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On Christmas Eve, Detective Lieutenant John McClane (Bruce Willis) attempts to reconcile with his estranged wife Holly (Bonnie Bedella) by attending her work party at the Nakatomi Plaza building. With festivities in full swing, German terrorist Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) and his heavily armed thugs storm the building and take the revellers hostage, supposedly targeting Holly's boss Joseph Takagi (James Shigeta) because he is a symbol of western greed and excess. In fact, Gruber and his men are using the siege as a smokescreen to steal millions of bearer bonds from the vault. McClane is the only guest to escape the clutches of Gruber's men and he alerts the Los Angeles Police Department to the hostage situation then single-handedly takes on the gun men inside the building.