troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Die Hard on an X
German Terrorist: Attention American workers: Your plant has been taken over by an all-star team of freelance terrorists.
Homer: Not on my shift! [jumps into an overhead vent]
The Simpsons, "And Maggie Makes Three"

Bad guys have taken over some location, usually holding several hostages and almost always in an enclosed space, but, unbeknownst to the villains, one or more good guys are hiding out in their midst, engineering their overthrow. At least one air vent will be crawled through. At least one hostage will be a member of The Hero's family and another will be executed while trying to negotiate with the villains.

Named after a meme within the entertainment industry based on the movie of the same name, starring Bruce Willis. One of the most important action films of all time, if all the copycat ripoffs are any indication. An old story says that the High Concept pitches for many action films basically went "Die Hard on a...", until one day, someone tried to pitch a movie as "Die Hard in an Office Building." Apparently, they were unaware that the original Die Hard did take place in an office building.

This plot can be used as the action for a Bottle Episode. The bad guys may unknowingly have Bruce Wayne Held Hostage. Expect to see at least one Bulletproof Human Shield show up.

This trope can be played with varying degrees of blatancy, so remember, just because a work appears on this list doesn't make it a total knockoff of Die Hard. It's just a basic framework.

See also All Your Base Are Belong to Us, "Home Alone" Antics, Spanner in the Works, Right Man in the Wrong Place.

Recycled IN SPACE! is the general trope for remaking works in a new setting.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Daphne in the Brilliant Blue has a two-part episode that mashes up Die Hard with a Homage to classic disaster movie parody Airplane!, of all things, called "Die Hard, Play Hard".
  • The Zone of the Enders anime series Dolores, i has an episode titled "Die Hard", where James Links does this on an oxygen plant on Mars. He even Hangs a Lampshade when he wishes it were Christmas halfway through the episode.
  • When a group of terrorists take over Sakuya's titanic ship in an episode of Hayate the Combat Butler, it gets lampshaded by the narrator, who tells us that "Die Hard on a boat will be right back." The title of a chapter in the corresponding manga storyarc? "Titanic Episode 4 - With a Vengeance".
  • The events on the Sand Steamer in Trigun.
  • Parodied/Lampshaded in the Full Metal Panic! light novels. In this case, it's the good guys pretending to be terrorists in order to catch real terrorists, and they nickname the heroic troublemaker among the passengers John McClane.
  • Played straight in Into The Blue and the corresponding anime arc, in which Gauron hijacks the Tuatha de Danaan, with Sousuke, Kurz, and (eventually, thanks to Tessa's efforts) Kaname loose on board.
  • Early Reins: Die Hard on a train! In The Wild West! And the heroes are Girls with Guns!
  • The 1931 story arc of Baccano!, AKA "The Grand Punk Railroad" takes it Up to Eleven. On a train! With three gangs hijacking at the same time, two serial killers, and three immortals! You almost forget hostages are involved, sometimes. Later, the 2002 "Bullet Garden/Blood Sabbath" does Die Hard on a Cruise Ship. The very first chapter starts with one of the terrorists rambling about Speed 2: Cruise Control.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex plays with this when Aramaki and the Major go to London. While visiting a friend who runs a wine bank, Aramaki and his friend are taken hostage by ex-mob bank robbers, but the mob itself gets tipped off, and the bribed police force then besieges the bank. Aramaki manages to convince the robbers to work with him so that they can figure a way out of the police siege.

    Comicbooks 
  • Ms. Tree had a story titled "New Year's Evil" where a deranged gunman takes over the rooftop restaurant where Michael Tree is celebrating New Year's Eve. Michael happens to be in the ladies room at the time. Cue this trope.
  • JSA #10: Wildcat goes Die Hard in the JSA Mansion.
  • The three-issue arc of Doctor Strange after his first victory against Dormammu is essentially Die Hard in the Sanctum Sanctorum. Strange is knocked out by a bomb and wakes up to find a metal plate over his face and steel gauntlets on his hands that prevent him from spellcasting, and with three underlings of his nemesis Mordo in the house. It takes a combination of wits, skill and luck to beat them all.
  • Hack/Slash: Slice Hard: Die Hard with slashers!
  • The Star Fox 1 supplemental material featured a few pages of Die Hard IN SPACE! when the eponymous team encountered Andross' troops aboard the ship they stowed away on.
