The characters pertaining to the Die Hard film series.
- Badass Family: You might be a Big Bad armed to the teeth and have a brilliant Evil Plan, but the moment a McClane gets involved, disaster will inevitably follow as they stare you down with more steely courage and determination than you can possibly counter.
John McClane, Sr.
A New York City Detective who, when visiting his estranged wifes office building to reconcile with her, finds himself having to take on organised terrorists. He has a very abrasive personality, but more than makes up for it with determination and a sense of heroism.
- Action Hero: Whilst McClane's ability to think on his feet is his strongest asset and he's not afraid to get his hands dirty.
- Action Survivor: From the very beginning. Although John is a cop, the fact is that he is completely out of his depth, at least in the first few movies. He's not even a detective, just a street cop. In the first movie especially, he makes some serious mistakes and is frequently forced to retreat. Only his Made of Iron Determinator status saves the day.
- Adaptation Name Change: He was Joe Leland in the book.
- Adaptational Heroism: He' much more sympathetic than his book counterpart. He's not misogynistic the way Leland is, and McClane mostly kills only in self defense, while Leland executes captured Terrorists simply because he thinks they are about to try and lecture him on the righteousness of their cause. Karl's brother being killed is a deliberate choice by Leland in the book, while in the film it's more accidental due to him trying to overpower McClane. More importantly, McClane's actions save everyone on the roof, so it's clear McClane's involvement is a good thing and unambiguously heroic. In the book, it's never entirely clear if Leland's actions didn't end up making things worse.
- Age Lift: In the novel the main character is a retired police officer (and a WW2 veteran!) and it is his daughter who is working at the skyscraper.
- The Alcoholic: In the third film a character comments that John McClane is two steps away from being a full-blown alcoholic. McClane corrects him by holding up a single finger and saying "One step."
- Anti-Hero: He drinks, smokes, curses, bloodily dispatches his enemies, causes wide scale property damage and neglects his married life.
- Badass Grandpa: From the fourth film onwards. His own son even lampshades this.
- Badass Unintentional: The essence of the character. What made the Die Hard series stand out over other action films, especially the ones from the 1980s, was that McClane is very vulnerable. Just watch his reactions with Hans, especially when he tries to convince Ellis to say they didn't know each other just to save Ellis' life in the first movie, or trying his best to signal the plane that Stuart was gonna crash. He could also barely fight when badly hurt, and had to rely on hiding and dirty tactics to overcome his enemies and stay alive.
- Bald of Awesome: From the fourth film onwards. The previous three films are Balding Of Awesome.
- Being Good Sucks: He lives this trope. Over the course of all five movies, his wife has divorced him, his daughter is distant from him, he's completely estranged from his son and when he tries to save him he ends up destroying a secret CIA mission that took three years to plan, and he simply finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time at all times. His fellow officers don't seem to care much for him, he's nearly an alcoholic, he's bitter, alone, and depressed, yet time after time, he continues to save the day simply because he's "that guy", as he puts it in his own words.
- Blood-Splattered Warrior: In the third film, emerges blood-spattered from shooting five mooks in an elevator. Zeus ask with concern, "You all right?" McClane replies, casually, "Yeah, yeah, it's not my blood."
- Born in the Wrong Century: Present, but downplayed in the first film. He expresses confusion and frustration with digital technology, annoyance with LA's lack of traditional Christmas fare, and displays an almost-but-not-quite sexist attitude towards his wife following her career. He gets better by the second one (though he still gets confused by technology).
- Catch-Phrase: "Yipee-ki-yay, motherfucker!"
- Car Fu: In the fourth movie, he used a car to destroy a helicopter.McClane: I was out of bullets.
- The Chew Toy: On top of the amount of abuse he takes in each film, his life in general just sucks.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Even if he doesn't like it, but in a world filled with terrorists, incompetent cops and innocent victims, someone has to be the hero.
- Combat Pragmatist: He's not above putting hairspray in your eyes, for example.
- Cool Old Guy: From the fourth film onwards.
- Cowboy Cop: In the first film, the first mook he kills tells him that he won't hurt him because there are rules for cops. He states that his captain keeps telling him that and proceeds to Pistol Whip the mook. Hans calls McClane out on his behavior, and then the discussion turns to cowboys in movies, leading to the Catch-Phrase.
- Deadpan Snarker: A strong trait of his.
- Defective Detective: For John saving the day is much easier than saving a marriage.
- Dented Iron: Throughout the films, the injuries he takes leave him battered, bruised and bleeding. This is particularly notable in the first film, especially since he's barefoot for the entirety of the hostage situation.
- Destructive Saviour: Sorry, Washington DC and Moscow. Hope you have McClane insurance.
- Determinator: A Trope Codifier for the non-invincible action movie hero who has to Earn His Happy Ending. In the first film, he gets beat up, shot at, nearly blown up, jumps himself off a building and crashes through a glass window, his feet get lacerated, and he eventually gets shot in the shoulder. This does not stop him. The third film has him getting pistol-whipped, blown up, beaten, drowned, shot at, beaten, and blown up again. This makes him angry. In the fourth film, he is shot at, blown up, shot at some more, thrown out of a car, beaten up by a Dark Action Girl, dropped down an elevator shaft, frozen, beat up again, shot at by a jet fighter, shot, and then shoots himself. He doesn't give up at any point.
- Establishing Character Moment: His Anti-Hero tendencies start to peek through as he's talking to the doctor on the flight to LA.
- The Everyman: He's just an average New York police officer, flown into Los Angeles to see his estranged wife Holly - then Hans and his gang attack, leaving John the only one in a position to stop them.
- Experienced Protagonist: He's a seasoned New York cop. When he's first introduced, he states that he's already been a cop for eleven years.
- Genius Bruiser: He's an excellent detective, and a devil in a fight.
- Good Is Not Soft: His actions throughout the series are well-meaning and heroic, but he's a brutal fighter and a Combat Pragmatist par excellence.
- Grumpy Old Man: As of the fourth movie.
- Guile Hero: His ability to think on his feet, adapt to his environment, and play mindgames with his opponents is what allows him to come out on top.
- In the book, hero Lelend is even more so. For example, he sends down the corpse with the message "Now we have a machine gun" to make Gruber think there's more than one enemy.
- The Hero: Despite being an Anti-Hero, a major part of McClane's character is that he's less interested in defeating his opponents than protecting innocent people and preventing major disasters. In the first film, he repeatedly gives his opponents chances to surrender, and wants the LAPD to take over and find a solution to the conflict that won't end with a pile of bodies. He only takes action when there are no other options.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: He gives a lengthy speech about it to Farrell in the fourth movie (see below).
- Honor Before Reason: He'll often turn down bribes and blackmail, saving the day instead.
- Heartbroken Badass: He still loves Holly, even if they are not married anymore. It becomes a factor in With a Vengeance where he wants to get back with his wife, only for work to get in the way.
- Hypocrite: To an extent, he smokes, but tells other people that smoking is bad for you.
- Iconic Outfit: The singlet. Definitely the singlet. Even in Die Hard 2, in the snow, he's still just wearing a singlet under his parka.
- Improbable Weapon User: Down to his Combat Pragmatist tendencies, he'll use plenty of Improvised Weapons to get the upper hand, including chairs, computer monitors, rolls of wrapping tape, fire extinguishers, hairspray, cars, chains and whatever else comes to hand.
- Indy Ploy: Most of his "plans" are these.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Particularly in the fourth film.
- Knight In Sour Armor: He may be tired, but what matters is that he still cares.
John McClane: You know what you get for being a hero? Nothin'. You get shot at. You get a little pat on the back, blah, blah, blah, attaboy. You get divorced. Your wife can't remember your last name. Your kids don't want to talk to you. You get to eat a lot of meals by yourself. Trust me, kid, nobody wants to be that guy.Matt Farrell: Then why you doing this?
- He even gives a trope-defining little speech in the fourth movie:
John McClane: Because there's nobody else to do it right now, that's why. Believe me, if there were somebody else to do it, I'd let them do it, but there's not. So we're doing it.
- Love Cannot Overcome: John and Holly clearly care about each other, but their marriage is already strained in the first movie. While Die Hard ends with them back together, ultimately their relationship can't survive John's Chronic Hero Syndrome. They're officially separated by movie three and divorced by movie four, adding to John's Knight In Sour Armor bitterness.
- MacGyvering: His ability to create makeshift gadgets to save the day would make the Trope Namer himself proud.
- Made of Iron: He fits the get-badly-hurt type to a tee. In the fourth film, he keeps taking enough damage to kill a man 3 or 4 times, yet he still wipes out an entire assault squad occupying a building, destroys a chopper with a police cruiser and a ramp, kills Mai Linh with a Ford Explorer and an elevator pit, takes out a fighter plane with a big truck and an elevated highway, and shoots himself in the shoulder to kill Thomas Gabriel, who was holding a gun against him. And all he needs to get patched up after all this is a calm ride in the ambulance.
- Manly Tears: When he fails to save a plane full of innocents from being murdered in Die Harder.
- Motivational Lie: Cleverly uses one to get Zeus to help him in the 3rd movie.
- Mr. Fanservice: Many female audiences surely remember his famous Walking Shirtless Scene from the first movie.
- Mutilation Conga: It seems like each movie is just an excuse to put McClane through one of these. In the first movie alone, he gets beaten up, falls down a flight of stairs, runs over broken glass barefoot, gets beaten up again, is shot in the shoulder, jumps off a roof with a firehose tied around his waist, crashes through a window, almost gets dragged back out of the window by the fire hose, and jumps into a water fountain to avoid an exploding helicopter. He's fine by the next Christmas.
- Obfuscating Insanity: He has to fake this in the third film when Simon makes him wear a billboard insulting Afro-Americans while in his underwear. Zeus saves him by claiming his insanity, and he runs with it. And in general, McClane has his moments where he appears "unhinged". He does this for various reasons, either to fool and confuse his enemies, or to cope with the crap he has to go through.
- One-Man Army: Done very well in the first film, where he compensates for being outnumbered and outgunned by using hit-and-run tactics, psychological warfare, and crafty thinking to save the day. Notably, when he is present at Joe Takagi's death, he doesn't take the opportunity to charge in like a regular Action Hero because he notes that if he did so, he'd be dead too. It's played much straighter in the other films, however.
- The Only One:
Farrell: Then why are you doing this?
- In the first movie, he's in the building seeing everything up-close, so he is able to respond to the criminals effectively. However, the authorities have their playbook and go through it step-by-step — despite it becoming increasingly obvious that the criminals have read that playbook and either respond with a specific countermeasure or integrate it into their plans.
- In Die Hard 2, the terrorists are renegade U.S. troops, the military troops sent to take out the terrorists are in cahoots with them, and for most of the movie the airport security guards actively oppose McClane's heroic efforts.
- From Live Free or Die Hard:
McClane: Because there's nobody else to do it right now, that's why. Believe me, if there were somebody else to do it, I'd let them do it. But there's not, so we're doing it.
Farrell: Ah. That's what makes you that guy.
- Papa Wolf: Despite his strained relationship with both his children, he would go to great lengths to save them.
- Perma-Stubble: In the third movie, because he was pulled out of bed while still hungover from a night of hard drinking.
- 4th movie as well (he was up all night borderline stalking his daughter, and then had to go all the way from NYC to DC).
