Die Hard At 30: How Bruce Willis Became A Household Name In India

Impersonating a cowboy in the contemporary setting, Die Hard would elevate Bruce Willis into one of the biggest action heroes of the 90s alongside Arnold.

A city cop wallowing in his misery about an impending divorce in a 5-star hotel on a Christmas eve – is an apt description for John McClane. It’s also an unusual set-up for one of our generation’s finest action movies.

As Die Hard turns 30, the good souls at 20th Century Fox decided to celebrate one of their most popular, successful movies with a trailer. It captures McClane in his element, trash-talking to himself as he figures out the most outrageous and adrenaline-pumping ways to take out the bad guys.

This is the film that would elevate Bruce Willis into becoming a household name in India. Impersonating a cowboy by blowing smoke off the barrel of his gun after killing the villain, Willis would go on to become the embodiment of the phoren action hero alongside Arnold Schwarznegger. The Die Hard series would propel him into movies like 12 Monkeys, Pulp Fiction and Armageddon – where he would continue playing the displaced, contemporary cowboy.

A job that’s taken away his marriage, McClane is simply trying to get away. Which is why it’s absolutely inconvenient when a crew of professional criminals barges into where he’s living in, and take his soon-to-be-ex wife hostage, along with the rest of the hotel.

It’s been 30 years since McClane met his match in Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber and sassed around with him on the walkie-talkie. Die Hard took that formula of a single action hero against an army of villains, and stripped it down to its bare essentials. It also contained all the action with a single building, making it almost seem like a video game. The only way forward, is sweeping one floor/level at a time.

The franchise announced Bruce Willis as one of the biggest action heroes of the 90s. The performance, however, that would get a cult following would be Hans Gruber’s (thanks to Rickman’s sociopathic delivery.) No one enunciates words and shoots people in the head, as effortlessly as Alan Rickman.

Here’s the trailer: