Die Hard Poster Analysis

Die Hard is a 18 rated action thriller film released in 1988. It has an IMDB rating of 8.2 out of 10. Bruce Willis stars in the film as the hero, Bonnie Bedelia as the princess and Alan Rickman as the villain.

The director was John McTiernan and there has been 3 more movies made after this one being a success.

Die hard poster.jpg


The genre of the film is conveyed instantly (action thriller) due to the explosion of the skyscraper, which is a direct link to the narrative of the film.

The character is in black and white with high-key lighting – sticking to the convention of the thriller genre, whilst the other images are in colour, making him stand out and suggest that he is the main character in the film. Furthermore, his face is the same size of the skyscraper.

The helicopter and lights onto the building suggests that police are surrounding it, and in the description of the poster is states “one man has managed to escape… an off-duty cop hiding somewhere inside” reinforcing the criminal activity aspect and also giving the audience more insight into the narrative of the film.

The name of the actor is positioned just above the title in large sans-serif white typography, suggesting that he is innocent and the ‘hero’ of the film and using a sans-serif font reinforces the genre. Furthermore, this will entice many of Bruce Willis’ fans to watch the film, bringing in a new audience.

The title of the film is in bold, sans-serif red typography connoting danger and blood, and it can even be linked to “Bruce Willis” just above it, suggesting that he is the one in danger and that he will ‘die’.

The use of the hyperbole in the tagline “40 stories of sheer adventure” creates irony.

My Opinion:

I like the scale of the poster as the main character’s face is the same size as the sky scraper as well as the ironic tagline however, I don’t like how the text and the images are separated.

Media Theory:

  • Levi Strauss (Binary oppositions) – The binary opposition is created of Good VS Evil which is highlighted through the mise-en-scene of the character’s facial expression VS the action and explosions (showing danger) in the poster.
  • Roland Barthes (Enigma theory) – The theory which suggests any text (e.g tv and film) makes the audience question something and intrigues the audience, drawing them in. The main question raised to the audience is “what happens to the main character?” etc.

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