Die Hard

Die Hard (1988)

65 corrected entries

(27 votes)

Corrected entry: When John McClane fell down the ventilation shaft, that would have ended him. There is no way he could have caught and stopped himself like he did.


Correction: Why would that have "ended" him? I don't see any issue with the scene as shown that would lead to it being a mistake. Sure, the scene might require a slight bit of suspension of disbelief that he'd have the reflexes to catch the shaft as he fell and not break his fingers, but not enough that it'd constitute a mistake.


Another example generally is good guys getting shot and just carrying on. Yeah it requires a bit of fantasy but it's not an actual mistake.

Ssiscool Premium member

The problem is that Hollywood has people believing if you fall you can just grab onto something and live. Not true. The force exerted on your arms, even if it were possible to hang on, would rip them off your body. It has happened in real life to too many people. : (.

Corrected entry: When Hans is holding onto Holly's watch, he pulls a gun and tries to shoot her. If he shot her, he definitely would've fallen.


Correction: McClane put at least one bullet through Hans. He is holding on with one hand to her watch. He knows he's doomed, he wants to take Holly or John or both with him if he can.

Grumpy Scot

Correction: Additionally, he might point the gun at John or Holly's head and demand he be pulled back inside.

Corrected entry: During the scene where agents Johnson and Johnson are flying in the helicopters, they are obviously flying in an AH-64 apache helicopter type of gunship. However when the terrorists blow up the Nakotomi roof top and one of the helicopters explodes, the helicopter used in that scene is noticably different, more like a Bell Huey type chopper.

Correction: At no stage are they seen in anything but a Bell UH-1 Huey helicopter. There are no Apache helicopters in this film.

Corrected entry: On the box for the VHS and DVD, it says, "Armed with only a service revolver and his cunning, McClane launches his own one-man war." His gun was a semi-automatic, not a revolver.


Correction: I don't think a mistake on the box-cover counts as a movie mistake. It would probably be better as trivia if anything.


Corrected entry: At the end of the film, Karl suddenly jumps up, gun in hand, from the trolley to try one last attempt to "get" John. Even though it was assumed he was dead (I guess no-one really checked that too well, either), why on earth would they have put the gun on the trolley with him?


Correction: Karl wasn't on a trolley - he's simply covered himself with a blanket or something (just as many of the hostages have in order to keep warm in the cold conditions), which allows him to conceal his gun while he attempts to get close to John.

Tailkinker Premium member

Corrected entry: After Hans has initially introduced himself to the frightened Nakatomi employees, he proceeds to use his well-researched facts to identify Mr. Takagi in person. Surely with this much research, he could have also obtained a recent photograph of the chairman of the Nakatomi Corporation to save time.

Correction: He (or they) knew who Takagi was. Thats why Karl was conveniently standing right next to him when he revealed himself, to take him away. The point of the whole scene was to prove that they are not just simple hostage takers and that they are well organised and prepared.


Corrected entry: When agent Johnson calls for the helicopters to leave in 5 minutes to attack the terrorists at the end of the film, they are standing at Nakatomi Plaza. Five minutes later they are seen in the helicopter. How did they get from the tower to the helicopters for a long ride through LA?

Correction: Special Agent Johnson says "I want that air support ready to lift off in five minutes. Damn right, fully armed. We're on the way." He's not saying the helicopters will be at Nakatomi in five minutes, he's saying that he and Agent Johnson will be where the helicopters are in five minutes. The helicopters are on the ground somewhere within a five minute drive. Special Agent Johnson simply wants the choppers to be ready to take off as soon as he and Agent Johnson arrive. The "long ride through LA" is only about 30 seconds, which would make perfect sense if the helicopters were a five minute drive away from Nakatomi.


Corrected entry: When Hans, Theo, Karl and Takagi come to Takagi's office, Hans quotes that when 'Alexander the Great saw the size of his realm, he wept, for there was nothing left to conquer.' Actually, he did weep because he couldn't conquer more - but not because there was nothing left, instead because his men refused to go any further (they were homesick); and reluctantly, Alexander had to turn back.

