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"So, experience the original masterpiece that inspired countless knock-offs, like: "Die Hard" on a bus, "Die Hard" in a tunnel, "Die Hard" on a mountain, "Die Hard" in the White House, "Die Hard" in the White House 2, "Die Hard" in a mall, "Die Hard" on a boat, "Die Hard" on this other boat, "Die Hard" in a rink, "Die Hard" on a train, "Die Hard" in a plane, "Die Hard" in another plane, "Die Hard" in the president's plane, "Die Hard" in a plane... with snakes! and "Die Hard", but awful."
Honest Trailers for Die Hard (or as they call it, "Die Hard" in a Building)

Bad guys have taken over some location or vehicle, usually holding several hostages and almost always in an enclosed space, but, unbeknownst to the villains, one or more good guys are hiding out in their midst. It's up to said guy (or said guys) to engineer their overthrow. Probably at least one Air-Vent Passageway will be crawled through, at least one hostage will be a member of The Hero's family and another will be executed while trying to negotiate with the villains.

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


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

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

This trope was hit hard by Technology Marches On: the existence and wide usage of cell phones is a major game-breaking issue for a "Die Hard" scenario, as any unprepared hostage has the power to talk to the police from inside a closed location without any previous set-up. Modern versions must acknowledge them and take them all out of play somehow for the plan to even start to work.

The Trope Codifier and Trope Namer is the Bruce Willis movie Die Hard (1988). However, it is predated by several earlier action films with a similar premise, such as Bruce Lee's Game of Death (1972), and Runaway Train films such as Akira Kurosawa's Runaway Train (1963/1985) and The Bullet Train (1975).


See also All Your Base Are Belong to Us, "Home Alone" Antics, Spanner in the Works, Right Man in the Wrong Place, Stumbled Into the Plot. A Trapped with Monster Plot can be seen as the inversion of this, with the John McClane figure being the villain; a common joke is that a xenomorph audience would see Alien as Die Hard on a space freighter.

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


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Crayon Shin-chan has a spoof of Die Hard (of all things!) in one AU story, in which Hiroshi Nohara is a police officer (instead of a Salaryman in canon) having a troubled relationship with his wife Misae and his son Shin-Chan. Just then, a terrorist attack occurs out of the blue, with Hiroshi and Shin-Chan barely escaping, and taking out the terrorists in a comical manner parodying John McClane (Case in point: Hiroshi tickling terrorists in their armpits until they lose consciousness, knocking them out with his socks, and scrubbing their faces with his rough chin until they surrender).
  • Daphne in the Brilliant Blue has a two-part episode that mashes up Die Hard with an homage to classic disaster movie parody Airplane!, of all things, called "Die Hard, Play Hard".
  • The Zone of the Enders anime series Dolores, i has an episode titled "Die Hard", where James Links does this on an oxygen plant on Mars. He even hangs a lampshade when he wishes it were Christmas halfway through the episode.
  • When a group of terrorists take over Sakuya's titanic ship in an episode of Hayate the Combat Butler, it gets lampshaded by the narrator, who tells us that "Die Hard on a boat will be right back." The title of a chapter in the corresponding manga storyarc? "Titanic Episode 4 - With a Vengeance".
  • The Brilliant Dynamite Neon arc in Trigun is "Die Hard on a steampunk landship."
  • Parodied/Lampshaded in the Full Metal Panic! light novels. In this case, it's the good guys pretending to be terrorists in order to catch real terrorists, and they nickname the heroic troublemaker among the passengers "John McClane".
  • Played straight in Into The Blue and the corresponding anime arc, in which Gauron hijacks the Tuatha de Danaan, with Sousuke, Kurz, and (eventually, thanks to Tessa's efforts) Kaname loose on board.
  • Early Reins: Die Hard on a train! In The Wild West! And the heroes are Girls with Guns!
  • The 1931 story arc of Baccano!, AKA "The Grand Punk Railroad" takes it Up to Eleven. On a train! With three gangs hijacking at the same time, two serial killers, and three immortals! You almost forget hostages are involved, sometimes. Later, the 2002 "Bullet Garden/Blood Sabbath" does Die Hard on a Cruise Ship. The very first chapter starts with one of the terrorists rambling about Speed 2: Cruise Control.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex plays with this when Aramaki and the Major go to London. While visiting a friend who runs a wine bank, Aramaki and his friend are taken hostage by ex-mob bank robbers, but the mob itself gets tipped off, and the bribed police force then besieges the bank. Aramaki manages to convince the robbers to work with him so that they can figure a way out of the police siege, as the cops aren't going to let any of them escape alive.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, Touma and Index take a plane to England to help the Royal Family at their request, but the plane gets taken over by French terrorists mid-flight. When one of the terrorists strangles Index, Touma angrily kicks his ass, then goes after and defeats the others, though Stiyl has to fly up to the plane and perform some last minute assistance. Amusingly, the pilot assumes Touma is just an ordinary civilian and tries to stop Touma from fighting the terrorists. Annoyed, Touma knocks him out.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Events of the fourth chapter of the manga, "Battle on the Train", play out like Die Hard on a Train. The train in question is hijacked by a terrorist group and the passengers are taken as hostage. Little do the terrorists know that among the hostages are Edward and Alphonse Elric, who make it their mission to stop them. Instead of air vents, Edward climbs out of a window and moves via the train's roof. The terrorists also have a person of interest as their hostage (Major General Hakuro), though he's more important to the army (for which Edward works) than to the heroes themselves. That all said, it plays out pretty much as a short series of Curb Stomp Battles, since it's a bunch of guys with guns against an Animated Armor who's Immune to Bullets and a Pintsized Powerhouse who can do almost anything with alchemy.
  • Each certain arc of Future Diary is set in this scenario whenever the protagonists are pitted against an antagonist with the Ordinary High-School Student Yuki as the John McClane. For the borderline-NC-17 levels of intense violence, it's up to par with Renny Harlin's approach to this trope, Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger:
    • For Third, it's Die Hard with a Serial Killer.
    • For Minene's introduction, it's Die Hard in school.
    • For Sixth and Twelfth, it's Die Hard at a temple.
    • For Fifth, it's Die Hard in The Hero's home with an Enfant Terrible Creepy Child running amok.
    • For Tenth, it's Die Hard in a park.
    • For Fourth, it's Die Hard in a police station and a hospital.
    • From the Apprentice Diary Holders' perspective, it's Die Hard in an abandoned hotel with a Yandere holding her love hostage.
    • For Seventh, it's Die Hard inside a skyscraper.
    • For Eleventh, it's Die Hard in a bank.
    • For the final arcs, it's Die Hard in alternate dimensions and the space time continuum.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, the Mugen Train arc both in the manga and anime/movie, the titular train is taken hostage by a demon, who has killed people through many of its courses, however, the ride Tanjiro, Zenitsu, Inosuke, Nezuko and their superior slayer Kyojuro Rengoku take is the one where they will neutralize the demonic threat, to ensure the safety of all passengers aboard.
  • High Rise Invasion is Die Hard in an alternate realm filled with high rise buildings and Brainwashed and Crazy Malevolent Masked Men with the cute high school girl as the John McClane.
  • In episode 5 of Triage X, terrorists have taken over an idol concert with Oriha attempting to fight the terrorists and free the hostages. Episode 6 will continue where the previous episode left off.
    • Later on in the manga, armed terrorists lay siege to Mochizuki General Hospital during an outbreak at Tobioka City.
  • My Hero Academia: Two Heroes primarily takes place in the central tower of a mobile island. When terrorists take the tower, the first thing that they do thanks to having help from the inside is reprogram the security system to put the entire island on lockdown and restrain every pro hero who could interfere with their plans. As a result, it falls to a group of several superpowered teens and one quirkless girl who can reboot the system to reach the top of the tower and free the pros.
  • The Magnificent Kotobuki has the heroes' Zeppelin taken over by sky pirates, whereupon the pilots and bartender take it right back.
  • The second half of Detective Conan Film 05: Countdown To Heaven, the fifth Non-Serial Movie of Case Closed is basically your traditional Die Hard movie. After solving the murder case, the Black Organization bombed the skyscraper the heroes are in to kill one of their former members who had fled the organization, and the rest of the movie the heroes have to find a way to get out of the building before the last set of bombs kill them all. Hell, there is even a Shout-Out to Die Hard as the main heroine strapped a fire hose around her waist before jumping off the building before the fire consumed her, and kicking the window below to get inside before the fire hose burned off. She even claimed that she learned that trick from a movie! In fact, many Non-Serial Movie of the series tend to crank up on the action that made them reminiscent of Die Hard films, including but not limited to Die Hard in a theme park (three times!), Die Hard in a virtual reality Victorian London (just go with it), Die Hard in a plane, Die Hard on a cruise liner, Die Hard in an opera house, Die Hard in a Ski Resort, Die Hard on Tokyo Tower, Die Hard on an airship, Die Hard in a football stadium, Die Hard on an Aegis vessel, and many more.
  • The first episode of Cyber City Oedo 808 has the protagonists rescuing 50,000 people trapped in the city's largest skyscraper.