- Right Man in the Wrong Place: He was just there for a party and turned out to be the guy made to seriously derail a perfectly good plan.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!:Simon: John. In the back of the truck you are driving, there is $13 billion worth in gold bullion. I wonder if a deal would be out of the question?
John: Yeah, I got a deal for you: Crawl out from under that rock you hiding under and I'll drive this truck up your ass.
- Self-Deprecation: Many of his stings. Sometimes, as he's talking to himself. ("Oh, John. What the fuck are you doing?")
- Sherlock Scan: He is able to deduce quite a bit about the Mooks inside the office just by picking up on subtle clues in their attire and actions.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Outside of his catchphrase, he spends a lot of time cursing, blaspheming, and insulting people. Oddly enough, it seems to be a Justified Trope - he's only vulgar during high stress crisis situations, and seems reasonably soft spoken when off duty.
- Sleeves Are for Wimps: His Iconic Outfit is a singlet (aka wife-beater aka A-shirt) and slacks. Shoes are optional.
- Smoking Is Cool: He smokes a pack by himself in the first film, which takes place over the course of a few hours. He's also a grade a badass.
- The Snark Knight: A really good snarker, and a lot of it is at himself. He fits.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: Whenever John meets someone who is snarkier then he is, there's bound to be some of them.
- Supporting Protagonist: Becomes this in A Good Day to Die Hard, as the movie seems to focus more on Jack and his mission to bring down Chagarin and later Komarov.
- The Southpaw: Since Bruce Willis is left handed, so is he. Every single Video Game adaptation of Die Hard, barring Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza, tends to forget this, though.
- Taught by Experience: All There in the Manual with regard to his hand to hand combat skills. A throwaway stage direction in his fight against Karl describes McClane as bringing "everything from the street."
- Took a Level in Jerkass: He's grumpier in the fourth movie, but still a good man underneath. Justified because he was very alienated from loved ones during the time, so it might have been somewhat understandable.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Downplayed in the first three films and Played Straight in the later films. John clearly lacks any formal training in hand-to-hand, but almost every up close fight he has with the villains shows that he puts all his power into his punches, and his ability to tank insane amounts of damage make him much more dangerous than most fighters.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: After being forced to run across broken glass in bare feet, he uses his wifebeater to improvise bandages and spends the last act of the movie shirtless.
- We Do the Impossible: Nevermind anything else this overworked NYPD cop does, he takes out a helicopter with a police car. He's just a mook that always ends up in the wrong place at the right time, or as they say in Live Free or Die Hard: "That's what makes you That Guy."
- Weirdly, he's usually this on accident. He's never the first guy anyone goes to in an out-of-control terrorist crisis in the films, doesn't get any accolades, and it is in fact suggested in the 4th film that his police department and many other law enforcement agencies consider his actions to be a fluke or an embarrassment. Somehow however, he always ends up being right in the middle of the terrorist plots he thwarts.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: He's rather terrified of heights and flying. In fact, the entire reason he was shoeless most of the film was on the advice of a fellow plane passenger he took off his shoes, and walked around for a few minutes with toes clenched to get over the anxiety from his cross country plane trip.
- Working-Class Hero: The ultimate everyman, he learned everything he knew from on the job honest policing in the NYPD. Then becomes a generic Super Cop in Live Free or Die Hard.
- Would Hit a Girl: With his fists, with a computer monitor, with a car...
John McClanes estranged wife. A hard working businesswoman who cares deeply for John and her children despite the separation.
- '80s Hair: Got a typical 80s perm.
- Adaptational Heroism: In the novel the first film is based on, Holly is an unpleasant person who cheats on her husband with Ellis, has a cocaine habit and helped fund a hostile military takeover in Chile, killing hundreds of innocents. She's nowhere near as awful in the movies.
- Damsel out of Distress: While she can't join the fight with her husband, she is the one person who is able to reliably get a rise out of Hans Gruber repeatedly. Furthermore, she is able to negotiate with him on behalf of her coworkers and does everything she can to hide her relationship with John for as long as she can to avoid complicating his fight with Gruber's gang.
- In Die Hard 2, she is the only one able to shut Thornberg up when he is recklessly creating a panic with his news story.
- Defiant Captive: While she is held hostage like her co-workers, she doesn't hesitate to confront Hans and insult him when she needs to help one of her co-workers. Even when Hans finds out she is married to John, and she finds herself in real danger, she doesn't hesistate to insult him.
- Love Cannot Overcome: John and Holly clearly care about each other, but their marriage is already strained in the first movie. While Die Hard ends with them back together, ultimately their relationship can't survive John's Chronic Hero Syndrome. Before movie three Holly leaves John, and by movie four they're long divorced.
- Married to the Job: Moved to the west coast for the sake of her career while John stayed in New York.
- Meaningful Name: The film takes place around Christmas and her name is Holly.
- You Are in Command Now: She winds up being the hostage negotiating with the terrorists after Takagi is killed.Holly: I have a request.
Hans: What idiot put you in charge?
Holly: You did. When you murdered my boss. Now everybody's looking to me. Personally, I'd pass on the job. I don't enjoy being this close to you.
The daughter of John and Holly McClane.
- Ascended Extra: Small role in the first Die Hard, turns out to have a major one in the fourth one.
- Defiant Captive: While Gabriel still kidnaps her, Lucy isn't about to get all upset about it.Lucy: (over the phone as Gabriel's forcing her to beg for her life): Daddy? There's only five of them now.
- Demoted to Extra: In the fifth film, where her brother was the one that was taking stage. She only appears taking John to the airport, talking to him on the phone in the extended cut, and picking both of the McClanes from the airport.
- Fiery Red Head: Red hair and a defiant, headstrong and snarky personality.
- Like Father, Like Daughter: Defiant, headstrong, snarky and very able to put a useful fight against her captors.Matt: Wow, I know that tone. It's just weird hearing it come from someone with... hair.
- Rescue Romance: At the end, it looks like Lucy and Matt are flirting hard with each other. This causes Lucy's dad even more pain than anything Gabriel inflicted on him...
John "Jack" McClane Jr.
The son of John and Holly McClane.
- Action Duo: With his dad.
- Ascended Extra: Like his sister before him, small role in the first movie and gets to hang with his father in the fifth movie, taking down terrorists with him.
- Bald of Awesome: Well, a really close buzz cut at least.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Considering he goes by "Jack" instead of "John Jr.", he calls his dad "John" and they were estranged for so long that John had no idea where his son even was before learning he was in Russia, let alone being a CIA agent.
- The Chessmaster: Compared to his father, Jack's plan took three whole years to set up and he presumably accounted for everything... except his dad.
- Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Jack wanted to be arrested so he could infiltrate The Mafiya/terrorists/Mafiya-terrorists and then his estranged dad suddenly appears to rescues him with a hugely destructive three-way car chase (John (small truck) vs. Jack (large truck) vs. Mafiya (giant armored truck)).
- Deadpan Snarker: Gets it from his dad.John: Need a hug?
Jack: We're not really a hugging family.
John: Damn straight.
- Foil: The HBO making-of seems to indicate that he is — or wants to be — The Chessmaster to John's Indy Ploy master since he's a CIA agent who deliberately puts himself in dangerous situations, is described as "by-the-book", and his secret mission took three years to set up.
- Like Father, Like Son: It's pretty clear he's just as badass as his dad.Jack: Someone's gotta stop him.
John: Atta boy.
A Los Angeles beat cop who becomes McClanes only ally outside the building in the original Die Hard. He reprises the role for the second film for a short appearance.
- The Atoner: Powell shot a 13-year-old kid who was holding a realistic-looking toy gun. The guilt he feels over the incident causes him to believe that he'll never again be able to pull his gun on somebody. Thankfully, he proves himself wrong by drawing his gun and killing a crook who is about to kill McClane at the very end of the first film.
- Bald of Awesome: Though he isn't fully bald.
- Batman Grabs a Gun: He has no stomach for using his sidearm in the first film, thanks to shooting a young boy with a toy gun. In the end, he ends up shooting Karl before he can take out John.
- Black Best Friend: Despite not meeting each other before the end of the first film, he's John's only trustworthy helper and source of moral support outside the Nakatomi Plaza. Not as big a role in the second, although he is still John's best friend.
- Brooklyn Rage: Although he's more angry about the way the police department is handling the hostage crisis.The man is hurting! He is alone, tired, and he hasn't seen diddly-squat from anybody down here. Now you're gonna stand there and tell me that he's gonna give a damn about what you do to him, if he makes it out of there alive? Why don't you wake up and smell what you shoveling?
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Powell is never seen or mentioned again after the second film.
- Deadpan Snarker: He gives his superior a hard time during the Nakatomi crisis due to Robinson's general incompetence. The best line was an ad lib when Robinson is trying to look professional for the FBI agents that arrived on the scene.Powell: Need a breath mint?
[Robinson gives him a Death Glare]
- Desk Jockey: McClane and Powell have a conversation that jokingly derides desk jockey cops, up until Powell reveals why he's now a desk jockey instead of patrolling the streets. This is because Powell made the horrible mistake of shooting a kid with a fake gun. He still proves he can get the job done when Karl comes back from the dead for one last shot at McClane.
- The second movie then shows that he's still in the desk job. Of course, it's better paying and safer than a beat cop job.
- Doesn't Like Guns: He states that the reason why he can't use a gun anymore is because he accidentally shot a kid who was using a toy gun. Later, when Karl begins to attack McClane at the end, Al pulls out his gun and guns down Karl.
- Donut Mess with a Cop: Twinkies for a change. Though he claims they're for his pregnant wife.
- Hidden Depths: Despite "only" being a desk jockey, Powell is remarkably insightful and clear-headed. He identifies McClane is a cop just by the language he uses, and repeatedly points out how misguided and arrogant his law enforcement superiors are. And as the ending proves, when it's crunch time, he is definitely capable of gunning down a bad guy, despite doubting he'd ever be able to draw his gun again.
- My Greatest Failure: He cannot forgive himself for shooting a kid with a plastic gun. He averts this when he fires on Karl to save John at the end of the film in My Greatest Second Chance.
- Only Sane Man: He's the only LAPD cop who realizes what's happening.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: Unlike John, Al carries a Smith & Wesson 15 revolver.
- Shoot Him! He Has a... Wallet: Provides the page quote. He shot a 13-year-old who had a toy ray gun in the dark, which got him relegated to desk duty.
- Trademark Favorite Food: He loves eating Twinkies.
- Underestimating Badassery: Everyone but McClane seems to do this to him.
Richard 'Dick' Thornberg
A sleazy reporter that hounds the McClane family in the first two movies.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Last seen lying in the snow on a Dulles runway unable to stand after being tazed during the finale of the second movie.
- Determinator: He's at least determined in getting news stories on the air, even though he's completely relentless and unethical about it.
- A Dick in Name: He spends the entire first movie trying to get a scoop and endangering John and Holly in the process (not to mention doing so by threatening their children's nanny with deportation in order to get a televised interview with them).
- Entitled Bastard: He expects special treatment on a plane after doing a news story on the declining quality of airline service.
- Evil Redhead: He isn't the villain but his actions in both films, especially the second goes from just unethical to outright malicious.
- Face Death with Dignity: Averted. He was crying as the plane he was residing in with Mrs. McClane was preparing to crash land since they had no more fuel left in their tanks. (Notably, he was the only one shown crying.)
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Though "friend" is being generous, as most of his own colleagues clearly can't stand him.
