How Much Do You Know About the “Die Hard” Movies?

Ian Fortey

Image: Gordon Company / Silver Pictures

About This Quiz

When "Die Hard" came on the scene in the late 1980s, it was by no means a sure thing. Nowadays, when you're listing the greatest action stars of all time, there's no doubt that Bruce Willis will be on the list, but that was not the case in 1988. Back then, Bruce Willis was a guy in a comedy TV show. He was not a bankable action star, and the producers of "Die Hard" sure didn't expect him to turn into the international superstar he became. They took a risk, and it paid off big time. "Die Hard" part one is considered one of the greatest action movies of all time. The franchise is incredibly popular, and John McClane has become an action movie icon.

Will there be a sixth and final "Die Hard" movie one day? Only time will tell, but for now, we have five incredible films that feature the same intense, over-the-top action and memorable villains battling against our hero John McClane. He's had his ups and downs and survived more trauma that any average human has a right to, but he powers on! He's so iconic that his dirty shirt is in the Smithsonian right now. If you're a die-hard "Die Hard" fan, then this quiz oughtta be a breeze. Have at it!

Karl is the terrorist in "Die Hard" who really, really hates McClane. What made it so personal?

The first terrorist that McClane kills in Nakatomi Plaza just happens to be Karl's brother, Tony. The result of that is Karl becomes enraged and pursues McClane with an unusual vengeance throughout the film.

Three characters in "Die Hard" have the exact same last name. What is it?

You may remember the curious joke of the two FBI agents being introduced as Agent Johnson and Agent Johnson. Elsewhere in the movie, there's also a brief newcast in which we meet a reporter named Harvey Johnson. Word is the three Johnsons were included as a bit of a joke at the expense of co-star Reginald VelJohnson.

What was nefarious about the firefight between Major Grant and Colonel Stuart in "Die Hard 2"?

McClane discovers that there are sneaky things going on when he fires a gun that belonged to one of Major Grant's men and realizes the rounds are fake. The entire firefight was staged, and Grant is actually a villain.

What do people throw at actor Reginald VelJohnson thanks to these movies?

When we meet Sergeant Al Powell in "Die Hard," he's buying Twinkies. Thanks to that scene and some throwbacks to it later on, fans routinely toss Twinkies at the actor while sharing lines from the movie.

Which of these actors appeared in more than one "Die Hard" movie?

Bruce Willis is in every "Die Hard" film but few other actors make the transition from one part to another. That said, Bonnie Bedelia as Holly Genarro, Reginald VelJohnson as Al Powell and William Atherton as Richard Thornburg were all in parts 1 and 2.

What did McClane write on the sweater of one of the terrorists in the first "Die Hard"?

In order to mess with the terrorists, McClane sent the body of the terrorist named Tony back to Hans Gruber and the rest of the crew with a message on his sweater that said: "Now I have a machine gun — ho ho ho."

The bomb in "Die Hard with a Vengeance" is a binary liquid. What is in the fake bomb?

The police in New York are sent on a wild goose chase by Simon Gruber to find a bomb in a school. When the bomb is discovered, the police are too late and the liquids mix and then — boom — it's pancake syrup. Even Simon isn't evil enough to blow up a school.

What did McClane mistakenly believe was Sam Jackson's character's name in "Die Hard with a Vengeance"?

When McClane first runs across Sam Jackson's character he hears a character say "Hey, Zeus" and mistakenly believes that his name is "Jesus." He is later corrected that the name is actually just "Zeus" like the Greek god.

Whose on-screen death was actually a surprise to the actor thanks to unexpected timing?

Hans Gruber, played by Alan Rickman, has the most memorable death in "Die Hard" as he falls from a window. That look on his face was genuine shock since the director told Rickman he'd be safely dropped at the count of three and then dropped him early.

What's the cool hacker term for what the terrorists in "Live Free or Die Hard" are doing?

McClane is informed that what Thomas Gabriel is trying to pull off is called, in hacker parlance, a "fire sale." Why this term? Because like a real fire sale, everything must go, only in this case they mean the computerized infrastructure of the whole country.

Do you know which movie cut out Mary Elizabeth Winstead from one version?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead was cast as grown-up Lucy McClane in "Live Free or Die Hard." She reprised her role in the following "A Good Day to Die Hard," but she was cut from most versions of the film, including the director's cut.

What terrifying and dangerous location does McClane head to in "A Good Day to Die Hard?"

Much of the action in "A Good Day to Die Hard" takes place in Russia, and that includes a trip to Chernobyl where the bad guy actually has a massive amount of weapons-grade uranium stored.

Where did the iconic "yippee-ki-yay" line come from?

Bruce Willis came up with the "yippee-ki-yay" line as a joke. He told Ryan Seacrest it was literally just to make the crew laugh and he didn't expect it to be in the final cut of the movie at all.

The script for "Die Hard with a Vengeance" was originally pitched as a sequel for what movie?

The script that became "Die Hard with a Vengeance" started life as a script entitled "Simon Says." Warner Brothers originally envisioned it as another installment in the "Lethal Weapon" franchise. It was also meant to be a vehicle for Brandon Lee.

In how many of the movies does McClane say "yippee-ki-yay"?

If John McClane has a catchphrase, then this is it. He utters the line "yippee-ki-yay" complete with a notable expletive in every one of the "Die Hard" films. The line is often cited for being one of the most memorable lines in film history.

