Black & Decker paid to have its cordless drill featured in a scene with Bruce Willis. When the scene was cut, the company sued 20th Century Fox in the first-ever product placement lawsuit for a film. The $150,000 claim was settled out of court.
According to John Leguizamo in his autobiography, his role was intended to be much larger until the filmmakers realized how short he was. His part was cut down to one line which was dubbed by someone else. However, he got his way years later in Executive Decision (1996), another picture produced by Joel Silver and often described as 'Die Hard on a Plane'.
The General is from Val Verde, the fictitious Latin-American country used in Commando (1985).
The scenes with Bruce Willis running through tunnels under the airport were filmed at a water treatment facility near Los Angeles. The facility has miles of underground tunnels, and was also used in Live Free or Die Hard (2007), doubling as the Woodlawn Social Security Administration building.
In the first Die Hard (1988), John McClane only had a few scripted one-liners. However, Bruce Willis ad-libbed so many one liners and audiences liked them so much that in this sequel (and the next one), more gags were added and Willis was told he could ad-lib as many more as he saw fit.
The scene where McClane climbs the ladder from the service tunnels up onto the runway and then nearly gets run over by Esperanza's plane was filmed from eight different locations: - Granada Hills, California (McClain in the tunnel and climbing up the ladder) - Los Angeles, California (Close-ups of Esperanza inside the plane's cockpit) - Mojave Desert, California (Head-on view of plane in the sky on approach) - Alpena, Michigan (Exterior shot of the grating door on the runway) - San Francisco, California (Rear shot of plane on approach with runway lights in the background) - Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan (Plane after just landed rushing towards the screen) - Lake Tahoe, California (Plane rushing towards McClane in the foreground) - Denver, Colorado (Plane rushing towards McClane as seen from behind the front landing gear).
Renny Harlin made sure that the scene where Major Grant says to McClane that he is "the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time", with McClane responding "Yeah, story of my life", ended up in the movie's trailer, because it perfectly summed up McClane's character.
Major Grant's commando team is referred to as 'Blue Light'. This was the name of a real-life U.S. military anti-terrorist team formed within the U.S. Army Rangers in the 1970s. It was eventually replaced by the Delta Force who recruited personnel from the entire army, rather than just Green Berets.
Denver was unseasonably snowless during the shooting of the snowstorm scenes and a fair amount of snow had to be created artificially.
Most of the interior airport scenes were filmed in the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International airport.
The first time Holly McClane is seen on the plane, the woman sitting next to her is reading a magazine advertising the VHS release of Lethal Weapon 2 (1989). Both the first two Die Hard movies and the Lethal Weapon series were produced by Joel Silver. Coincidentally, both Mel Gibson and Bruce Willis were considered for each other's roles of John McClane and Martin Riggs but turned it down and it went to each other vice versa.
John McTiernan had planned to direct this film, but could not because of his commitment to directing The Hunt for Red October (1990). Renny Harlin was hired after Fox executives were impressed by the dailies of The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990).
This film was shipped to theaters as "wet prints" - an industry term meaning that it was just barely completed before its release date.
The part where Garber sticks his hand in front of the camera and says "No pictures, you pinko bitch." was unscripted. Don Harvey actually improvised this part and it was kept in the scene.
It was Renny Harlin's idea that Colonel Stuart (played by William Sadler), the film's main villain, be introduced naked doing martial arts exercises during the film's opening sequence. He would later say that it was "an effective, but unusual, way to introduce a character".
The Russian title for "Die Hard" in all of the three movies is, "A Hard Nut to Crack".
Some of the shots of the airport (interior and exterior) were filmed at the old Stapleton Airport in Denver, Colorado. Also, the external shots of the church were filmed in Highland Lake, just north of Denver.
After the film's initial release in theaters it played on TBS, which was heavily dubbed for content by voice actors. These dubs were noted for sounding nothing like the actors who played their respective roles. Most noteworthy, McClane's famous line "Yipee-ki-yay motherfucker" was dubbed into "Yipee-ki-yay Mr. Falcon." There's no character in the film named Mr. Falcon. Esperanza's codename is Falcon.
When Fred Dalton Thompson's airport manager realises the peril the planes are in, he says that we only have 58 minutes to avert disaster. " Die Hard 2" is based on the novel "58 Minutes" by Walter Wager.
In Die Hard (1988), Sergeant Al Powell is humming along with the song "Let It Snow!" sung by Vaughn Monroe; the same song plays both at the end of this film and Die Hard (1988).
The subplot involving Esperanza being turned over to the U.S. government is a reference to the real-life Panamanian general, Manuel Noriega, who was overthrown for brutality and drug trafficking in Panama in the 1980s.
The scenes filmed in Denver had to have snow machines brought from a local ski resort with truck loads of ice every night, because during the day it would all melt. Stapleton International Airport, where some external and internal shots were filmed, would shut down at night because of noise abatement laws.