  • Detective Comics had a 2-part story in #829-830 where a terrorist takes control of Wayne Tower. Since Bruce is among the crowd he can't immediately change to Batman without tipping his identity off, so he manipulates things from the sidelines for most of it while giving orders to Robin on taking the guy down.

    Film 
  • Die Hard
    • The first film is Die Hard (on a high-rise).
    • Die Hard II is Die Hard in a snowed-in airport... and interestingly, is the last Die Hard movie to follow this trope.
  • The Sonny Chiba movie The Bullet Train is pretty much Die Hard on a train... except The Bullet Train came out in 1975, thirteen years before Die Hard, possibly making it the Ur Example of this trope.
  • Key Largo made in 1948 was essentially "Die Hard at a resort hotel" before there was a formula for this kind of film. A gangster (Edward G. Robinson, because who else?) holds a small group of hotel guests hostage while exchanging money. It isn't until the end that it develops more into the traditional Die Hard plot towards the end when Humphrey Bogart is taken to drive the getaway boat, which is when he starts sneaking around, bumping off the goons one by one.
  • Under Siege and Under Siege 2: Die Hard on a warship and train, respectively.
  • Die Hard on a train films include: The Last Siege, Operation Wolverine: Seconds To Spare, Hostage Train, Death Train, "Death, Murder, and Deceit Aboard the Orient Express" and Derailed.
  • Sudden Death has Jean-Claude Van Damme as a security guard trying to stop Die Hard in a hockey arena.
  • The second half of the John Woo classic Hard Boiled is essentially Die Hard in a Hospital in true Heroic Bloodshed style, as the bad guys take everybody hostage at the hospital. Tequila and Tony, along with the rest of the force in the hospital, have to get everyone out before the bad guys blow everything to hell. It's pretty badass.
  • Cliffhanger is Die Hard on a mountain.
  • Speed is often touted as "Die Hard on a bus" despite not being exactly that. It does involve crawling through elevator shafts, the undercarriage of a bus and on top of a speeding subway train. However, it appears Speed was mainly inspired by The Bullet Train.
  • Speed 2: Cruise Control genuinely is Die Hard on a boat.
  • Skyscraper is a rehash of the original Die Hard, also taking place in a highrise. It stars Anna Nicole Smith. Seriously.
  • Octopus: Die Hard on a sub, then on a boat, with Russian terrorists. Oh, and a really big octopus.
  • The little known movie The Last Hour AKA Concrete War can also be classified as Die Hard in an office building (though to be fair, it's the two good guys who are invading the building the baddies are holed up in)
  • Lampshade Hanging added to the movie adaptation of Dave Barry's Big Trouble. Elliot is left on his own in the kitchen when a pair of crooks take everyone else in the house hostage. A character watching outside comments to his partner, "We have a Die Hard situation developing in the kitchen."
  • Lampshaded in Masterminds, where the student trapped in a taken-over private school observes "We've got a Die Hard situation here."
  • Passenger 57: Die Hard on a plane. Just blacker.
  • Executive Decision is also Die Hard on a plane. Just with an insertion of the McClane via a docking stealth fighter. And Steven Seagal. Briefly.
  • Air Force One: Die Hard on, well, Air Force One, with the McClane replaced with The President of the United States, played by Harrison Ford.
  • Con Air also has some traits of Die Hard on a plane, though it ends off the plane.
  • Snakes on a Plane: Die Hard on a...you can probably guess.
  • Phone Booth, an actual non-ironic Hollywood blockbuster, proudly declared itself to be Die Hard in a phone booth. It was made by Joel Schumacher and starred Forest Whitaker, Colin Farrell, Kiefer Sutherland, and Katie Holmes.
  • Half Past Dead: Die Hard in a prison, with a hilarious name. It got a sequel.
  • Mean Guns is Die Hard in a prison with a twist: it's a last man standing scenario.
  • Paul Blart: Mall Cop: Die Hard in a mall as a comedy.
  • The "Die Hard in a mall" concept had been previously done seriously in the Direct-to-Video Mickey Rourke film Point Blank(not to be confused with the Lee Marvin film)and was also later done in the Made-for-TV movie Christmas Rush AKA Breakaway and the No Budget DTV film Hostile Takedown.
  • A planned sequel to Kevin Smith's Mallrats was Mallrats 2: Die Hard in a Mall, purposefully invoking this trope right down to the name.
