Study Guide

Die Hard

Die Hard Summary

Everyman John McClane, New York City cop and Terrible Husband, heads out to La-La-Land on Christmas Eve to spend the holiday with his estranged wife and their two tiny tots (eyes all aglow, of course). He's about as comfy in L.A. as a fish would be on a bicycle, so when he shows up at his wife's office—on the 30th floor of the brand new high rise Nakatomi Plaza, he's more than a little out of his element.

It's a good thing, then, that a handful money-grubbing pseudo-terrorists show up, looking to get their hands on the $640 million worth of bearer bonds in the Nakatomi company vault. They waltz into the Christmas party and hold everyone hostage.

Except for John McClane.

The leader of the terrorists (we're using that term loosely) is a German dude named Hans Gruber, and he tells the hostages he's here to hold the boss man, Mr. Takagi, accountable for his corporate greed. Yeah, not so much. When he takes Mr. Takagi to the boardroom, he reveals that he's actually after the $640 million in bearer bonds that Takagi's got stashed in the company vault. When Takagi won't give up the security code, Hans shoots him, point blank.

McClane witnesses this and realizes the terrorists mean business. He accidentally reveals himself, so Hans sends Tony, one of his mooks, off to do away with McClane. The two have a showdown, and McClane wins, so he sends Tony down to Hans in an elevator with a Santa hat and a message: "Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho."

While Gruber proceeds with his villainous plan to crack the vault, McClane does his best to evade the terrorists and get help. He manages to get Sergeant Al Powell, a nearby cop, involved by hurling a dead body (that would be another of Gruber's henchmen) out of the window and onto Powell's black-and-white.

With the cops on the scene, the tension ramps up. The local police chief—Robinson's his name—orchestrates a SWAT siege, which fails spectacularly, much to McClane's dismay. He manages to take out a few more baddies by dropping a makeshift bomb down an elevator shaft. He's also managed to suss out the terrorists' plans: they're gonna blow the roof. Bad news.


McClane scrambles about the building a bit more, trying to thwart Gruber's plans and rescue the hostages, but he's not having much luck. As the hostages are herded to the roof—where they're sure to be blown up—McClane takes out a few more bad guys in the process, including Karl, the brother of Tony. He then manages to get the hostages off the roof to safety and discovers that Hans Gruber has his wife, Holly. The roof blows up, and McClane swings off onto a lower floor using nothing but a fire hose. He's ready to take down Hans once and for all.

All he's got left is a Beretta with two bullets and a machine gun. So he tapes the Beretta to his back, closes in on Gruber and Holly, and just when Gruber is about to shoot him, he rips the gun from his back, fires, and sends Gruber flying out the window. The only problem? Gruber takes Holly with him. Now all that's standing between Gruber and certain death is Holly's gold Rolex. McClane unfastens it, Gruber falls to his death, and Holly and McClane are reunited—for good.

As McClane and Holly emerge from the wreckage of the building, McClane spies a man who can only be Sergeant Al Powell, his sidekick, on the ground. The two embrace, and Holly introduces herself as Holly McClane—it looks like their marriage is back on. Just when everyone seems safe, Karl rears his massive blond head and aims a machine gun right at John and Holly.

But never fear: Powell is here to save the day. He blows Karl away with his six-shooter. Just then, Argyle shows up in the limo, and McClane and Holly ride home in style. It's gonna be a happy holiday.

  • Scenes 1-2

    Scenes 1-2

    Scene 1

    • A plane lands noisily on a tarmac and we cut to the cabin. A businessy-looking dude tells his seat partner—who happens to be Bruce Willis—how to deal with fear of flying: once you get where you're going, you take your shoes and socks off, walk around on the carpet, and make fists with your toes.
    • As the man played by Bruce Willis—whom we will henceforth refer to as John McClane—grabs his bag from the overhead, the businessman notices a gun on McClane's belt. "It's okay," he says, "I'm a cop."

