Conflict Diagram for Die Hard

A reader said it would be useful if I did some diagrams of movies, so here’s a conflict diagram of the classic 1988 Die Hard. (You can read a full synopsis here.)

Die Hard Conflict Diagram

I’ve used green to show McClane’s team, red to show the forces ranged against them.

  • The Good Cop has a sub plotcan he use his gun in anger? I suspect the hostages also have their own sub plots.
  • The Building & Hostages have a mixed effect on JM’s Survival. The building provides both a survival-friendly environment and a  dangerous prison. However, the hostages are merely a liability.
  • Wife’s Safety is both a Bone of Contention and a force that works against JM’s Survival while at the same time motivating him to survive.
  • I’ve left out thematic forces since I’d have to rewatch the film to snag them with confidence. However i suspect McCane’s team all represent Rugged Individualism, while the others represent Corrupt Power or something similar.

Looking at the diagram, I can see that it’s quite a complex film, albeit an unsubtle one. Perhaps this explains its longevity?


Take a look at Storyteller Tools, my book on outlining and plotting! It shows you how to use Conflict Diagrams and other tools to work up your novel idea into a writable outline, and then to blitz through it in record time.

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Posted in Outlining, Storyteller Tools, Writing Fiction Faster
2 comments on “Conflict Diagram for Die Hard
  1. Mick says:

    Love writing books, and want this one in hard copy… any hope for a P.O.D. edition? It’d be great if it had some samples, like this one… I think diagrams of popular movies are great!

    Maybe do one of Raiders of the Lost Ark… would that reveal what the Big Bang Theory guys said, that the movie would be the same with or without Indiana Jones (Nazis still find Ark, open it, get faces melted…)

    Mick.

    • mharoldpage says:

      Hi Mick

      > Maybe do one of Raiders of the Lost Ark…
      Very interesting question. A short blog entry here: http://www.mharoldpage.com/?p=41

      > It’d be great if it had some samples, like this one… I think diagrams of popular movies are great!

      I’m slightly reluctant to engage with movies since I suspect they work a bit differently from novels, or require less plot. However they are a great common reference point in order to explain this tool, so my next edition will include several examples.

      > and want this one in hard copy… any hope for a P.O.D. edition?

      I’m frankly a bit nervous of the work involved in this! Probably for the second edition.

      I am planning to put up a printable PDF on LULU. If you email me with an email address, I can supply you one of these.

      M

      mharoldpage@gmail.com

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