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John McClane facts for kids

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Detective Lieutenant
John McClane
Die 070807105411638 wideweb 300x375.jpg
Bruce Willis as John McClane in Live Free or Die Hard/Die Hard 4.0.
Created by Roderick Thorp (based on Detective Joe Leland from Nothing Lasts Forever)
Portrayed by Bruce Willis
Gender Male
Occupation New York City Police Detective
Title Detective Lieutenant
Spouse(s) Holly M. Gennero-McClane (divorced, 1980-1995)
Children Lucy Gennero-McClane
John "Jack" McClane Jr.
Nationality Irish-American

John McClane is the main protagonist of the Die Hard film series. He is portrayed by Bruce Willis. He is known for his cynical one-liners.

Character portrayal

John McClane was originally based on the fictional character Detective Joe Leland from Roderick Thorp's bestselling novel, Nothing Lasts Forever. Other aspects are derived from Frank Malone from Walter Wager's novel 58 Minutes (adapted as Die Hard 2).

McClane is consistently portrayed as a reluctant hero who, with little or no assistance from others, is required against his wishes to stop the elaborate plans of a group of like-minded villains because no one else is in a position to do so.

The trailer for the first Die Hard film states, "The last thing McClane wants is to be a hero, but he doesn't have a choice." In the second film, he is told "You're the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time", to which he replies, "The story of my life." In the fourth film, he says he gets involved in dangerous situations "because there is nobody else to do it" and if there was, he'd gladly let someone else do it.

In the first Die Hard movie, McClane carries a Beretta 92F as his duty weapon. In the next two movies, his service pistol is a Beretta 92FS, even though the NYPD has never issued the Beretta 92 for duty use. He later uses a Sig P220 as his duty gun in the fourth and fifth movies of the series.


Empire ranked him number 12 on their list of the 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time in 2008 and number 7 in 2015. In a survey by MTV, "accomplished" filmmakers, actors and fans voted on the "Greatest Movie Tough character of All Time". McClane came in third.

In April 2009, Entertainment Weekly ranked John McClane sixth in list of the top twenty "All-Time Coolest Heroes in Pop Culture", describing "Bruce Willis' wisecracking, terrorist-foiling New York cop" character as "the anti-Bond". The magazine called the characters portrayed by Keanu Reeves in Speed, Wesley Snipes in Passenger 57, and Jean-Claude Van Damme in Sudden Death as "copycat descendants" of John McClane.

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