    Scene 2

    • Cut to a rather classy looking shindig at a swanky office. There's classical music playing, and a Japanese businessman makes a speech to the crowd of gathered corporate stooges.
    • He thanks them for a great year, and wishes them a Merry Christmas. As it turns out, it's Christmas Eve.
    • We learn this useful, scene-setting tidbit from Holly, who's looking very busy and important carrying a bunch of papers down a nearby hallway while the party parties on. She's being hit on by a smarmy, bearded dude named Harry. And she is not buying what he's selling.
    • As she walks into her office, she tells her pregnant secretary to go join the party.
    • Holly calls home. She's got two kiddos being watched over by a nanny—a young girl named Lucy and her little brother John (junior, we can only assume).
    • Lucy asks her mom, "Is Daddy coming home with you?" Holly dodges the question. She then asks her nanny whether Mr. McClane has called. No dice.
  • Scenes 3-4

    Scenes 3-4

    Scene 3

    • McClane shuffles through the busy airport, scoffing at the La-La-land locals.
    • He finds a besuited dude holding a sign with his name on it, and introduces himself. It's his limo-driver, Argyle.
    • On their way to Nakatomi Plaza, McClane and Argyle discuss McClane's failing marriage. It's made all the more awkward by the fact that McClane's riding shotgun. In a stretch limo.
    • McClane tells Argyle his wife moved out west for a great job, and McClane didn't come with because he's a New York cop, and he's very committed to his job.
    • When they arrive at Nakatomi, Argyle promises to wait for him in the parking garage, in case McClane and his wife don't make nice and he needs a ride to the hotel.

    Scene 4

    • McClane walks into the lobby of Nakatomi Plaza. It's absolutely deserted, except for the security guard at the front desk, who tells McClane to look up Holly on the computerized directory.
    • That's when McClane discovers she's gone back to using her maiden name: Holly Gennero. Oof.
    • Up McClane goes in the elevator, whistling "Jingle Bells" and looking nonchalant.
    • Meanwhile, Argyle parks his stretch in the garage.
    • The elevator doors open and McClane is immediately handed a glass of champagne. This is one classy party. He takes one sip, sneers, and pops it back on a passing tray. We're guessing he's more of a whiskey man.
    • He walks up to the same Japanese businessman who gave a speech earlier, who reveals himself to be Mr. Takagi—the boss of the operation.
    • Takagi walks McClane back to Holly's office, which is occupado by Harry, who is snorting cocaine off of Holly's desk.
    • Holly walks in and seems happy to see McClane, but it's about as awkward as you'd expect a reunion between estranged spouses to be.
    • Harry tells Holly to show McClane her fancy new watch, which she got for being awesome at her job. "It's a Rolex," he says. "You're a smarmy jerk," we say in our heads.
    • Cut to a truck approaching the building. It's labeled Pacific Courier.
    • Holly and McClane are chatting in the bathroom. McClane's washing up, and he's stripped down to his undershirt.
    • Things seem to be going okay for the couple—Holly offers her spare bedroom for his stay, and tells him she's missed him.
    • McClane blows the gesture by bringing up the name change, and things go south from there. Couple's therapy anyone?
    • Holly's secretary bursts in the door, interrupting their argument. Apparently, Takagi wants Holly to make a speech to the "troops." McClane, meanwhile, kicks himself for being a jerk to her.
  • Scenes 5-6

    Scenes 5-6

    Scene 5

    • The Pacific Courier truck, and an accompanying Mercedes sedan arrive at Nakatomi Plaza. A very blond man and Walker, Texas Ranger's sidekick come into the lobby. Blondie shoots the security guard, and his buddy gets on the horn: "We're in," he says.
    • The Pacific Courier truck pulls into the loading bay in the parking garage and out of the back come pouring a stream of bad looking dudes. Their leader? A well dressed, well groomed, Alan Rickman.
    • We cut to the security office, in which the black man who entered in the sedan is hacking the building's elevators. Everything is shut down except the 30th floor.
    • Big Bad and his many cronies arrive in the lobby, and that's when things start to move pretty fast. One of his henchman dons the dead security guard's jacket and takes over the vest.
    • The black man heads with Big Bad—whose name, we learn later, is Hans Gruber—into the elevators, while another furiously blond dude makes his way through the building, reciting directions to himself in German. He's headed for a wiring console, and starts doing his thing.