  • Family-friendly version: 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain, which is Die Hard in an amusement park. The titular brothers (and, to a lesser extent, Hulk Hogan) take the place of John McClane, and Loni Anderson takes the place of Hans Gruber. It's like the writers of the film watched Die Hard and decided to make it family-friendly by making it a 3 Ninjas movie.
  • The Fifth Element, in its middle section, briefly becomes Die Hard on a boat... IN SPAAAACE!!! It also has Bruce Willis shooting bad guys and blowing stuff up.
  • The Taking Of Beverly Hills is Die Hard in the City of Los Angeles.
  • Run is Die Hard in a city.
  • Beverly Hills Cop III is Die Hard in an amusement park (at least in part).
  • Dolph Lundgren starrer Agent Red is Die Hard on a submarine.
  • Other Die Hard on a sub films include Crash Dive, Submarines, and Counter Measures.
  • Home Alone is Die Hard FOR KIDS! Complete with the Christmas setting, the estranged family, and a scene of a guy cutting his feet on broken glass.
    • Same goes for 1993's Remote (which confines the action even more to the house) and 2004's Junior Pilot/Final Approach (which is on a plane).
  • The Rock is Die Hard on Alcatraz.
  • Armored is Die Hard in an armored truck.
  • Terminal Rush is Die Hard in Hoover Dam. It features "Rowdy" Roddy Piper as the villain.
  • The b-movie Velocity Trap is Die Hard on a spaceship.
  • The movie Hostage is Die Hard in a house. Bonus points for having Bruce Willis as the main character.
  • The Tower is "Die Hard without the bad guys!" Seriously, Paul Reiser is trapped inside an evil, sentient office skyscraper.
  • The Canadian b-movie Lethal Tender is Die Hard in a water treatment plant.
  • The b-movie Final Voyage is Die Hard on a cruise ship, and features Erika Eleniak along with Ice-T as the terrorist leader.
  • Operation Delta Force 2: Mayday, Counterstrike and Maiden Voyage: Ocean Hijack are also Die Hard on a ship.
  • The short Joyride is Die Hard in the trunk of a car.
  • Demolition High - Die Hard in a high school, the sequel Demolition University is Die Hard in a chemical plant.
  • Another Die Hard in high school example is The Dolph Lundgren film Detention.
  • Day of the Wolves is Die Hard in a small town. However, being made in 1971, it predates Die Hard. A gang of bad guys have a plan for Taking Over the Town. What they hadn't counted on was the police chief being fired that morning, and so being at home instead of where they expected him to be.
  • Bloodfist VI is Die Hard in a nuclear missile silo. Don Wilson plays a military courier who's running late and winds up interrupting the terrorist plans. As one of the terrorists states, "Wrong place. Wrong time."
  • Most of The Interceptor is Die Hard on a C-5.
  • The Turbulence series. On a plane.
  • Hijack. Planes, again.
  • Not to be confused with Hijack'd, which is also Die Hard on a plane.
  • Sonic Impact is on a plane.
  • Air Panic. Planes.
  • Air Rage. On a plane.
  • Air Marshall. Still an airplane.
  • Tail Sting. Another one on a plane.
  • Strategic Command is also Die Hard on a plane.
  • So is Crash Landing.
  • There are two films called Final Approach and both are Die Hard on a plane.
  • 30 Days of Night is Die Hard in a small Alaskan town with vampires, and not on a plane.
  • Lockout is Die Hard in a futuristic space prison.
  • The Raid is Die Hard in a rundown apartment complex. There's a twist in that the building is actually the bad guy's home territory, with the good cops as the aggressors, and none of the Die Hard-on-an-X subtropes really come into play, beyond the basic setup.
  • Airheads: Die Hard in a radio station, played as a comedy, wherein the terrorists are the good guys and the guns aren't real. Michael Richards plays the McClane reimagined as The Fool.
  • Dredd is Die Hard in a huge Wretched Hive high-rise in the future. There's even the villain's death by falling in slow motion out of the tower. It was sometimes accused of ripping off the above The Raid - as they both came out the same year - but the truth is a mix of coincidence and the fact that they were both influenced by Die Hard. That said, Dredd - like The Raid - has the villain already in control of the location by the film's opening, and really takes relatively little from Die Hard, beyond the basic plot structure.
  • Open Fire is Die Hard in a chemical plant.
  • Act Of War is Die Hard in a presidential palace.
  • The Japanese film White Out is Die Hard on a dam.
  • Don't Die Too Hard is a French spoof of Die Hard, also taking place in a skyscraper.
  • TC 2000 is Die Hard in a factory.
