Brilliant action film that remains not only the best in its genre but also the best Christmas movie ever made. The cast is superb across the board, with the principles giving the performances of their careers. Bruce Willis cemented his superstar status as John McClane, playing him as an everyman just trying to save his wife. He's not a muscle-bound superhero as was the standard at the time, but just a quick-thinking (and often lucky) cop who really doesn't want to be in this situation. He is matched brilliantly by the late, great Alan Rickman (in his first film role) as Hans Gruber, who crafts one of the great villains in film history. Gruber is a charming sociopath who is has no qualms about killing to get what he wants, but does it with such intelligence & style, you actually root for him half the time (it's not coincidence that 'Ode to Joy' plays when the safe is finally cracked open). Behind the camera, John McTieran keeps the film going like a finely tuned watch, with every character & subplot paying off. He also grounds it in a nice bit of realism (there are just 12 terrorists, and you count off as each dies) and McClane spends to first half of the film hiding from the terrorists while trying to call for help breakthrough in non-macho action heroes. The fact McClain gets his butt kick most of the movie & is an utter mess at the end (you'll never go barefoot again) just makes you root for him even more. The humor is fun as well, from McClane's classic quips to the terrorists small but human moments, from making bets on who dies to seeking a candy bar. Simply put, the best action film ever made and the best Christmas movie ever.