    Scene 6

    • McClane's in Holly's carpeted bathroom, socks off, making fists with his toes. He can't believe it: it actually works.
    • Meanwhile, Blond #2 is still doing his thing with the wires.
    • McClane calls Argyle and tells him to sit tight: "The vote's not in yet" on whether or not his wife will let him stay with her and the kids.
    • Blond #1 comes down to where Blond #2 is working his wiring magic and just starts hacking away with a chainsaw.
    • There go the phones.
  • Scenes 7-8

    Scenes 7-8

    Scene 7

    • Big Bad and his many minions exit the elevator on floor 30. Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" is playing. They've got some serious firepower with them.
    • We cut to McClane, who's still trying to get the phone to work. Machinegun fire rat-a-tat-tats, and he immediately goes for his Beretta.
    • He sneaks a peak out the office door and sees total chaos. There are men with machine guns, and they appear to be herding everyone into the atrium.
    • Holly's out there. Uh oh.
    • While the gunmen search the offices, Holly and Takagi look more than a little freaked out to find themselves in a hostage situation.
    • McClane hightails it for the stairs.
    • Floor 31? More minions.
    • Floor 32? Construction. This'll do. He tries a phone. It's dead.

    Scene 8

    • The hostages are contained in the atrium, and Hans Gruber makes his first grand speech. He tells them all that Nakatomi Corporation is super greedy, and he's going to teach them all a lesson.
    • But first, he needs to find Takagi, about whom, he apparently knows everything.
    • Takagi reveals himself, and the gunmen take him away.
    • McClane's still casing the building. Floor 33, computers.
    • In the elevator, Gruber complements Takagi on his stylish suit.
    • On floor 35, McClane sees more gunmen with a rocket launcher. Well, this can't be good.
    • Gruber herds Takagi into a swanky looking room with scale models of the Nakatomi Corporation's international projects.
    • He leads Takagi to Theo, who wants the poor old guy to give him a computer access code. Takagi swears he doesn't have it.
    • Needless to say, that information does not go over well.
    • As it turns out, Gruber wants the code so he can steal $640 million worth of negotiable bearer bonds that are locked in Takagi's vault.
    • "You want money? What kind of terrorists are you?" asks Takagi.
    • "Who said we were terrorists?" Gruber retorts. Yep, this one ain't about politics, Shmoopers. It's about good old-fashioned bread.
    • Gruber threatens Takagi, who still won't play. He says he'll count to three, and if Takagi doesn't cave by then, well you can guess what happens next.
    • Mere seconds later, Takagi's done for.
    • McClane, hiding nearby, is horrified. As he tries to escape, he makes a noise, sending the two blond gunmen after him.
    • Gruber asks Theo if he can break the code. Yep.
  • Scenes 9-10

    Scenes 9-10

    Scene 9

    • A few more henchmen are climbing around the roof of the building. We're not sure what they're up to yet, bit they've got a whole lot of yellow cord and not a lot of scruples. Hmm. Looks like they're rigging some explosives.
    • Meanwhile, Theo and Gruber are headed for the vault.
    • It's a beast, and has seven levels of protection. Theo swears he can crack the first six locks, but the seventh? No can do. The circuits can't be cut locally.
    • Gruber's all over it. "Trust me," he says.