- Hate Sink: He ends up exposing who Holly really is by threatening the McClane housekeeper with deportation and terrorizes their kids all for the sake of a story. Possibly the greatest comeuppance example: he gets punched by Hollyat the end. He even gets zapped with a stun gun by the same Holly in Die Hard 2 after revealing on international TV that the airport has been hijacked, thereby causing a panic that the authorities were desperately trying to avoid.
- It's All About Me: He's smug reporter whose own fame and glory matter more than the safety of others. In the first movie, he reveals her relationship to John on TV, and thus to Hans by forcing his way into Holly's house, blackmailing her maid, and putting her children in the spotlight.
- In the second movie, he expects special treatment on the plane, and when learns of the terrorists plot, he reveals it to the airport and embellishes the extent of the danger, causing a panic at the airport that impedes John and airport security from taking down the rogue soldiers.
- Jerkass: Is obsessed with his job, insults his co-workers, is generally rude towards people, and doesnt care if his actions cause harm or get other people in trouble.
- Laser-Guided Karma: He endangered Holly by inadvertently revealing her relation to John on television, resulting in her being taken hostage. When he requests a live interview, she appropriately punches him in the face.
- In the second film, he acts like a smarmy ass on the plane, and later causes a panic at the airport by revealing and embellishing the terrorist plot impeding John from taking down the terrorists, and possibly injuring hundreds. Holly tases him.
- Meaningful Name: He really is a dick.
- Slime Ball: He is deliberately portrayed as a total sleazeball. He seems to have no moral or ethical compass, breaking many ethical journalism guidelines such as the hacking of John's files, forcing his way into their family home, and broadcasting their children without consent. In fact, his Editor doesn't even seem to like him.
- Strawman News Media: He's a parody of over-the-top news reporters that hound people for dramatic news stories without regards of privacy, ethics or safety.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: His entire purpose in both films he appears in is to unintentionally cause trouble. In the first film, he makes the villains aware that the woman they've negotiated with is John's wife, thus getting a key hostage. In the second film he causes a massive panic in the airport, most likely injuring and possibly killing many people, as well as hampering John's efforts against the terrorists.
- Actually Pretty Funny: Although part of it is acting, he can't help but break into a "are you kidding me?" laughing fit when McClane tells him he's literally just a cop from New York who ended up at the party by accident.
- Adaptation Name Change: The lead terrorist in Nothing Lasts Forever, the source material for the first film, is named Anton Red Tony Grueber. Here, hes named Hans Gruber.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: He pretends to be one of the American employees believing John to be one of the terrorists, who begs for his life when confronted by John in the boiler room under the roof.
- Ax-Crazy: Downplayed, but definitely there. Hans isn't joking around when he makes demands, he will kill you if you don't do as he asks.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Very well dressed. He even identifies Takagi's suit as (the fictional) John Phillips, London.
- Bad Boss: Brushes off Kristoff's warning that Karl is still on the roof when he blows it up.
- Batman Gambit: His plan is completely dependent on the FBI cutting electrical power (per standard procedure), which disables the magnetic lock on the Nakatomi Plaza vault. The plan falls apart, however, thanks to an barefoot New York cop who just happened to be visiting his wife.
- Beard of Evil: Has a neatly trimmed beard, and is ranked as the 46th greatest film villain of all time by the AFI.
- Berserk Button: Holly gets a rise out of him by pointing out that for all his posturing and delusions of grandeur, all he's doing is (trying) to steal some money.
- Big Bad: As the leader of the thieves and the one who spends the most time in contact with McClane, he is the main villain of the first film.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: He only slips into this at the very end. He even inverts this, chastising Karl for trying to kill McClane rather than lock him in the ventilation shaft.
- Brief Accent Imitation: Alan Rickman put on such a convincing American accent, that John McTiernan decided to extend the scene where he pretends to be a hostage in order to show it off. Given a Call Back in the third film when his brother (played by fellow Brit Jeremy Irons) puts on a heavy Texas accent.
- Card-Carrying Villain: The first time he's given a Boring Insult ("you're nothing but a thief") by Holly Hans puts a gun to her head and amends it with "I am an exceptional thief, and seeing that I'm escalating to kidnapping (you), you should be more polite!"
- The Chessmaster: He set a new standard for intelligent villains when the film first came out. He planned for just about everything, and almost anything that could have been considered a problem was just factored into the overall plan, such as the FBI responding to a terrorist attack instead of a robbery. John McClane was pretty much the only thing he hadn't planned on.
- Cold Ham: It's Alan Rickman. Most of his dialogue is bombastically understated.
- Counting to Three: He likes this trope. First he uses the count-up on Takagi. When the latter doesn't give him the access code on three, he gets a head shot. Later Gruber does the counting on John but this time his weapon wasn't loaded.Hans: I'm going to count to three. There will not be a four. Give me...the code, please.
- Cultured Badass: Compares himself with Alexander the Great, after taking over the Nakatomi Building.Hans: And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer... The benefits of a classical education.
- Humorously, the quote is actually "Alexander of Macedon, who, upon hearing that there were other worlds, wept that he had not yet conquered one", which is more accurate to his posturing.
- Deadpan Snarker: Emphasis on deadpan.Hans: Alas, your Mr. Takagi did not see it that way... so he won't be joining us for the rest of his life.
- He's also snarky with Theo; when Theo says that it would take a miracle to take out the electromagnetic lock, Hans replies "It's Christmas Theo, it's the time for miracles."
- Diabolical Mastermind: Planned the (almost) perfect heist.
- Disney Villain Death: Attempts to drag Holly down with him by grabbing her watch after he is shot, but McClane unclasps it, and Hans plummets to his death.
- Dissonant Serenity: He's always seen in a calm and composed mood even after murdering someone.
- Establishing Character Moment: He shows his refined taste when he compliments Takagi's suit.
- He establishes the Magnificent Bastard, Smug Snake type of criminal he is when he's directing his goons to prep before taking the Nakatomi Christmas Party hostage. And then, after they burst in and spray the place with bullets, he gently chides the screaming, terrified, hostages to please, please be quiet and allow him to speak.
- He actually gets a few in quick succession. After his moment with the hostages at the party and complimenting Tagaki's suit in the elevator, he sees a scale model of Nakatomi Plaza and quotes that when "Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer" (showing his ego), before nerding out over another model and commenting that he loved model as a boy for "the exactness, attention to every conceivable detail" (showing that he's a meticulous planner).
- Evil Genius: A pretty intelligent bastard.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Rickman's bass voice is put to great use.
- Facial Dialogue: Beautifully expresses a great deal of disgust and contempt without words.
- Fascinating Eyebrow: He pulls some cool eyebrow raises. After all, Alan Rickman IS Mr. Eyebrow.
- Faux Affably Evil: He's Wicked Cultured, and displays a modicum of politeness towards the hostages. However, if he doesn't get his way, he feels no revulsion towards killing those in his way without batting an eye. He's rather blase about killing Takagi and Ellis, and he's rather angered when Holly calls him a "common thief."Hans (almost snarling): I am an exceptional thief.
- Kick the Dog:
- Killing Takagi for not knowing the password and codes.
- And of course, his actual plan for the hostages...
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: His murders of Ellis, Big Johnson and Little Johnson, given that the former was a coke-snorting jackass who sold out McClane, while the latter two were Smug Snakes who inadvertently helped Hans further his plans and were perfectly okay with potentially getting some hostages killed.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: His henchmen are all extremely well-dressed, but he takes it up a notch with a double-breasted suit & tie.
- Major Injury Underreaction: His response to being shot and falling through a sheet of glass is mild annoyance. Becomes Oh, Crap! when he's dropped 30+ stories to his death.
- Master Actor: When he encounters McClane while checking the explosives on the roof, he convincingly acts the part of an escaped hostage, even faking an American accent. Subverted when McClane isn't fooled and gives him an unloaded gun.
- Near-Villain Victory: Apart from a few hiccups, his heist almost goes to plan until McClane chases the hostages downstairs from the roof.
- The Nicknamer: Calls McClane "Mr. Cowboy" until he learns his real name.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Lampshaded. He went to school in England, so his accent must have localized.
- Pet the Dog: Allowing a couch to be moved out to the lobby so that the very pregnant woman could sit on it. But then he sends everybody onto the roof that's wired with explosives.
- Predecessor Villain: To his brother Simon in the third film.
- Rasputinian Death: He gets wounded when he's shot in the gut, crashes through a window, and plummets 30 storeys to his demise.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Hans notices in the elevator how nice Mr. Takagi's suit is:Hans: Nice suit... John Phillips, London. I have two myself. Rumor has it Arafat buys his there.
- Small Name, Big Ego: He speaks of himself as basically the Napoleon of crime, but most of his big speeches about his amazing success are long before he's managed a single scheme, and his Wicked Cultured aspects break down if one's willing to actually check his sources. His Berserk Button, as Holly discovers, is being reminded that for all his delusions of grandeur, he's ultimately nothing more than an ambitiously unsuccessful thief.
- The Sociopath: Ruthless, totally lacking in empathy, charismatic, intelligent but prone to Disproportionate Retribution. He's got it all. Alan Rickman took note of this for his performance. His idea was that Gruber wasn't especially malicious towards others or even outright evil; he just wanted money and if heads rolled because of it than no skin off his back.
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: He never raises his voice when speaking to the hostages, which makes him more sinister.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Hans is (in his own words) an exceptional thief, but his henchman less so. Karl and Marco both pass up excellent chances to kill McClane (Karl due to it being personal and Marco due to Bond Villain Stupidity), which later causes the whole plan to become undone.
- Taking You with Me: Defied by McClane. Hans attempts to drag Holly down with him by grabbing her watch after he is shot, but McClane unclasps it, and Hans plummets to his death.
- The Unfettered: Looks like nothing can stop him from trying to achieve his goal. If he has to kill someone or sacrifice his own men if that would mean putting his hands on the millions then so be it.
- Villainous Breakdown: He acts very calm and collected up until the point where Holly calls him "just a common thief", at which point you can see his facade of civility crumble into derangement.
- Weapon of Choice: A Heckler and Koch P7M13 pistol.
- Western Terrorist: Subverted, his group use this as a cover for committing straightforward crimes, though Gruber is a former terrorist himself. Presumably, he and the others have lost their radical ideals and now just want to make a heap of money and retire.
- Wicked Pretentious: He lampshades this by quoting Plutarch's "Life of Alexander" and then comments, "Benefits of a classical education." Of course, he not only gets the quote wrong, but seems to miss the point of it being that Alexander realized he'd failed to conquer the world, making his comparison to Alexander of Macedon a bit of Foreshadowing in addition to remarkably pretentious.
Hans: Still a cowboy, Mr McClane. Americans, all the same. Well, this time John Wayne does not walk into the sunset with Grace Kelly.John: That was Gary Cooper, asshole!
- Amusingly enough, he can't even get pop culture right either.
- Worthy Opponent: Is one of the few terrorists who takes McClane seriously. Also extends to a meta level, as fans note that Hans is the series' best villain.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: He pretends to be an escaped partygoer when he first meets John McClane.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: As soon as he runs into John McClane, he's able to think on the spot to fake an American accent and pretend he's a hostage. During his time with John, he's very observant and notices he's going barefoot. Once John has his back to Hans, he calls for Karl, Franco and Fritz, which came in handy when the gun he pointed on John had no bullets. In their next shootout he takes advantage of this by having his men fire on the glass around where John is taking cover, injuring him and causing him to drop the bag with the detonator charges Hans needed.
