Writer’s Note: I published this blog back when I was writing part-time for the site, but it got lost after the DevNest update. So I felt it was fitting to republish the ranking on the day we lost Alan Rickman. And trust me, deciding between number 2 and 1 was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. They are truly my two favorite movie characters ever.
With less than 2 weeks until Saint Nick squeezes his fat ass down a billion chimneys, I figured it was the perfect time to put my Die Hard Power Rankings up on The Stool.
These rankings only apply to the first movie. If you are ranking the actual movies, it goes 1,3,2 (while imagining that 4 and 5 never happened). And comparing Die Hard to the Bond or Bourne movies is like comparing Mariano Rivera to Ruben Rivera. No contest. Anyway, here are the Definitive Die Hard Character Power Rankings.
25. Airplane Passenger
This douchey know-it-all gives McClane some rock solid advice about “fists with your toes”. If you have never tried “fists with your toes” after a long flight, you are a Grade-A boob. I also kinda wish this guy took a bullet to the dome at some point of the movie.
Gotta give Tony some serious props for being able to cut the phone wires before Karl comes in like a maniac and chainsaws everything. Growing up with Karl must have been tough, since he is a legitimate fucking psycho. Tony cannot be ranked higher because he is quickly outsmarted by McClane, has awful fashion sense, and dies like a pussy. Plus he clearly has a baby dick based on the size of his shoes.
Eddie is a decent shooter with the midwestern charm and demeanor that makes Trent look mean and aggressive (which is basically impossible).
22. Harvey Johnson
Hey look! It’s LA’s least favorite anchorman! Harvey stands out as an arrogant jerk in a movie full of them. I imagine he is a drinker, womanizer, and absentee parent. If he was on TV today, there would definitely be a viral YouTube video of him dropping racist comments as the cameras were recording without his knowledge.
Ahhh, Paulina. Holly seems to love her, but she doesn’t put up much of a fight against Thornburg. She lets that weasel and the news team in the house to interview/exploit the kids and puts their parents in danger. That being said, she does get bonus points for likely being the inspiration for the Family Guy maid.
20. Gail Wallens
When we are first introduced to the news team, we see how Gail keeps everything professional despite being surrounded by a small army of blowhards. She also has awesome 80s hair and a pearl necklace. Haha, pearl necklace.
Hans’ ace skydiver comes in at this spot because of one scene that ages like a fine wine. What an accent. What a dose of irony.
The older you get, the more you respect Ginny. She works her ass off on Christmas Eve for a soulless corporation and is looking to get boozy despite being 9 months pregnant. She just reeks like a party girl single mom that wouldn’t make it 10 minutes as a Mets employee under Jeff Wilpon.
17. Agent Johnson
Clearly the cooler-headed of the 2 Johnsons, we don’t hear much from him in the movie. But his “I was in Junior High dickhead” line is phenomenal and he kinda looks like Carl Weathers in this picture, which has to count for something.
16. Lucy McClane
Lucy is up this high for a few reasons. She answers the phone like a professional. She isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions (When are you coming home? Is daddy coming home with you?). And she has the cutest lisp in the history of cute lisps.
15. The Couple Banging During The Christmas Party
Getting down during your company’s Christmas party is pretty damn ballsy in general, let alone when the party is in the office. You know these two call #Mailtime regularly to bump nasties. As for this chick’s boobs…
14. Joseph Takagi
A sophisticated, well-dressed man that ends up with a blowhole in the back of his head. Literally the kind of boss that would die for his company’s well-being. He definitely gives off that “pushy Asian dad” vibe, though.
13. Airplane Stewardess
The “fuck me eyes” this little minx has for McClane almost throws the whole movie for a loop. If he wasn’t going to see his kids, I guarantee he takes her and his giant stuffed bear back to a hotel and spends a lovely Christmas Eve yippee-ki-yay’ing all over her. Hans robs the building, the hostages die, and the terrorists are on the beach earning 20% before anyone has a clue what happened. That is how powerful this look is. Resisting it may be the most impressive thing McClane does in the entire Die Hard series.
Uli steals every scene he is in and makes the most out of every minute of screen time. All that and A+ facial hair make him a first ballot inductee to the Bit Movie Character Hall Of Fame, along with Samuel L. Jackson in Jurassic Park, The Baby from Roger Rabbit, and John Candy in Home Alone.
11. Special Agent Johnson
Basically the prototype for every cigarette-smoking, blowhard government agent in future action movies. Special Agent Johnson is the hardo’s hardo. A Top 10 character in any other flick.
