The Greatest Movie Badasses Of All Time: John McClane

Bruce Willis' tough cop makes our badass countdown. Yippee-ki-yay ... you know the rest.

The search for the Greatest Movie Badass of All Time is on! MTV News has asked accomplished filmmakers, actors and you, the audience, to vote for your favorites. Now we've tabulated the results and found our 10 finalists for the top spot. Who will reign supreme as the Greatest Badass of All Time? Find out on February 6 at 7:15 p.m. when MTV announces the winner live at New York's Comic-Con and right here at

Until then, we're profiling the 10 contenders for the Greatest Badass mantle every day, in alphabetical order. Check out our first contenders, "Star Wars" bounty hunter Boba Fett, "Alien" astronaut Ellen Ripley and vigilante cop Dirty Harry. Keep checking back to see if your favorite made the list!

Name: [movie id="9198"]John McClane[/movie]

Occupation: Detective, New York City Police Department/ Lieutenant, Los Angeles Police Department

Movie(s): "Die Hard," "Die Hard 2: Die Harder," "Die Hard With a Vengeance," "Live Free or Die Hard," "National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1"

Weapons: Beretta 92FS, Sig-Sauer P220R, his fists, C4 explosives, open windows, icicles, luggage conveyor belts, cigarette lighters, cop cars, etc.

Archenemy: Hans Gruber, Simon Gruber, Colonel Stuart, Major Grant, General Ramon Esperanza, Dick Thornberg, Thomas Gabriel, other assorted terrorists and bureaucrats.

Profile: The blueprint for the modern-day action hero, [movieperson id="67397"]Bruce Willis'[/movieperson] iconic John McClane would be the first to admit that he isn't particularly strong, smart or even good at his job — but when bad guys start doing very bad things, there's no better person to be the wrong guy in the wrong place at the right time.

When we first met Detective McClane in 1988, his biggest problem was figuring out how to make fists with his toes. Soon enough, he learned that wife Holly was declaring herself a Gennaro, German terrorist Hans Gruber was declaring himself in charge of Nakatomi Plaza, and it was time for this unwilling hero to start kicking ass if he wanted to stay alive. Twelve dead terrorists, $640 million in tossed bearer bonds, and one destroyed skyscraper later, McClane was a national hero covered in blood, broken glass and Christmas wrapping tape.

1. Dirty Harry
2. Ellen Ripley
3. John McClane
4. Mad Maxx
5. Walker
7. Pike Bishop
8. Khan
9. Boba Fett
10. Rambo
Badass Panel

Two years later (and in the midst of Hollywood fast-tracking everything from "Die Hard on a boat" to "Die Hard on a bus," McClane once again found himself in the middle of a very bad day. "Die Harder" had the New York cop out of his element when he showed up at Washington, D.C.'s Dulles Airport, only to uncover a twisty criminal/ drug lord/ military plan to sabotage the airport's landing system and further an international agenda. Although loyalists (and Willis himself) regularly cite "Die Harder" as the worst of the series, the flick boasts the final appearances of Holly and Sergeant Al Powell, as well as the highest body count of the tetralogy.

McClane returned in 1995 for "Die Hard: With a Vengeance," a movie that reunited Willis with John McTiernan and — ironically enough — was heavily influenced by the success of "Speed." Gone were Holly and Al, replaced instead by Samuel L. Jackson's Harlem shopkeeper Zeus Carver and Hans' vengeful, game-playing brother Simon.

After more than a decade of Bruce Willis shaving his head, redefining himself with films like "The Sixth Sense" and "The Whole Nine Yards" and vaguely promising that he may someday blow the dust off McClane's wifebeater T-shirt, the time finally came with 2007's unfortunately titled "Live Free or Die Hard." The flick had an out-of-touch McClane taking down cyber terrorists, a PG-13 rating that wouldn't allow him to say the trademark phrase "Yippee-ki-yay, motherf---er!", and outlandish action sequences that took the character from believably battered to superhuman; still, it was a better comeback than "Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull."

These days McClane is divorced from Holly, still drinking and smoking heavily, and awaiting a final verdict from Bruce Willis on whether he'll ever play the role again. But for those of us who live in the Los Angeles area some 20 years after "Die Hard" was released, it remains impossible to drive past Fox Plaza and not imagine one of cinema's greatest badasses leaping from the roof with a fire hose around his waist and an explosion at his back.

Check out everything we've got on "Die Hard."

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