- Ax-Crazy: "I want blood!"
- Badass Longhair: Rocks a '80s Hair piece and is the most hands-on among Hans' cronies.
- Barbarian Longhair: The script makes a point of saying he looks "like a rocker."
- Bond Villain Stupidity: See below. He has the drop on McClane and a rifle to his head, and has made it clear that he just wants McClane dead. Rather than blow his head off, Karl lets McClane knock his gun away, leading to a fistfight which Karl loses. Bonus points - if Karl had just shot McClane then and there, their plan to blow the hostages would've worked, and he and the remaining thieves would've been able to split $640 million between the six of them. Whoops. This is probably justified through It's Personal.
- *Click* Hello: Puts his gun to McClane's cheek when the latter realizes that the roof is wired with explosives.
- Chainsaw Good: Whips out a chainsaw to cut the phone lines while Tony is disabling them.
- Combat Pragmatist: Grabs McClane's pistol during their fight and shoots him in the shoulder with it.
- Cool Gun: His Steyr AUG, a stark contrast to the MP5s used by the rest of his team.
- Dark Is Evil: Wears a black jumpsuit.
- Determinator: He'll stop at nothing to kill John.
- The Dragon: Hans' right hand man and the biggest threat to McClane.
- Dragon Their Feet: Survives after his boss's death to make one last attempt on McClane's life. He's subsequently killed by Powell.
- Dragon with an Agenda: He's deeply affected when McClane kills his brother Tony and subsequently spends the rest of the film hell-bent on killing McClane.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He's deeply affected by the death of his younger brother Tony and subsequently spends the rest of the film hell-bent on killing McClane.
- Evil Counterpart: Can be seen as one to John. Both are Determinators who are Made of Iron who would do anything for their loved ones.
- Flipping the Table: When he hears his brother Tony is dead, he flips the desk in Holly's office.
- Genius Bruiser: Karl may be impulsive, but he's not stupid. He almost catches McClane several times and gets the drop on him before their fight, throwing John's pistol away and crushing the radio. He also predicts that McClane will be trouble and winds up being proven right when the cop tries to warn the police and steals Heinrich's bag, not to mention killing other terrorists left and right.
- Grumpy Bear: Even before his brother gets killed, he comes off as very sullen.
- Hot-Blooded: And then some!
- It's Personal with the Dragon: "We are both professionals. This is personal."
- Leave Him to Me: (To Franco and Fritz): "No one kills him but me."
- Made of Iron: He can survive a ton of punishment. For example, he gets hanged by a chain and is (presumably) caught in the roof explosion.
- Moral Myopia: Absolutely furious that his brother was killed, yet he's probably the most trigger-happy member of the gang, who were all planning to kill all the hostages from the beginning anyway.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Is shown to be thuggish and impulsive while Tony is calm and crafty; early on, Tony attempts to disable the phone lines electronically but Karl simply takes a chainsaw and cuts through the lines instead.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: He and his brother Tony. The former is hot blooded and strong, the latter is calm and craftier (though taller).
- Slasher Smile: The face he makes when he traps John's arm, punches him and starts kicking him around the room.
- Unstoppable Rage: By the end of the film, he has all but given up trying to evade capture by the police and is perfectly willing to open fire on McClane in front of dozens witnesses, including police officers, in a last ditch effort to avenge his boss and brother (and the botched robbery).
- Villainous Breakdown: His brother's death causes Karl to go off the deep end. Also see Unstoppable Rage above.
- Weapon of Choice: A Steyr AUG assault rifle and Walther PPK pistol. He also uses flash grenades.
One of Holly's coworkers at the Nakatomi Plaza.
- Annoying Laugh: Lets out a memorable one when Takagi makes a WWII joke.
- Asshole Victim: Subverted. He betrays John to the terrorists, in a foolish attempt to save his life and the others. Nonetheless John pleads for Ellis' life and is anguished when he is killed by Gruber.
- Boom, Headshot!: Courtesy of Hans.
- Drugs Are Bad: Hes seen snorting cocaine at least twice. The last is when he decides to negotiate with Hans. It doesn't end well.
- Foil: To John. He's after Holly and incredibly sleazy about it while John is awkwardly trying to salvage his marriage. He also thinks that the villains actually are terrorists and he's the one able to defuse the situation while John is only making the situation worse. John on the other hand, knows exactly what he is and what the villains are.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: One could argue he was trying to help his co-workers by getting John to surrender. Still didn't end well. He might have been fine had he told the villain the truth when things went South. Instead he committed to his lie and protected Holly.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Besides giving Johns name to Hans, Richard also gets the name and cause even more trouble afterward.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: After his death, the film becomes less humorous and a lot more tense.
- Smug Smiler: Is always smiling when he think he's got the upper hand. In fact, the last thing he's seen doing is smiling.
- Smug Snake: A sleazy scumbag trying to hit on Holly and is confident that the "Euro-trash" can be negotiated with.
- Slimeball: Comes across as this from the moment we meet him.
- Too Dumb to Live: Yes, go to the dangerous terrorist leader who isnt above casually executing hostages and try to sell out the guy you just met earlier who happens to be far savvier on how hostage situations works.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: He thinks he can negotiate with Gruber (thinking he's a terrorist instead of pretending to be as such) and that John is a pesky wannabe hero making the situation worse.
- Yiddish as a Second Language: He very famously calls Hans Gruber "bubby," short for "bubalah," a term of endearment. The line was ad-libbed by Hart Bochner, who is Jewish. That said, Ellis also casually drops an anti-Semitic slur in the same scene, so it's unlikely that the character himself is Jewish.
- Actually Pretty Funny: Starts laughing when he hears John say "I'm not the one who just got buttfucked on national TV, Dwayne!"
- Almighty Janitor: Argyle the limo driver takes out one of terrorists with nothing but his car and his fists. This technically means Argyle was more useful in aiding McClane in his fight against the terrorists then both the entire FBI and LAPD were (with the exception of Sgt Powell).
- Badass Bystander: He becomes one at the end. It's revealed it's the first time he's driven a limo and he uses it at the end to stop Theo from escaping, then he knocks Theo out with one punch.
- Car Fu: Uses the limo to crash into Theo's getaway car.
- The Driver: Of the limo McClane rents.
- Heroic Bystander: He's just a limo driver who's passive most of the film. He takes out Theo when he tries to escape.
- Oh, Crap!: When he hears Thornburgs broadcast and attempts to escape, only to discover that hes trapped inside the parking garage.
- One-Hit KO: How he then takes out Theo.
- Uncle Tomfoolery: At first, it led to a small Funny Background Event moment when Powell's car is being shot up.
Hans technical expert, whose tasks include locking down the building and breaking into the vault.
- Black and Nerdy: He's the team's upbeat and cheery hacker, he wears glasses, and doesn't have any combat skills.
- Black Dude Dies First: Averted. He's the only terrorist with any meaningful screentime to survive the movie.
- The Cracker: He is a more realistic black hat: his main displays of cracking skill consist of tapping in to the building's camera system and guessing Takagi's password to defeat the first of seven locks on the Nakatomi Corporation vault. To disable locks 2 through 6, he uses a big drill. He doesn't even know how to open the final electromagnetic time lock on the vault until he learns about Hans' gaming the FBI into shutting off the power to the entire city grid that the building is on, thus disabling the lock and giving them access to the vault.
- Deadpan Snarker: Gives a running commentary of the police's efforts at breaking into the building.Theo: [as an armored car tries to drive into the building] Looks like the police have themselves an RV.
- The Evil Genius: The team's resident computer expert and responsible for breaking into the vault.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Theo wears a pair of glasses and one of the main villains.
- Lack of Empathy: Even though he doesn't get involved in the violence himself, Theo is shown to have no qualms whatsoever with innocent people being murdered during the Nakatomi siege. To the contrary, he reacts with complete indifference to the loss of life and sometimes even finds it amusing to joke about it. His weedy stature and Dirty Coward tendencies combined with this complete lack of care for anyone else arguably makes him one of the most unlikable of Hans' henchmen.
- This is subtly lampshaded when Theo says to Hans "You didn't bring me along for my charming personality." implying that Theo is actually self-aware that he isn't a pleasant person to be around. Hans smiles sardonically at this, suggesting that even he may actually hold a quiet distaste towards his demeanour.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Winds up punched out by Argyle, who got trapped in the parking garage when Theo locked it down.
- Mission Control: Despite being in the field with everybody else, he still counts, since he spends most of his time away from the rest of the group trying to crack open the vault, and using the building's own security system to keep tabs on police movements outside.
- Perky Male Minion: He's notably chatty and calm, even when the rest of the villains have all lost their affable façade due to McClane's interference. It probably helps that he's not on the front lines.
- Sole Survivor: The only terrorist with significant screentime (such as Hans, Karl, Eddie, Franco, and Fritz) to survive. He still gets punched out by Argyle, and was presumably arrested.
Joseph Yoshinobu "Joe" Takagi
President of Nakatomi Trading.
- Adaptational Nice Guy: He's a lot more noble and personable than his book counterpart.
- Baddie Flattery: On the receiving end. Hans Gruber compliments him on his nice John Phillips suit.
- Benevolent Boss: Throws his best employees a party and refuses to sell out his corporation. He was also the one that paid for the limo that brought John to Nakatomi towers and seems to get along fine with him. Killing him demonstrated how evil Hans was.
- Holly quietly tries to stop him from stepping forward during the hostage-taking, as she does what she can to protect her boss.
- Boom, Headshot!: Receives one from Hans when he doesn't give up the codes.Hans: We do it the hard way.
- Defiant to the End: Hans Gruber threatens to kill him if he doesn't tell Hans the access codes to the Nakatomi vault. Not only does he adamantly refuse, he outright goads Hans into killing him (although he sounds so calm that he doesn't seem like he's expecting Hans to kill him):Takagi: I don't know it, I'm telling you. Get on a jet to Tokyo and ask the Chairman. I'm telling you, you're just going to have to kill me.
- Face Death with Dignity: See Defiant to the End.
- Famous Last Words: "Get on a jet to Tokyo and ask the Chairman. I'm telling you, you're just gonna have to kill me."
- Japan Takes Over the World: Truly a man of his time. Born in Japan and raised in America, he was sent to an internment camp as a child during World War II and likes to joke about Japan's economic dominance.
- Race Lift: Takagis counterpart in the book is named Mr. Rivers.
- Sacrificial Lamb: The big-shot of the Nakatomi building and a decent guy. He puts up some resistance and his death shows that the terrorists mean business.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Hans notices in the elevator how nice Mr. Takagi's suit is and admits that he'd hate to ruin it by killing him.Hans: Nice suit. John Philips. I have two myself. Rumor is that Arafat buys his there.
Deputy Chief Dwayne T. Robinson
John: Oh, you're in charge? Well, I got some bad news for you *Dwayne*, from up here it doesn't look like you're in charge of jack shit.
Deputy Chief of the LAPD, who is in charge of the attempt to rescue the hostages.
- Adaptational Heroism: A Dirty Cop in the book, but there's nothing in the film to indicate he's corrupt.
- Butt-Monkey: His handling of the crisis is deplorable before the FBI takes command, earns and gets no respect from anybody, and as John puts, he gets butt-fucked on national TV in the process.