    Scene 10

    • McClane's kicking himself for letting Takagi get killed, but he knows he couldn't have done anything. He's clearly trying to work out some kind of plan.
    • So what's he do? Pull the fire alarm, of course.
    • It's not a bad idea, because of course it means the cops and the fire department will head their way.
    • But it also lets Gruber know that there's someone else in the building—someone he didn't plan for.
    • The henchman at the security desk calls the alarm off, and McClane's left desperate on the 32nd floor, with a tall blond man in the world's tightest sweatpants (his name is Tony) after him.
    • Oh, and Mr. Sweatpants? He's toting a rather large machine gun.
    • He taunts McClane in a German accent, chases him down, and a brutal fight ensues.
    • Who wins? Who do you think?
    • McClane sends Tony's body down the elevator, after stealing his radio, lighter, and gun.
  • Scenes 11-12

    Scenes 11-12

    Scene 11

    • Gruber's talking to the hostages. He tells them that Mr. Takagi "won't be joining us for the rest of his life." The lesson? Obey me or die.
    • The elevator dings open, and who's in it but poor, dead Tony, who's wearing a Santa hat and a sweatshirt that has recently been doctored to say, "Now I have a machine gun. Ho-ho-ho." Listening to Hans Gruber say "Ho-ho-ho" is one of life's distinct pleasures, so feel free to rewind.
    • Needless to say, Gruber's more than a little peeved. Little does he know, McClane's on top of the elevator, listening to everything Gruber is saying. He learns Gruber's first name, Hans, and that the still-alive blond guy is named Karl. Apparently Tony Sweatpants was his brother.

    Scene 12

    • Gruber tells Karl that his brother's dead, and the blondest man in the universe promptly overturns a desk. He's out for blood, but Gruber is more concerned about his own goal: the dough.
    • As Holly watches, she knows McClane's alive and fighting back. She seems pretty proud.
  • Scenes 13-14

    Scenes 13-14

    Scene 13

    • Meanwhile, McClane has made his way to the roof, which is deserted. He desperately radios anyone who will listen.
    • Of course Gruber hears it and figures out he's on the roof. Here comes angry Karl along with his cronies.
    • A 911 dispatcher tells McClane that the channel is reserved for emergency calls only. McClane's all, "no duh, lady," except imagine more swear words and sarcasm.
    • The call is interrupted by machine gun fire, which prompts the dispatcher to send a local LEO to do a drive by.

    Scene 14

    • A cop is buying as many Twinkies as he can carry at a gas station convenience store.
    • He gets a call telling him to drive by Nakatomi Plaza.
    • He's on his way.
    • Before driving over, he steps out into the street and takes a look at the building.
    • All seems well, including the fact that apparently, in 1988, gas was only 74 cents per gallon. Ah, those halcyon days.
  • Scenes 15-16

    Scenes 15-16

    Scene 15

    • Of course, all is not well. McClane is engaged in a crazy intense gunfight with Gruber's henchmen.
    • He takes out a few of them and manages to escape.
    • He scrambles his way through the bowels of the building, hoping he can hop on an elevator.
    • No dice. He opts, instead, to climb down a ventilation shaft, which has Bad Idea written all over it.
    • Using his machine gun as a hold, he swings on the strap, falls, and manages to catch himself on an air duct. We guess he's got the luck of the Irish on his side.
    • The air duct's a tight squeeze, and dark as all get-out, so now's a good time for Tony Sweatpants's lighter.
    • The flame helps McClane see, of course, but it also clues Karl in to his whereabouts, and he and the others hightail it to a room just below the air duct, which they promptly shoot up.
    • McClane, armed with only his Beretta, is saved by the bell, as Gruber calls Karl off and tells him to get back to business. The police are on their way.