Correction: Hans is quoting Plutarch. Whether the quote is actually true doesn't matter - this is not a movie mistake.

Tailkinker Premium member

We would not judge here as a movie mistake the words of an ancient historian, obviously. Thing is, Gruber is saying something that is NOT what Plutarch said at all. Plutarch's passage had Alexander say: "Is it not worthy of tears that, when the number of worlds is infinite, we have not yet become lords of a single one?" The story as quoted by Gruber (not that he ever said it was Plutarch, mind you, how could he when Plutarch's story has the exact opposite wording?) is entirely made up, and therefore would qualify as a character mistake. It's like the "Helsinki syndrome": something this movie got wrong but that generated a misconception that still survives decades later.

Sammo Premium member

Corrected entry: At the beginning of the film when Holly and Ellis are talking about their Christmas Eve plans, Holly calls him Harry instead of Ellis.

Correction: Harry is his first name. Harry Ellis.


Corrected entry: When John is first trying to get Al's attention, he hits the window several times with a chair without breaking it, but at the end, after John shoots Hans, he easily breaks a window by just staggering back into it.

Jack Kaltenbach

Correction: The bullet went through Hans, shattering it just as his body hit it.

Grumpy Scot

Corrected entry: McClane is in the bathroom picking broken glass out of his feet, and the whole time he is having a conversation via radio with officer Powell. However, the radio is just sitting on the counter-top while the conversation continues. This is not possible since the key (talk) button needs to be depressed to transmit.

Correction: The radio has a switch to allow hands-free talk. We see him switch it before he sets the radio down.

Corrected entry: The electromagnet locking down the vault could not have simply deactivated if the power was cut. The steel used in the construction of the vault would have developed into a permanent magnet (remanence) thus preventing the vault from being opened. Removing this remanent magnetism is very difficult, one of the simpler ways is to heat the material to its curie point, which around 1500 degrees Fahrenheit (816 degrees Celsius) in 9.0% carbon steel, the terrorists did not do this or any other method to remove the remanent magnetism.

Correction: If the electromagnetic lock instantly turned the steel vault into a permanent magnet, then it would render the lock and the vault useless. No one could ever enter once the lock was activated. Electromagnetic locks are used in many high security areas and that is how they work: Turn off the power to the magnet and the door opens.


Corrected entry: John McClane opens the elevator doors and uses an axe to hold them open. Then he ties C4 explosives to a chair, uses a computer to hold it in place and pushes the makeshift bomb down the shaft. The explosion is so powerful that it takes out a good part of the torso of the building, but when the fireball gets to John the axe remains in place when it should have been blown away. (01:13:25)

Correction: Not necessarily. It would depend on how hard John wedged the axe in place. Also, the fireball would lose strength as it climbed, so the force at John's level was not as nearly as powerful as the force of the blast at the bottom.


Corrected entry: I can't understand why it takes ages for the police to find out that there really are a certain amount of hostages, who were having a Christmas party? There must be hundreds of relatives and friends who would have called the police, some of them even come in person to the scene and confirm McClane's information as correct after the newsbreak.


Correction: Not much time passes between the partygoers being taken hostage and the police finding out. Certainly not enough time for anyone to have decide that their loved one should be home by now and called the police. It was a party after all, and people sometimes come home late from parties.


Corrected entry: There is a scene, after the building is taken, where Hans gathers the hostages and asks which one of them is Tagaki. The would-be heist is obviously well-planned, well-financed, and well-scouted. He has no idea (through photos or surviellance) of what Tagaki looks like? Seems unlikely.

Correction: Hans is playing a mind game (and probably also trying to get a 'feel' for the people in the room). He knows who Takagi is; he finishes his little speech right in front of him and is looking at him when he does so. He just wants to impress upon the witnesses that he knows a LOT about Takagi, and potentially them if they get in his way. He also is trying to find the weak links in the group - who's willing to sell out the boss.


