All John McClane (Bruce Willis) was expecting out of his holiday was some boring company Christmas party in the building where his estranged wife, Holly (Bonny Bedelia) worked. Of course, things change rather quickly 1988’s action smash Die Hard and McClane’s hopes for a quiet night go out the window. Still, when his night takes an unexpected turn thanks to a highly organized group of criminals, this “cowboy” doesn’t just sit back and let it happen. Instead, he uses his wits and his toughness to deal with the situation head-on, becoming a reluctant hero in the process and ultimately saving the day. So, kick off your shoes and start making fists with your toes, because here are some John McClane quotes when you’re stuck in a bad situation.
“Now I know what a TV dinner feels like.”
Starting off with the obvious, bad situations usually mean that things are going to get pretty uncomfortable. Maybe not quite as bad as McClane having to climb through the circulation vents of an L.A. high-rise, but uncomfortable nonetheless. In either case, sometimes the best option is to find a way to laugh to keep from panicking, even if you’re only entertaining yourself or the cop from Family Matters (Reginald VelJohnson).
“No f*cking sh*t, lady. Does it sound like I’m ordering a pizza?”
Nothing can be more frustrating than trying to reach out for help and not getting any. When McClane uses a radio to try and alert the LAPD to the dire predicament at Nakatomi Plaza, he’s met with a woefully unhelpful phone operator, whose methods are apparently still in use today. Even though McClane lets his frustration get the better of him, his effort does, eventually, get the operator to send Sgt. Al Powell (the aforementioned Family Matters cop) to drive by and check things out, so at the very least his effort wasn’t completely wasted. Sure, things are bad, but if you don’t put forth the effort to make your voice heard, you’ll never have a shot at making them better.
“Welcome to the party, pal!”
There’s that old saying about how misery loves company, and when Powell is about to take off after a very half-hearted look around the Nakatomi lobby, McClane decides to take things up a notch by using the body of one of the terrorists to make it clear just how bad things are going up there. No one wants to deal with a bad situation all alone. And with someone else involved, at least you’ll have company if/when things start to get worse. Not to mention the benefit of a fresh perspective. Especially if it’s someone who can recite the list of ingredients that go into Twinkies by heart.
“Just a fly in the ointment, Hans. The monkey in the wrench. The pain in the ass.”
When head bad guy Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) asks who exactly McClane is, he responds with a thoughtful meditation on just how much he plans on complicating things. If things are going bad, sometimes all you can do is push back and make things just as inconvenient for the situation you’re in. While the Hans Grubers of the world might just see you as another orphan from a bankrupt culture, you can relish in the fact that you’re not the type to give up easily. Added bonus if you get a cool-sounding catchphrase out of the whole deal.
“Glass? Who gives a sh*t about glass?”
After McClane lights off one of the detonators to make the severity of the situation abundantly clear to everyone on the ground, Deputy Chief Dwayne T. Robinson (Paul Gleason) declares his outrage over the amount of glass he’s broken in the process. McClane simply takes the time to point out the much bigger problems that are at play beyond a few broken windows. Even when you’re in the thick of it, it’s important to keep everything in perspective, and not let yourself get bogged down by incidentals.
Of course, the real irony here is that McClane will very much come to give a sh*t about glass before his night is over.
“Yeah. But all things being equal, I’d rather be in Philadelphia.”
When McClane is holed up in a bathroom and picking shards of broken glass out of his feet, he becomes a shining example of keeping things in perspective. Not to mention dropping in a killer W.C. Fields reference during a time of crisis. But this moment embodies everything great about John McClane’s masterful ability to handle a crisis. He remains calm, works with what he has, and keeps his sense of humor front and center.
“That was Gary Cooper, assh*le.”
Let’s be real honest here, no matter how disastrous things have gotten, no matter how desperate things seem, facts matter. And even though McClane is more of a Roy Rogers guy (a surprising choice, honestly), he knows when to give credit to Gary Cooper over John Wayne. No matter how bad things are, there’s never going to be a scenario where inaccurate movie trivia is going to help anyone.
Hans Gruber: What was it you said to me before? Yippee-Ki-Yay, motherf*cker.
John McClane: (Laughs)
First, it’s never cool when the bad guy utters your catchphrase. So from a pride standpoint, that’s its own bad situation, but in this moment Hans Gruber has John McClane’s wife, Holly, and a gun pointed at his face. What happens next isn’t really a quote or something you should actually attempt. But when a bad situation seems like it’s about to get way worse, sometimes all you can do to combat it is to think outside the box, as McClane does here by duct taping a handgun to his back, much to the shock of a bested Hans Gruber, who is about 30-seconds away from his own rapidly baddening situation.
Remember, any bad situation can be handled if you keep calm, remember the wisdom of John McClane, and outsmart and outlast everyone else.
This is an updated version of a post that originally ran on November 3, 2016.