  • There are two films called Blast, both Die Hard rip-offs. One takes place in an Olympic stadium, and the other takes place on an oil rig. The latter was even written by one of the screenwriters of the original Die Hard.
  • Tube is Die Hard in a subway.
  • No Contest is Die Hard at a beauty pageant, it's sequel No Contest 2 is Die Hard in a museum.
  • One of the worst rip-offs is The Vault, which is Die Hard in an art museum.
  • Automatic is Die Hard in a futuristic robot factory, where the hero is an android.
  • Death Machine is also Die Hard in a futuristic robot factory
  • Toy Soldiers is Die Hard in a boarding school. In a twist, the Spanner in the Works is also one of the hostages, and has to make sure the bad guys don't notice him sneaking off to mess with their plans.
  • Command Performance is Die Hard in a concert hall.
  • Diplomatic Siege is Die Hard in a U.S. Embassy.
  • Depth Charge is Die Hard on a submarine fitted with prototype stealth technology. The sub's medical officer and an electrician go up against the XO and his group of terrorists to prevent a nuclear launch.
  • The 2013 films Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down are both Die Hard in the White House.
  • Maximum Security and Maximum Conviction are both Die Hard in a correctional facility.
  • Project: Shadowchaser is Die Hard in a hospital, and it's sequel is Die Hard in a chemical facility.
  • Crackerjack (1994) and Icebreaker are both Die Hard at a ski resort. Crackerjack is unusually blatant about it, cribbing many one-liners and plot developments from Die Hard.
  • Hard Rain is Die Hard in... rain. And a major flood. Also, a church full of stolen money and corrupt cops.
  • Deadly Outbreak is Die Hard in a research facility.
  • Assault On Dome 4 Is Die Hard on a scientific facility on another planet.
  • Stranglehold is Die Hard in a chemical weapons facility.
  • Critical Mass is Die Hard at a nuclear plant, unique in that it recycles footage from numerous other action films like Universal Soldier and Terminator2
  • Chain Of Command is Die Hard on a ship and blatantly recycles footage from Deep Rising
  • The Asylums Age Of Dinosaurs is Die Hard with dinosaurs. Lemme say it again. Die Hard with dinosaurs!
  • North Sea Hijack aka ffolkes and Assault Force is Die Hard on North Sea oil rigs. Actually a subversion, since the film is quite slow-paced and focuses more on the protagonists' carefully-planned tactics rather than action.
  • Police Story 2013 is Die Hard in a nightclub.
  • The Peacekeeper is Die Hard in a missile silo.
  • Not Safe For Work is Die Hard in a building, just with a serial killer instead of terrorists.
  • Virtual Assassin(AKA Cyberjack) is "Die Hard" in an office building in the future.
  • Spacejacked is Die Hard on a cruise ship in outer space.

    Literature 
  • The Doctor Who New Adventures novel GodEngine traps thirtieth-century cop Chris Cwej in a Martian military base, upon which he promptly proceeds to wreak mayhem using a strategy his partner informs us is officially known as "The McClane Protocol".
  • The second half of the Doctor Who Missing Adventures novel System Shock is Die Hard in a huge computer hub.
  • Artemis Fowl 's author Eoin Colfer has described the first book in the series as "Die Hard with fairies."
  • Judith & Garfield Reeves-Steven's novel Quicksilver is Die Hard in the Pentagon
  • Vertical Run by Joseph Garber is Die Hard in an office building, where the John McClane of the story is the only target.
  • The Ciaphas Cain short story Traitor's Gambit is Die Hard on a spaceship, complete with Cain taunting the head terrorist over a vox unit and the terrorist's leader being more in it for financial gain than for the cause.
    • Cain's Last Stand has a scene where a survivor of an alien attack is hiding in the vents. The fact he's still alive when the Tyranids almost always gravitate to the vents (and attack through the same vent moments later) is the first clue they weren't the original attackers.
  • The Young Bond short story "A Hard Man to Kill" is Die Hard on an ocean liner, starring a teenaged James Bond.
  • The latter chapters of the Honor Harrington book In Enemy Hands is Die Hard on a Starship, followed by The Great Escape In Space.
  • The Dream Park book The Moon Maze Game is basically a LARP turned Die Hard on the moon.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied on The Ben Stiller Show playing Bruce Willis in a Die Hard sequel... set in a supermarket.
  • In the 9th season, Roseanne copied Under Siege II... of course, It Was All Just A Dream.
