Free Download: Why the Script Works – DIE HARD

By June 20, 2019Screenwriting

Learn why the script for DIE HARD works so well with this free guide.

Free Download: Why the Script Works - Die Hard

Die Hard, written by Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Souza, has stood the test of time as not only one of the best action films in cinematic history but also as one of the best scripts ever written. // The film debuted in 1988, released during a decade in which the action genre was at its highest, having given birth to action icons like Arnold Schwarzenegger (Commando) and Sylvester Stallone (Rambo). Those two figures dominated the action genre with the likes of other action stars later in the decade — Dolph Lundgren, Jean Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal, and even Chuck Norris before them. // During this decade the action genre was pretty simplistic, with the exception of Lethal Weapon, released the year before Die Hard. You had your nearly invincible hero, with a seemingly endless amount of ammunition and skills, facing a fairly typical villain that had somehow wronged the hero — launching them on a mission of revenge, to rescue someone close to them, or to just solve that case that no one thought possible. The stories varied, but the results were the same. Bullets and fists would fly, and the bad guys would pay with the hero coming out virtually unscathed. // Die Hard changed all of that. // It’s strange at first because if you look at the bare bones of the concept, story, and character, Die Hard doesn’t sound very different from something Arnold and Stallone would have starred in. Ironically enough, both were considered for the role of John McClane (as were others like Nick Nolte, Don Johnson, and Richard Gere). We have a cop, terrorists, and many bullets. Sounds like an ‘80s action flick to the core. Perhaps if Arnold or Stallone had signed on, it might have been a run-of-the-mill ’80s action feast. // However, Die Hard was different. // Here we will analyze lessons that Die Hard can teach us about writing action and thriller scripts — or any scripts in any genre. These lessons collectively offer screenwriters ways in which they can add more depth to the characters and stories. // So sit back, put on some Christmas music (this is a Christmas movie, mind you), and let’s take a look at why the script for Die Hard works.
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