    Comic Books 
  • Ms. Tree had a story titled "New Year's Evil" where a deranged gunman takes over the rooftop restaurant where Michael Tree is celebrating New Year's Eve. Michael happens to be in the ladies room at the time. Cue this trope.
  • JSA #10: Wildcat goes Die Hard in the JSA Mansion.
  • In Supergirl Volume 5 Annual #1 several bank robbers are holding several hostages. Supergirl cannot tip her identity off (long story), so she breaks a restroom's window, crawls into the place and pretends to be one of the hostages until she has a chance to take the crooks down anonymously.
  • The three-issue arc of Doctor Strange after his first victory against Dormammu is essentially Die Hard in the Sanctum Sanctorum. Strange is knocked out by a bomb and wakes up to find a metal plate over his face and steel gauntlets on his hands that prevent him from spellcasting, and with three underlings of his nemesis Mordo in the house. It takes a combination of wits, skill and luck to beat them all.
  • Hack/Slash: Slice Hard: Die Hard with slashers!
  • The Star Fox supplemental material featured a few pages of Die Hard IN SPACE! when the eponymous team encountered Andross' troops aboard the ship they stowed away on.
  • Detective Comics had a 2-part story in #829-830 where a terrorist takes control of Wayne Tower. Since Bruce is among the crowd he can't immediately change to Batman without tipping his identity off, so he manipulates things from the sidelines for most of it while giving orders to Robin on taking the guy down.
  • Mega Man (Archie Comics) has a group of anti-robot extremists, the Emerald Spears, go "Die Hard" on the A.R.T.S. (Advanced Robotics and Trade Show) Convention for a four issue arc.
  • The Avengers:
    • "Avengers: Under Siege"note  is basically "Die Hard in the Avengers Mansion".
    • Avengers #245 is basically The Wasp, Captain Marvel, The Vision and Starfox in "Die Hard in a rocket in outer space", complemented by Captain America and the Scarlet Witch in "Die Hard in a lab".
  • Deathtrap, the Vault, starring the Avengers and Freedom Force, is basically "Die Hard in a supervillain prison"
  • The Wallace & Gromit comic Anoraknophobia parodies Die Hard, down to the broken glass and bare feet scene.
  • X-Men: #352 of Uncanny X-Men is a "Die Hard on a plane" story, where A.I.M. terrorists hijack a plane that Cyclops and Phoenix are on.

    Fan Works 
  • The fourth chapter of "The Cold Factor" is called "Die Hard on a Time Ship with Zombies". It covers an alternate-universe version of the Legends of Tomorrow episode "Abominations", in which Ray, Martin, and (in-fic only) Leonard are stuck on the locked-down Waverider with a zombified Mick. While the canon version does feature Ray travelling through the air ducts at one point, the reference is never made; in the fic, however, Die Hard is name-dropped a couple of times.
    Ray: Imagine if they made another Die Hard movie, but with zombies. What would they call it? ‘Un-Die Hard’? No, that doesn’t sound right.
  • Parodied in X-Men: The Early Years. In "Twinkies, Holdups and Other Things that Aren't Good For You", an incredibly dense crook attempts to rob a pet store, believing it to be a bank, right when Scott Summers, Warren Worthington and Robert Drake are buying a new pet. The trio has to figure out a way to take him without revealing their powers. Eventually Cyclops manages to frighten him out of the place.
  • In X-Men 1970, Cyclops and Marvel Girl have to rescue several hostages kidnapped by an extremist group in a building.
  • Lampshaded in Yet Another My Hero Academia Self Insert Fic in chapter 14, based on My Hero Academia: Two Heroes and aptly titled "My Hero Academia: Bakugou tells Extras to Die Hard", when Springs chose Die Hard as the in-flight movie during a plane trip to I-island.