  • Star Trek has done Die Hard on a spaceship for a number of episodes across the series:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series: "Space Seed". However, this aired before Die Hard was released. So Die Hard is sort of "Space Seed in an office building"! Sort of...
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Starship Mine" and "Rascals" (with the added dis-advantage that Picard, Guinan, Ro and Keiko were transformed into children before the Ferengi takeover). Arguably, Star Trek: First Contact is like this as well.
    • TNG: "Timescape" has elements of "Die Hard in a temporal anomaly".
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: For the first part of Season 6, the eponymous station is in enemy hands. Also, the beginning of Season 2 sees the crew temporarily handing the station over to Bajoran radicals. And then there's the shrunken shuttlecraft episode, definitely the Spiritual Successor of The Next Generation. Finally, there's the episode "Civil Defense" from Season 3, where the station is hijacked by an automated defense system put in place by Gul Dukat during the Occupation (who, ironically, shows up only to get captured by his own system along with everyone else).
    • Star Trek: Voyager: "Basics," "Macrocosm," and "Message in a Bottle". The Doctor was frequently the Bruce Willis, his Projected Man status making him immune to whatever incapacitated everyone else.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise: "Acquisition", "Catwalk", and "Chosen Realm".
    • Usually any time that Jefferies Tubes are mentioned, you know there's going to be a Die Hard plot, except for that one episode where Picard ended up playing the flute in them like an insane homeless man.
  • Alias: "The Box".
  • Blake's 7 did it in the episode "Power Play" (by Terry Nation). Although bad guys taking over the Liberator wasn't exactly a rare occurrence...
  • The Sentinel had an episode called "Dead Drop", which involved the main character trying to catch the bad guy by going up elevator shafts, running up stairs, and, in a true Die Hard moment, swinging in through a window.
    • The second episode of the series fit this trope as well, but it advanced the plot by forcing Jim to use his abilities around his boss several times, letting him in on the secret.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Angel:
    • A second-season episode of Buffy admits that it's ripping off this device by entitling the episode where everyone is trapped in a vampire-infested school (Die Hard at Sunnydale High) with Buffy as their only hope "School Hard".
    • The Bronze is also a popular location for hostage-takings ("The Harvest", "Doppelgangland").
    • Angel featured an episode where a band of humans take over the demon-owned nightclub Caritas, which happens to be a frequent watering hole of the heroes. The twist is that most of the clubgoers, while demonic, are fully-assimilated and peaceful, while the gun-toting humans have devolved into hunting demons for sport.
  • The episode All the Queen's Horses of Due South was Die Hard on a train full of horses.
  • In the pilot of Entourage, Vince gets pitched a script that is described as "Die Hard at Disneyland."
  • Farscape: "I Shrink Therefore I Am". Die Hard is even mentioned by name.
  • The Highlander episode "Bad Day in Building A" is notable in that it borrows the Die Hard formula to the point of its Technical Pacifist hero killing enemy mooks, including at least one he had clearly already succeeded at tying to a chair. Because the Power of Willis is such that even Duncan MacLeod must kill for it.
  • The short-lived series John Doe had an episode called "Doe or Die", which was previously titled "Doe Hard".
  • In the Lois and Clark episode "Fly Hard" (yep, they weren't even trying to hide it), robbers take over the Daily Planet building and drill the floor, searching for prohibition-era money. Of course, part of the humor is that Jimmy Olsen slips through the the terrorists' fingers when they lock up the hostages (while Clark Kent, of course, is rounded up with everyone else). Jimmy deludes himself into thinking he's Bruce Willis and is going to save everyone's lives in a rather hilarious Internal Monologue held while crawling through an air duct. He, of course, ends up accomplishing nothing much in particular until Superman finally "arrives" to save the day
  • In an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun, a retiring professor says that he's going to work on his novel, which he describes as "Die Hard only set in an office building".
Dick: Die Hard was in an office building.
Professor Sutor: *glaring* Up yours.
  • Stargate SG-1 inverted this trope: in "Bad Guys" SG-1 itself is mistaken as a group of terrorists in an alien museum, and a bumbling security guard believes himself to be the McClane. Naturally, they Lampshade it:
    Mitchell: [over radio while held at gunpoint] "Uh, we've got ourselves a bit of a John McClane here."
    Daniel: "What? What're you talking about?"
    Teal'c: "Die Hard."