- By-the-Book Cop: At least initially. By the time the FBI show up, he seems to be starting to believe Powell about McClane, and even banters with him about the FBI's stupidity. He does begin to chew John out for his actions at the end of the film, but is interrupted by Karl.
- Commander Contrarian: He spends his time blaming McClane like an incompetent cop. Even with Al defending McClane, Robinson finally pushes too far when McClane saves some cops with an explosion, only for Robinson to take the radio and complain about him causing falling glass:McClane: Oh, you're in charge? Well, I got some bad news for you, Dwayne. From up here it doesn't look like you're in charge of jack shit.
Robinson: You listen to me, you little asshole, I'm—
McClane: Asshole? I'm not the one who just got butt-fucked on national TV, Dwayne. Now, you listen to me, jerk-off, if you're not a part of the solution, you're a part of the problem. Quit being a part of the fucking problem and put the other guy back on!
- Deadpan Snarker: More flippant than sardonic, but still present.[Hans blows the roof]: "Holy shit! We're gonna need some more FBI guys, I guess."
- Everyone Has Standards: He seems to draw the line at collateral damage, as shown when he calls the idea of cutting the power to ten blocks on Christmas Eve "crazy" and with his worried look at the FBI bringing out helicopters.
- Get Out!: Tells Powell to go home as they argue after Hans kills Ellis. Powell's response?
- Hate Sink: He's a massive Jerkass, continually assumes Powell is wrong, distrusts McClane, and generally acts as though he has the Idiot Ball in his pocket at all times. Roger Ebert went so far as to argue that this character alone more or less wrecks the film for him.
- Jerkass: He's callous, obstructive and unnecessarily unpleasant at times. He lightens up when he sees how careless the FBI is.
- Police are Useless: The first offender in the film.
- Smart Ball: He realizes the tactical assault on the Nakatomi is a bad idea and tries to revoke it before the team gets mauled, but the tactical officer at the scene brushes him off.
- Spared by the Adaptation: In the book, Robinson is killed by Karl when the latter makes his reappearance at the very end. Here, he survives.
- Unwitting Pawn: By demanding the release of terrorists, Hans uses him to call the FBI, who cut power to the building, enabling Hans to open the vault.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Makes clear to Al that he will chew out John for Ellis's death. When John makes it out of the building with Holly, Robinson tries doing just that, only for Karl to turn out to be Not Quite Dead.
Johnson and Johnson
- Big Johnson: Just like fuckin' Saigon, hey, Slick?
Little Johnson: I was in junior high, dickhead.
- Asshole Victim: After their whole smug shtick, the demise of these G-Men in an act of duty is somewhat played for Black Comedy.Robinson: We are gonna need some more FBI guys, I guess.
- By-the-Book Cop: They follow procedure to the letter. Even if it means that the hostages might suffer. This is exploited by Hans.
- CIA Evil, FBI Good: They're jerkasses who care nothing for the lives of the hostages and are only concerned with killing the terrorists.
- Entertainingly Wrong : They can't get anything right, but boy, are they ever amusing.Big Johnson: Those bastards are probably pissing their pants right now.
(cuts back to "Ode to joy", the vault has opened, the terrorists are in ecstasy)
- FBI Agent: They take over the law enforcement response to the takeover and, as Al Powell says, "They've got the universal terrorist playbook and they're running it step by step." This plays right into the hands of Hans Gruber, who takes advantage of their tactics to break into the vault. The agents then try to slaughter the terrorists while risking the hostages' lives and get blown up by a terrorist trap.
- Hate Sink: They are rather disrespectful to Powell and even Robinson, unknowingly play into the robbers' hands by cutting the power, and are perfectly fine with allowing some of the hostages to die if it means getting the villains. They end up getting killed when Hans blows up the roof and their heilcopter is caught in the blast.
- Jurisdiction Friction: The LAPD are not particularly happy to see them, and even Powell warns them to no avail that the terrorists know what they're up to. They remain aloof and condescending during the whole crisis.Big Johnson: When we commandeer your men, we'll try to let you know.
- Kick the Dog: They have an exchange in which they determine that their plan to stop the terrorists (which was actually a vital part of Hans Gruber's Evil Plan) could end up with 25% of the hostages dead, but they dismiss it as being an acceptable casualty. Presumably this is to obliterate any sympathy one might have for the fact that they get blown up by Gruber five minutes later. But that poor helicopter pilot....
- Kill It with Fire: Their chopper is caught in the explosion when Hans blows the roof, sending them and all aboard crashing down in a fiery inferno.
- Meaningful Name: Johnson is a name for government stooge.
- Mr. Smith: One's white, the other black. Amusingly, at one point when one of the agents is making a call to have the power to Nakatomi Plaza cut, he identifies himself as "Agent Johnson. No, the other one."
- One Steve Limit: A Played for Laughs aversion. "Johnson and Johnson, no relation". Rather amusing given that one is white and the other is black.Big Johnson: [over the phone] This is Agent Johnson... No, the other one.
- Police are Useless: Though they seem more capable than the local police, in the end they aren't much more effective.
- Salt and Pepper: Big Johnson is salt, Little Johnson is pepper.
- Smug Snake: Not nearly as good as they think they are. They act tough and badass, but they play right into Hans' hand.
- Those Two Bad Guys: They qualify, even if they're not technically bad guys.
- Those Two Guys: They show up in the middle of the movie and mostly act as one character dropping some highly quotable dialogue.
- Trigger Happy: Hopelessly gung-ho.Big Johnson: Figure we take out the terrorists. Lose 20, 25 percent of the hostages, tops.
Little Johnson: I can live with that.
- Adaptation Name Change: Tonys counterpart in the novel Nothing Lasts Forever (the source material for the first film) is named Hans.
- Big "NO!": Delivers several shouts of "Nein!" when Karl pulls out the chainsaw to cut the phone lines.
- *Click* Hello: Ends up on the receiving end of McClane's Beretta 92F like this.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Wears a pair of glasses and is one of the bad guys.
- Genius Bruiser: Seems to be one of the brainier members of the terrorists, as he rejiggers the phone lines (and has to deal with Karl just taking out a chainsaw and nearly sawing them in half before he's finished) and shows a manipulative side as he tries to deal with the interfering John. However, in a physical contest, his grip is not much more feeble than his brother's.
- Neck Snap: Pushed headfirst into the floor of the stairwell by McClane, breaking his neck.
- Pistol-Whipping: After Tony tells John that there are rules for policemen, John starts off their fight by hitting Tony with his pistol, knocking his glasses off.
- Sacrificial Lamb: For the terrorists, the first of the group to die. He also bears the unlucky distinction of being the first on-screen kill by John McClane.
- Stuffed into the Fridge: His body is sent down the elevator by John with the message "Now I have a machine gun. Ho-Ho-Ho."
- Weapon of Choice: A HK94 carbine with a shortened barrel and converted to full-auto as a stand-in MP5A3 submachine gun.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: See You Wouldn't Shoot Me. He knows cops have rules. Too bad John is a Cowboy Cop protagonist. Ok, John doesn't shoot him, but he starts a fight that leads to Tony's death.
- You Wouldn't Shoot Me: When John does a *Click* Hello.John: Drop it, dickhead. It's the police.
Tony: You won't hurt me.
John: Oh yeah? Why not.
Tony: Because you're a policeman. There are rules for policemen.
John: Yeah. That's what my captain keeps telling me. [hits Tony, knocking his glasses off]
Franco and Fritz
- Baddie Flattery: Fritz takes a moment to compliment the stereo system in Elliss office during the initial takeover.
- Bearer of Bad News: Fritz has to tell Karl his brother is dead.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: Indirectly. The glass raining down on Franco after he is killed gives Hans the idea to shoot out the rest of the glass partitions, as he knows John has no shoes.Hans: Shoot the glass!
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Franco wears a leather jacket.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Fritz has long hair.
- Mauve Shirts: They have the most screen time of the Mooks, much of it with Karl and chasing McClane. Franco even gets billing during the opening credits.
- No Kill Like Overkill: Fritz gets a good portion of a submachine gun emptied into his torso and Franco is shot messily in the legs, smashes his head into a glass partition, then has glass rained down upon him.
- Oh, Crap!: Fritz does one when he finds Tony's body in the elevator.
- The Quiet One: Franco has only two lines, though he shouts both.
- Those Two Guys: With the exception of the SWAT assault attempt (Fritz is on the 35th floor helping James bring the missiles down to the third floor, while Franco is guarding the hostages on the 30th floor), they're always in the same scene together.
- Weapon of Choice: Both carry a HK94 carbine with a shortened barrel and converted to full-auto as a stand-in MP5A3 submachine gun.
- Affably Evil: Quite cordial with Powell and wishes him a "Merry Christmas."
- Boom, Headshot!: Shot in the head by John.
- Dressing as the Enemy: Eddie takes the guards suit jacket during the takeover as part of his disguise.
- The Face: Eddie spends most of the film at the guard's desk, in order to distract anyone who comes in. This also includes canceling any calls made within the building, as shown when he thwarts Johns first attempt to call for help.
- Mauve Shirt: Has a lot of screen time and makes it all the way to McClane's final confrontation with Hans.
- Villains Out Shopping: He's watching TV and (as part of his disguise) mentions he's bet 50 bucks on a game that day.
- Weapon of Choice: A HK94 carbine with a shortened barrel and converted to full-auto as a stand-in MP5A3 submachine gun.
- Beard of Evil: He's got an impressive beard.
- The Napoleon: The shortest henchman and helps to bomb the roof.
- Not So Above It All: For all the atrocities he is committing under Hans Gruber's instruction, there is one thing he doesn't want anyone to see: snitching a candy bar.
- Oh, Crap!: When he opens the door to the rest of the building after bringing the hostages to the roof and finds himself on the business end of McClane's pistol.
- The Quiet One: Says very little during his time onscreen.
- Sweet Tooth: Snags a couple of candy bars before the SWAT team attempts to assault the building.
- Token Minority: The only Asian henchman.
- Weapon of Choice: A HK94 carbine with a shortened barrel and converted to full-auto as a stand-in MP5A3 submachine gun.
- All Men Are Perverts: When the terrorists begin raiding the offices on the 30th floor, Marco is seen dragging a couple that was making out from one of the offices (the woman's breasts can be seen for several seconds). This also winds up being Distracted by the Sexy since McClane uses the woman's screams as a distraction to escape.
- The Brute: The largest and craziest of the terrorists.
- Car Cushion: McClane throws his body 34 stories onto Al's car, causing another terrorist to attack Powell and forcing the officer to call for assistance.
- Death by Irony: His most famous line is chastising McClane for not killing him earlier when he had the chance...which is exactly what Marco spends his last moments doing: not killing John when he has the chance.
- Famous Last Words: "Next time you have a chance to kill someone, don't hesitate."
- Giant Mook: Lorenzo Caccialanza stands 6'7", the tallest of the terrorists.
- Groin Attack: Gets half of a magazine emptied into his groin (the rest goes into his chest).
- Large Ham: Shouts all of his lines in his confrontation with McClane.Marco: You are dog now. No more table! Where are you going, PAAAAALL?! Next time you have a chance to kill someone, don't hesitate.
- Red and Black and Evil All Over: Wears a bright red shirt and a black one under that.
- Token Minority: The only Italian in the group.