  • Die Hard: The Trope Namer and Trope Codifier.
  • Key Largo made in 1948 was essentially "Die Hard at a resort hotel" before there was a formula for this kind of film. A gangster (Edward G. Robinson, because who else?) holds a small group of hotel guests hostage while exchanging money. It isn't until the end that it develops more into the traditional Die Hard plot when Humphrey Bogart is taken to drive the getaway boat, which is when he starts sneaking around, bumping off the goons one by one.
  • 1971's The Light at the Edge of the World is Die Hard "on a lighthouse island in 1865".
  • Die Hard "on a train" films (sometimes also known as Runaway Train films) include:
  • The Blacksheep Affair: The climax is Die Hard in the Chinese Embassy of a non-Existent Fictional Eastern European Country.
  • Game of Death (1972), directed by and starring Bruce Lee, is essentially "Die Hard in a pagoda tower" (also predating Die Hard). In Game of Death, Lee ascends a pagoda tower while defeating bad guys along the way in martial arts battles. The 1978 version is set in a variety of locations, which removes the trope.
  • High Risk is "Die Hard in a Hotel", starring Jet Li.
  • Die Hard "on a plane" films include:
  • Gremlins 2: The New Batch, like Alien, is a Trapped with Monster Plot in a gigantic, high-tech tower going haywire, and could be described as "Die Hard with Gremlins".
  • Die Hard "on a ship" films include:
    • Under Siege is Die Hard on a warship.
    • The B-Movie Final Voyage is Die Hard on a cruise ship, and features Erika Eleniak along with Ice-T as the terrorist leader.
    • Octopus: Die Hard on a sub, then on a boat, with Russian terrorists. Oh, and a really big octopus.
    • Speed 2: Cruise Control genuinely is Die Hard on a boat.
    • The River Wild is Die Hard in a whitewater raft.
    • Operation Delta Force 2: Mayday, Counterstrike and Maiden Voyage: Ocean Hijack are also Die Hard on a ship. Granted, all the other Operation Delta Force films qualify as Die Hard clones.
    • Deep Rising is a subverted version of Die Hard on a cruise ship. The main characters are a team of mercenaries who were planning on robbing the passengers and vault of the ocean liner Argonautica before sinking it. Unfortunately, when they get to the Argonautica, they find that it's been attacked by something that has eaten virtually everybody on board, and now they're in the John McClane role in a Trapped with Monster Plot.
    • Chain Of Command is Die Hard on a ship and blatantly recycles footage from Deep Rising.
    • Spacejacked is Die Hard on a cruise ship in outer space.
    • Fatal Conflict starts out as a Women in prison in space film before turning into a Die Hard scenario.
    • Depth Charge is Die Hard on a submarine fitted with prototype stealth technology. The sub's medical officer and an electrician go up against the XO and his group of terrorists to prevent a nuclear launch.
    • Dolph Lundgren starrer Agent Red is Die Hard on a submarine.
    • Other Die Hard on a sub films include Crash Dive, Submarines and Counter Measures.
    • Crimson Tide becomes Die Hard on a nuclear sub near the climax.
    • The 2005 made-for-TV remake of The Poseidon Adventure changes the plot to this, the ship capsizing as a result of a terrorist bombing instead of a giant wave and some of the terrorists still being alive.
  • Sudden Death has Jean-Claude Van Damme as a security guard trying to stop Die Hard in a hockey arena... during the Stanley Cup Final.
  • Welcome to Sudden Death is in a basketball stadium.
  • The third act of the John Woo classic Hard Boiled is essentially Die Hard in a Hospital in true Heroic Bloodshed style, as the bad guys take everybody hostage at the hospital. Tequila and Alan, along with the rest of the force in the hospital, have to get everyone out before the bad guys blow everything to hell. It's pretty badass.
  • More than a few "Die Hard on a mountain" films:
    • Cliffhanger is Die Hard on a mountain.
    • Drop Zone also takes a note from this film while mixing in Point Break elements, and pre-dates Terminal Velocity and Cutaway.
    • Crackerjack (1994) is Die Hard at a ski resort. It is unusually blatant about it, cribbing many one-liners and plot developments from Die Hard. Its continuation Crackerjack 2 is very briefly a Die Hard on a train before spending the rest of its running time being Die Hard inside an abandoned mountain bunker.
    • Icebreaker is also Die Hard at a ski resort.
    • Reindeer Games is Die Hard in a casino at a ski resort... and even set on Christmas, too.
  • The 1996 film Skyscraper (no relation to the Dwayne Johnson film described below) is a rehash of the original Die Hard, also taking place in a highrise. It stars Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith and, because it was made for Cinemax Channel at the height of its "Skinemax" era, adds a bunch of sex scenes and fan service that have no real use on the plot (even having Smith's character stopping mid-film to have a nooner flashback to some prior time she had sex with her husband just because).
  • The little known movie The Last Hour AKA Concrete War can also be classified as Die Hard in an office building, but in reverse: it's the two good guys who are invading the building the baddies are holed up in.
  • Lampshade Hanging added to the movie adaptation of Dave Barry's Big Trouble. Elliot is left on his own in the kitchen when a pair of crooks take everyone else in the house hostage. A character watching outside comments to his partner, "We have a Die Hard situation developing in the kitchen."
  • Desperate Measures ends up being a Die Hard-in-a-hospital clone with some noir and Se7en-type elements.
  • Half Past Dead: Die Hard in a prison.
  • Mean Guns is Die Hard in a prison with a twist: it's a Last Man Standing scenario. Ice-T starred in a similar movie by the same filmmakers called The Wrecking Crew.
  • Trespass (1992) (starring Ice-T, William Sadler and Bill Paxton) is Die Hard in an abandoned apartment building, with a twist of Grey-and-Gray Morality — an escalating battle between gang-bangers and petty crooks for the control of a long-lost (and thus pricey) relic.
  • Speaking of Trespass, there's a similarly titled 2011 movie, except it plays off as more of a home invasion movie and stars Nicolas Cage.
  • Die Hard in a mall:
    • Paul Blart: Mall Cop is Die Hard in a mall as a comedy. The sequel is Die Hard in a casino/hotel as a comedy.
    • The 1998 Direct to Video Mickey Rourke film Point Blank (not to be confused with the Lee Marvin film) is the same plot, but done seriously, and with the McClane being the brother of one of the villains.
    • The Made-for-TV Movie Christmas Rush, aka Breakaway.
    • Irresistible Force, which featured a two-person team in the McClane role in the form of Stacy Keach's older cop and Cynthia Rothrock's younger cop.
    • The No Budget DTV film Hostile Takedown.
    • A planned sequel to Kevin Smith's Mallrats was Mallrats 2: Die Hard in a Mall, purposefully invoking this trope right down to the name.
    • The Antonio Banderas Direct to Video film Security is Die Hard in a mall meets Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), with Banderas' former Marine character leading a mall cop Ragtag Bunch of Misfits into trying to keep at bay a criminal mercenary force that wants to get into the mall and kill the teenage witness that ran inside while escaping from the massacre of her U.S. Marshal security detachment.
  • Mistrial is a 1996 HBO movie which reads as Die Hard at a court hearing.
  • Family-friendly version: 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain, which is Die Hard in an amusement park. The titular brothers (and, to a lesser extent, Hulk Hogan) take the place of John McClane, and Loni Anderson takes the place of Hans Gruber. It's like the writers watched Die Hard and decided to make it family-friendly by making it a 3 Ninjas movie.
  • The Taking of Beverly Hills is Die Hard in the City of Los Angeles.
  • Run is Die Hard in Atlantic City.
  • Beverly Hills Cop III is Die Hard in an amusement park (at least in part).
  • The Rock is Die Hard on Alcatraz.
  • Armored is Die Hard in an armored truck.
  • Terminal Rush is Die Hard in Hoover Dam. It features "Rowdy" Roddy Piper as the villain.
  • The b-movie Velocity Trap is Die Hard on a spaceship, starring Olivier Grunner and (in one of her first roles) Jorja Fox as one of the bad guys.
  • The 2005 movie Hostage is Die Hard in a house. Bonus points for having Bruce Willis as the main character. Although the "McClane" character is a 10-year old kid—Willis is a hostage negotiator who is trying to retrieve an important package from the house.
  • The Tower (1993) is "Die Hard without the bad guys!" Seriously, Paul Reiser is trapped inside an evil, sentient office skyscraper.
  • The Canadian b-movie Lethal Tender is Die Hard in a water treatment plant.
  • The short Joyride is Die Hard in the trunk of a car.
  • Die Hard in a school:
    • Demolition High is Die Hard in a high school. The sequel Demolition University is Die Hard in a chemical plant.
    • Another Die Hard in high school example is the Dolph Lundgren film Detention.
    • Lampshaded in Masterminds (1997), where the student trapped in a taken-over private school observes "We've got a Die Hard situation here."
    • Toy Soldiers is Die Hard in a boarding school. In a twist, the Spanner in the Works is also one of the hostages, and has to make sure the bad guys don't notice him sneaking off to mess with their plans.
    • Run Hide Fight is Die Hard in a high school during a mass shooting. The villains aren't out to rob anybody, but simply to kill people while livestreaming their massacre, and the McClane is the daughter of an ex-military outdoorsman who puts the skills he taught her to use.
    • Detention: The Siege at Johnson High (aka Hostage High and Target for Rage) is Die Hard in a high school, and Based on a True Story at that (specifically, a fictionalized version of the Lindhurst High School shooting in 1992). A dropout who blames his history teacher for him flunking out of school shows up at his high school armed, kills said teacher, shoots a number of other people, and takes dozens of students hostage, one of whom is himself the McClane figure who the shooter has tasked with speaking to the hostage negotiator.
  • Day of the Wolves is Die Hard in a small town. However, being made in 1971, it predates Die Hard. A gang of bad guys have a plan for Taking Over the Town. What they hadn't counted on was the police chief being fired that morning, and so being at home instead of where they expected him to be.
  • Bloodfist VI is Die Hard in a nuclear missile silo. Don Wilson plays a military courier who's running late and winds up interrupting the terrorist plans. As one of the terrorists states, "Wrong place. Wrong time."
  • 30 Days of Night is Die Hard in a small Alaskan town with vampires, and not on a plane. (It's not to be mistaken for From Dusk Till Dawn, which if anything inverts this trope.)
  • Bait is Enemy of the State-meets-Die Hard 3.
  • Firewall is Harrison Ford playing the same kind of character in Air Force One with Mary Lynn Rajskub playing the same type of helpful hacking heroine as her character Chloe O'Brien on 24. Together, they team up to save Harrison's family from a gang of thieves, thus making it feel what the end result would be if you combined Die Hard with Desperate Hours, Ransom and Swordfish.
  • Top of the World is Die Hard in a Las Vegas casino.
  • Lockout is Die Hard in a futuristic space prison (and borrows so liberally from Escape from New York in terms of concept that John Carpenter actually sued for plagiarism and won).
  • Airheads: Die Hard in a radio station, played as a comedy, wherein the terrorists are the good guys and the guns aren't real. Michael Richards plays the McClane reimagined as The Fool. Bonus points for the station being located next to Nakatomi Plaza.
  • Open Fire is Die Hard in a chemical plant.