    • They've played it straight a few times. The Prometheus has been taken over by alien or human bad guys on at least two occasions, and once SG-1 had to take it back from an alternate SG-1. (Long story.) The SGC has also been the target of this a few times. (In "Foothold", for example, the aliens were masquerading as the regular characters, and Sam was the only one who was really herself). Die Hard... In Colorado?
  • Stargate Atlantis is fond of this trope:
    • "The Storm" and "The Eye" is a very deliberate reference, because the Big Bad (Acastus Kolya) is Robert Davi - who was one of the FBI agents in the original Die Hard. "The Return" does it as well, and also the final season's "The Prodigal", which even ends with Teyla tossing series Big Bad off the top floor of the Atlantis main tower. Note that "The Storm/The Eye", "The Return," and the above-mentioned SG-1 episode "Bad Guys" were all penned by staff writer Martin Gero, who apparently has a favorite movie.
    • Averted with "Midway". The Wraith have taken over the SGC, and there are only two people conscious on our side. Perfect time for another "Die Hard at the SGC"... except the two conscious people are Teal'c and Ronon. Instead of sneaking around, they just start killing every Wraith they can find.
  • The CSI: New York third-season finale "Snow Day" is another example.
  • MacGyver: "Phoenix Under Siege", where the headquarters of the Phoenix Foundation is taken over by criminals, trapping Mac and his grandfather (who had returned to the building to retrieve some hockey tickets) inside. And yes, the hockey tickets play a role in the ultimate resolution.
  • The Middleman episode "The Clotharian Contamination Protocol", in which Die Hard is referenced repeatedly, both by the characters and via in-jokes. The HQ is aided by the Nakatomi Protocol, which widens the air ducts and initiates a lockdown. Toward the end of the episode it becomes Die Hard In An Android.
    Dubby: How often does the HQ get invaded?
    The Middleman: About three times a year.
  • Chuck, which not only has bad guys taking over the Buy More, but also has has Al from Die Hard in it, as Big Mike's cousin.
    • And in a different episode, different bad guys take over the store after Black Friday when Morgan, Jeff and Lester are the only ones inside. The bad guys take Jeffster hostage while Morgan was in his office taking a foot bath...in a tank top...without shoes. Yes, he uses the vents to get around, yes, he knocks a box of tacks off a shelf...and steps on them. Yes, he decides to make a rescue with a gun taped to his back.
  • Battlestar Galactica does this in "The Oath" and "Blood on the Scales," with mostly Lee and Kara (and a bit of Tigh/Adama) as the McClane. Even Tyrol gets to play McClane as he crawls through service tunnels and air ducts for most of the episode. So this would be Die Hard IN SPACE!!
  • Burn Notice had an episode where Michael and a rival go Die Hard in a Bank.
    • A more recent episode played with the formula. Michael infiltrates a gang of criminals who take over a small airport and take hostages (including Michael's mother). What does Michael do? Sabotage the operation from within and direct the blame towards a nonexistent airport employee.
  • The Baywatch episode "The Tower" has it on the beach and in a lifeguard tower. Naturally, it is Mitch who saves the day.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has "The Gang Gets Taken Hostage". Frank is stuck in the air vents while the McPoyles hold the rest of the gang hostage. He even has to walk over broken glass and tape a gun to his back. And at one point he yells "Yipee Ki Yay Mr. Falcon!"
  • Human Target has had Die Hard On a Bullet Train ["Pilot"] (complete with air vent crawl!) and Die Hard In a Monastery ["Sanctuary"].
  • A season finale episode of Third Watch was essentially "Die Hard in a hospital with five times more cops", and was very action packed for the type of series it was.
  • As the characters repeatedly Lampshade, Jim & George's subplot of the No Ordinary Family episode "No Ordinary Detention" is Die Hard in a police station. The trope is also Invoked, as they explicitly base their plan on McClane's actions. George compares himself to Sgt. Powell ("Let me be your black dude"), and Jim at one point uses the family-friendly half of McClane's Catch Phrase.
  • Mad About You played with being Die Hard in a Hospital because the hospital is sealed off after Bruce Willis gets hurting 'filming the latest Die Hard film, Die Already. He ends up wandering the hospital ("Do I look concussed?") and helping Paul Riser's character make it to his daughter's birth.
  • Happens in Global Dynamics in Eureka, with Jo Lupo and Zoe Carter.
  • In the Leverage episode "The Radio Job", part of the con involves making an FBI agent think this is what's going on. Eliot manages to get off a "Yippee ki-yay, motherf--!"
