John McClane
John McClane.1
Known Aliases: Cowboy
Gender: Male
Known Relatives: Lucy Gennero-McClane (Daughter)
John "Jack" McClane Jr. (Son)
Portrayed By: Bruce Willis
First Appearance: Die Hard

John McClane is a fictional character portrayed by Bruce Willis. The protagonist of the Die Hard film series, he is known for his sardonic one-liners, including the famous catch-phrase "Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker".

Character portrayal

John McClane was originally based on the fictional character Detective Joe Leland from Roderick Thorp's bestselling novel, Nothing Lasts Forever, along with another character, Frank Malone from Walter Wager's novel 58 Minutes (later adapted as Die Hard 2) and is somewhat based on and inspired by Dirty Harry.

Die Hard villain Hans Gruber describes him as "just another American.... who thinks he's John Wayne," to which McClane replies that he "was always partial to Roy Rogers." He is described as being a foul-mouthed, wisecracking, no-nonsense New York cop with an itchy trigger finger and a never-say-die maverick spirit.

McClane's marriage is in a constant state of crisis, his vigilantism and disregard for authority have put him in danger of losing his job more than once, and he is a chain-smoker who is described by Inspector Cobb in Die Hard with a Vengeance as being "two steps away from becoming a full blown alcoholic", which McClane jokingly upgrades to only "one step".

McClane is consistently portrayed as a reluctant hero who, with little or no assistance from others, is required against his wishes to thwart the elaborate plans of a group of like-minded villains because no one else is in a position to do so. The trailer for the first Die Hard film states, "The last thing McClane wants is to be a hero, but he doesn't have a choice." In the second film, he is told "You're the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time", to which he replies, "The story of my life." In the fourth film, he says he gets involved in dangerous situations "because there is nobody else to do it."

In the first Die Hard movie, McClane carries a Beretta 92F as his duty weapon. In the next two, his service pistol is a Beretta 92FS, even though the NYPD has never issued the Beretta 92 for duty use. He later uses a Sig P220 as his duty gun in the fourth and 5th movies of the series.

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

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