Die Hard

Movie review by
Kelly Kessler, Common Sense Media
Die Hard Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Original Bruce Willis violent actioner.
  • R
  • 1988
  • 132 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 38 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 176 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Very clear distinction between "good" and "bad," though extreme violence is used by both.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The German terrorists are clearly marked as the bad guys, but the film does not really interrogate the type of violence used by the film's hero. His role as savior for the innocent rationalizes his killings in the world of the film.

Violence

Multiple onscreen killings, graphic execution, some graphic gunfights.

Sex

Brief female nudity, randy partygoers, and a repeated image of girlie pictures hanging in the building.

Language

Strong language throughout.

Consumerism

Twinkies.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cocaine use.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Die Hard is packed with extreme acts of violence perpetrated by both the "bad" guys and the hero. The film includes a bloody execution, many onscreen killings, and the holding of many innocent hostages. There is some female nudity, but it does include a moderate amount of strong language.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 13-year-old Written byNandini K June 2, 2018

Fine for tweens if you fast forward a couple parts

Minute 23:30 to 23:40 and again roughly between minute 42 and 43 there is female nudity. If you can manage to skip those parts, I thought it was ok for my middl... Continue reading
Adult Written byKds0824 December 17, 2019

Nudity times listed here.

Minute 23:30 to 23:40 shows a female actresses breasts as she is running out of a room. Between minute 42 and 43 and again between 48:00 to 48:30 a poster showi... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 10, 2018

A good movie, but way too much swearing and violence.

A really good movie but the main character says the "F" word and pretty much every other swear. Also, lots of shooting.
Kid, 10 years old December 8, 2020

Best Action Movie ever

Unlike John Wick this movie has a plot. This movie is the best action movie ever SPOILER PLOT










The story in a summary: Terroist do a robbery... Continue reading

What's the story?

New York police officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) hoped to spend a little Christmas celebration with his estranged wife and children in Los Angeles. What he got instead was a bone-crunching, foot-cutting, guns-blaring battle to the death with a band of German terrorists. Set to raid highly secure vaults with a high-tech/high-powered ambush, Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) and his posse hijack his wife's company Christmas party. Despite the "help" of the LAPD and FBI, McClane must scrap his way through the melee, free the hostages, and in the process repair his troubled marriage.

Is it any good?

Although the film is quite entertaining, some might find the stereotypes dated and offensive. The cold war film takes full advantage of German stereotypes with its gigantic creepy Aryan villains.

After the mega-hit-success of this film, Bruce Willis, known mainly at this point for his work on television's Moonlighting, was reborn as a bona fide action star. Some excellent supporting actors deserve kudos along with Willis and the film's special effects. Rickman's (Galaxy Quest, Harry Potter) slick evil portrayal of Hans is on the mark, and Reginald VelJohnson (Papa Winslow from television's Family Matters) gives an excellent performance as the only LAPD officer helpful to McLane. Viewers may also recognize traditional baddies Paul Gleason (The Breakfast Club) as the less than helpful Deputy Chief and William Atherton (Ghostbusters, Real Genius) as an opportunist news reporter.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about stereotyping and vigilante justice. Are John's actions, blowing things up, killing, etc. warranted by the situation? Should he have taken alternate legal measures to deal with the situation?

  • The film uses a number of stereotypes in the development of its villains. What characteristics unite individuals such as Hans and Karl? Are such generalizations problematic? How do films today approach this subject?

  • All of the film's active characters, John, Al, Hans and his henchmen are men. Can you think of more recent action films that feature women as main characters?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

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