- Too Dumb to Live: Well, when you do have a chance to kill someone, don't hesitate... Whereupon John immediately shoots through the table and kills him, but not before quipping "Thanks for the advice."
- Unnecessary Combat Roll: He does one when he leaps onto the conference table during his confrontation with John.
- Chekhov's Gun: His bag of explosives is stolen by John after he is killed and becomes the MacGuffin in the second act.
- The Driver: Heinrich drove the truck used by the terrorists.
- Famous Last Words: "Marco, down!"
- Light Is Not Good: Hes a bad guy wearing an off-white sweater.
- Mad Bomber: His task is to lay explosives that will blow up the roof, killing all the hostages and covering the thieves' escape.
- Weapon of Choice: A Walther P5 pistol.
Alexander, James, and Kristoff
The other three terrorists in Hans' group.
- BFG: Alexander wields a M60E3 machine gun and a missile launcher.
- Cop Killer: Alexander blows up the cops in the "RV".
- Death from Above: James and Alexander are killed when John drops a packet of poorly-prepped C4 down the elevator shaft.John: Geronimo, motherfucker!
- Even Evil Has Standards: Kristoff balks at blowing up the roof when Hans tells him to, since Karl is still on the roof.
- Evil Redhead: Alexander has red hair.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: James wears a brown leather jacket.
- Missed Him by That Much: During the initial takeover, James almost catches John by opening Elliss door, but is distracted by the screaming of a topless hostage. By the time he turns back to open the door, John has already fled into the stairwell.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Alexander attacks Sgt. Powell, forcing the officer to call for assistance.
- Pistol-Whipping: Kristoff is knocked out by John with the butt of an MP5.
- Sidekick: Kristoff is Theo's assistant.
- Sole Survivor: While we never learned what happened to him, Kristoff is the only other survivor of the entire terrorist group outside of Theo.
- Steel Ear Drums: Averted. James is seen crouching down and holding his ears when Alexander fires the missile launcher.
- The Unintelligible: James only speaks in German.
- Weapon of Choice: Looking closely, Kristoff can be seen carrying a HK94 carbine with a shortened barrel and converted to full-auto as a stand-in MP5A3 submachine gun. Both James and Alexander use the same weapon.
- A Father to His Men: Despite being a sociopath who doesn't bat an eye crashing a plane full of people, he cares about his men to some extent. He's not happy when Miller returns without Cochrane and almost kills him over it. When John kills Stuart's men in the skywalk, this in turn leads to the aforementioned plane crashing.
- Armies Are Evil: He and his henchmen embodies the negative merciless attributes of the military.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: The only villainous leader in the franchise to qualify for this trope.
- Ax-Crazy: He is a Sociopathic Soldier and a Colonel Kilgore who loves the sounds and sights of screams of innocents and Gorn all over the place.
- Big Bad: Of the second film.
- Blood Knight: The only time he loses his composure is during his fight with John on the plane's wing, where he puts on a Slasher Smile while attacking John with a knife, and letting loose an Evil Laugh when he has John on the ropes.
- Brief Accent Imitation: While impersonating air traffic control in order to crash the Windsor Air plane, he speaks with a Southern accent.
- Colonel Badass: Leads his troops with military precision. Much like a typical villain in the franchise, he embodies Evil Is Cool.
- Colonel Kilgore: Coldly relishes in the bloodshed.
- Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Hans Gruber was a Gentleman Thief from Germany, with him and his crew robbing Nakatomi Plaza while posing as far-left Western Terrorists in order to deflect police attention from what they're actually up to. While he once was a leftist terrorist himself, he has long since abandoned any political ideals; his motive here is purely about getting rich. Col. Stuart is an American ex-Special Forces colonel who launches a genuine terrorist attack at Dulles International Airport, seeking to rescue Ramon Esperanza, the drug lord dictator of a Latin American Banana Republic. His motive is expressly political and anti-communist, seeing Esperanza as a key ally in the Cold War who the US recklessly removed from power (though Stuart's people are also getting paid a lot of money, according to one of Esperanza's lines).
- Deadpan Snarker: His sense of humour is very dry and sardonic.
- Death Glare: This seems to be his default expression. And it's nothing short of chilling.
- Faux Affably Evil: He is polite towards McClane in some of their interactions and is quippy during their fight on the plane's wing.
- Hate Sink: Perhaps the most unpleasant of all the Die Hard villains, in a stark contrast to Hans Gruber. He is cold, cruel, blunt, demanding and ruthless, puts a gun to the head of one of his own men for letting another of his own men get killed (while not actually caring about the dead man), has an innocent old man murdered so his team can set up shop in his church, crashes an entire plane in retaliation for McClane killing some of his men (who had just slaughtered an airport security team), and his master plan is to rescue a murderous drug-dealing dictator from prison because he fully agrees with said dictator (and is being paid of course). He not only shows zero remorse for any of his actions but is outright proud and defiant about them too, while having little in the way of interpersonal charm. He's so despicable that his actor has even said that he takes it as a compliment whenever someone tells him how much they hated him in this movie, because even he interpreted the character he was playing as an absolutely evil irredeemable bastard.
- Karmic Death: Sending a plane full of innocents to their deaths is pretty unforgivable. So it's only fitting that he and his mooks are blown up on a plane.
- Knife Nut: Brings out a combat knife first against John, before the cop bites him.
- Knight of Cerebus: Not that the film wasn't already serious, but even Hans Gruber didn't murder a planeful of people just to prove a point. Stuart also manages this despite John's best attempts, and gives John a pretty brutal beatdown too.
- Lack of Empathy: He kills a plane full of people on Christmas Eve and has zero remorse for it.
- Lightning Bruiser: He manages to outfight McClane at the end of the movie with some quick and hard hitting martial arts.
- Moral Myopia: Killing an old man just to use his church as a base? Just a part of the operation. Killing airport security who just did their jobs? Just a part of the operation. John killing the terrorists who just killed said airport security workers? Crash an entire plane as punishment.
- Naked First Impression: His introductory scene had him practicing martial arts in the nude.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Beating McClane to a pulp and throwing him off the plane's wing in the finale. Of the series' Big Bads, he's the only one to physically beat the crap out of McClane. Too bad he didn't kill him, because McClane still shrugged off the beating and blew up Stuart's plane.
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: "Okay, McClane, time for the main event!"
- The Sociopath: The only villain in the franchise to murder children, and feel nothing but cold satisfaction afterwards on top of that.
- Sociopathic Soldier: He is a former Special Forces Colonel and The Sociopath.
- The Stoic: Not one time does he emote to anything. He always acts and speaks with a very stoic presence. And it makes him more terrifying.
- Weapon of Choice: A Heckler & Koch MP5A5 (distinguishable from the MP5A3 by the three-round burst trigger grouping) submachine gun and a Glock 17 pistol.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Sees himself as a patriot doing whatever is necessary to combat communism and save those who would aid him in that fight.
- Wicked Cultured: While he doesn't put up the sohpisticated front of Hans Gruber, he's well-versed enough to quote CardinalRichelieu.
- Would Hurt a Child: Would destroy an entire plane full of innocent men, women and children just to prove a point.
- Evil All Along: Came to the airport under the guise of a soldier with one full platoon trying to stop Stuart, but revealed half-way through the movie that he and the entire platoon were in on the plot with Stuart and Esperanza.
- Faux Affably Evil: "Too bad McClane, I kind of like you!"
- Slashed Throat: Does this to the young soldier who wasn't in on the plan.
- Turbine Blender: John knocks him off the wing they were fighting on and he is sucked into the engine and diced up.
- Weapon of Choice: A Beretta 92FS pistol.
General Ramon Esperanza
- Ace Pilot: Manages to fly the plane that was transporting him through a blinding snowstorm and a bullet hole in the windshield to the ground with little incident. Later on, he flies the getaway plane that all the terrorists are on.
- Beard of Evil: He's got one.
- Cigar Chomper: He's seen asking his guard to light his up during the flight.
- *Click* Hello: The pilot of Esperanza's plane is being told by Stuart to land at a different runway than he has been instructed to. As he's protesting the change in orders: *CLICK* "Captain, please tell the tower you will proceed as ordered."
- Greater-Scope Villain: Colonel Stuart's actions are all to free him from captivity.
- Kill It with Fire: Dies in the plane explosion.
- Handy Cuffs: Esperanza uses his to strangle his guard on the plane to get access to his handcuff key.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: He's clearly based on Manuel Noriega, and bears a physical resemblance to Fidel Castro.
- Only a Flesh Wound: Gets shot in the shoulder by John when he arrives.
- Badass Bystander: Does not take part in the struggle against the terrorists; that is until the end when McClane flags her down for a place on the news chopper she flew in on, allowing him to board Stuart's escape plane.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Spends the better part of the first act looking for something to report on at the airport while awaiting Esperanza's arrival. Before long she's reporting on the destruction of a passenger plane full of innocents deliberately crashed into the runway by Colonel Stuart, with no survivors to be found.
- Buttmonkey: Is constantly blown off in her overly eager efforts to land the next big spot while awaiting the arrival of General Esperanza, even earning a "Fuck You" from Colonel Stuart for her troubles.
- Foil: To Richard Thornburg, in that she is just as eager to land her next big story but isn't malicious about it, and actually comes around to be an important ally when the situation demands it.
- Intrepid Reporter: She is a refreshing change of pace from the opportunistic Thornberg. Although she initially annoys McClane with her questions, she helps John chase the villains in her news helicopter. The fact she's getting a spectacular exclusive of McClane stopping Colonel Stuart doesn't hurt either as something she legitimately earned.
- Badass Bystander: He may be just a janitor, but his intimate knowledge of the airport facilities proves to be a huge help to Mc Clane and he helps John to warn the airport police of Grant's treachery after the church shootout.
- Chekhov's Gun: He recovers Miller's CB communicator, which still had its code active allowing John to listen in on all of Stuart's chatter. This allows him to intercept General Esperanza when the latter's plane arrives at the airport.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: A bit of an odd duck, to say the least. In a deleted scene he is shown to be living in the airport basement as he is homeless, a fact as of yet unnoticed by the airport staff. John agrees to keep this under wraps for himself.
- Cool Old Guy: He proves to be a critical ally to Mc Clane due to his familiarity with the airport and spares no expense to help Mc Clane in any way he can.
- Shellshocked Veteran: Is implied to be a veteran of World War II. He's quite proud of it, too.
- Badass Bystander: As Chief of Air Operations, he doesn't take any direct action against the terrorists, but maintains some semblance of control amid the deteriorating situation at the airport and after witnessing Stuart's wrath firsthand does everything in his power to regain control of the tower's communications.
- Despair Event Horizon: Is forced to witness the crash of the Windsor flight, and is visibly distressed that they were not able to prevent Stuart from following through on his threat to crash the planes above.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Is one of the few higher-ups willing to hear out John's warnings when it becomes apparent that a major terrorist plot is unfolding before him.
- Badass Bystander: He is the Chief Engineer at the tower and its through his own brilliant skill that he outmaneuvers the terrorists in their control of the tower; multiple times, at that.
- Black Dude Dies First: Subverted; he is the only survivor of the skywalk shootout due to McClane's intervention, having been under the escort of the SWAT team before they were wiped out.
