While Olympus Has Fallen was in its main theme and overall plot quite similar to many action movies of that kind, there were two particular scenes that I understood as direct references to two genre classics:

  1. The scene where Banning meets the traitor Forbes reminded me very much of the scene in Die Hard where McClane meets "Bill Clay".

  2. The finale was very similar to the ending of Under Siege, from the knife fight with the bad guy to the following scene with Banning being instructed how to enter the abort code while the whole command center is listening in suspense.

Now of course there were other similarities and such movies usually follow rather characteristic formulas. But those two similarities struck me as just too obvious and direct references to be just dismissed as the usual genre ingredients. So is there any other evidence or even word from the filmmakers that those two references were actually made on purpose or that they were directly influenced by those other movies or am I just overinterpreting things here (given that I've seen said movies a million times)?

  • 4
    ...such movies usually follow rather characteristic formulas. I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head right there! Anything other than that is purely coincidental and yes, you are over-analysing.
    – Sayan
    Jul 4, 2013 at 13:36
  • @KeyBrdBasher "I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head right there!" - Yeah, I see, but that similarity (especially the ending scene) was just so obvious, and much more obvious than in any other movie of this kind I can remember, that I just couldn't help and immediately thought about the original, something that doesn't happen to me with all those other stereotypical movies of that kind. Feel free to give a "that's just you over-analysing"-answer.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jul 4, 2013 at 14:45
  • I haven't seen Under Siege so can't validate #2. That is the reason I'll stop myself from giving "that's just you over-analysing"-answer.
    – Sayan
    Jul 5, 2013 at 7:43

1 Answer 1


Antoine Fuqua and Gerard Butler both discussed this in a video interview, showing they were definitely aware of the Die Hard connection and they both loved Bruce Willis' works. In fact, they viewed it as the daddy of all action films.

Paraphrasing from the interview, they both drew distinct differences between Die Hard and Olympus Has Fallen, discussing how their film takes place in the White House, with terrorists attacking the White House, on a much bigger scale than Die Hard presented. They also commented on how the undertone of the film was far more serious. It included "without a doubt ... those Die Hard quips", but ultimately takes place in a post 9/11 world and thus simply had to be more mature.

Dylan McDermott, an actor in the film, also said this in an interview:

Interviewer: I'm sure by now you've heard Olympus Has Fallen described as “Die Hard in the White House,” was that a reference that was talked about on set?

McDermott: I had heard that before. That was kind of like the selling point. I'm trying to make different movies so obviously The Campaign, which was a comedy, and Olympus is action movie, and even my work on American Horror Story. So you know, I’m just trying to mix it up as much as possible, create new characters and just keep showing up in the right movies with the right actors, and great directors.

Neither interview mentioned references to Under Siege, but as it was one of the many films that came in the aftermath of Die Hard and was largely a clone of it, all roads effectively lead back to Die Hard.

Therefore, ultimately, they were unquestionably aware of Die Hard and the relationship between their movie and it and so it's certainly plausible that they included direct references (described in the video interview as Die Hard quips). They don't mention any of these quips explicitly, but given their desire to have Die Hard-esque moments, it's definitely possible and arguably likely they paid tribute to it.

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