Die Hard 2
Die Hard 2 poster
Directed by Renny Harlin
Produced by Charles Gordon
Lawrence Gordon
Joel Silver
Starring Bruce Willis

Bonnie Bedelia
William Sadler
Art Evans
Dennis Franz
Reginald VelJohnson

Music by Michael Kamen
Cinematography Oliver Wood
Editing by Stuart Baird
Robert A. Ferretti
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release July 4, 1990
Running time 124 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $70 million
Gross revenue $240,031,094
Preceded by Die Hard
Followed by Die Hard with a Vengeance

Die Hard 2 (sometimes referred to as Die Hard 2: Die Harder) is a 1990 American action film and the second in the Die Hard film series. It was released on Wednesday, July 4, 1990. The film was directed by Renny Harlin, and stars Bruce Willis as John McClane. The film co-stars Bonnie Bedelia (reprising her role as Holly McClane), William Sadler, Art Evans, William Atherton (reprising his role as Richard "Dick" Thornburg), Franco Nero, Dennis Franz, Fred Thompson, John Amos, and Reginald VelJohnson, returning briefly in his role as Sgt. Al Powell from the first film.

The screenplay was written by Steven E. de Souza and Doug Richardson, adapted from Walter Wager's novel 58 Minutes. The novel has the same premise but differs slightly: A cop must stop terrorists who take an airport hostage while his wife's plane circles overhead. He has 58 minutes to do so before the plane crashes. Roderick Thorp, who wrote the bestselling novel Nothing Lasts Forever, upon which Die Hard was based, receives credit for creating "certain original characters", although his name is misspelled onscreen as "Roderick Thorpe".

As with the first film, the action in Die Hard 2 takes place on Christmas Eve. McClane is waiting for his wife to land at Washington Dulles International Airport when terrorists take over the air traffic control system. He must stop the terrorists before his wife's plane and several other incoming flights that are circling the airport run out of fuel and crash. During the night, McClane must also contend with airport police, maintenance workers, and a military commander who does not want his assistance.

The film was followed by Die Hard with a Vengeance in 1995, Live Free or Die Hard in 2007 and A Good Day to Die Hard in 2013.


On Christmas Eve, two years after the Nakatomi Tower Incident, John McClane is waiting at Washington Dulles International Airport for his wife Holly to arrive from Los Angeles, California. Reporter Richard Thornburg, who exposed Holly's identity to Hans Gruber in Die Hard, is assigned a seat across the aisle from her. While in the airport bar, McClane spots two men in army fatigues carrying a package; one of the men has a gun. Suspicious, he follows them into the baggage area. After a shootout, he kills one of the men while the other escapes. Learning the dead man is a mercenary thought to have been killed in action, McClane believes he's stumbled onto a nefarious plot. He relates his suspicions to airport police Captain Carmine Lorenzo, but Lorenzo refuses to listen and has McClane thrown out of his office.

Former U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel Stuart and other members of his unit set up a base in a church near Dulles after executing the church's custodian. They take over the air traffic control systems, cutting off communication to the planes, and seize control of the airport. Their goal is to rescue General Ramon Esperanza, a drug lord and the dictator of Val Verde, who is being extradited to the United States to stand trial on drug trafficking charges. They demand a Boeing 747 so they can escape to another country, and warn the airport's controllers not to try to restore control. Upon learning of this, McClane realizes his wife is on one of the planes circling above Washington, D.C. with too little fuel to be redirected, and will likely crash if the terrorists remain in control. He prepares to fight the terrorists, allying himself with a janitor, Marvin, to gain larger access to the airport.