    Scene 16

    • The local LEO has arrived on the scene. He drives slowly around the driveway, while McClane, having ditched the air duct, watches from above.
    • The cop says there are no signs of disturbance, but he's gonna go talk to the guard-who's-really-a-criminal-henchman.
    • The fake security guard waves him off, and the cop heads back to his car, while McClane and Gruber watch from above.
    • McClane's desperate. He hurls a chair at a window, hoping he can signal the cop from above. Of course all the ruckus reveals his location again, and a couple of the gunmen come after him.
    • After a bit of a kerfuffle, he manages to take them both out.
    • Running to the window, he sees Five-O get back in his cruiser.
    • So what's McClane do? He hurls one of the bodies out the window, and it lands smack dab on the cop car windshield. "Welcome to the party, Pal."
    • The cop drives like a maniac in reverse, while all the gunmen spray him with bullets from above.
    • He reverses right over a wall. But he's okay. We guess he's lucky, too.
  • Scenes 17-18

    Scenes 17-18

    Scene 17

    • We cut to a news studio, where a local reporter is listening to a police scanner.
    • He hears the cop call for backup on the radio and knows he's got a story.

    Scene 18

    • Well, we're all in for it now. Dozens of cops descend upon the scene.
    • Gruber seems unfazed, though. He even refers to the cops' showing up as "necessary." Hmm.
    • All that unflappability gets a little, well, flapped when McClane radios Gruber. He tells him he's killed "Tony and Marco and his friend," and refers to Hans, Franco, and Karl by their names.
    • Karl's worried. How does he know so much about them?
    • But Gruber plays it cool. He guesses that McClane is a security guard.
    • Um, not so much.
    • Gruber wants to know who McClane is. Smartly, he won't say. He's "just a fly in the ointment."
    • Gruber sends his cronies off to suss out the situation while he continues to chat with McClane.
    • They banter. Gruber calls him "just another American who saw too many movies as a child. Another orphan of a bankrupt culture who thinks he's John Wayne."
    • McClane confesses he was a Roy Rogers fan, and when Gruber asks him if he really thinks he has a chance, McClane responds with the iconic line, "Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker."
  • Scenes 19-20

    Scenes 19-20

    Scene 19

    • We're back at the news studio. The reporter—whose name is Richard Thornburg—is begging his producer let him head to the scene.
    • It's his story and he's going after it.
    • Meanwhile, the on-air news anchor proceeds with the evening news as usual.
    • Thornburg gets a truck. He's headed for Nakatomi Plaza.

    Scene 20

    • Karl returns from his recon mission and reports to Gruber: Marco and Heinrich are both dead, and Heinrich's bag is missing.
    • That's a problem for our Villain-in-Chief. See, Heinrich's bag had the detonators in it. Remember all those explosives on the roof?
    • Gruber radios Theo, who's hard at work cracking the vault. He wants an update on the schedule.
    • They've gotten through three locks. Only four to go.
    • Meanwhile, Officer Powell is trying to hail McClane on the radio.
    • McClane responds, but warns Powell that "This is a party line, and the neighbor's got itchy trigger fingers." Translation? The bad guys are listening in.
    • He tells Powell that they've got about 30 hostages up on the 30th floor, and that the Bad Dude in Charge is named Hans.
    • Hans, listening in, tells his cronies to go find McClane and the bag. He needs those detonators.
    • McClane slinks around the 33rd floor, all while giving Powell the deets. He knows the so-called terrorists are Europeans, but that's about it.
    • All he really knows is that he's "got some badass perpetrators, and they're here to stay."
    • He tells McClane to sit tight, and asks him what he should call him.
    • McClane's response: "Call me… Roy."
  • Scenes 21-22

    Scenes 21-22

    Scene 21

    • Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson has arrived on the scene. That's good news, right?
    • Not so much.
    • He calls Powell out for chatting with McClane over the radio. He doesn't trust our hero.
    • And he certainly doesn't trust Powell's hunch.
    • It's clear from his thirty seconds of screen time that Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson is a waste of a suit.