Corrected entry: There are actually 13 terrorists, though at more than one point it's said that there are 12.

Correction: But one of them's the computer expert, who's never seen by any other of the principal good guys.

Actually, the limo driver sees the computer expert in the parking garage, where he's disguised as a paramedic and is preparing an ambulance for the terrorists' getaway.

The limo driver isn't one of the principal good guys.

Corrected entry: As the terrorists enter the building, they slide a flashbang up to the guard which explodes, and then the man is shot by one of the terrorists. About a half hour later when Sgt. Powell is dispatched to check out the plaza, he walks in the first floor and right up near the same elevator area, supposedly sees nothing, then leaves. We can assume the terrorists got rid of the guard's body, but there must have been other obvious evidence of a shooting/explosion in that hallway area (blood, wall or floor damage, remnants of an explosion) which Powell would have noticed.

Correction: Except that seeing how well-prepared and thorough the terrorists are, it's not unlikely to assume they would have cleaned that up to keep up the guise of nothing out of the ordinary going on as long as they can.


Corrected entry: When McClane confronts Hans and Eddie in the vault, he shoots Hans and Eddie in quick succession with his 9mm handgun. One problem, a 9mm round wouldn't go straight through someone even at close range, so where did the bullet hole in the window behind Hans appear from?

Correction: This is opinion, not fact, and is highly disputable. If a 9mm round did not hit bone it could easily penetrate a human body. Since the bullet was taken from an assault rifle it could be an armour piercing round, for instance, in which case Han's body wouldn't even slow it down. There are dozens of explanations - only one of then is needed.

The bullets were taken from a Heckler and Koch MP5 sub machine gun, not an assault rifle. And the rounds are plain old 9mm Parabellum ball rounds anyway. A 9mm round will rarely over-penetrate the body even at close range.


Saying a 9mm round would "rarely" over-penetrate is incorrect. 9mm rounds frequently over-penetrate. Self-defense rounds from companies like Hornady are designed specifically to prevent this, as a standard 9mm round is very likely to go through walls, people, and objects. A standard full metal jacket round will very likely not be stopped in the body unless it hits bone.

An MP5 has a longer barrel. That means higher bullet velocity = higher penetration.

Corrected entry: The "hockey puck" flash bang used by Karl to blind the second guard will not work properly when lying on its top, as it does when he rolls it into the hallway.


Correction: I take it that "not work properly" would still mean it can still explode, causing a sparkling distraction and still let out smoke? I don't see how lying on its stop will prevent any of these things from happening.


Corrected entry: When McClane enters Holly's office, a crew member is reflected in the mirror. (00:12:05)

Correction: The person in the mirror is standing out in the hallway, with several other partygoers in the background scene. It is not a crew member. They're also wearing a suit jacket, something a crew member would be unlikely to do.

David R Turner

Die Hard mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When the terrorists launch the rocket at the RV, they break the same window of the building twice. (01:11:55)

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John McClane: A hundred million terrorists in the world and I gotta kill one with feet smaller than my sister.

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Question: Why didn't Hans Gruber simply place 5 hostages in a room and threaten to blow their brains out if John McClane doesn't hand himself in? John McClane is the good guy with a conscience and Hans Gruber is the ruthless killer that kills 2 people in a heartbeat, John would have been forced to hand himself in or be responsible for their deaths. Even if Hans didn't want to kill anyone, he could have pretended to shoot people one by one. John wouldn't know any better.

Answer: We don't know what John would have done in that circumstance. Obviously Hans was planning to kill everyone with the explosives anyway at the end. Perhaps John would have suspected that. Also, doing that would invite more police incursions.