In "A Good Day to Die Hard," McClane teams up with his son. What was his son's name?

John McClane Jr. joins his dad in the 5th "Die Hard" film as the father-and-son duo fight terrorists in Russia this time as opposed to stateside like n the previous four "Die Hard" films.

Aside from Bruce Willis, who else has been involved in every single "Die Hard" movie?

Across the five "Die Hard" movies that have been made so far, no one besides Bruce Willis has been involved in every single one of them. At the end of the day, you really only need Bruce Willis, though.

When "Die Hard 2" was edited for TV, the foul language was removed. What bizarre replacement has become a popular joke online?

The phrase "yippee-ki-yay" became a low-key catchphrase from "Die Hard," and in part two it was paired with a fairly strong curse word. To make it safe for TV audiences, it was turned into the curiously worded "yippee-ki-yay, Mr. Falcon."

Which actor claimed to have his role nearly cut from "Die Hard 2" because he was too short?

In John Leguizamo's autobiography, he wrote that he originally had a much bigger part in "Die Hard 2" until producers saw how short he was. His role was drastically cut, and the one line of dialogue he had ended up being dubbed by another actor.

Which actor was offered the role of John McClane before Bruce Willis?

Many actors were offered the role of John McClane, including Frank Sinatra, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and others. Bruce Willis was mostly known for comedy at the time and was considered a long-shot option.

Director Kevin Smith pops up in "Live Free or Die Hard." What is his character's name?

Kevin Smith shows up in a fun cameo as a computer whiz who goes by the name Warlock. The character's "real" name is Frederick Kaludis and, as you might guess, he lives with his mom.

Argyle the limo driver takes out one of the terrorists. Why didn't he leave Nakatomi Plaza earlier?

Argyle apparently had nothing better to do, so he offered to wait around and see if McClane needed a ride or not. Then he gets locked in by the terrorists and can't leave, which does give him the opportunity to take one of the terrorists out later.

What's the real name of the iconic Nakatomi Plaza from "Die Hard"?

Nakatomi Plaza is still a building you can go visit in Los Angeles, and it's actually called Fox Plaza. It's the HQ of Fox Studios who produced the "Die Hard" films. It was under construction during the filming of the movie, so it made a perfect location.

Remember the teddy bear Bruce Willis has with him in the limo? That exact same bear has been in another movie. What was it?

That giant bear was actually owned by director John McTiernan, who later included it in another film he directed, "The Hunt for Red October." In that film, the character of Jack Ryan takes the bear home with him.

How much money does Simon make off with in "Die Hard with a Vengeance"?

While Simon keeps all the cops in New York busy hunting a bomb, his real plan is to rob the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for a mind-boggling $140 billion in gold bullion, which they make off with in dump trucks.

There's a reason you never see Alan Rickman fire a weapon clearly in the movie. What was it?

"Die Hard" was Alan Rickman's first film role, and he had not developed a knack for handling prop weapons. Every time he used one, he flinched involuntarily, so the director took to cutting away from him every time he did so.

What classical composer provided much of the first film's score?

The most recognizable song in the first film's score is Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, fourth movement. The film's composer didn't want to use Beethoven at all because he felt it was inappropriate, but the director convinced him by showing him Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange," which used the same music.

Bruce Willis suffered a serious injury to his face that required stitches in which movie?

On the set of "Live Free or Die Hard," the stunt double for actress Maggie Q got too close to Willis with a kick. She tagged him right in the face with a stiletto heel, and the wound was bad enough that the director claimed he could see bone exposed.

How many movies have Bruce Willis and Sam Jackson made together?

Bruce Willis and Sam Jackson have been in 5 films together — "National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon," "Die Hard with a Vengeance," "Pulp Fiction," "Unbreakable" and "Glass."

What was missing from the original poster for "Die Hard"?

The first round of posters for the movie was released showing only the title and Nakatomi Plaza. Bruce Willis was nowhere to be seen because the studio was not convinced anyone would care to see a movie with Bruce Willis in it.

Who was the first choice to play Hans Gruber?

Sam Neill, arguably best known for his part in "Jurassic Park," was the first choice for the villainous Hans Gruber. Neill turned the role down, and then the casting directing happened to see Alan Rickman in a stage production of "Dangerous Liaisons." The rest is history.

Dialogue from the villains in parts 1 and 3 was dubbed later on. Why?

In both "Die Hard" and "Die Hard with a Vengeance," the villains are German but the actors were not. The result is that much of the German dialog was hard to understand or, in some cases, total gibberish. It was dubbed over with proper German later on.

"Die Hard 2" was also based on a novel. What was it called?

The novel "58 Minutes" by Walter Wagner was the source for "Die Hard 2." It had nothing to do the novel the first movie was based on at all. Interestingly, the novel was about a cop who has to save his daughter's plane from crashing, while the first novel was about a cop attending his daughter's office Christmas party, and neither movie used the daughter part.

What happens in the alternate ending to "Die Hard with a Vengeance?"

In the unused ending, Simon gets away with the gold and McClane gets fired and loses his pension. Obsessed with finding Simon, McClane tracks him all the way to Hungary, and the two play a game of Russian Roulette with a rocket launcher. McClane wins.

The original "Die Hard" was based on a novel. What was it called?

Roderick Thorpe's novel "Nothing Lasts Forever," published in 1979, was the basis for the original "Die Hard" film. In the novel, retired detective Joe Leland is visiting the office building where his daughter works when terrorists take it over.

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