    Scene 22

    • Holly enters her office, where Gruber is rather smugly ensconced. She's got a sassy look on her face and she comes with a request.
    • She accuses Gruber of murdering her boss, and then asks for a couch for her pregnant secretary and some field trips to the bathroom.
    • Works for Hans. "It will be done."
  • Scenes 23-24

    Scenes 23-24

    Scene 23

    • Richard Thornburg finally gets his moment to shine. He's reporting from the scene, and Argyle's watching from his limo.
    • He hears the words Nakatomi Plaza and turns on his CB radio.
    • He can hear the police planning a raid on the building.
    • We cut to Powell and Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson arguing over whether or not they should enter the building.
    • Powell's not for it. There are innocent hostages up there, after all.
    • But Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson won't give him the time of day.
    • When McClane sees what's up, he radios Powell and susses out what's really going on.
    • He, too, thinks it's just about the worst idea since New Coke.
    • While the police close in, the bad guys prepare for the assault. They're ready. This is not going to go well.
    • Then a bunch of things happen pretty fast.
    • McClane scrambles to see what's going on.
    • Argyle frantically cruises around the parking lot, looking for a way out.
    • SWAT teams swarm the building.
    • The bad guys take their positions.
    • Theo hacks into the security feeds and tells the bad guys who's coming in and where.
    • Deputy Chief of Police Dwayne T. Robinson tells the SWAT teams to "kick ass," which is exactly what they don't do.
    • The raid fails when the bad guys use that rocket launcher McClane saw earlier to blow up the SWAT tank that attempts to bust in the front door.
    • As Theo puts it, "The quarterback is toast."
    • McClane is pissed. He's gotta do something—anything.
    • And by anything, we mean throw a computer tied to a chair and rigged with C4 down the elevator shaft, because why not?
    • The ensuing explosion rocks the whole building, blows out a lower floor, takes out two bad guys, and nearly singes off McClane's eyebrows.

    Scene 24

    • Harry, high on cocaine, has decided to take matters into his own hands.
    • He waltzes in to talk to Gruber because he negotiates million dollar deals "for breakfast."
    • Harry (who, it's worth mentioning at this point, is also quite hairy) puts on his best yuppie moneymaker talk and tells Gruber he can get rid of McClane.
    • How's that? Well, he says he knows the guy, and he can give him to Gruber.
  • Scenes 25-26

    Scenes 25-26

    Scene 25

    • McClane and Powell chat over the radio. We think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
    • Gruber interrupts the love fest to tell McClane he knows who he is.
    • The reporters listening in hear the name and decide to investigate this "McClane" dude.
    • Gruber puts Harry on the phone, who chats up McClane as if they're old friends.
    • All buddy-buddy-like, he tells McClane to stand down.
    • McClane knows this means bad news for hairy Harry. He tells him to fess up to Gruber that they barely know each other. He's trying to save his life.
    • After a bit more discussion, Gruber shoots Harry, much to McClane's distress.
    • But there's no way he's giving up the detonators.

    Scene 26

    • Deputy Chief of Police Dwayne T. Robinson is pissed again. He thinks McClane allowed Hairy Harry to be killed.
    • Powell's all, dude, do you not see what's going on here?
    • Hans interrupts with a somewhat menacing message over the radio: he wants a bunch of "comrades-in-arms" all over the world freed. He lists off a bunch of separatist groups and demands that the cops free their members.
    • But it's clearly a load of crap. He's simply distracting the police and furthering his own plan. Once again we're reminded that the dude is all about the dough.
    • Hans checks in with Theo. Only one more lock to go before they hit number seven.
    • Meanwhile, McClane radios Powell, and they both agree that Hans is slinging a whole lot of horse manure.
  • Scenes 27-28

