The original Die Hard is just one of those great action movies that will never go out of style.
Thirty years is a long time for Die Hard fans to contemplate one serious question. How did Bruce Willis‘ John McClane know that Alan Rickman’s character, Hans Gruber, was one of the terrorists?
Screenwriter, Steven E. de Souza, told Esquire “Originally, they get off the truck, the camera craned up, you saw them in a circle and Alan Rickman says, ‘Synchronize your watches. They all put their arms out in a circle with the camera moving down and they all had the same Tag Heuer watch. If you notice, the first guy Bruce kills almost by accident going down the steps, he searches the body, looks at the IDs.”
That watch becomes an important symbol in the revealing scene that was left on the cutting room floor.
“McClane steals the cigarettes, which is a laugh. He looks at the watch, which gets another laugh because you’re thinking he might steal the watch. As he kills each guy, he notices they all had the same watch… When Bruce offers the cigarette to Alan Rickman, Bruce sees the watch. You see his eyes look at the watch. That’s how he knows that he is one of the terrorists.”
Why would they cut this very valuable scene you might ask? There was originally an ambulance escape scene for Gruber’s team. When that scene was cut, the scene where Gruber and his men synchronized their watches was also cut because it no longer made sense.
Cutting that specific scene left fans confused and wondering all this time how McClane could’ve known.