Die Hard: 5 Crazy Facts You Never Knew About The Christmas Classic

How well do you know Bruce Willis's seminal 1988 thriller?

Die HardImage 20th Century Fox

Is it even Christmas if you don’t watch Die Hard? Forget Home Alone, Love Actually and Elf… the ultimate festive movie is, and will always be, Bruce Willis’s seminal 1988 thriller.

Nothing says Merry Christmas quite like John McClane defending a skyscraper from Hans Gruber’s international financial terrorists, and millions of us re-watch the classic movie every holiday season.

Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman give the performances of their careers in the seminal thriller, and it’s hard to believe they both made their first major film appearances in the movie.

In true Christmas spirit, discover 5 crazy facts about Die Hard below:


Bruce Willis became one of the biggest names in Hollywood after starring as John McClane, but he way by no means the first choice to for the role. Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Tom Berenger, Al Pacino and Michael Madsen all turned down the part before it was offered to Willis, who was known for the TV series Moonlighting at the time.


Clint Eastwood originally owned the rights to Robert Thorpe’s book Nothing Lasts Forever, which the film was based on. Eastwood thought about casting himself as John McClane, but nothing came of it. Incidentally, the novel is a sequel to The Detective, which was adapted for the Frank Sinatra movie of the same name in 1968. Sinatra was given first refusal on the role of John McClane due to a clause in his contract in the film. He was 73 at the time, and wisely turned it down.


The Nakatomi tower seen in the film is actually the building used as the 20th Century Fox headquarters in real life. The company, run by media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, charged itself rent to use the building during filming.


Die Hard is one of the many films referenced in The Simpsons. The movie makes an appearance in 2003 episode My Mother The Carjacker, where an FBI agent snooping on Homer discovers he writes to actual movies. The letter Homer wrote to Die Hard reads: “Dear, Die Hard, you rocked! The best part is when that guy was on the roof. PS: Do you know Mad Max.”


Alan Rickman made his first film appearance as Hans Gruber, but the part nearly went to someone else. It’s hard to imagine anyone but Rickman in the role, but Jurassic Park star Sam Neill was offered the chance to play the iconic villain and turned it down. Rickman himself had doubts over the taking the part, but went ahead with the movie – we’re so glad he did.

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