    Scenes 27-28

    Scene 27

    • The FBI arrives. Agent Johnson and Agent Johnson—"no relation"—are going to take over for Deputy Chief of Police Dwayne T. Robinson. The feds are on the case.
    • Meanwhile, Hans is on the roof, checking out the explosives.
    • John happens upon him, and Hans pretends to be a hostage who was trying to escape. He puts on the strangest attempt at an American accent we've heard in quite a while.
    • John tells Hans to stick with him if he wants to live, and the two make their way down from the roof.
    • Meanwhile, on the ground, Deputy Chief of Police Dwayne T. Robinson briefs the FBI agents. Powell tells them they've got an ally in the building—John McClane.
    • John and Hans share a smoke and a chat while we bite our nails from all the tension and suspense.
    • John hands Hans a handgun to protect himself. Uh oh.
    • But it's cool, y'all. When Hans pulls the gun on John, whose back is turned, it's quickly revealed that the gun has no bullets.
    • "Oops."
    • John's smug attitude doesn't last long when some bad guys arrive in the elevator. A gunfight ensues, while John hides behind some computers.
    • Hans knows John's barefoot, so he advises his cronies to shoot the glass windows, surrounding our hero with a bunch of razor-sharp shards.
    • As he makes his escape, his feet get torn to shreds.
    • Oh, and Hans has the detonators once again.

    Scene 28

    • Hans arrives back on the 30th floor and tosses the detonators to one of his minions and tells him to get to work.
    • Karl, angry as all get-out, beats up a drink cart with the butt of his machine gun.
    • Holly takes heart—she knows "only John can drive somebody that crazy," which means he's still alive and kicking.
    • And speaking of John, he's dragging himself into the bathroom, bleeding profusely from the foot.
    • As he rinses his feet, Powell radios him. John tells him he's waxed two more bad guys.
    • They banter some more, and then the conversation turns serious.
    • John wonders why Powell's a desk jockey, since he's clearly got street smarts.
    • Powell confesses that he took himself off the streets because he shot a kid, toting a toy gun. He couldn't bring himself to draw his gun on anybody again.
    • After their heart-to-heart, Powell then tells John that the feds are in charge. Dun dun dun.
  • Scenes 29-30

    Scenes 29-30

    Scene 29

    • Hans and Theo spy on the goings on outside, and they see the FBI approaching.
    • Hans tells Theo that, "like clockwork," the FBI is going to shut off power to the building.
    • Theo has an a-ha moment. So this is how they're going to get through that tricky seventh lock on the vault. Basically, the FBI is going to do it for them.
    • And of course, he's right. The FBI agents command a poor, beleaguered public works officer to cut the power, under threat of his job.
    • The vault opens, to the tune of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," and the bad guys bask in the glow of $640 million.

    Scene 30

    • While the bad guys pack up the bearer bonds, agents Johnson and Johnson call for air support. They're gonna bring in helicopters.
    • Hans plans to blow the roof when the helicopters land, taking out the FBI guys, and making room for their escape.
    • Meanwhile, John radios Powell and asks him to tell his wife that he's sorry he was such a straight-up jerk to her, but he gets it now.
    • Powell promises, but also tells John to watch his six, and he'll be outta there in no time.
    • "That's up to the man upstairs," John tells Powell.
    • And hey, that's got him thinking. What was Hans doing upstairs anyway?
  • Scenes 31-32

    Scenes 31-32

    Scene 31

    • Richard Thornburg, having looked into this John McClane dude, has shown up at Holly's house.
    • He commands the nanny to let him in, threatening to call the INS if she doesn't.
    • He's a real stand-up guy, Dick Thornburg.