Dulles communications director Leslie Barnes heads to the unfinished Annex Skywalk with a SWAT team to re-establish communications with the planes. Stuart's henchmen, disguised as airport employees, ambush the group at a chokepoint, killing the SWAT team. With Marvin's help, McClane reaches the massacre via air duct and, after a shootout, rescues Barnes and kills Stuart's men. When Stuart learns of this, he responds by recalibrating the instrument landing system and then impersonating air traffic controllers to crash a jet, killing all 230 passengers and crew on board the aircraft. In response, a U.S. Army Special Forces team is called in, led by Major Grant. A two-way radio dropped by one of Stuart's henchmen tips McClane that Esperanza is landing. Again with Marvin's aid, McClane gets there before Stuart's henchmen, but Stuart traps him in Esperanza's transport plane and throws grenades into the cockpit. McClane escapes via the ejection seat just as the aircraft explodes. Barnes is then able to help McClane locate the mercenaries' hideout and they tell Grant and his team to raid the location. However, the mercenaries escape on snowmobiles during a shootout between Grant's team and Stuart's men. McClane pursues them, killing two more mercenaries and taking a snowmobile, but the gun he picked up does not work as Stuart shoots at the snowmobile causing it to explode. He realizes that the gun contained blanks and that the mercenaries and Special Forces are working together.

McClane contacts Lorenzo to send out officers to intercept the Boeing 747 in which the mercenaries are planning to escape, proving his story by firing at Lorenzo with the blank gun. A suspicious Thornburg is already monitoring airport radio traffic, and learns about the situation from a secret transmission to the circling planes from Barnes. Barricading himself in the airplane lavatory, he phones in a sensational and exaggerated take on what is happening at Dulles, leading to panic in the airport and preventing the officers from reaching the plane. Listening to Thornberg's live report, Holly enters the lavatory and subdues Thornburg with a taser.

McClane hitches a ride on a news helicopter that drops him off on the left wing of the mercenary plane and he blocks the ailerons with his jacket, preventing the plane from taking off. Grant emerges and fights McClane, but is sucked into the jet engine and killed. Stuart comes out to fight next, and succeeds in knocking McClane off the plane, but not before McClane knocks open the fuel hatch. After landing, McClane uses his cigarette lighter to ignite the trail of leaking fuel, which races down the runway to the wing, ignites the rest of the fuel and destroys the jet, killing all on board. The passenger planes, circling in the air, use the lighted trail to land, and McClane and his wife are reunited.


  • Bruce Willis as Lieutenant John McClane
  • Bonnie Bedelia as Holly Gennaro-McClane
  • Art Evans as Leslie Barnes, Dulles' director of communications
  • Dennis Franz as Captain Carmine Lorenzo, the head of airport police at Dulles
  • Reginald VelJohnson as Sergeant Al Powell
  • William Atherton as Richard "Dick" Thornburg
  • Fred Thompson as Trudeau, Chief of Dulles' operations
  • Tom Bower as Marvin, the janitor
  • Sheila McCarthy as Samantha "Sam" Coleman, a reporter
  • Colm Meaney as Pilot of Windsor Airlines plane
  • Robert Costanzo as Sergeant Vito Lorenzo, Carmine's brother

The terrorists

  • Franco Nero as General Ramon Esperanza, the ruthless drug lord and dictator of the fictional country Val Verde
  • William Sadler as Colonel Stuart, a rogue U.S. Army Colonel who leads the mercenaries.
  • John Costelloe as Sergeant Oswald Cochrane
  • Mark Boone Junior as Shockley
  • Robert Patrick as O'Reilly
  • Mick Cunningham as Sheldon
  • Ken Baldwin as Mulkey
  • Peter Nelson as Thompson
  • Tony Ganios as Baker
  • John Leguizamo as Burke
  • Don Harvey as Garber, Colonel Stuart's second in command
  • Tom Verica as Kahn
  • Vondie Curtis-Hall as Miller
  • John Amos as Major Grant, the head of the U.S. Army Special Forces team

External links

Die Hard Films vte
Films Die HardDie Hard 2Die Hard with a VengeanceLive Free or Die HardA Good Day to Die Hard
Characters John McClane
Bruce Willis films

Sin City (2005)  · Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)  ·

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