Die Hard: Violence, Guns and "Real Men"

by Meg C. on March 20, 2016 - 10:38pm

Many would consider the Die Hard movie series to be “one of the best action films ever made”, as did Tim in his review on four out of the five Die Hard movies starring Bruce Willis, describing what he liked and did not like in each one of them. His ratings for this series are relatively high: 100% for the first, 62% for the second, 94% for the third, and 86% for the fourth, which in Tim’s rating system would mean that the series is a pretty good one.

Although his comments on these popular movies are really positive, he fails to note that John McClane – Willis’ character – is a good example of how men and violence are often partnered together in Hollywood films. Tim’s reviews focus mainly on characters, storyline and action, and are obviously in favor of the Die Hard movies, which paint an overly violent and corrupt portrait of men. Bruce Willis’ character is pretty “badass” and cool, able to singlehandedly defeat a group of terrorist, but he is surely not the best role model for young boys who might end up thinking that John McClane, a witty, sarcastic and skilled cop, is the embodiment of manliness. Movies like these are entertaining, however they are often “linking being a man with using violence or the threat of violence to command respect and achieve power” (Katz), giving viewers the wrong idea on what a “real man” is like.

Another subject that these Die Hard movies touch is gun violence. When explosions and shootings look so good, people might forget that it’s all just a movie, and that none of it should be replicated in real life. Although it’s rare for someone to commit crimes and say “I got the idea from a movie”, what happens is that we are subconsciously taught that the best way to solve conflicts is with guns. In each of the Die Hard movies, Bruce Willis beats the bad guy, but just before he does, he says his famous line “Yippie Ki Yay Motherf***er” and kills his opponent with a giant explosion. By making violent men and killing a “cool thing”, we “glorify not only violence, but a particular brand of violent masculinity” (Katz).

Violence is everywhere in the media and will surely not disappear for a while, but what should be disappearing first is the subconscious notion that men and violence are connected to one another. Once that’s done, then we could worry about violence in movies influencing people to act violently in real life.


“The Die Hard Series Reviewed.” Tim’s Film Reviews. 15 Feb 2013. Web. 20 Mar. 2016. <http://timsfilmreviews.com/2013/02/15/the-die-hard-series-reviewed/>

Tough Guise 2 : Violence, Manhood & American Culture. Dir. Jeremy Earp. Perf. Jackson Katz. 2013. DVD.