    Scene 32

    • On the roof, John discovers the explosives, wired and ready to go. So that's what Hans was doing upstairs.
    • Uh oh.
    • He radios Powell immediately to warn him of the double cross, but he's cut off midsentence by Karl's machine-gun barrel poking his cheek.
    • They tussle. Well, tussle is putting it mildly. It's an all out brawl. A fight to the death.
    • As they exchange blows, helicopters approach in the distance and Hans tells Holly to "gather [her] flock."
    • Just then, Holly sees her kids on TV, and Hans figures it out—Holly is John McClane's wife. Game changer.
    • Hans orders everyone up to the roof (which he intends to blow up with them all on it).
    • Karl and Hans are still fighting and it's getting ugly.
    • Meanwhile, Agents Johnson and Johnson are all set with rifles in a helicopter. They approach ready to take out anyone and everyone who gets in their way. They don't seem to care too much about harming innocent civilians…
    • … who, by the way, are all on the roof by now.
    • Hans, who's got Holly and is loading up all the bearer bonds, tries to radio McClane to tell him he's got his wife.
    • But McClane's a little busy battling Karl, who shoots John in the shoulder.
    • Ah, but a little shoulder wound can't take down John Freaking McClane. While Holly sasses Hans, calling him "nothing but a common thief," her husband defeats Karl by wrapping a chain around his neck and dangling him up against a cinder block wall.
    • He hauls butt to the roof, where he warns the hostages to get down below again—the roof's gonna blow. Holly's secretary tells him that Hans took Holly to the vault.
    • As he fires warning shots to get the hostages off the roof, Agents Johnson and Johnson mistake him for a terrorist and shoot at him.
    • He knows the roof's gonna blow, and he's got no way down. Time to cowboy up.
    • He wraps a fire hose around his waist, and hurls himself off the roof just as the whole thing blows, taking out Agents Johnson and Johnson and their little helicopter, too.
    • John's okay, though. He pulled a superhero move, shot out a window, and swung into a lower floor. What can we say? He's John McClane.
  • Scenes 33-34

    Scenes 33-34

    Scene 33

    • John's back on the 30th floor, desperate to find his wife, while explosions rain down around him.
    • An elevator blows up. For no apparent reason. Because Die Hard.
    • He hears his wife screaming, spies some packing tape, and makes a plan.
    • Meanwhile, Argyle, who's just chilling in his limo, sees Theo driving an ambulance in the parking garage. This is his big chance to stand up for Truth, Justice, and the American Way. He guns it, rams the ambulance with his limo, and punches out a discombobulated Theo, taking him out once and for all.
    • We cut back to the 30th floor. John limps his way toward Hans, barefoot, barechested, and bleeding.
    • Hans holds a gun on Holly, telling John to drop his weapon.
    • John puts his hands up.
    • But he's got an ace up his sleeve: his Beretta, taped to his back.
    • He takes out Hans and his henchman, but there's just one hitch.
    • Hans isn't dead, and he's still hanging onto Holly. As Hans dangles from her wrist, John fights to get her free.
    • It all hinges on Holly's swanky new Rolex. John manages to unhook the clasp and Hans falls to his death—in slow motion of course.
    • Cue hugging and kissing and all that hero-heroine jazz.

    Scene 34

    • The hostages emerge from the building while papers float down around them. Holly and John are wrapped in blankets and looking a bit shell-shocked.
    • In the distance, McClane sees Powell, and they exchange a meaningful, manly stare.
    • John walks up, and the two hug. He introduces Powell to his wife, "Holly Gennero." She corrects him: "Holly McClane."
    • Deputy Chief of Police Dwayne T. Robinson comes charging up in a huge huff, but he's interrupted by a very angry, very bloody, very blond Karl.
    • He escaped from the chains, has a machine gun, and is out for Revenge.
    • As he aims at John and Holly, he's taken down by several gunshots—from Powell's sidearm.
    • That's when Argyle comes barreling out of the parking garage, ready to take John and Holly home.
    • As they head to the limo, Richard Thornburg attempts to question Holly and John on camera. Recognizing him from TV, when she saw him talking to her kids, Holly decks him, much to everyone's delight.
    • The (newly) happy couple climb into Argyle's limo, share a kiss, and drive off into LA's smoggy twilight, to the tune of Vaughn Monroe's "Let It Snow."