‘Save the cat’ Beat sheet for Die Hard.

Yet another movie I just watched because it’s homework for my Storywonk revision class.

Opening image: John’s plane lands in LA, with John gripping both the armrests, and the guy in the next seat tells him to take off his shoes and socks when he gets somewhere with a rug and make fists with his toes.

Theme stated: Again, I’m having a hard time with this – when John talks about how he didn’t come out to LA with Holly because he’s a New York Cop?

Setup: John’s trip in the limo with Argyle, arriving at the party, everything up to the bad guys showing up at the party.

Catalyst: The bad guys crash the party.

Debate: John stays out of sight as long as he can, he tries to call the LA police, he uses every trick he can think of to alert the authorities instead of being a hero himself.

Break into two: When the first bad guy comes after him, John fights back, not trying to kill him – but when the guy ends up dead he takes his gun and sends his body back down the elevator as a warning.

B story: I think this is actually the friendship that develops over the CB radio between John and Al.

Fun and games: Oh, just what in this movie isn’t fun and games? Well, any scene where nobody’s being shot at, nothing’s crashing, and nothing’s exploding I guess.

Midpoint: Hans finds out John’s real name and job, puts Ellis on the line with him, and John is unable to keep the bad guys from shooting Ellis when he’s no longer of use to them.

Bad guys close in: Hans goes up to the roof, and when John catches him, pretends to be a hostage. In the big gunfight, John gets away, but Hans knows that he’s barefoot and has his guys shoot out all the glass so his feet will get cut wherever he tries to go.

All is lost: The FBI cuts all the power, and the bad guys get into the vault, and they find out that Holly is John’s wife.

Dark night of the soul: John gives up hope in the dark, bleeding and broken, and tells Al to give his last regrets to Holly.

Break into three: John finds out that the top of the building is rigged to explode, and realizes that he still has to try to save anybody he can.

Finale: Everybody gets their moment. McLane and Holly work together to outfight Hans. Argyle gets his chance to save the day from the evil geek. Al, the cop who went off the streets because he couldn’t shake the ghost of the kid he killed by mistake, couldn’t pull his gun again, shoots down the last bad guy. And as a special bonus for Holly, she gets to punch out the annoying reporter who exploited her kids, all by herself.

Final image: John and Holly kiss in the back seat of the limo, Argyle drives them away from the emergency zone, as ‘Let it snow’ plays.



3 Responses to ‘Save the cat’ Beat sheet for Die Hard.

  1. Paul Rose Jr says:

    Yeah, theme stated is rough for this one, but I think maybe this line from Holly, after John meets Ellis & Takagi works best…

    “You want to know my idea of a marriage? It’s a partnership where people help each other over the rough spots”

    Cause really, the movie’s about McClane trying to get his marriage back – the terrorists, etc, are just a metaphor for his internal struggle to be the man his wife needs him to be while still being the man he is. Still dicey, though.


  2. […] the formula can’t produce good, fun movies: Monsters University is very enjoyable. Star Wars, Die Hard, The Matrix, and The Avengers all follow something like the story path that Snyder laid out. But […]


  3. […] For information on Die Hard see The Kelworth Files’ beat sheet. […]


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