Analysis of Die Hard

Executive Summary


Genres: Action, Thriller, Drama, Crime, Comedy

Setting: Contemporary, Los Angeles, California, including Nakatomi Plaza, police station, and various other indoor and outdoor locations

Overview: The screenplay demonstrates a strong commitment to originality and creativity, presenting a unique and engaging story. While some elements may draw inspiration from classic action thrillers, the screenplay successfully carves its own path with its innovative approach to character development, plot structure, and thematic exploration.

Themes: Survival, Marital Relationships, Law Enforcement, Betrayal

Conflict and Stakes: The primary conflict is between John McClane and the European terrorist group led by Hans Gruber, who take over the Nakatomi Plaza building on Christmas Eve. The stakes are high, as the terrorists plan to steal millions in bearer bonds and take hostages, including John's estranged wife Holly. John must navigate the situation using his wits and resourcefulness to save Holly and stop the terrorists.

Overall Mood: Tense and action-packed, with moments of humor and levity

Mood/Tone at Key Scenes:

  • Scene 1: The opening scene on the plane is light-hearted and humorous, setting the tone for the film's mix of action and comedy.
  • Scene 10: The scene where John realizes the terrorists have cut the phone lines is tense and suspenseful, heightening the stakes of the situation.
  • Scene 20: The scene where John and Holly reunite is emotional and heartfelt, adding depth to their relationship and the stakes of the conflict.

Standout Features:

  • Unique Hook: Die Hard is often credited with inventing the modern action movie genre, making it a unique and influential property.
  • Plot Twist : The twist of having a seemingly ordinary man like John McClane become the hero in an extraordinary situation is a major part of the film's appeal.
  • Distinctive Setting : The Nakatomi Plaza building serves as a unique and memorable setting for the action, making it a distinctive feature of the film.

Comparable Scripts:

  • Die Hard 2: Die Harder
  • Under Siege
  • Speed
  • The Raid: Redemption
  • Cliffhanger
  • Die Hard with a Vengeance
  • Sudden Death
  • Air Force One
  • Crimson Tide
  • The Rock


Explanation: Overall, 'Die Hard' presents a well-structured and engaging screenplay that effectively builds tension and suspense while developing complex characters and a compelling narrative. The screenplay excels in establishing the main conflict, introducing memorable characters, and incorporating thrilling action sequences. While there are areas where dialogue could be more natural and some scenes could benefit from a smoother flow, the screenplay's strengths in character development, pacing, and overall narrative strength make it a compelling and ultimately successful screenplay.

USP: This script stands out in the action genre with its unique blend of sharp dialogue, tense character interactions, and high-stakes situations. The story features a relatable and determined protagonist, John McClane, who must navigate a dangerous terrorist takeover in a high-rise building to save his estranged wife and colleagues. The script's distinct voice is characterized by its focus on authentic character dynamics, moral dilemmas, and innovative storytelling techniques, creating a suspenseful and engaging experience for the audience. With its unique take on the action genre and memorable characters, this script is sure to captivate and enthrall viewers.
Market Analaysis

Budget Estimate:$50-70 million

Target Audience Demographics: Adults aged 18-49, fans of action and thriller movies

Marketability: Die Hard is a classic action movie with a beloved protagonist, memorable villains, and iconic set pieces. It has already spawned multiple sequels and remains a popular franchise, making it highly marketable to fans of action and thriller movies.

While the original Die Hard was released in 1988, the story and characters remain timeless, making it a potential candidate for a modern remake or reboot.

Die Hard has become a cultural touchstone and a staple of holiday viewing, making it a potential candidate for a holiday-themed marketing campaign.

Profit Potential: High, due to the enduring popularity of the franchise and the potential for a successful remake or reboot.

Scene Level Percentiles
Script Level Scores
Writer's Voice

Summary:The writer's voice is characterized by sharp dialogue, tense interactions between characters, and a focus on character dynamics. The scenes are filled with subtle moments of tension and conflict.

Best representation: Scene 39 - Hostage Situation: McClane's Brave Rescue. This scene is the best representation of the writer's voice because it showcases the writer's ability to blend tense and suspenseful dialogue, character dynamics, and action-packed sequences to create a gripping and emotionally engaging scene.

Memorable Lines:

  • McClane: Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker. (Scene 42)
  • MCCLANE: It's okay...I'm a cop. (Scene 1)
  • McClane: Welcome to the party, boys. We've been missing you. (Scene 15)
  • McClane: Hans, you motherfucker, you've made your point. Let them pull back! (Scene 24)
  • McClane: Drop it. (Scene 13)

Writing Style:

The screenplay combines elements of action, suspense, and character-driven narratives, often featuring high-stakes situations, sharp dialogue, and complex character dynamics.

Style Similarities:

  • Shane Black
  • John McTiernan
  • Christopher Nolan
Other Similarities: The screenplay also incorporates elements from other notable screenwriters such as Quentin Tarantino, David Mamet, and Christopher McQuarrie, contributing to a rich and engaging storyline with intense dialogue, unpredictable plot twists, and moral dilemmas.
Story Shape