DIE HARD

1988

"And some are pretty good. Like, for instance, this thing Die Hard [1988}.
It was a good picture. I liked that.
"
Billy Wilder,
quoted in Conversations With Wilder, by Cameron Crowe, 1999,
p. 173, ISBN 0-375-40660-3

Review

Overall rating: 5 hands, action/adventure category
Rickman rating: 5 hands

Synopsis: Apparent terrorists disrupt a Christmas party at a newly-built building.

I liked this movie almost in spite of myself.

>Unlike most of its kind, the movie is well written (in spite of a hyperabundance of violence and foul language) and the story line well developed. Bruce Willis is one of those actors I simply don't like, but he did his best as a new-style George Of The Urban Jungle. Like George, no matter how many times he runs into a tree (or over the broken glass), he comes out intact at the end. Bonnie Bedelia and James Shigeta were very good in their parts.

The villains, however, steal the show. Hans Gruber -- a most extraordinary thief -- and his gang strut into Nakatomi Plaza and make movie history: This is the film that started the action-adventure trend of the last decade. Without them, Die Hard would have been another Towering Inferno with shoot-outs.

Alan Rickman gets the best lines, the best clothes, and the best photography. Watching his expression when the safe vault opens brings new appeal to Beethoven/Schiller's Ode To Joy. Mr. Rickman's characterization is brilliant, making Hans one of the grand villains in cinema, comparable to Gert Frobe's Goldfinger.

Rickmaniacs will love Mr. Rickman in a well-groomed beard standing by the window shutters. And he moves soooo well.

I do keep hoping they'll make a sequel where AR gets to wipe that smirk off BWillis's face.

Above photos: Large photo courtesy of Suzanne; smaller photos courtesy of Shelly. The following photos were sent by a person who prefers to remain anonymous:

Reviewed by Fausta. My thanks Suzanne and Shelly for the photos. DH is available everywhere, and has been re-released in (VHS & DVD) letterbox version with added interviews about the film

Who said that?

"When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer"
is a direct quote from Plutarch's (AD 46-126) Life of Alexander. Thanks to Magda for the information.

Links

Suzanne's website has a scholarly article on the use of music in this film, titled Collage And Subversion In The Score of Die Hard. The article reads,
The solo bass playing the 'Ode' gives voice to Hans's feelings, not only through dramatic association (the prevalence of the low-string version of the theme in connection with his activities and those directed by him) but also by way of a semiotic association both more literal and more subtle the instrument coincides with the register of Rickman's voice, and the musical disposition of the bass reflects Hans's own personal state. This 'voice' is quiet, resolute and solitary.

Hans addresses the assembled hostages with the cadences of an Anglican priest.

Die Hard Trivia

Vaughn Monroe sings "Let It Snow" at the end of the movie. That's not Mr. Rickman you're hearing.

Valerie wrote to say,

I don't know if you read such wonderous periodicals as the GLOBE but in the April 15th, 2003 issue on page 42 in the "OOPS! FAMOUS BOX OFFICE BLOOPERS" article they talk about AR in Die Hard. Quote, "Actor Alan Rickman finds a body in an elevator, but when he slaps the corpse on the cheek, it blinks." I don't remember it happening but then again I probably wasn't watching that closely.
Geneviève wrote to say,
I actually wanted to share with you something regarding the latest "Die Hard" special edition DVD, in case you don't know... which I doubt... There are two scenes involving dear Hans which can be recut, using never seen before shots (yeap, close ups too) and various camera angles. And there is a featurette with a delightful quote from AR regarding "playing the villain". Very much worth the investment.
During January, 2002, the AMC cable TV channel featured Back Story about the making of Die Hard on Sunday January 27 at 12AM midnight and 7:30PM, EST. It has lots of Rickman scenes from the movie, and amply proves that Mr. Rickman had the best lines in the entire film.

During December, 2001, the Fox Movie Channel featured Die Hard and mentioned The Rickmanista Review, with the result that so many people came to visit that they brought down the site. Now I added bandwith, so please continue to visit.

On November 2000, the TV quiz show Jeopardy! featured, as a $500 answer, under the category "movie villians": "He led a group of thieves in Bruce Willis' Die Hard (us fans think of it as Alan Rickman's Die Hard, but never mind). Of course, at least one of the players knew the correct question.

On September 23, 2000 Mr. Rickman hosted the American Cinematheque’s Tribute to Bruce Willis at the Annual Moving Picture Ball. Fansites has two photos of Mr Rickman at this event. The Hollywood Reporter has an article about the event.