The confrontation between John McClane and William Sadler on the airplane's wing took several nights to shoot. Huge fans were used to blow in the fake snow in the background because of lack of real snow.
Based on the novel "58 Minutes" by Walter Wager. Hence the French title "58 Minutes Pour Vivre" ("58 Minutes To Live").
Although the movie was filmed using a fictitious airport and/or other airports which stood in for Dulles International Airport, the movie posters along with the VHS and DVD covers for the movie show a picture of the actual Dulles Airport.
All the airplane landing equipment used by the mercenaries in the church is close to the real equipment used in actual air traffic control towers, but simplified for the film's dramatic and action effects.
According to Renny Harlin in the DVD commentary, the shooting was originally going to take place in Washington D.C. around the winter time. But when the crew got there, it was uncharacteristically warm (mid 40 degrees). This prompted the crew to travel from the northeast to parts of the northwest and back in search of snow, which seemed to melt whenever they arrived. Most of the time the snow was either trucked in from Canada or was made up of an assortment of look alike snow (i.e.paper flakes, potato flakes, marble dust, rock salt, etc). However, when the crew landed in Colorado to film the snowmobile chase they had set up blankets of fake snow then a massive blizzard with well below freezing temperatures (17 degrees) swept the state and shooting had to be shut down. Harlin commented how hellish the shoot was.
In an interview, John Amos said there was actual tension between him and Bruce Willis during the course of filming which got reflected on screen. "Let's just say that he will never humiliate me in public again," Amos said. "You got that, Bruce?"
Was supposed to be filmed at Moses Lake, Washington but, like Minnesota, there was no snow.
During filming, Fred Dalton Thompson approached Steven E. de Souza to criticize the amount of four-letter words in the initial version of the screenplay. Steven assumed Fred objected because of conservative leanings, but was incorrect: Fred thought the excessive language made the movie unintentionally funny and hard to take seriously. When Steven viewed the dailies, he agreed with Fred, saying it sounded like a David Mamet play, and agreed to remove some of the curse words from the script.
In the "Making of" featurette for Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), Reginald VelJohnson said that after his appearances in the first two "Die Hard" films, he would be frequently teased and joked at by friends and people on the street for his character's obsession with Twinkies, with some people even going so far as to buy Twinkies and throw them into his car while he was inside, and saying things like, "Oh, we knew you wanted some of those".
The music heard in the film's theatrical trailer is "Ode to Joy" from Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, which is heard throughout the first Die Hard (1988) film in Michael Kamen's score.
Renny Harlin edited this film and The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990) at the same time because of the relatively short post-production period for both films. The films were then released one month apart.
Captain Lorenzo asks McClane if he thinks he is "playing John Wayne". In the first Die Hard, Hans Gruber also compares McClane to John Wayne.
The film exceeded all expectations, outgrossing the original Die Hard (1988) by nearly double.
The Polish title for "Die Hard" in all of the three movies is "The Glass Trap", as a reference to the first movie located in a glass skyscraper.
Esperanza speaks in Spanish to his team throughout the film. However, it is very clear that he isn't a native speaker. He has quite a strong Italian accent, since actor Franco Nero is from there.
Robert Patrick and Jai Courtney share the distinction of appearing in the Die Hard series and the Terminator series. Patrick appears in this film as a henchman and in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) as the T-1000. Courtney appears as John McClane, Jr. (Jack) in A Good Day to Die Hard (2013) and as Kyle Reese in Terminator Genisys (2015).
The aircraft that General Esperanza arrives on is a Fairchild C-123K Provider. This is a twin engine propeller airplane modified to appear with four jet engines for the film. The pods for the J-85 jet booster engines are still visible under the wings between the mock-up jet engines.
Actors Dennis Franz and Robert Costanzo, who played Carmine and Vito Lorenzo, would work together again in 1993, during the first season of NYPD Blue (1993), when Costanzo would play mobster Alphonse Giardella, with whom Franz's Sipowicz had an ongoing feud that would end in the detective's near-execution in the pilot episode.
The Boeing 747-121/SF that General Esperanza, Colonel Stuart, and the other terrorists use to try to escape in bears the livery colors of Evergreen International Air Cargo Lines, but with the company name whited out.
Steven E. de Souza, later admitted in an interview for the book Action Speaks Louder: Violence, Spectacle, and the American Action Movie that the villains were based on America's "Central American" meddling, primarily the Iran-Contra affair.
The General is from Val Verde, the fictitious Latin-American country used in Commando (1985). Die Hard 2 (1990) crew members, co-writer Steven E. de Souza (with Doug Richardson) and producer Joel Silver worked together on both films, however Steven wrote Commando (1985) himself.
In interviews Bruce Willis has expressed displeasure with this film because he felt it was too similar to the original Die Hard (1988) and he didn't like the constant references to that film.
There is a war reference in each of the first three Die Hard films. This film's references include Marvin mentioning both Iwo Jima and Pearl Harbor and the Commando team reminiscing about Grenada.
