When teaching screenwriting, instructors love using Die Hard (USA, 1988) as the great example of how to write plot. Gotham Writers’ Workshop’s Alexander Steele introduces Die Hard as a “classic action/adventure and a prime example of the big-budget Hollywood movie.”1 Writer Adam Sternbergh calls it “a bona fide masterpiece,” and adds, “If you can’t get behind Die Hard as a great American movie, then I’d argue that you hate greatness, movies and America.”2

In mapping out the “how-to”s of plot in Writing Movies: The Practical Guide to Creating Stellar Screenplays, Daniel Noah charts the five major events in Die Hard as follows:

Inciting incident: Terrorists storm the buildingPlot point 1: Terrorists kill the head of the corporationMidpoint: ...

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