Inspired by the famous poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” Insight Editions is publishing A Die Hard Christmas: The Illustrated Holiday Classic, which looks like the perfect way to spend a night while roasting chestnuts by an open fire. Check out some pages from the Die Hard Christmas book below. Read More »