Press play to hear this AudioHopper Original production.

Everyone knows about Die Hard. Director John McTiernan’s 1988 smash made a bona fide movie star of its leading man, Bruce Willis. Some of its dialogue—particularly John McClane’s trademark “Yippee-kayyay, motherfucker”—became legendary, as did some of its set pieces. The film has now spawned five sequels, as well as a host of wannabes, very few of which came close to matching the original.

But while the film’s showstoppers still dazzle, Die Hard isn’t a great film simply because it delivers bang for your buck; it’s great because its action is built atop a foundation of wit and emotion.

Die Hard is, in a way, three movies in one. Chiefly, it is a big-scale action spectacle, typical of the era where such films ruled the box office. But it’s also involving and even occasionally touching melodrama. And, most sneakily, it also manages to be a winking sendup of the action genre in general.

Press play above to experience Kenji Fujishima narrating his unabridged appreciation of Die Hard, originally published on The House Next Door and Slant.