  • 24 did this basically Once a Season, in addition to drawing enough tonal influences from the original movie that "Die Hard on the clock" is not a bad description for it.
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look featured a sketch in which a terminally ill man's last wish was to do Die Hard. As in re-enact the original movie for real. He's later disappointed when it's not as much fun as he hoped it would be.
  • The Blacklist episode "Anslo Garrick" is "Die Hard in a top secret FBI compound". As an additional Shout-Out, FBI Agent Elizabeth Keen loses her shoes early on and has to run around barefoot, just like John McClane in the original movie.
  • The Almost Human episode "Are You Receiving?" is Die Hard with robots.

    Video Games 
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum is basically Die Hard in Arkham Asylum started by the Joker.
  • The entire middle portion (About 60-70% of the game) of First Encounter Assault Recon is "Die Hard in an Office Building", like the original Die Hard movie, except replace terrorists with psychically controlled super soldiers and McClane with a slo-mo using, round house kicking Silent Protagonist
    • Also instead of Hans Gruger we get a telepathic and psychotic cannibal named Paxton Fettel Who is also your brother.
  • The first System Shock is Die Hard on a space station. With a rogue homicidal AI and cyborgs. The second one is set on two of humanity's first commercial starships. With even worse and more horrifying threats...
  • The original Half-Life is pretty much Die Hard in a research facility.
    • Not to mention an older example — Doom, anyone? Only replace "demons" with "aliens" and "hell" with "an alternate dimension".
    • Alyx lampshades Dr. Freeman's proclivity for air-vent exploration in Episode One.
  • Metal Gear Solid was "Die Hard on an Alaskan Military Base".
    • Come to think of it, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was "Die Hard on a Russian Military Base During the Cold War".
      • Metal Gear Solid 2 manages to cover "DH on a ship" and "DH in a clean up facility." Metal Gear Solid 4 is a bit like Live Free or Die Hard in the sense that Snake does quite a bit of traveling in the game. This game lets us add "DH in the Middle East, South America, Europe and Alaska" before coming back to being on a ship again (which this time around is more like Storming the Castle)
    • Of course the original Metal Gear (and sequels) came out in 1987 pre-dating Die Hard and with the same basic plot. Many also differ in that the "terrorists" often aren't taking over anything, but staying at home being evil and Snake needs to infiltrate them.
      • Die Hard in Zanzibar, that's about it.
  • Metroid: Fusion is "Die Hard in a space station." Other games in the series are "Die Hard on an entire planet", only that Samus is the invader there.
  • The escape from the belly of the Leviathan in Knights of the Old Republic is either Die Hard on a spaceship, or a biblical reference.
  • Mass Effect 2 has a Die Hard on the Normandy scene when Joker has to escape the Collectors and find Shepard to go rescue the rest of the crew.
    • The last section of the Arrival DLC, where Shepard has to fight through the Indoctrinated Alliance team and destroy the Alpha Relay before the Reapers can establish a beachhead, can be summed up as Die Hard on an Asteroid.
    • In Mass Effect 3, the plot of the Citadel DLC is essentially Die Hard on the Citadel, culminating with a frantic shootout on the Normandy as Shepard rushes to retake the ship. Die Hard on the Normandy: Die Harder?
  • The various Pokémon games include Die Hard in an office building, a radio tower, a volcano, an oceanic museum, a weather institute, a submarine pen, a space centre, a wind farm, two office buildings, another mountain, a forest, a cold-storage warehouse, a castle, and then some.
    • In fact, there's pretty much a guarantee that you'll deal with a situation like this at least once in a Pokemon game (Pokémon Mystery Dungeon and other spin-offs excluded). Justified, in that the villainous groups pretty much are Die Hard terrorists/crime syndicates, especially Team Rocket.
  • In Paper Mario, there is a "Die Hard starring Princess Peach" segment after every chapter. The castle has been taken over by Bowser, and you have to use secret passages and disguises to sneak around and, at one point, stealthily bake a cake.
  • Broken Helix is Die Hard on Area 51, with marines, renegade scientists, and aliens killing each other. The player gets stuck in the middle and can even join either sides.
  • The "No Fighting in the War Room" mission of the first Modern Warfare is Die Hard in a nuclear weapons facility.
    • The mission "Turbulence" in Modern Warfare 3 is basically "Die Hard on the Russian President's plane". So, it is really more like "Air Force One with Russians".
  • Crisis Beat is Die Hard on a ferry. Complete with a Christmas setting.