10. Richard Thornburg
This is where the list gets really tough to chop down. Thornburg is such a great sleezeball that he appears in Die Hard 2 and you are actually excited to see him. As ruthless and cunning as a TMZ reporter, Big Dick Thornburg was ahead of his time. But this isn’t even this actor’s best performance of a dickless asshole in an 80’s movie.
9. Dwayne T. Robinson
Dwayne T. Robinson is to bumbling Deputy Police Chiefs what Special Agent Johnson is to FBI Agents. Simply the prototype for all future movies to copy. His chemistry with Powell could have lead to a fantastic black and white cop sitcom that would have killed it in the ratings. The execs in Hollywood just don’t know a can’t miss when they see it. He obviously was also the GOAT asshole authority figure in The Breakfast Club as well.
Argyle is the most likable character in the movie. He cracks jokes, knows how to have fun while on the job, and would probably help you bury the body of a dead hooker if it meant he would get a better tip. His achilles heel is that he has terrible awareness of what’s going on around him. Busting through the gates of a parking garage after a hostile showdown with terrrorists was not the smartest thing in the world. I do not understand why the LAPD didn’t open fire on his limo after he did that . And while we are talking about it, why didn’t Argyle drive through that gate earlier in the movie? And what if Theo wasn’t a terrorist? Would ramming into his car and knocking him out been a smart move? There are always more questions than answers when it comes to our buddy Argyle. But since he is smooth as fuck, we are willing to overlook them.
The biggest European movie badass this side of Ivan Drago, Karl is the real muscle behind the operation. Hans is the planner, Theo is the brains, and Karl is the rabid dog off his leash after Tony gets killed. The cat and mouse game with McClane keeps you on the edge of your seat for the entire movie. Karl has incredible hair, shows great leadership, and survives an attempted hanging. Let me say that again: HE SURVIVES AN ATTEMPTED HANGING! Finally, Karl being a ballet dancer in real life is one of the biggest mind fucks you will ever experience.
I think the reason I love Theo so much is because I see a lot of myself in him. He is the smartest villain, the wittiest character in the movie, and has a silver tongue. “Oh my God, the quarterback is toast” and the “Twas the night before Christmas” play by play are so fucking great. Theo is the 6th man of Die Hard. He may not get the most minutes or the best stats, but the whole team/movie falls apart without him.
This seems about right for the best estranged wife in the history of estranged wives. This is the woman that was able to tame the bucking bronco known as John McClane. That feat alone puts her in the Top 5. I will deduct points for the whole maiden-name fiasco, regardless of the motivation behind it. And despite her whole 80s get up, Holly looks fine as fuck at the end of the movie when she is covered in blood/sweat/sprinkler water.
4. Al Powell
Al Powell is the kindest soul in Die Hard. He buys Twinkies for his pregnant wife, ignores insults from convenience store clerks, and is always there for John. Sure Powell mistakenly shot a kid once, but that was before social media, so all the mainstream media fuckheads probably ignored it. We love you for who you are, Carl Winslow!
3. Harry Ellis
A poor man’s Jordan Belfort, Ellis loves blow more than the 86 Mets. He shamelessly goes after a married woman, cares way too much about self-image and brand names, and tries to buy/negotiate his way out of everything. He is 1980s America all rolled into one glorious stereotype. Somehow you love Ellis every minute he is on screen yet also cheer when he takes a bullet between the eyes. There is something to be said for that type of versatility.
2. Hans Gruber
And here he is folks, the greatest movie villain of all time. Hans has an eye for fashion, an incredible bad guy voice, and is always one step ahead of the game. He is ruthless, calculating, yet hilarious. Hans Gruber was such a great character, that when they revealed that Simon was his brother in Die Hard 3, it made the movie roughly 100000 times better. He is definitely in the Top 5 for best movie characters ever. Substitute anyone else for Alan Rickman, and both Hans and McClane are not as nearly entertaining. The only reason that Hans is not number one on this list is because his plan ultimately failed.
Underrated fact: Hans Gruber’s last words were “Yippee Ki Yay, Motherfucker”, followed by a long, creepy laugh scene that will never get old. Just hearing “Yippee Ki Yay, muddafuck” in Hans’ accent will always be funny.
1. John McClane
Not much needs to be said about John McClane. If you read this much of the blog post, you already have a good idea how great John McClane is. He is the coolest, funniest, toughest person ever. He is not only the best Die Hard character of all-time, but the best movie character of all-time and a true American hero.
Now hit his God damn music!