With Die Hard’s fifth installment out as of yesterday, we’re taking a look back at 10 of our favorite McClane moments. Yippee-ki-yay, readers.
5. McClane Takes Out a Helicopter…With a Car
Live Free or Die Hard
Say what you will about Live Free or Die Hard’s blissful action movie excess, but this scene is what big screens are made for.
4. Sgt. Al Powell’s Shot at Redemption
After a film filled with walkie talkie back-and-forth between McClane and Reginald VelJohnson’s character, Sgt. Al Powell, we find out he’s been avoiding street duty for some time after an accidental run-in that ended the life of a young boy. But when we see a terrorist make a final, dramatic attempt at raising the body count, Powell’s the only one left to step up. We see his panicked face, but the officer reacts the way he has to in order to save lives. And for what it’s worth, it’s kind of awesome to see Carl Winslow take down a baddie.
3. Any On-Screen Time Sam Jackson Had in All of Die Hard 3
Die Hard With A Vengeance
After what’s a pretty lackluster sequel in Die Hard 2, Samuel L. Jackson breathes new life into the franchise with his character, Zeus Carver. He’s a Harlem shop owner with a massive presence in his community, but that doesn’t hold back his foul mouth and big attitude. Upon hearing a street gang say “Hey, Zeus,” to the character, McClane mistakes his name as “Jesus,” resulting in the following rant:
“He didn’t say Jesus, he said ‘Hey, Zeus!’ My name is Zeus, as in father of Apollo, Mt. Olympus, don’t fuck with me or I’ll shove a lightning bolt up your ass, Zeus!”
He’s quick-witted with a fiery temper, but Zeus is the perfect pairing for the trigger-happy McClane, and part of the reason Die Hard With A Vengeance was a huge step-up from the second film.
2. Now I Have a Machine Gun. Ho-Ho-Ho
Although McClane’s often bound to the rules of terrorists’ games, that doesn’t mean he can’t make them sweat it out. Case in point: one of his most effective, anxiety-producing statements to Hans Gruber in the first Die Hard was the big reveal of a white-shirted terrorist bound to a chair, with McClane’s statement—er, threat—scrawled across it: “Now I have a machine gun. Ho-Ho-Ho.” It’s high-five inspiring enough, but hearing Alan Rickman as Hans read the whole thing off makes it doubly enjoyable.
1. Yippee-Ki-Yay Mother Fucker!
Every Die Hard until the end of time
From the first appearance of the infamous quote in Die Hard 1 (It’s not necessarily a massive catchphrase the first time, with McClane whispering it into a walkie-talkie to Hans Gruber) to the gunshot that muffles an f-bomb and qualifies the fourth movie as PG-13, to the time he’s having yuks with Sam Jackson or if he’s lighting an airplane on fire from a stream of jet fuel, this is the definitive Die Hard moment. It’s what qualifies John McClane as our own modern John Wayne—er, Roy Rogers—a rogue badass hero who’s the wrong guy at the wrong place at the wrong time.