The Spanish title for "Die Hard" in all of the three movies is "The Glass Jungle", as a reference to the first Die Hard (1988) movie being set in a glass skyscraper.
Grant's statement, "One crisis, one platoon," is a nod to a statement reportedly made in 1852 by Texas Ranger Captain Bill McDonald: "One riot, one ranger."
The original Die Hard (1988) was based on the novel Nothing Lasts Forever, which was written as a sequel to The Detective (1968). The film versions of those novels, however, are unrelated. This film is based on a completely different novel, 58 Minutes, which is not related to Nothing Lasts Forever. One plot element is similar to both novels, however: Joe Leland in the former, and Frank Malone in the latter, arrive in the story to meet their respective daughters. In both films, this is changed to John McClane arriving to meet his wife.
Cast members Bruce Willis, William Sadler, and Fred Dalton Thompson all appeared on the ABC sitcom Roseanne (1988) during its first season (1988-89), with Willis appearing as himself. Taylor Fry, who played Lucy McClane in "Die Hard" (1988), appeared on that show. Colleen Camp, who played Connie Kowalski in "Die Hard with a Vengeance" (1995), played 3 different characters on that sitcom. Duane Whitaker, who played Maynard the pawn shop keeper in "Pulp Fiction" (1994), which also starred Bruce Willis, appeared on the show as well.
Colonel Stuart is the only villain whose motive is not money albeit directly, General Esperanza's motive was money, and promised to reward Stuart's men for freeing him with large sums of money.
In one scene, Holly McClane Is looking through files in a "Nakatomi Corporation" folder.
Each of the first three 'Die Hard' films has a connection and/or reference to at least one of three countries in Northern Europe: Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Here, in the second one, the director, Renny Harlin, is from Finland, and the musical piece "Finlandia" by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius is featured twice during the film.
EASTER EGG: On Disc 2 of the 2-Disc DVD (the Special Features disc), push right on the remote control from the last menu selection, and the "stair rail" will light up. Select it to display credits for the creators of the Special Features disc.
The last time producers Joel Silver and Lawrence Gordon were involved with the Die Hard franchise.
The end of the movie shows the wide shot of NEA Lockheed TriStar L-1011 from the rear, clearly showing an FAA registration number "N765BE", formerly operated by All Nippon Airways, Hawaiian Airlines and Rich International Airlines. The aircraft was later scrapped in 2004. One of the scenes shows the NEA livery is slowly fading off. Looking at the forward section of the L-1011, near at the NEA logo, the name of the former operator HAWAIIAN can be seen.
1:08:19 (NTSC) The radios that the terrorists are using are Kenwood TH-45AT 440MHz amateur ("ham") radios.
John McClaine's weapon is an Italian Baretta 92F, the same weapon of choice of Martin Riggs; as stated elsewhere, both actors turned down each other's roles but ended up using the same weapon.
Bruce Willis' character's (John McClane) wife (Holly McClane) says, "I knocked out two of his (Dick Thornberg's) teeth". His character said the same thing in The Last Boy Scout (1991).
Only Die Hard movie where a terrorist is killed by a cop other than Powell or McClane (in the antenna array battle).
This is one of two sequels to come out in 1990 to feature Bruce Willis. The other being Look Who's Talking Too (1990).
According to the screenplay, Colonel Stuart's first name is William, same as the actor who portrayed him, William Sadler.
Released one week prior to The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990), which Renny Harlin finished filming two months before production began on this film.
Moved back five days from its June 29, 1990 release date, which was listed on the film's final one-sheet poster.
The first and only Die Hard sequel to have a number in the title, although the fourth film is known as Die Hard 4.0 overseas, as the New Hampshire state motto is not as well known outside the US.
Don Harvey, the actor who plays Garber, Colonel Stuart's second-in-command, played a bar patron in the film Striking Distance (1993), also starring Bruce Willis.
The radioplay TKKG - Folge 183: Blindgänger im Villenviertel makes many references to the Die Hard movies, including the character name John McClane.
At 9:18, after the henchmen synchronize their watches, Miller (Vondie Curtis Hall) reaches for the package under the table. A close-up of a white hand grabs the gift. The same exact close up appears at 9:58, used for the second henchman.
In earlier screenplay drafts, there was a more prominent female role that was earmarked for Linda Fiorentino.
Cast members Art Evans, Don Harvey, and John Amos guest starred in season 5 (1996-97) of Walker, Texas Ranger (1993).
Mark Boone Junior (Shockley) and Tom Verica (Kahn) later guest starred on the NBC sitcom "Seinfeld" (1989-98), in the episodes 'The Subway' and 'The Conversion,' respectively.
The general's plane is instructed to use runway one-five. This indicates a runway angled 150º east of magnetic north, with winds coming from a general northwesterly direction. If the winds were from the southeast, this same runway would be designated "runway three-three" which is exactly 180º opposite. Dulles does not have such a runway.