  • Chase the Express, aka. Covert Ops: Nuclear Dawn is Die Hard in a NATO armored train. Also counts as a Thriller on the Express.
  • Freedom Fighters is essentially Die Hard in New York City. Specifically, the city is under Soviet control and it's up to the player to rally the citizens to take it back.
  • Iji is essentially Die Hard in a Military Facility during an Alien Invasion.

    Webcomics 
  • The Dragon Doctors arc "Thieves of life" is a "Die Hard In A Hospital" scenario. Goro, the sickly surgeon, is fighting off four thieves while awaiting her Life Energy transplant.
  • Bob the Angry Flower: From the people who brought you Submarine Action Movie and Airplane Action Movie', now comes Train Action Movie!!!
  • In strip #349 of Micheal Firman's Moe, while not a reconstruction of this trope in itself, the titular character tries to pitch an action-romance movie based on this format, albeit without being able to think of any romantic movie to merge Die Hard with.
    "I'm picturing something like Die Hard meets... That scene in Die Hard where he gets all gushy over his wife"

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied with the page-quote exchange on The Simpsons. Just to clarify, those events didn't really happen. They're a fabrication by Homer.
    • The episode where Maggie rescues the other babies from a creche made a lot of references to The Great Escape, but was actually more like Die Hard In A Nursery.
  • The Fillmore! episode "A Cold Day at X" is Die Hard In A Middle School.
  • The South Park episode "Super Fun Time" is essentially Die Hard at Ye Olde Settlement, where a team of terrorists, complete with a Hans lookalike, takes a frontier-town educational park hostage after robbing a Burger King.
  • An episode of Beast Wars does this with a unique twist: It's the building where Rattrap is hiding that is trying to kill him. He sets off the security system and tries to deactivate it.
    • And an episode of Transformers Animated did Die Hard on an Elite Guard Spaceship. Complete with bomb-down-the-elevator-shaft and grumbling while crawling through the air vent.
  • The "Hostage Crisis" episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars was basically "Die Hard in the Republic Senate building" with Anakin as John McClane and bounty hunter Cad Bane as Hans Gruber. Instead of having no shoes like McClane, Anakin has no lightsaber. Unlike most examples of the trope Anakin does not stop the villains, they successfully take over the building, make their demands and then make good their escape. Anakin himself is captured without putting any real dents in the villains' efforts and spends the rest of the crisis unconscious and held with the rest of the hostages. However, Anakin does get a redemption at the end of the episode when he saves the lives of the hostages when Cad Bane was going to blow them up after he had already gotten away.
  • A clip show episode of The Critic was framed around Jay's show being taken over by terrorists led by a Hans Gruber Expy. In the end they were defeated by Highly-Visible Ninja Milton Berle.
  • The Dexter's Laboratory episode "Trapped With A Vengeance" had Dexter facing the janitor who wouldn't let him leave school, and had several Shout Outs to iconic scenes from Die Hard.
  • The SWAT Kats episode "Destructive Nature" actually is Die Hard in an office building — only with a Mad Scientist and his Man Eating Plants as the villains.
  • In the Young Justice episode "Home Front", Robin and Artemis, the Badass Normals of the team, are hunted throughout their own base by a team of ridiculously powerful androids.
  • From The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes:
    • "Masters of Evil" has some of the Avengers' biggest villains at the time take over the Avengers Mansion, and capture five of the Avengers. Ant-Man, Hawkeye, and Black Panther subsequently have to rescue their fellow superheroes.
    • "Alone Against AIM" was actually promoted once as, "Die Hard at Stark Industries!" The Scientist Supreme cuts off the power at the main Stark Industries office building, and takes Pepper Potts hostage, while also stealing some of Iron Man's armor. This leaves an un-armored Tony Stark having to stop AIM from blowing up the building, with the Technovore chasing him in pursuit of the arc reactor in his chest. One scene even shows Tony descending an elevator shaft together with Maria Hill.
  • Done as a whole plot reference in the The Cleveland Show in the episode "Die Semi-Hard"

Darker and EdgierTrope Names from MemesDo a Barrel Roll
Come for the X, Stay for the YThis Trope Is XFoo Fu
Deus Exit MachinaPlotsDigging to China
Under SiegeFilms of the 1990sUniversal Soldier
Charlie and the Chocolate ParodyWhole Plot ReferenceFairy Tale Episode

alternative title(s): Die Hard Situation
random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
94206
2