  • Act of War is Die Hard in a presidential palace.
  • The Japanese film White Out is Die Hard on a dam.
  • Don't Die Too Hard is a French spoof of Die Hard, also taking place in a skyscraper.
  • TC 2000 is Die Hard in a factory.
  • There are two films called Blast, both Die Hard rip-offs. One takes place in an Olympic stadium, and the other takes place on an oil rig. The latter was even written by one of the screenwriters of the original Die Hard.
  • Tube is Die Hard in a subway.
  • No Contest is Die Hard at a beauty pageant. Its sequel No Contest 2 is Die Hard in a museum.
  • One of the worst rip-offs is The Vault, which is Die Hard in an art museum.
  • Automatic (1995) is Die Hard in a futuristic robot factory, where the hero is an android.
  • Death Machine is also Die Hard in a futuristic robot factory, with the (heroic) robbers running away from a Killer Robot with Nigh-Invulnerability.
  • The Equalizer, a 2014 reimagining of the TV show of the same name, becomes Die Hard in a Home Depot during the climax. The sequel becomes Die Hard in a small island town during a hurricane in its climax.
  • Command Performance is Die Hard in a concert hall.
  • Diplomatic Siege is Die Hard in a U.S. Embassy.
  • Buried, Wrecked, Brake, Vehicle 19 and Locke deal with the same type of trapped-in-a-[insert location/vehicle/object] atmosphere as Die Hard, Panic Room and Phone Booth did.
  • The 2013 dueling films Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down are both Die Hard in the White House. The former was followed by sequels titled London Has Fallen and Angel Has Fallen.
  • Maximum Security and Maximum Conviction are both Die Hard in a correctional facility.
  • Project: Shadowchaser is Die Hard in a hospital in the future, and its sequel is Die Hard in a chemical facility. The twist in the first film is that the bad guys have the titular Project (a robotic Super Soldier played by Frank Zagarino throughout the series) as their trump card to take out any attackers and that the protagonist is a former criminal who was kept in a cryogenic prison(who is thawed out because he also happens to be the architect of the hospital and as such is the only person who can find a way to design a surprise raid). The other films of the series don't count, being a rip-off of The Thing (1982) and something really weird involving Ancient Astronauts in Africa, respectively.
  • Hard Rain is Die Hard in... rain. And a major flood. Also, a church full of stolen money and corrupt cops.
  • Deadly Outbreak is Die Hard in a research facility.
  • The Kingdom (2007) starts off as a Heat-meets-CSI clone with FBI agents vs. terrorist groups then transcends into John McClane and even much like the TV show 24, where it's a race against the clock all within one big Saudi Arabia hideout.
  • Assault On Dome 4 Is Die Hard on a scientific facility on another planet.
  • Stranglehold (1994) (not to be confused with the John Woo game of the [1]) is Die Hard in a chemical weapons facility.
  • Critical Mass is Die Hard at a nuclear plant, unique in that it recycles footage from numerous other action films like Universal Soldier and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (as did several Movie projects during the late part of The '90s and early part of The 2000s).
  • Chain Reaction is The Fugitive in a factory with scientists and corrupt executives that echo the Die Hard formula a tad bit.
  • The 2008 film Max Payne, has enclosed building shoot-outs and ambushes much like the games that have a Die Hard feel to them.
  • The Asylum's Age of Dinosaurs is Die Hard with Jurassic Park dinosaurs. Lemme say it again. Die Hard with dinosaurs!
  • North Sea Hijack aka ffolkes and Assault Force is Die Hard on North Sea oil rigs. Actually a subversion, since the film is quite slow-paced and focuses more on the protagonists' carefully-planned tactics rather than action.
  • Police Story 2013 is Die Hard in a nightclub.
  • The Peacekeeper is Die Hard in a missile silo.
  • The similarly titled 1997 action thriller The Peacemaker borrows from Die Hard and James Bond by having another on-a-train scenario then having the action lead back to New York.
  • Swiri (A.K.A. Shiri) mixes La Femme Nikita with various key scenes of Die Hard.
  • Best of the Best 4: Without Warning (yes, they made it to number 4) and the Hong Kong film Big Bullet borrow Die Hard 2 type scenes. Big Bullet notably has a Die Hard on A Military Airport as its climax.
  • Not Safe For Work is Die Hard in a building, just with a single hitman instead of terrorists.
  • Stash House is another Dolph Lundgren film that's described as being like the Die Hard clones Panic Room and Hostage.
  • Virtual Assassin (AKA Cyberjack) is "Die Hard" in an office building in the future.
  • The 2001 Made-for-TV Movie Hotel! is a comedic version of Die Hard in, you guessed it, a hotel. Foreign terrorists take a British hotel hostage, in aid of kidnapping the American President, not realizing that the assistant manager has a convenient military background and happened to get out of the captured hotel due to a series of wacky hijinks. (Notable mainly for happening to feature two actors who've been cast as the Doctor on Doctor Who.)
  • The B-Movie Nautilus is both Die Hard on an oil rig and a submarine. The twist is that the submarine is a time machine that came from a borderline-apocalyptic future to try to stop the terrorists on the oil rig from unleashing a weapon that would create said future... and once they are done with, several members of the crew pull off The Mutiny because they want to use the submarine and the weapon to try to Take Over the World.
  • The 2013 Jean-Claude Van Damme movie Enemies Closer is Die Hard in the forest near the U.S.-Canadian border.
  • The Japanese drama Unfair had a movie that can basically be described as Die Hard in a Hospital.
  • The third act of Santa with Muscles is effectively Die Hard in an orphanage. As a bonus, it involves breaking into a vault near Christmas. And Blake effectively being the Right Man in the Wrong Place.
  • Final Score - starring Dave Bautista and Pierce Brosnan - is essentially "Die Hard in a footballnote  stadium". (And for authenticity, was filmed at West Ham United's old stadium The Boleyn Ground / Upton Park.)
  • The Replacement (or The Substitute or The Alternate—starring Eric Roberts, so you can look it up that way) is Die Hard on a Los Angeles hotel. The twist being that the titular Wrong Man In The Right Place was part of the hijacking team (hired to replace a sick member on a security breach simulation) up until he figured out that his teammates were performing terrorism for real.
  • The 2002 Direct to Video movie Gale Force is Die Hard on an island that is about to be hit by a hurricane, with the hostages being a Reality Show cast and crew. The McClane of the tale is a forcefully retired Cowboy Cop that was put amongst the cast for security purposes, played by Treat Williams... and the biggest "what the hell?!?" part is the use of Stock Footage of Last Action Hero for the Action Prologue (so we are talking Treat Williams, the dad from Everwood, dressed as Arnie for five minutes).
  • The First Purge turns into Die Hard on Staten Island once the mercenaries are deployed onto the island to start killing people. The climax, meanwhile, is Die Hard in the projects, as Dmitri climbs an apartment tower to take out the death squad headed after Nya and Isaiah. He even wears a white tank top like John McClane.
  • Skyscraper, starring Dwayne Johnson, is essentially a combination between Die Hard (taking place on a (fictional) super-skyscraper-experimental-Arcology) and The Towering Inferno of all things (that means that, yes, the hijackers were crazy enough to set the mile-and-a-half-tall building on fire to keep the cops away). Bob Chipman referred to it as "Die Hard ON FIRE!!!"
  • Empire magazine called the French horror movie The Horde the Die Hard of zombie flicks.
  • And God Said to Cain... is Die Hard at an Old West ranch, with the added twist that the hero is breaking in as opposed to trying to escape. It was also released in 1970, roughly nineteen years before Die Hard first hit the big screen.
  • Firestorm (1998) is Die Hard in a forest that is burning up.
  • Red Hill is a New Old West Die Hard in a town deep in the Australian Outback, with a One-Man Army escaped convict standing in for an entire crook force, and similar to Day of the Wolves the first thing he does is to cut communications, forcing the rookie sheriff to try to fight him in his own while other town members try (and fail miserably) to stop the con.The Reveal? It is more of a modern adaptation of And God Said to Cain... and the escaped convict is the McClane, in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge to avenge his murdered wife (that the townsmen framed him for), with the acceptance that it's a Suicide Mission.
  • Dredd is basically Die Hard with Judge Dredd in it, where he tries to free an Arcology that's been locked down by the drug lord who controls it.
  • The Netflix film Game Over, Man! (2018) has been described as "Die Hard as a stoner comedy."
  • The 1990s "Home Alone" rip-off Remote is "Die Hard" inside of an exhibition home of an abandoned suburban project, in which a bunch of Stupid Crooks hide in after a heist, leaving the Kid Hero (a remote-control toy enthusiast who was using the home's attic to hide his gizmos that his parents wanted to toss away and is now trapped) to think of how to contact the cops and fight the goons.
  • While Home Alone spends most of its time showing the comedy of a Kid Hero living home alone for almost a week, the climactic (and Trope-codifying) "Home Alone" Antics sequence could be described as "Die Hard as an all-ages comedy, with the McClane being a Trap Master".
  • Primal is Die Hard on a cargo ship with a bunch of escaped wild animals.
  • In Violent Saturday, Shelley stages a "Die Hard in a barn" (It Makes Sense in Context), although this is only a small part of the overall story.
  • Tiger House is Die Hard in a Big Fancy House.
  • The Hurricane Heist is Die Hard in an Alabama town that has a Federal Reserve storage facility with $600 million in cash and is in the path of a Category 5 hurricane, the crooks exploiting the fact that the storage facility has been mostly evacuated and hope the devastation will cover their tracks. The duty of the McClane of this film is split between the facility's supervising federal marshall (who holds the code to open the vault) and two brothers, one of which is a storm chaser and brings a heavily-armored car to the fight.
  • Becky is Die Hard in a lake house and the surrounding woods with a teenage girl (the titular Becky) in the McClane role, taking "Home Alone" Antics up to this level as she stalks and kills a white supremacist prison gang who have attacked the house and taken her family hostage in search of a key.
  • The infamous Live-Action Adaptation of Thunderbirds smacks a bit of this — the Hood fires a missile at Thunderbird 5 (International Rescue's orbiting space station) to draw the other Tracys off their island base and trap them aboard the now-wrecked space station; having done that, he then plans to hijack the rest of the Thunderbird craft and use them to rob the world's largest bank, pinning the blame on International Rescue in the process. Only thing is, he and his underlings didn't count on the youngest Tracy brother, the daughter of the housekeepers and the son of the resident technical genius to interfere. Ultimately, the Hood is able to hijack Thunderbird 2 and the Mole and the climax takes place in London, thus subverting the trope.
  • Crossfire is Die Hard in the Statue of Liberty.
  • Sorority House Massacre 3: Hard To Die is basically Die Hard as a slasher, with a group of women trapped in a deserted skyscraper with someone possessed by the spirit of a serial killer.
  • Deadlock is Die Hard in an energy plant, which has Bruce Willis himself as the villain.
  • Gridlock is Die Hard in the Federal Reserve Building.