- Eureka Moment: He has several of these, and it is his use of the outer marker beacon as a radio signal that allows the tower to alert the planes above of what is really happening at the airport. He also is able to deduce where the terrorists' hideout is.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: His attempt to re-establish communications with the planes with the antenna array leads to the crash of Windsor 114.
- Oh, Crap!: When O'Reilly presses a gun to his temple; thankfully, McClane arrives in the nick of time.
- Only a Flesh Wound: Gets his arm bloodied up in the skywalk shootout; it doesn't seem to faze him much though as he is able to aid McClane throughout the rest of the siege.
- Chekhov's Gun: His MP5A3 is taken by John during the snowmobile chase. John learns the hard way that Garber's gun is filled with blank rounds, which means that the firefight was staged.
- Good Hair, Evil Hair: His hair is perpetually slicked back.
- Killed Off for Real: Killed by John during the snowmobile chase.
- Number Two: Colonel Stuart's second in command. He's not enough of a badass to be The Dragon.
- Weapon of Choice: A Heckler & Koch MP5A3 fitted with a scope.
- Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: After returning to the church after Cochrane is killed, Stuart threatens him with a pistol to the forehead. He even pulls the trigger-but the gun is not loaded.Stuart: You fail me again and the chamber won't be empty. Dismissed.
- Black Dude Dies First: Averted. He survives two encounter with McClane, makes it all the way to the final fight with Stuart and McClane and is the third to last terrorist to die, being third from the front of the plane (the explosion was in the back.)
- Combat Pragmatist: Uses luggage as weapons twice during his first fight with McClane, shooting a suitcase to knock McClane's gun out of his hand and hitting him with another.
- Eye Scream: John sprays an unknown aerosol in his face during the baggage fight.
- The Quiet One: Doesn't have another word in the film after being threatened by Stuart.
- Token Minority: The only black member of Stuart's team, apart from Grant and his men.
- Weapon of Choice: Uses a Glock 17 and Heckler & Koch MP5K submachine gun.
- Bond One-Liner: (Deleted scene): "This is Alice, we're down the rabbit hole."
- Boom, Headshot!: Delivers one of these to the SWAT team leader, at point-blank range no less.
- *Click* Hello: Does a silent version by putting his gun to Barnes' temple.
- Death from Above: He has Barnes at gunpoint and is about to kill him when McClane appears from the grate above him. The grate lands on him, preventing him from moving his hands until McClane shoots and kills him.
- Kill and Replace: Murders two painters in a deleted scene for their uniforms.
- Man in White: Wears a set of white coveralls that he took from a painter he killed.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "A sitting duck." (Delivered to a SWAT officer to start the skywalk shootout).
- Weapon of Choice: Uses a Glock 17 and Heckler & Koch MP5K submachine gun.
- Bond One-Liner: "This is Buckwheat. The clubhouse is open." (After Baker kills the church keeper).
- Death from Above: He's the one who resets the ground level to -200 feet, resulting in the crash of Windsor 114.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Brief, but he's a little hesitant when Stuart orders him to manipulate the ground levels, leading to the infamous plane crash.
- Evil Genius: The technical expert of Stuart's crew.
- Killed Off for Real: Shot in the throat by John when Stuart goes to pick up Esperanza at the airport. It's quite bloodless.
- The Brute: The strongest of Stuart's men, who comes the closest to killing McClane through strength rather than martial skill.
- Eye Scream: McClane stabs an icicle into his eye.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "You're right about that." (When the church keeper states he feels like a part of him is dying with the church).
- Weapon of Choice: A Glock 17 pistol and a knife.
- Chainsaw Good: Uses a chainsaw to cut the ILS landing system lines.
- The Cracker: Hacks the church's power grid so the terrorists can use the equipment.
- In the Back: Shot several times in the back by John, causing him to crash his snowmobile into an icy pond.
- Kill It with Ice: Crashes into the icy pond outside the church during the snowmobile chase.
- The Medic: Shown patching up a gunshot wound Esperanza suffered when Stuart came to pick him up.
- The Quiet One: Only has one line.
- Weapon of Choice: A Heckler & Koch MP5K submachine gun.
- An Axe to Grind: Uses an ax to gut the ILS landing system lines.
- The Driver: Drives Esperanza during the snowmobile chase.
- Enemy-Detecting Radar: He's the one who's manning the listening post at the airport and tells Garber that Barnes tried to set up the antenna array, leading to the crash of Windsor 114.
- Mauve Shirt: Kahn manages to last all the way to the final confrontation with John before getting blown up in the plane explosion.
- Not the Intended Use: Kahn has an... interesting use for a fire ax. When John flees to the plane's cockpit and Kahn can't shoot through the door, Kahn blocks the door with the fire ax so John can't escape.
- Weapon of Choice: A Heckler & Koch MP5K submachine gun.
- Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Shoots an aerosol can out of John's hand during the baggage handling fight.
- Death from Above: John jumps him from above, causing both of them to fall onto the conveyor belt.
- Faking the Dead: Apparently killed in a helicopter crash two years before the film. This is the first real clue to John that something is wrong.
- No Kill Like Overkill: He is beaten to a pulp by John, then held on a conveyor belt to the electrical baggage press before a roller either crushes his head or electrocutes him.
- Sacrificial Lamb: The first of the terrorists to die.
- Weapon of Choice: A Glock 17 pistol.
- Accidental Misnaming: "Why do you keep calling me Jésus?! Do I look Puerto Rican to you?"
- Action Duo: With McClane.
- Action Survivor: He helps out a lot throughout the film, but he's just a civilian who got dragged into the events and not an Action Hero like McClane.
- Angry Black Man: It might go without saying since he's being played by Samuel L Jackson.
- Arc Hero: He's only in the third movie.
- Black and Nerdy: He's a qualified electrician.
- Cool Uncle: His nephews clearly love him, and he goes Papa Wolf when he thinks they're at risk of being killed.
- Deuteragonist: He's the second main character of the film.
- The Drag-Along: He gets roped into John McClane's bomb-defusing adventure after trying to protect McClane from a street gang without realizing what was happening. They become friends by the end.
- Good Samaritan: He doesn't know anything about John McClane other than he's a white man in Harlem wearing nothing but a racist sandwich board sign. Despite being a rather unrepentantly bitter and biased man when it comes to white people, he saves him from a gang. It wasn't that he necessarily wanted him to live, but he was afraid of what would happen if a white guy was killed on his block. Throughout the film, Simon Gruber calls him "The Samaritan."
- Kidnapped by the Call: After he plays Good Samaritan and saves McClane, Simon forces him to team with McClane and solve together several puzzles to defuse some bombs scattered all along the city.
- Knight In Sour Armor: Zeus carries a grudge against white people and has a chip on his shoulder but still plays the hero.
- The Lancer: Works back-to-back with John, but McClane is still the hero of the story.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's openly hostile to white people, even when he's putting himself in danger to save their lives.
- Malcolm Xerox: He definitely qualifies. In fact, Jackson researched the role to look and act exactly like Malcolm X himself. He gradually drifts into more sensible territory as the movie progresses, though.
- Noble Bigot: Zeus' Establishing Character Moment reveals he has a severe grudge against white people. He still saves John's life and teams up with him to defeat Simon.
- Non-Action Guy: He's a civilian, so doesn't have any combat prowess. He tries to pull a gun on Simon, but it doesn't go well.
- Papa Wolf: When he finds out that the school bomb is planted in the same school his nephews attend, the first thing he does is threaten to shoot Simon.
- Salt and Pepper: He's the Pepper.
- Scary Black Man: Nicely averted despite the presence of a tough black character from the hood who's played by Samuel L. Jackson. He's a no-nonsense individual with the courage to get done what he needs to, but he's not particularly intimidating just by his looks or presence, even with a gun in his hand, as he handles it rather nervously as he's not experienced with firearms. Though it's played straight with the hoods who were about to knife McClane before Zeus intervened.
- The Smart Guy: McClane himself is hardly stupid, being a Guile Hero par excellence, but Zeus has some pretty solid maths and science skills that he shows off throughout the film.
- Specs of Awesome: He wears glasses, and is one of the film's primary heroes.
- You Are What You Hate: He's a black man with serious problems with white people, most especially white racists. Eventually McClane calls him out on the fact that he's acting like a racist himself.
Simon Peter Gruber
- Affably Evil: A very polite terrorist and thief. This works against him when he gives McClane a bottle of aspirins containing relevant information. Steers towards Faux Affably Evil when he's robbing the bank.
- Avenging the Villain: Played With. He initially claims that his bombings are a campaign of vengeance against McClane for the death of his brother, but it turns out that's a cover for his real motivation, robbing banks on Wall Street. In fact, he explicitly agrees with John that Hans was an Asshole Victim. But on the other hand, he also explicitly states, "There is a difference, you know, between not liking one's brother and not caring when some dumb Irish flatfoot drops him out of a window!"
- Batman Gambit: Wreaks havok to divert law enforcement attention from his real target.
- Big Bad: Of the third film.
- Big Brother Instinct: He may not have liked Hans, but... "There's a difference between not liking your brother and not caring when some dumb Irish flatfoot drops him out a window."
- Bond Villain Stupidity: He handcuffs John McClane and Zeus to a bomb on a ship and leaves them to die, instead of shooting them and blowing up the ship after.
- The Chessmaster: Plays several sides and moves a lot of pieces to try to achieve his goals.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Simon betrays his Middle Eastern clients by trying to keep the gold instead of blowing it up and then tries to maximise his share. He keeps at least some of his accomplices in the dark about the ultimate fate of the gold, and then kills them when they find out. In the alternate ending, he's killed his girlfriend as well a few months after the movie's over.
- Crazy-Prepared: He prepared quite a few puzzles and deathtraps for John and Zeus, considering that any one of them could have easily killed them both early on. Perhaps Simon knew just how indestructible John McClane really was.
- Criminal Mind Games: Subverted, his quests are all part of a misdirection.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He reveals that McClane killed his brother, Hans, despite Simon admitting that he disliked his brother.There's a difference, you know, between not liking one's brother and not caring when some dumb, Irish flatfoot drops him out of a window.
- Even Evil Has Standards: In spite of the money at stake, he will not murder children in cold blood for it. After all, "I'm a soldier, not a monster... though I sometimes work for monsters."
- Evil Sounds Deep: Like his brother.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: He gave McClane a bottle of aspirin, which gave him the location of their hideout in the climax.
- Large Ham: Like Scar in the previous year, Jeremy Irons seems like he has a lot of fun playing charming and devious villains.
- Laughably Evil: His brother in the first film has shades of this (mostly due to being a Deadpan Snarker) though Simon is ultimately more humorous.
- Leitmotif: "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" is used as Simon's theme, as well as pretty much the main theme of the movie itself. The most notable scene where it plays is when he's robbing the Federal Reserve Bank.
- Noble Demon: The kind of leader a band of warriors have is reflected in their behavior, for unlike most moustache-twirling one-dimensional villains, Simon's men actually go out of their way to make sure children will not be hurt in their operations, and actually bother to mourn the losses of their brothers before rejoicing in their ill-gotten money. Goes hand-in-hand with Even Evil Has Standards above.
- Noble Top Enforcer: Invoked after the bomb at the school turns out to be a decoy."Of course. I'm not a monster. Even though I sometimes work for monsters."
