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The Truck Continuity Faux Pas in ‘Die Hard’

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An ominous parking garage
No sign of a truck or Alan Rickman’s goatee anywhere…
Photo: Pixabay via CC

Ah yes, Die Hard. Everyone’s favorite Christmas movie that’s not technically a Christmas movie while totally still being a Christmas movie. It’s no secret that this film is incredibly beloved by audiences, and has been since its release in 1988. It’s one of the most highly regarded action films of all time, and many consider it a masterpiece. However, there is one tiny crack in the film’s near-perfect veneer that deserves mention. I speak, of course, about the film’s infamous truck continuity mistake.

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The truck continuity mishap

For those who haven’t seen the film, here’s a brief summery. A bunch of bad guys attempt a violent robbery of a vault in a giant tower, taking hostages and executing anyone who crosses them. With the local police powerless to stop the baddies, all hope rests on John McClane, an NYPD cop trapped inside the building. Shooting, explosions, and cursing ensue.

As anyone who has seen the film will know, the action kicks into gear when a truck containing the bad guys parks under Nakatomi Tower. The doors open, and we get a clear shot into the back of the truck. It’s filled with bad guys, guns, Alan Rickman, Alan Rickman’s goatee… and that’s it.

Why is this a big deal? Because toward the end of the film, we see a full-sized ambulance drive out of the truck to act as a getaway vehicle for the bad guys. Oops.

How did this happen?

There’s no explanation in the film for where this ambulance came from, nor can there be. Unless it was some kind of high-tech inflatable vehicle (or the baddies were using Ant-Man shrinking tech), there’s no way that ambulance could be in the same truck as all those villains.

So what happened?

In short, it was a goof. The production of Die Hard was infamously troubled; much of the film was shot as the script was being written, and many scenes were left out entirely. When it was discovered that the bad guys had no way out of the building, the idea of putting the ambulance in the truck was quickly shot and added into the film. It was only later that John McTiernan and his editing team caught the error. But by then, it was too late to shoot new scenes. Double oops.

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Thankfully, general audiences didn’t seem to notice the continuity faux pas when the film his theaters in 1988. And if they did notice, they didn’t care. Despite its production hiccups, the film emerged as a smash hit, and remains more than worthy of the adoration it continues to receive.