  • Naturally, there's Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorpe and 58 Minutes by Walter Wagner, the two novels that the first two Die Hard films were respectively adapted from.
  • The Doctor Who New Adventures novel GodEngine traps thirtieth-century cop Chris Cwej in a Martian military base, upon which he promptly proceeds to wreak mayhem using a strategy his partner informs us is officially known as "The McClane Protocol".
  • The second half of the Doctor Who Missing Adventures novel System Shock is Die Hard in a huge computer hub.
  • Artemis Fowl's author Eoin Colfer has described the first book in the series as "Die Hard with fairies." But in this case, the protagonist is the kidnapper.
  • Judith & Garfield Reeves-Steven's novel Quicksilver is Die Hard in the Pentagon
  • Vertical Run by Joseph Garber is Die Hard in an office building, where the John McClane of the story is the only target.
  • Ciaphas Cain:
    • The short story Traitor's Gambit is Die Hard on a spaceship, complete with Cain taunting the head terrorist over a vox unit and the terrorist's leader being more in it for financial gain than for the cause.
    • Cain's Last Stand has a scene where a survivor of an alien attack is hiding in the vents. The fact he's still alive when the Tyranids almost always gravitate to the vents (and attack through the same vent moments later) is the first clue they weren't the original attackers.
  • The Young Bond short story "A Hard Man to Kill" is Die Hard on an ocean liner, starring a teenaged James Bond.
  • The fourth Laura Caxton book 23 Hours is essentially "Die Hard in a prison... with vampires".
  • The latter chapters of the Honor Harrington book In Enemy Hands is Die Hard on a Starship, followed by The Great Escape In Space.
  • The Moon Maze Game is basically a LARP turned Die Hard on the moon.
  • A lot of Alistair MacLean's books, including South by Java Head (on a life boat), The Golden Gate (on a bridge, duh), Breakheart Pass (on a train), Seawitch (oil rig), and others.
  • The Lords' Day by Michael Dobbs (who also wrote: the original House of Cards) is Die Hard in the Houses of Parliament. A quote on the cover calls it "Die Hard with a Stiff Upper Lip".
  • Anna Pigeon: Destroyer Angel is "Die Hard in a National Forest". Anna is on a camping trip with some friends. While she is floating alone in a canoe on the river at night, a gang of kidnappers abduct the others. When Anna finds out what has happened, she pursues the gang through the forest with almost no equipment.
  • The Continental Op: In "The Gutting of Couffignal", the Op finds himself the only resistance when a gang of thugs invades an otherwise deserted island community intent on Taking Over the Town.
  • In Rhythm of War, (the fourth book of The Stormlight Archive) a significant part of the book deals with the Fused invading and capturing Urithiru, a massive ancient Magitek tower-city at the heart of the Oathgate network. Several characters are trapped inside and each of them has to work in their own ways to resist and eventually defeat the invaders. Making things more complicated is that the human Radiants, who normally have different magical powers, have their abilities suppressed by the Fused subverting Urithiru's defenses. Use of Airvent Passageway is quite common as the heroes sneak around the ancient tower.
  • Gemina in The Illuminae Files features this on the jump station Heimdall. After a group of elite mercenaries take over the station, the only two people on the station not accounted for are the heroes Hanna Donnelly and Nik Malikov. All of the actual security officers have ID tags that are tracked.
  • Poor Mans Fight by Elliot Kay's second half can best be described as this. A somewhat ordinary soldier is trapped on a starship taken over by criminals and moves through the air ducts to eliminate them one by one.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrow: In the episode "Beacon of Hope" the Bug-Eyed Bandit takes over Palmer Technologies HQ.
    Felicity: We're in a Die Hard movie with bees.
  • Parodied on The Ben Stiller Show playing Bruce Willis in a Die Hard sequel... set in a supermarket.
  • In the 9th season, Roseanne copied Under Siege 2: Dark Territory... of course, it was All Just a Dream.
  • Star Trek has done Die Hard on a spaceship for a number of episodes across the series:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series: "Space Seed". However, this aired before Die Hard was released. So Die Hard is sort of "Space Seed in an office building"! Sort of...
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
      • The episode "Starship Mine" couldn't be more clearly an homage to Die Hard set on the Enterprise. The hero is running around an abandoned complex playing cat-and-mouse with the villains while a separate group are being held hostage. One captured villain calls the hero's bluff about killing him. The hero assumes the villains are terrorists, but they turn out to be thieves. The hero listens in on the villains' communications, and they trade barbs. The hero passes himself off as a civilian when confronted by the villains in person. The official French title for the episode is "28 minutes to live", a reference to the French title for Die Hard 2 (58 minutes to live).
      • "Rascals" has elements of this, with the added twist that several crew members have been turned into children during the events.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: For the first part of Season 6, the eponymous station is in enemy hands. Also, the beginning of Season 2 sees the crew temporarily handing the station over to Bajoran radicals. And then there's the shrunken shuttlecraft episode, definitely the Spiritual Successor of The Next Generation. Finally, there's the episode "Civil Defense" from Season 3, where the station is hijacked by an automated defense system put in place by Gul Dukat during the Occupation (who, ironically, shows up only to get captured by his own system along with everyone else).
    • Star Trek: Voyager: The Doctor was frequently the Bruce Willis, his Projected Man status making him immune to whatever incapacitated everyone else.
      • "Basics, Part II". Voyager is taken by the Kazon-Nistrum and the crew abandoned on a primitive planet without technology. Three unlikely heroes (the Doctor at an early stage of his Character Development, renegade Tom Paris, and a former Sociopathic Soldier who discovered empathy after a Mind Meld) evade the dragnet and have to outsmart Magnificent Bitch Seska to retake Voyager.
      • "Macrocosm". Captain Janeway finds herself the Final Girl when she returns to Voyager and discovers the crew unconscious and the ship at the mercy of the Monster of the Week. Can Janeway save the day by stripping down to a sweaty tank top, strapping on a compression phaser rifle and doing her best Sigourney Weaver impersonation?
      • "The Killing Game", opens with Voyager having been seized by the Hirogen and the crew forced into Deadly Games on the holodeck. It's Harry Kim, not the Spotlight-Stealing Squad of Janeway/Seven/Doctor, who kicks off La Résistance, which is only appropriate as the main holodeck program featured is a WW2 French Resistance scenario.
      • "Message in a Bottle". The EMH is projected to a Starfleet vessel in the Alpha Quadrant, only to find it's been seized by Romulan commandoes. He has to team up with the vessel's EMH Mark Two to take it back. Ham-to-Ham Combat and Hilarity Ensues.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise:
      • "Acquisition". The Ferengi make unofficial 'first contact' by taking over the ship and gassing the crew into unconsciousness, leaving Trip (who was in decontamination at the time) to mount an offensive (aided by Archer after he's woken up for the Ferengi to interrogate him).
      • "Catwalk". With Enterprise facing a spatial anomaly that will kill the entire crew and can't be outrun, they have to hide in the shielded "catwalks" inside the powered-down warp nacelles, and later use their few spacesuits to mount an offensive when a race of aliens immune to the same anomaly try to take over the ship.
      • "Chosen Realm". A group of religious extremists try to take Enterprise and use it as a weapon against their enemies, forcing Archer to trick them into thinking they've executed him while he's really transported to another part of the ship to begin his counter-attack.
  • Alias: "The Box" is Die Hard in SD-6 headquarters with the Hans Gruber copy-cat Big Bad played by Quentin Tarantino.
  • Blake's 7 did it in the episode "Power Play" (by Terry Nation). Although bad guys taking over the Liberator wasn't exactly a rare occurrence...
  • The Sentinel had an episode called "Dead Drop", which involved the main character trying to catch the bad guy by going up elevator shafts, running up stairs, and, in a true Die Hard moment, swinging in through a window.
    • The second episode of the series fit this trope as well, but it advanced the plot by forcing Jim to use his abilities around his boss several times, letting him in on the secret.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Angel:
    • A second-season episode of Buffy ("School Hard") admits that it's ripping off this device by entitling the episode where everyone is trapped in a vampire-infested school (Die Hard at Sunnydale High) with Buffy as their only hope.
    • The Bronze is also a popular location for hostage-takings ("The Harvest", "Doppelgangland").
    • Angel featured an episode where a band of humans take over the demon-owned nightclub Caritas, which happens to be a frequent watering hole of the heroes. The twist is that most of the clubgoers, while demonic, are fully-assimilated and peaceful, while the gun-toting humans have devolved into hunting demons for sport.
  • The episode "All the Queen's Horses" of Due South was Die Hard on a train full of horses.
  • In the pilot of Entourage, Vince gets pitched a script that is described as "Die Hard at Disneyland."
  • Farscape:
    • "I Shrink Therefore I Am". Die Hard is even mentioned by name.
    • "I-Yensch, You-Yensch" has a pair of Stupid Crooks take Rygel, Scorpius, D'Argo, and Braca hostage in a diner while they negotiate. Interestingly, they don’t get out through fighting, but through Rygel and Scorpius being their usual Magnificent Bastard selves.
  • The Highlander episode "Bad Day in Building A" is notable in that it borrows the Die Hard formula to the point of its Technical Pacifist hero killing enemy mooks, including at least one he had clearly already succeeded at tying to a chair. Because the Power of Willis is such that even Duncan MacLeod must kill for it.
  • The short-lived series John Doe had an episode called "Doe or Die", which was previously titled "Doe Hard".