- Not So Different: Both he and McClane are suffering from headaches (no thanks to each other) throughout the movie.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: He plays with this trope like a kitten does a ball of yarn; he seems to delight in making people think he is bigoted, mostly because he thinks it's fun to anger people and/or fake them out. When first speaking to Zeus Carver, for example, Simon (who is German but can mimic American Accents quite well, and who knows that Zeus is an Angry Black Man because he's been watching him on hidden video cameras) says: "So whot's yowuh name, boy?" in twangy, Corrupt Hick fashion just to irritate Zeus; he then apologizes, explaining that he's fond of tasteless jokes. Later the trope is seemingly played straight when Simon calls John McClane a "dumb Irish flatfoot," but this is due not to anti-Irish sentiment but to Simon's general bitterness toward John for having killed his brother Hans in the first movie. Simon admits that he didn't even like Hans, but he's still determined to exact vengeance on anyone who messes with his family, saying "There's a difference between not liking one's brother, and not caring when some dumb Irish flatfoot drops him off a building."
- Porky Pig Pronunciation: Though out the film, Simon seemed to have a stutter of sorts when talking over the phone when "pushed". However, in the scenes when he wasn't speaking to the NYPD, he talks and speaks perfectly fine and fakes a stutter while calling New York police gullible, indicating it was just a ruse.
- Would Not Hurt A Child: An honorable and humane quality that sets Simon apart from normal Hollywood villains such as Colonel Stuart above.
- Blood Knight: She needs to be physically restrained by Simon and Targo from further cutting up the poor Federal Reserve guard she already killed. An almost literal example as her knife-work leaves her clothes covered in blood for the rest of the film.
- Dark Action Girl: Evil, female and deadly.
- The Dragon: Works at the main muscle for Simon.
- Femme Fatale: Sexy and absolutely dangerous.
- Knife Nut: Slices up a security guard with a fillet knife.
- Not So Stoic: She never smiles, never speaks, never even makes a sound throughout all her scenes...until the film's climax, when she and Simon are interrupted by John McClane and Zeus Carver at a very inopportune moment - and she completely loses her cool, firing off a machine gun and screaming in rage.
- Silent Antagonist: She utters only a single sound (a frustrated scream) in the entire film. Ironic, given that Sam Phillips is a noted singer in real life.
- The Voiceless: The original ending to the movie suggests she may be mute, but in the final cut she does yell when shooting at McClane. She was originally supposed to have a speaking part in the film; however, it was decided that her character would be silent, since it made her appear much more imposing and lethal. This makes the scene where she slices one of the Federal Reserve guards to death much more powerful.
- Bomb Throwing Anarchist: Unlike most of Simon's troops, he actually did seek to "level the economic playing field" of the world. He is quite angry when he finds out that Simon is Only in It for the Money.
- The Dragon: Shares this role with Katya, but he gets the big fight with McClane.
- Made of Iron: McClane stabs a big sharp piece of metal into his leg and it does nothing to him.
- Deadpan Snarker: McClane's humor is contagious even for his sidekicks.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He has some anti social behaviors and is not happy to be dragged along in the adventure but he ends up having the best of intentions.
- The Lancer: Acts as John's partner and has a contrasting skill set to his.
- Motor Mouth: Talks about a mile a minute, which contrasts against John's more laconic nature.
- Non-Action Guy: While Matt isn't very accomplished when it comes to fighting, he knows all the hacker tricks McClane needs to defeat Gabriel.
- Pipe Pain: Uses a pipe to kill one of Mai's henchmen by hitting him; the henchman subsequently falls into the elevator shaft.
- Sword and Sorcerer: Has this dynamic with John; he often needs McClane to fend off bad guys long enough to hack into whatever Gabriel is up to, but can stall Gabriel's plans and figure out his plans in ways that non-tech-savvy McClane could not on his own. Their combination of brains and brawn save the day.
- Took a Level in Badass: Though he does later pick up a gun and shoots Gabriel's other Dragon during the final showdown.
- Playful Hacker: Large computer terminals, chugs down energy drinks... and went to Space Camp!
- The Smart Guy: McClane is out of his depth with all of the hacker stuff but Matt picks up the slack.
- Bald of Awesome
- Deadpan Snarker: Especially to the DHS and FBI agents sent in to assist with the situation.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Not so much at first since he's skeptical of Matt's suggestion that the entire situation is a fire sale. However, he quickly wises up and tries to support McClane and Matt as much as he can. He even gives his word later on that he would save Lucy after she was kidnapped should something happen to John.
- Number Two: To Bowman.
- Bad Boss: See You Have Outlived Your Usefulness below.
- Big Bad: For the fourth film.
- The Chessmaster: His plans are far reaching and manipulates many parties to get what he needs.
- The Cracker: No system is safe against him.
- Creepy Monotone: Provided by Timothy Olyphant, natch.
- Dark Is Evil: Wears all black clothes.
- Deadpan Snarker: He is not impressed when McClane covers up a camera to block sound.
- Diabolical Mastermind: He is the leader of a pretty elaborate evil plan.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He is not at all happy when Mai is killed.
- Fallen Hero: In a way. He wanted to protect the country. Then he decided that infinite wealth would be kind of nice.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Doubly so; shot by McClane with his own gun, through a bullet wound that he was torturing McClane with.
- It's All About Me: Screw the U.S.! He has money to make!
- It's Personal: He really doesn't like John killing Mai well.
- Jerkass: Described as "not a people person." He's an asshole to his own Mooks except for Mai.
- Lack of Empathy: Shuts down the entire country just to be rich and gives zero fucks. Just ask the people who probably died when he blew the gas mains.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Just because he is a technology driven villain doesn't mean he will avoid collateral damage to massive degrees to achieve his goals.
- Unholy Matrimony: With Mai.
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: He shows no remorse for anything but speaks softly and in monotone.
- Sinister Surveillance: Part of his intel gathering hinges on taking over surveillance systems along with pretty much everything else.
- Smug Snake: He believes himself to be on a higher intellectual plane then everyone else, particularly McClane.
- The Sociopath: Has no problem with ruining an entire country by stealing all of its money, or how many people he murders in the tunnel to flush out McClane and Farrell. And that's not going into what happened when he blew the gas mains after Mai died. To be honest, he wouldn't give a shit.
- Underestimating Badassery: Each time he throws something at McClane, he believes the cop would not survive it. Even at the beginning he thinks he can bribe John into killing Farrell.
- Villainous Breakdown: After Mai's death, he started to lose his cool.
- Weapon of Choice: A Jericho 941 pistol in stainless steel.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: At least he claims to be. The fact that he's "getting paid for his work" kind of makes this hard to believe, though.
- Would Hit a Girl: Slaps Lucy around a few times.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
- Does this to the hackers who gave their codes to Mai; this is where John gets involved when Gabriel tries to eliminate Farrell and John gets there first.
- Has all of his tech experts except Trey killed after they complete their task for him near the end of the movie.
- By the Hair: John rips out some of her hair.
- Dark Action Girl: Battles it out with John.
- Dark Mistress: Partnered with Gabriel.
- Disney Villain Death: Dropped down an elevator shaft in an SUV, which explodes.John: "Mai? Oh yeah. Little Asian chick, likes to kick people? I don't think she'll be talking to anybody for a really long time. Last time I saw her she was at the bottom of an elevator shaft with an SUV rammed up her ass."
- The Dragon: To Gabriel.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: She means enough to Gabriel to cause him to flip his lid when she dies.
- Lightning Bruiser: Easily the most capable hand-to-hand fighter in the movie. It takes some serious Car Fu to take her down.
- Made of Iron: Gets run over by an SUV and survives.John: "How you doing?"
- Sacrificial Lion: Most people were probably not expecting her to die comparatively early in the film.
- Unholy Matrimony: With Gabriel.
- Weapon of Choice: A Heckler & Koch P2000 pistol.
- Character Death: Shot in the chest by McClane.
- Evil Counterpart: To Matt Farrell.
- The Evil Genius: Although Gabriel is enough of an evil genius.
- Lack of Empathy: When the hackers put up the first video message, his only reaction is that he tried to put in more Nixon.
- Techno Wizard: Required to be part of Gabriel's hacker crew.
- Basement-Dweller: Still living with his mother.
- The Cameo: For Kevin Smith.
- Crazy-Prepared: He has enough generators running to stay online and well-lit after the city goes dark.
- Genius Slob: Messy and dressed in a bathrobe and pajamas when the heroes arrive.
- In-Universe Nickname: His real name is Frederick.
- Nerd: Loves Star Wars. Unsurprising considering his actor.
- Techno Wizard: Enough of one that Matt seeks him out when he needs help.
- The Brute: The most physically capable of the villains, and barely speaks.
- Co-Dragons: With Mai and Emerson, then later with Emerson after Mai's death.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: John kicks a switch that releases liquid nitrogen that freezes Rand's arms, causing him to fall into a turbine, shredding him to death.
- Hired Guns: A French mercenary.
- Le Parkour: Has amazing acrobatic skills.McClane: "Jesus, is the circus in town?"
- Mad Bomber: His modus operandi is to rig the hackers' computers with bombs, then activate a virus. When the hacker presses delete to close windows, the bomb is triggered.
- Oh, Crap!: When he sees a police car flying at the helicopter he's in. He makes it out, the pilot doesn't.
- The Unintelligible: Only speaks French (which might not be good French at all considering the usual quality of French in Hollywood).
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: His job is to cover Gabriel's tracks by killing people.
- Agony of the Feet: Shot in the foot by Lucy during the final standoff.
- Beard of Evil: Has a beard and is one of the bad guys.
- Co-Dragons: With Mai and Rand to Gabriel.
- The Cracker: Responsible for downloading the money that Gabriel wants. That is, everyone's money.
- Dragon Their Feet: Tries to shoot McClane when the latter shoots Gabriel, only to be shot dead by Farrell.
- Dressing as the Enemy: His unit wears Hazmat suits when they infiltrate Woodlawn.
- Hired Guns: His unit is described as "hardware" to the hackers' "software."
- Human Shield: Uses Lucy as one during the final standoff.
- Oh, Crap!: When he captures Farrell and realizes that he's been locked out of the system.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: With Irina. Though in truth, he is the one behind it all.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Irina is his daughter.
- Walking Spoiler:Possibly a first in the Die Hard series.
- Avenging the Villain: What she tries to do after seeing that Jack had killed her father, while she was losing control of the Mi-26 Halo cargo helicopter she was piloting due to John's interference. It leads to her ramming the Halo right into the building the McClanes, only for them to have already escaped, leading to her death.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: Somewhat with Yuri. He is the one who does most of the orchestrating, though she manages to hold her own.
- Biker Babe: First scene shows her on a bike.
- Daddy's Little Villain: She fits this trope perfectly.
- Dark Action Girl: She's a girl who's not afraid to get her hands dirty.
- The Dragon: To Yuri.
- Final Boss: She is the final antagonist who the McClanes face.
- Hellish Copter: How she dies, trying to take down the McClanes with the helicopter that was intended to take her father to safety.
- The Mole: To Chagarin.
- Ms. Fanservice: Tight and short dresses are only the beginning.
- Revenge Before Reason: She rams her Halo cargo helicopter to kill the McClanes when she notices that they've already jumped out of the building she was about to crash into just to kill them.
- Boom, Headshot!: How Komorov kills him. Of course, he continues to fire into the body long after he had shot the guy.
- Large Ham: The dude dancing a jig in front of John and Jack, while kicking away their weapons.
- Psycho for Hire: Enjoys destruction and carnage while doing his job.