30 pop-culture references that prove ‘Die Hard’ is as awesome as ever, 30 years later

Thirty years after John McClane (Bruce Willis) saved his wife and other hostages from German terrorist Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) in the Nakatomi Plaza, “Die Hard” lives on as a farfetched action classic.

For the movie’s 30th anniversary on July 15, here are 30 of our favorite pop-culture references.

The end credits include fake movie posters for potential “Jump Street” franchise ideas. Among them: “42 Jump Street: Beauty School,” with the tagline “Dye Hard.”

In the first of many “Die Hard” references in shows created by Mike Schur (“Parks and Recreation,” “The Office”), Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) is a police officer who wishes he was McClane and often reminds everyone of his love for the movie. 

” ‘Die Hard’ is the best cop movie of all time,” Jake argues to his co-workers in Season 1, Episode 3. “One cop heroically saving the day while everyone else stands around and watches: It’s the story of my life.” 

Charles (Joe Lo Truglio) says “ ‘Home Alone‘ is “like ‘Die Hard’ for kids.”

Jake’s dreams comes true: He gets to live out a real-life “Die Hard” scenario when a trip to the mall turns into a hostage takeover. But it’s Charles who saves the day and gets the McClane moment, (incorrectly) yelling “Yippie kayak, other buckets!” while wearing that tucked-in white undershirt.

Nigel, the cockatoo villain in the 2011 animated movie “Rio,” is a former telenovela star who appeared in the movie “Fly Hard.” 

Bad guys taking over a building with only one law enforcement officer who can save everyone. Sound familiar? The main character may not be anywhere near as cool as McClane, but the premise of “Paul Blart” mirrors that of “Die Hard.” So much so, in fact, that it’s been called ” ‘Die Hard’ with a Segway.”

After taking on a second job at a telemarketing agency, Michael (Steve Carell) gains the admiration of his co-workers when he divulges his take on shortcomings of the “Die Hard” franchise.

In the original movie, “John McClane is just this normal guy,” Michael explains. “In ‘Die Hard 4,’ he’s jumping a motorcycle into a helicopter. He’s invincible. It’s just sort of lost from ‘Die Hard 1.’ ” 

Before Michael leaves Dunder Mifflin, the cast sings a “Seasons of Love” parody titled “9,986,000 Minutes,” the time Michael spent working there. Or, as they put it in one verse, “that’s like watching ‘Die Hard’ 80,000 times.”

After making a “Die Hard” reference that Erin (Ellie Kemper) doesn’t understand (“I think you mean John McCain“), Pete (Jake Lacy) reveals that he memorized the entire script on a dare, and they watch the “copy or two” Pete keeps in his car. 

As Leslie (Amy Poehler) begins to explore a romantic relationship with Dave (Louis C.K.), a decidedly uncool police officer, Tom (Aziz Ansari) is less thrilled to see him: “Well, well, well, look who’s here,” Tom says. “It’s Officer John McClane. Welcome to the party, pal.” Dave doesn’t get the reference. 

In the 2001 PlayStation game, “Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro,” Spider-Man can be heard uttering McClane’s “Come out to the coast, have a few laughs” line as he crawls through an air duct. 

On the movie’s 25th anniversary, Fox unveiled a giant mural of John McClane infamously crawling through an air duct. Bruce Willis was tasked with hitting a “detonate” button to drop a curtain covering the mural, which also set off fireworks – and car alarms in the parking lot.

While Monica (Courteney Cox), Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) are at brunch, the guys plan a “Die Hard” movie marathon. But when they realize Joey accidentally rented two copies of the first film, they do what any superfan would: They watch it again.

Rachel dates a man named Paul Stevens, played by none other than Willis. This spurs a debate among “Friends” fans: Shouldn’t the guys recognize that Rachel was dating one of their favorite actors? 

Red (Danny McBride) says that drug lord Ted Jones (Gary Cole) “messed with the wrong melon farmers,” making fun of efforts to clean up the bad language in “Die Hard With a Vengeance” for a television audience. 

Justin Long, who voiced Alvin in 2007’s “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” yells “Yippie-kay-yay, mamacita,” referencing his role in “Live Free or Die Hard.”

When Paddy’s Pub finds itself in a hostage situation, Frank (DeVito) crawls through the building’s air vents. 

As an FBI agent goes through Homer’s mail, he notices that, rather than trying to contact a movie star, Homer tried to correspond directly with the movie.

“Dear ‘Die Hard,’ you rock,” the letter reads. “Especially when that guy was on the roof. P.S. Do you know ‘Mad Max’?” 

For his fourth album, “O.G. Original Gangster” (1991), Ice-T raps in “New Jack Hustler (Nino’s Theme)” that “Fool, I’m the illest, bulletproof, I die harder than Bruce Willis.”

In the Nickelodeon series, Timmy Turner (voiced by Tara Strong) gets the lead role in his school musical, based on a movie parodying “Die Hard.” Onstage, he dons John McClane’s signature outfit.

Remember “Shark Tale” (2004), that animated movie about fish with an all-star cast? Will Smith starred as Oscar, who lets out a McClane-esque “Yippiee-ki-yay!”

Willis nods to his “Die Hard” character as John Hartigan when he says “good advice” while lying down and shooting up at his opponent. John McClane does the same, saying, “Thanks for the advice.”

While investigating reports of paranormal activity on a movie set, Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) cocks a gun and delivers McClane’s line: “Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs.” 

While investigating a series of robberies in “Supernatural,” Dean calls his brother, Sam (Jared Padalecki), Agent Johnson, referencing the “Die Hard” FBI agent. 

After a spirit takes over Sam’s body in “Supernatural,” Dean and Castiel (Misha Collins) tie him to a chair and work to expel the spirit. As Sam regains consciousness, Dean says, “Welcome to the party, pal.” 

When Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) is killed by Professor Snape, his fall from the tower is framed similarly to when Hans Gruber falls to his death. (Bonus: Rickman played both Snape and Gruber.)

Another Gruber-like fall: In 2017’s “The Lego Batman Movie,” Alfred, Bruce Wayne’s family butler, loses his grip and falls from the edge of a plane. (Don’t worry, Batman saves him.)

Pixar is famous for its blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Easter eggs, and “Finding Dory” (2016) is no exception. Responding to a fan theory suggesting all Pixar movies exist in the “Die Hard” universe, director Andrew Stanton actually put Sgt. Al Powell in the police blockade scene.

Parents got something to laugh about when a dog on the kids’ show referenced McClane’s “come to the coast” line. 

“Go to the cleaners, get Bob’s shirt, have a few laughs,” the character says while crawling through an air vent.

When tasked with creating an original musical, Gene (voiced by Eugene Mirman) pitches “Die Hard: The Musical,” which he’s been working on for a while. (“Ever since I saw ‘Die Hard’ and said, ‘Why is no one singing?’ “) It features truly terrible songs, like “John and Al”:

“Why did you throw that corpse on my car?” the actor playing Sgt. Powell sings.

“Because I’m inviting you to the party, pal,” the actor playing McClane responds.


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