  • In the Lois & Clark episode "Fly Hard" (yep, they weren't even trying to hide it), robbers take over the Daily Planet building and drill the floor, searching for prohibition-era money. Of course, part of the humor is that Jimmy Olsen slips through the terrorists' fingers when they lock up the hostages (while Clark Kent, of course, is rounded up with everyone else). Jimmy deludes himself into thinking he's Bruce Willis and is going to save everyone's lives in a rather hilarious Internal Monologue held while crawling through an air duct. He, of course, ends up accomplishing nothing much in particular until Superman finally "arrives" to save the day.
  • In an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun, a retiring professor says that he's going to work on his screenplay, which he describes as "Die Hard only set in an office building".
    Dick: Die Hard was in an office building.
    Professor Sutor: *glaring* Up yours.
  • Stargate SG-1 inverted this trope: in "Bad Guys" SG-1 itself is mistaken as a group of terrorists in an alien museum, and a bumbling security guard believes himself to be the McClane. Naturally, they lampshade it:
    Mitchell: [over radio while held at gunpoint] "Uh, we've got ourselves a bit of a John McClane here."
    Daniel: "What? What're you talking about?"
    Teal'c: "Die Hard."
    • They've played it straight a few times. The Prometheus has been taken over by alien or human bad guys on at least two occasions, and once SG-1 had to take it back from an alternate SG-1. (Long story.) The SGC has also been the target of this a few times. (In "Foothold", for example, the aliens were masquerading as the regular characters, and Sam was the only one who was really herself). Die Hard... In Colorado?
  • Stargate Atlantis is fond of this trope:
    • "The Storm" and "The Eye" is a very deliberate reference, because the Big Bad (Acastus Kolya) is Robert Davi - who was one of the FBI agents in the original Die Hard. "The Return" does it as well, and also the final season's "The Prodigal", which even ends with Teyla tossing series Big Bad off the top floor of the Atlantis main tower. Note that "The Storm/The Eye", "The Return," and the above-mentioned SG-1 episode "Bad Guys" were all penned by staff writer Martin Gero, who apparently has a favorite movie.
    • Averted with "Midway". The Wraith have taken over the SGC, and there are only two people conscious on our side. Perfect time for another "Die Hard at the SGC"... except the two conscious people are Teal'c and Ronon. Instead of sneaking around, they just start killing every Wraith they can find.
  • The CSI: NY third-season finale "Snow Day" is another example. The NYPD Crime Lab is located in a high-rise; Mac, Stella & Sheldon are still in the building after the bad guys (an Irish gang intent on getting their seized drug horde back) engineer its evacuation; meanwhile, Danny & Adam are held hostage in a warehouse. Cell phone service goes out in the area for most of the episode. One of the perps shoots another (thinking he's Mac); Mac writes "Find the bullet" on the guy's forehead and sends him down the elevator to Sheldon in the morgue. At another point Stella crawls down the elevator shaft to get the re-stolen drugs back. Mac constructs a pipe bomb and a Laser Hallway out of things in the lab and blows the baddies (not to mention the lab) to smithereens.
  • MacGyver (1985): "Phoenix Under Siege", where the headquarters of the Phoenix Foundation is taken over by criminals, trapping Mac and his grandfather (who had returned to the building to retrieve some hockey tickets) inside. And yes, the hockey tickets play a role in the ultimate resolution. The TV movies MacGyver: Lost Treasure of Atlantis and MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday also end up referencing Die Hard and Indiana Jones cliches.
  • The Middleman episode "The Clotharian Contamination Protocol", in which Die Hard is referenced repeatedly, both by the characters and via in-jokes. The HQ is aided by the Nakatomi Protocol, which widens the air ducts and initiates a lockdown. Toward the end of the episode it becomes Die Hard In An Android.
    Dubby: How often does the HQ get invaded?
    The Middleman: About three times a year.
  • Chuck:
    • Not only do bad guys take over the Buy More, but Al from Die Hard also appears, as Big Mike's cousin.
    • In a different episode, different bad guys take over the store after Black Friday when Morgan, Jeff and Lester are the only ones inside. The bad guys take Jeffster hostage while Morgan was in his office taking a foot a tank top...without shoes. Yes, he uses the vents to get around, yes, he knocks a box of tacks off a shelf...and steps on them. Yes, he decides to make a rescue with a gun taped to his back.
  • Battlestar Galactica does this in "The Oath" and "Blood on the Scales," with mostly Lee and Kara (and a bit of Tigh/Adama) as the McClane. Even Tyrol gets to play McClane as he crawls through service tunnels and air ducts for most of the episode. So this would be Die Hard In Space!
  • Burn Notice:
    • In one episode Michael and a rival go Die Hard in a Bank.
    • A later episode played with the formula. Michael infiltrates a gang of criminals who take over a small airport and take hostages (including Michael's mother). What does Michael do? Sabotage the operation from within and direct the blame towards a nonexistent airport employee.
  • The Baywatch episode "The Tower" has it on the beach and in a lifeguard tower. Naturally, it is Mitch who saves the day.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has "The Gang Gets Taken Hostage". Frank is stuck in the air vents while the McPoyles hold the rest of the gang hostage. He even has to walk over broken glass and tape a gun to his back. And at one point he yells "Yipee Ki Yay Mr. Falcon!"
  • Human Target has had Die Hard On a Bullet Train ["Pilot"] (complete with air vent crawl!) and Die Hard In a Monastery ["Sanctuary"].
  • A season finale episode of Third Watch was essentially "Die Hard in a hospital with five times more cops", and was very action packed for the type of series it was.
  • As the characters repeatedly lampshade, Jim & George's subplot of the No Ordinary Family episode "No Ordinary Detention" is Die Hard in a police station. The trope is also invoked, as they explicitly base their plan on McClane's actions. George compares himself to Sgt. Powell ("Let me be your black dude"), and Jim at one point uses the family-friendly half of McClane's Catchphrase.
  • Mad About You played with being Die Hard in a Hospital because the hospital is sealed off after Bruce Willis gets hurt filming the latest Die Hard film, Die Already. He ends up wandering the hospital ("Do I look concussed?") and helping Paul Rieser's character make it to his daughter's birth.
  • Happens in Global Dynamics in Eureka, with Jo Lupo and Zoe Carter.
  • In the Leverage episode "The Radio Job", part of the con involves making an FBI agent think this is what's going on. Eliot manages to get off a "Yippee ki-yay, motherf--!"
  • 24 did this basically Once a Season, in addition to drawing enough tonal influences from the original movie that "Die Hard on the clock" is not a bad description for it. The Unit, Spooks, Ultimate Force and Strike Back are also similar in concept to having Die Hard type moments even though they're also trying to reflect upon real-life post-9/11 terror attacks.
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look featured a sketch in which a terminally ill man's last wish was to do Die Hard. As in re-enact the original movie for real. He's later disappointed when it's not as much fun as he hoped it would be.
  • The Blacklist episode "Anslo Garrick" is "Die Hard in a top secret FBI compound". As an additional Shout-Out, FBI Agent Elizabeth Keen loses her shoes early on and has to run around barefoot, just like John McClane in the original movie.
  • The Almost Human episode "Are You Receiving?" is Die Hard with robots.
  • The NCIS episode "The San Dominick" which featured pirates hijacking a ship. It's even lampshaded when Tony says that it's like "Die Hard on a ship".
    • Also episode "Lockdown" is "Die Hard in a biotech lab", with Abby Sciuto hiding from the bad guys and crawling through the air vents.
  • The NCIS: Los Angeles episode "Spiral" actually does take place in an office building and has several Die Hard references.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: There are many references to Die Hard throughout the series; Peralta calls it his favorite movie, and states outright he wants to be in such a situation. "Yippie Kayak" is an ass kicking Christmas Episode where Peralta and Boyle get locked in a department store after closing and discover robbers. Boyle misheard Bruce Willis' catchphrase and shouts "Yippee Kayak, other buckets!".
    Jake: Oh my god—it's real-life Die Hard! ...I mean, "Oh no! Crime!"
  • Rush Hour episode "Oh Hostage My Hostage" was Die Hard in a concert hall. Captain Lindsay Cole is the character (in bare feet) who hides when the rest of the hostages are rounded up. Detectives Carter and Lee climb through an air vent to enter the hall and rescue her.
    Cpt. Cole: I saw your picture in the duffel bag of a gunman who I had to knock out with a bottle of champagne tonight. That was totally Die Hard of me, wasn't it? I'm like Bruce Willis ... but with highlights.
  • Scorpion had an episode that was mostly Die Hard at a tech convention. The invaders try to force one tech giant to use his new banking app to transfer a bank's funds to their account. Who represents Bruce Willis in this situation? Cabe Gallo.
  • Tracker: "What Lies Beneath" probably qualifies. Zin and his minions break into the Watchfire bar because they've finally realized it's where the superweapon they're seeking is hidden. Zin thinks he's neutralized Cole by having a minion zap him with a gun that tampers with his powers, but they don't count on Mel finding out she's part alien and being able to reverse the effect and get Cole back to normal. Nestov claims he was doing a 'triple cross' as well, but it's left ambiguious as to whether he simply betrayed the heroes or actually was attempting to foil the plan.
  • Lucifer had an episode where some of the main characters were among the people taken hostage in Lucifer's nightclub, Lux. This episode's title? Expire Erect.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Buck Rogers XXV (in the 25th Century) adventure XXVCA3 Deimos Mandate (1991). When the PCs are on Level 54, a group of pirates will break in and start taking hostages. The PCs are encouraged to enter some air ducts and move through them in order to ambush and defeat the pirates. One of the people in the room is the prisoner they're there to rescue. If the PCs attack the pirates they will threaten to shoot one of the hostages unless the players throw down their guns. If the PCs refuse the pirates will shoot the hostages one at a time until they do so or run away.
  • A common scenario in Feng Shui, and discussed in the supplement Blowing Up The Movies.

