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10+ 'Die Hard' Behind The Scenes Secrets Fans Didn't Know

Die Hard is one of the most popular movies of all time, and one of the most beloved Christmas movies of all time as well!

I mean, to be fair, why wouldn't someone like it? It has action, romance, comedy — the golden trio of film. What's not to love?

Here are some things you may not have known about the film!

1. Hans Gruber is the protagonist.

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And John McClane is the antagonist.

Now before you get all literary on me, in screenwriter terms, a protagonist is someone who "drives the action" and an antagonist is someone who "prevents the actions of the protagonist."

Now quick, who drives the action in *Die Hard*?

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It's Hans Gruber. He sets up the terrorist plot and it's John McClane who foils his plans.

So technically the ending of Die Hard is a sad one. The protagonist loses.

2. Alan Rickman didn't like firing his gun.

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And every time he did fire, he winced.

Rickman's reaction meant that the director had to cut away every time he shot his gun, giving the movie a distinctly artsy feel.

3. Different countries and different titles

Apparently, the title Die Hard didn't translate all that well, because the movie has a lot of different names depending on the country you're in.

For example, in Poland, the movie is called The Glass Trap.

4. Bruce Willis lost some of his hearing.

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Die Hard is such a monumental movie, not just because of its great story, but also because of its groundbreaking gun effects that were used.

Apparently, they used blanks so powerful that they partially deafened Bruce Willis. Yeesh!

5. Frank Sinatra may be part of the *Die Hard* canon.

Apparently, Franky starred in a 1963 movie called The Detective, which is apparently part of the Die Hard canon.

So if you're a die-hard fan of Die Hard, check it out.

6. Fox Headquarters was under construction when they shot the movie.

The place they used for Nakatomi Plaza, Fox Headquarters, was actually still under construction when they shot Die Hard in there.

So all of those construction sites you saw McClane walking through are real.

7. Bruce Willis was the last choice.

While they were casting for the movie, Willis was doing a TV show called Moonlighting, and he was the absolute last choice to star in this movie.

Seriously, they asked names like Sylvester Stallone, Clint Eastwood, and Robert DeNiro before Willis.

8. The most quotable line was improvised.

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Sure, the line about John McClane being a cowboy was in the script. Sure, at one point he did, in the script, say “yippee-ki-yay”.

But it was Bruce Willis who added the final word to the line. The one swear word everyone loves using.

9. John McClane's shirt is at the Smithsonian.

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The Smithsonian puts a lot of American history into its hallowed halls, including Dorothy's ruby slippers.

So it's no wonder that when Bruce Willis donated his bloody, dirty undershirt and a movie poster, they put it on display.

10. Beethoven was almost not used.

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We know that "Ode To Joy" was used to underscore the movie's bad guys.

They almost didn't use it, however, because the film's composer thought using Beethoven would be sacrilege.

Once director John McTiernan showed him that Stanley Kubrick had done the same thing, he agreed.

11. A cardboard box changed the story.

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Jeb Stuart was originally supposed to write a movie that was closer to the source material, a book by Roderick Thorp about a retired NYPD officer going after some oil company while visiting his daughter.

However, things changed when Stuart got into a fight with his wife and he took off into the sunset.

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As he was driving, he almost hit a fridge box.

That's when he realized:

"It's not about a 65-year-old man whose 40-year-old daughter gets dropped off a building. It's about a 30-year-old guy who should have said he's sorry to his wife, and then bad stuff happens."

12. Alan Rickman Originally Said No.

Originally, Alan Rickman was a stage actor who was discovered by director John McTiernan. He thought Rickman would be perfect for Hans, but the British actor originally turned it down.

Luckily, his agent talked him into it.

13. The book that the film is based on has a completely different title.

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As mentioned already, the novel was written back in 1979 by a man named Roderick Thorp. It's called Nothing Lasts Forever and it was actually out of print until 2013.

It began circulating again to coincide with the film's 25th anniversary.

14. Filmmaker John McTiernan was inspired by Shakespeare.

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In the novel, the events at Nakatomi Tower take place over the course of three days.

John, however, took inspiration from the classic Shakespearean comedy, Twelfth Night, and decided to condense the events into a single evening.

15. Bruce Willis owes everything to Cybill Shepherd.

Cybill was one of the stars on the TV show that Willis was acting in at the time. After she became pregnant, production was halted for 11 weeks.

This allowed Bruce the time to audition for the role of John McClane.

16. This was Alan Rickman's film debut!

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Can you believe it? Alan plays Hans with such finesse and expertise, you'd think he'd been at it for decades.

Granted he was already a veteran of the stage, but that's still a far cry from being a villain in an action flick.

17. Bruce Willis considers the film to be groundbreaking for the genre.

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"If I was going to make an action movie today and I hadn't done Die Hard, I would totally rip it off," Willis said during an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

18. Alan Rickman's look of terror is 100% real.

Who could forget the climactic moment where Hans plummets from the roof of the Nakatomi Tower? You can literally see the fear in his eyes — and for good reason.

The stunt crew dropped Alan on the count of one instead of three!

During an interview years later, Alan explained how everyone was in on it.

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"I look at the sight of some slightly incredulous producers when I said I would do it myself," Rickman recalled. "They were very careful to make it my very last shot on the film."

19. Bruce Willis finds action easier than comedy.

At the time he was filming Die Hard, Willis was also attached to a TV show called Moonlighting. When asked which he found to be more difficult, Bruce said:

"It's a lot harder being funny than it is doing action. Action is just the grown-up equivalent of me saying 'Let's go jump off the roof of the house.'"