Greg Dwyer

The fact that we don't know how John McClane would have acted doesn't remove the fact that it would most likely have been a good way to coax him out. Also, depending on when Hans Gruber would have decided do implement this strategy, John probably wouldn't have known about the explosives on the roof as he only finds out about them at the 3rd act break. As for the "more police incursions" part, I couldn't disagree more; Hans already killed two hostages - one on speaker with the police -, all the cops in LA seem to be there already, and don't forget that the involvement of the FBI is part of their plan anyway. This is definitely the one major plot hole of this otherwise perfect film.

It would have been, but plenty of movie plots don't pan out the "perfect" way without it being a plot hole. Killing Ellis is a reasonable first step, it doesn't work, and then the events of the plot pick up pace - Gruber goes to check the detonators, as that's a priority. He's hoping/assuming they can get through the rest of their plan by isolating McClane, or at least prevent him causing more chaos. They want the power shut off - they don't want to cause such massive carnage that the building is stormed before then. They need to get helicopters, blow the roof, and escape as planned. Hans doesn't want to derail things any more than they already have been.

Jon Sandys Premium member

Seems to me like they have all their bases covered; the police isn't even able to get in with a tank as he blows them up so I don't think the police "storming the building" is even a possibility in the reality of the film. Also, after blowing up that tank, that's two hostages and a bunch of cops dead so I would say the situation is pretty derailed. Everything is going as planned for Hans and his team, except for McClane, so he should be in damage control mode and this is an obvious solution. He doesn't even have to change his plans, just tell McClane he's gonna kill one hostage every 10 minutes until he shows up unarmed and tell one of his henchmen guarding the hostages to do it while they go along with the plan and maybe even try to find McClane at the same time. I think this is something Hans should have at least considered, but the screenwriters just didn't think about it/didn't want to address because they couldn't think of a good reason for him not to do it.

There are no cops dead, Hans says "Just wound them" and despite the awesome explosion, the APC isn't actually penetrated or destroyed. But Hans needed this to turn into a standoff, a show of force would prevent a SWAT raid from expediting the deadline, he needed to get all of the hostages up on the roof to make his getaway downstairs, and executing a bunch of them would bring suspicion onto how cooperative he is (His plan to blow up the roof relies heavily on the police sending in choppers) they cooperate with him, which they won't do if they think Hans is a crazed lunatic who's only interested in more and more carnage, if he wounds the cops and only shows he can defend himself, and that he was being reasonable. The cops would play ball, and they would believe he's willing to spare the hostages lives, plus he always planned on taking one hostage as a contingency, if they thought they were gonna be killed they'd become a liability. Patton Oswalt talks of a real plothole though lol.

John McClane would know they'd kill him as soon as he shows up, as soon as he heard "We'll have to tell Karl that his brother is dead" he knew that all bets were off, he lost his chance to end it civil, if they had no personal connection to the first terrorist John kills then maybe putting 5 people into a room and doing an Air Force One on them would work, but not when John knows he'll be body number 6. Al says it best "If he gave himself up they'd both be dead" with Ellis execution, John watched them take control of the hostages, watched them execute the Takagi, and when the first Terrorist thinks he's found John he shoots first after saying "I promise I won't hurt you" and then taking his bag and realizing how well financed and equipped, these guys weren't domestic terrorists, they used serious money, serious contacts, and serious planning to get themselves into this building on this night. He knew the only way to play ball with them was fists and elbows.

Hans thought Ellis was a good friend of John's and John still didn't give up when he was going to shoot him. If John wouldn't save his friend, why would he care about others. Plus Hans told Karl earlier he could stall the police but not if they heard gun shots. The police would have absolutely stormed the building if he started killing the hostages.


Answer: Hans Gruber needed the last vault lock to open by cutting off the electricity, he didn't wanna escalate it further so that the FBI would start getting more aggressive, he needed them to play ball so he could make it seem like he's just a terrorist who martyr's himself and the hostages, and by the time they figured out him and his men aren't among the remains, they'll already have left in the basement with the ambulance. Shooting 5 people would have escalated it to the point that the FBI wouldn't play ball with him.

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