    Video Games 
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum is basically Die Hard in Arkham Asylum started by The Joker. Every predator section in the entire Arkham series is basically a highly condensed "Die Hard in a room" scenario.
  • Broken Helix is Die Hard on Area 51, with marines, renegade scientists, and aliens killing each other. The player gets stuck in the middle and can even join either sides.
  • The entire middle portion (About 60-70% of the game) of First Encounter Assault Recon is "Die Hard in an Office Building", like the original Die Hard movie, except replace terrorists with psychically controlled super soldiers and one madder-than-hell Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl playing merry hell with them and the others and McClane with a slo-mo using, round house kicking Silent Protagonist. Also instead of Hans Gruber we get a telepathic and psychotic cannibal named Paxton Fettel Who is also your brother.
  • Chase the Express, aka. Covert Ops: Nuclear Dawn is Die Hard in a NATO armored train. Also counts as a Thriller on the Express.
  • Crisis Beat is Die Hard on a ferry. Complete with a Christmas setting.
  • Dead Space is Die Hard on a spaceship. With zombies!
  • The opening level of Deep Freeze starts out like Die Hard, but becomes more of a global adventure once it's over. That said, the final level becomes Die Hard on a warship just to balance it out.
  • Freedom Fighters (2003) is essentially Die Hard in New York City. Specifically, the city is under Soviet control and it's up to the player to rally the citizens to take it back.
  • Half-Life is pretty much Die Hard in a research facility.
    • Not to mention an older example — Doom, anyone? Only replace "demons" with "aliens" and "hell" with "an alternate dimension".
    • Alyx lampshades Dr. Freeman's proclivity for air-vent exploration in Episode One.
  • Iji is essentially Die Hard in a Military Facility during an Alien Invasion.
  • The escape from the belly of the Leviathan in Knights of the Old Republic is either Die Hard on a spaceship, or a biblical reference.
  • Mass Effect 2 has a Die Hard on the Normandy scene when Joker has to escape the Collectors and find Shepard to go rescue the rest of the crew.
    • The last section of the Arrival DLC, where Shepard has to fight through the Indoctrinated Alliance team and destroy the Alpha Relay before the Reapers can establish a beachhead, can be summed up as Die Hard on an Asteroid.
    • In Mass Effect 3, the plot of the Citadel DLC is essentially Die Hard on the Citadel, culminating with a frantic shootout on the Normandy as Shepard rushes to retake the ship. It's even chocked with characters, good and bad alike, who are spouting cheesy one-liners like an 80s action movie. Die Hard on the Normandy: Die Harder?
  • Metal Gear Solid was "Die Hard on an Alaskan Military Base".
    • Come to think of it, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was "Die Hard on a Russian Military Base During the Cold War".
    • Of course the original Metal Gear (and sequels) came out in 1987 pre-dating Die Hard and with the same basic plot. Many also differ in that the "terrorists" often aren't taking over anything, but staying at home being evil and Snake needs to infiltrate them.
      • Die Hard in Zanzibar, that's about it.
  • The "No Fighting in the War Room" mission of the first Modern Warfare is Die Hard in a nuclear weapons facility. The mission "Turbulence" in Modern Warfare 3 is basically "Die Hard on the Russian President's plane". So, it is really more like "Air Force One with Russians".
  • In Paper Mario, there is a "Die Hard starring Princess Peach" segment after every chapter. The castle has been taken over by Bowser, and you have to use secret passages and disguises to sneak around and, at one point, stealthily bake a cake.
  • The Newgrounds game Pico's School is Die Hard in a school shooting.
  • The various Pokémon games include Die Hard in an office building, a radio tower, a volcano, an oceanic museum, a weather institute, a submarine pen, a space centre, a wind farm, two office buildings, another mountain, a forest, a cold-storage warehouse, a castle, a sewer, a crater, a solar power plant, a Pokeball factory, a cafe, a whole walled city and then some. In fact, there's pretty much a guarantee that you'll deal with a situation like this at least once in a Pokemon game (Pokémon Mystery Dungeon and other spin-offs excluded). Justified, in that the villainous groups pretty much are Die Hard terrorists/crime syndicates, especially Team Rocket.
  • The first System Shock is Die Hard on a space station. With a rogue homicidal AI and cyborgs. The second one is set on two of humanity's first commercial starships. With even worse and more horrifying threats...then it turns Die Hard in a ship-sized Body Horror, the Body of the Many.
  • The original Time Crisis is Die Hard in a castle, while Time Crisis 3 is Die Hard in a Mediterranean island. The spinoff Crisis Zone is Die Hard in an urban complex and around London.
  • The obscure Sunsoft PlayStation game Hard Edge is basically a very anime Die Hard on a research building.

