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​Here’s Why Alan Rickman In 'Die Hard' Is The Best Movie Bad Guy Ever

​Here’s Why Alan Rickman In 'Die Hard' Is The Best Movie Bad Guy Ever

“That’s a nice suit… It’d be a shame to ruin it.”



I think we can all agree that Die Hard is a pretty special film - and not just because it's one of the few movies where Bruce Willis has a full head of hair.

It has the unparalleled Alan Rickman - may he rest in peace - starring as one of the coolest, most interesting and badass movie villains ever. Hans Gruber.

Alan made Hans - in more ways than one. The character is epic. He pretends to be a hostage, he's witty and edgy and his death scene is up there with the best. Here's why he's the best movie villain ever.

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Totally Fresh

Alan came late to acting and this was his first feature film role - but he knocked it out of the park. He had trained as a graphic designer and it was only when he turned 28 that he decided to go to RADA for three years to become an actor. At 41, it's one of the oldest feature film debuts ever - but he was more into theatre acting until Die Hard came along and opened his eyes.

Not First Choice

He wasn't the director or the studio's first choice - that was Sam Neill! Back in the '80s, Sam Neill was best known for playing bad guys like a spy in Reilly, Ace of Spies and hadn't yet starred in Jurassic Park. But when the director saw Alan on stage in Les Liaisons Dangereuses he knew he had found his Hans Gruber.

He Was Reluctant To Do It

He's always going to be associated with Severus Snape and his onscreen roles, but actually, Alan got into acting for the stage and wasn't so sure about appearing in films. A classically trained actor, he didn't want to be in Die Hard. "What the hell is this? I'm not doing an action movie," he remembered thinking.

But He Took It

The wit of the screenplay won him over but another reason he took the part is kind of unusual, too. He told The Guardian: "Every single black character in that film is positive and highly intelligent. So, 28 years ago, that's quite revolutionary, and quietly so."

Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman

Credit: 20th Century Fox

He Made It His Own

Hans wouldn't have been Hans without Alan. He decided that the character shouldn't be decked out in terrorist gear and instead should wear fancy suits. And he also thought he should pretend to be a hostage. He said: "I was just thinking: If I was wearing a suit and not all of this terrorist gear, then maybe there could be a scene where I put on an American accent, and he thinks I'm one of the hostages." He wrote a note to the producers, who told him he would do what they told him to do. But the next day, a new script appeared with all his changes in it.

Moral of the story? It may have been Alan's first film role but he knew his shit.

Hans Gruber Is Epic

Vain, into his designer suits and witty - Hans is slick but jaded. He wants you to know that he is better than this, casually mentioning his classical education and flippantly shooting people. Meanwhile, John McClane is running round barefoot over glass, covered in blood, revelling in his own pain.

Bruce Willis' character may be the one who carried the franchise but there's only one memorable baddie. And he's the one with a great beard, a slick suit and a casual-but-sophisticated attitude to being a criminal.

Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Great Lines

And Hans has got some great lines. Alan's voice was silky smooth but dangerous and when he said the simplest of things you could feel the menace.

"I could talk about industrialisation and men's fashion all day but I'm afraid work must intrude."

Yeah, Hans, work for you is shooting people and trying to steal millions of people...but, yeah, let's talk about your penchant for Armani suits now.

"That's a nice suit... It'd be a shame to ruin it."

Priorities, Hans, priorities. You're pulling a heist, not flirting. Well...he's doing a bit of both.

He Was Scared Of Guns...Until He Wasn't

At first, Alan was scared of all the guns in the film - you can see him blinking in shock whenever he shoots one. But then he settled into his character and discovered a taste for machine guns.

"It is shocking how thrilling it is to shoot a machine gun, that I discovered," he said.

It's clear to see that Hans was a bit of a bad influence on Alan!

That Death Scene

It's a terrifying scene. Hans falls out the window but is holding onto Holly McClane / Gennero, John's wife, and slowly moves his gun to shoot John - who manages to release him in time. The look on his face when Hans falls slowly to his death is epic. But it's real! The director asked Alan to fall 25 feet onto an airbag and he said okay. But he was dropped on the count of one or two rather than three! The look of surprise and betrayal on his face is REAL.

So there you have it - Hans Gruber was the best. Who is up for a Die Hard marathon?

Words: Laura Hamilton

Featured Image Credit: 20th Century Fox

Topics: Die Hard