  • Bob the Angry Flower: From the people who brought you Submarine Action Movie and Airplane Action Movie, now comes Train Action Movie!!!
  • The Dragon Doctors arc "Thieves of life" is a "Die Hard In A Hospital" scenario. Goro, the sickly surgeon, is fighting off four thieves while awaiting her Life Energy transplant.
  • In strip #349 of Micheal Firman's Moe, while not a reconstruction of this trope in itself, the titular character tries to pitch an action-romance movie based on this format, albeit without being able to think of any romantic movie to merge Die Hard with.
    "I'm picturing something like Die Hard meets... That scene in Die Hard where he gets all gushy over his wife"
  • In xkcd "Devotion to Duty" the hostage takers are confronted by a sysadmin who climbs up the ventilation ducts and over the broken glass. He doesn't care about the hostages, he just wants to get the server back up.

    Web Video 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The American Dad! episode "The Long Bomb" is essentially "Die Hard in a football stadium." Stan even wears a white tank top for it.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!:
    • "Masters of Evil" has some of the Avengers' biggest villains at the time take over the Avengers Mansion, and capture five of the Avengers. Ant-Man, Hawkeye, and Black Panther subsequently have to rescue their fellow superheroes.
    • "Alone Against AIM" was actually promoted once as, "Die Hard at Stark Industries!" The Scientist Supreme cuts off the power at the main Stark Industries office building, and takes Pepper Potts hostage, while also stealing some of Iron Man's armor. This leaves an un-armored Tony Stark having to stop AIM from blowing up the building, with the Technovore chasing him in pursuit of the arc reactor in his chest. One scene even shows Tony descending an elevator shaft together with Maria Hill.
  • An episode of Beast Wars does this with a unique twist: It's the building where Rattrap is hiding that is trying to kill him. He sets off the security system and tries to deactivate it. And an episode of Transformers: Animated did Die Hard on an Elite Guard Spaceship. Complete with bomb-down-the-elevator-shaft and grumbling while crawling through the air vent.
  • Parodied in The Boondocks. 50 Cent plays a heroic air marshal who has to stop a bunch of terrorists who've taken over the plane... by using the fat stewardess as a Bulletproof Human Shield.
  • Done as a whole plot reference in The Cleveland Show in the episode "Die Semi-Hard".
  • A clip show episode of The Critic was framed around Jay's show being taken over by terrorists led by a Hans Gruber Expy. In the end they were defeated by Highly Visible Ninja Milton Berle.
  • The Dexter's Laboratory episode "Trapped With A Vengeance" had Dexter facing the janitor who wouldn't let him leave school, and had several Shout Outs to iconic scenes from Die Hard.
  • The Fillmore! episode "A Cold Day at X" is Die Hard In A Middle School.
  • Inside Job (2021): In "My Big Flat Earth Wedding", Glenn attempts this when the flat-Earthers take over the ship, but his fat gut gets him stuck in the Air-Vent Passageway.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The episode where Maggie rescues the other babies from a creche made a lot of references to The Great Escape, but was actually more like Die Hard In A Nursery.
    • Parodied in the episode "And Maggie Makes Three" (bear in mind, this is something Homer is imagining in the spur of the moment to lie about why there's no pictures of Maggie):
      German Terrorist: Attention, American workers: your plant has been taken over by an all-star team of freelance terrorists.
      Homer: Not on my shift! (jumps into an overhead vent).
  • The South Park episode "Super Fun Time" is essentially Die Hard at Ye Olde Settlement, where a team of terrorists, complete with a Hans lookalike, takes a frontier-town educational park hostage after robbing a Burger King.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: "Hostage Crisis" is basically "Die Hard in the Republic Senate building", with Anakin as John McClane and bounty hunter Cad Bane as Hans Gruber. Instead of having no shoes like McClane, Anakin has no lightsaber. Unlike most examples of the trope, Anakin does not stop the villains: they successfully take over the building, make their demands and then make good their escape. Anakin himself is captured without putting any real dents in the villains' efforts and spends the rest of the crisis unconscious and held with the rest of the hostages. However, Anakin does get a redemption at the end of the episode when he saves the lives of the hostages when Cad Bane was going to blow them up after he had already gotten away.
  • The SWAT Kats episode "Destructive Nature" actually is Die Hard in an office building — only with a Mad Scientist and his Man Eating Plants as the villains.
  • When Static Shock crossed over with Justice League in the episode "A League Of Their Own, Pt. 1," Static and Gear were left on the League's Watchtower when the League answered a fake distress call sent by Brainiac who infiltrated the Tower's computer systems. When Static and Gear realize the space station is actually trying to kill them they have to work with the returning Justice League to take Brainiac down from the inside while the station's defenses and Brainiac's newly created Mecha-Mooks get in their way. They succeed, no spoiler, but since the episode is a two-parter...
  • Thunderbirds Are Go: In "Fireflash", Kayo is riding aboard Fireflash, a supersonic airliner that was recently improved by Brains, unaware that the Hood is planning to hijack it in mid-flight. While International Rescue notices the plane has suddenly vanished from their monitors and attempt to locate it, Kayo manages to avoid a powerful gas attack that has knocked out both the passengers and the crew, and is forced to not only confront the Hood, but also safely land the airliner when the craft is accidentally damaged and the landing gear fails to deploy.
  • Unikitty! did a Whole Plot Reference to Die Hard in the episode "Top of the Naughty List," which was basically Die Hard in Santa's workshop.
  • In the Young Justice episode "Home Front", Robin and Artemis, the Badass Normals of the team, are hunted throughout their own base by a team of ridiculously powerful androids.

Alternative Title(s): Die Hard Situation