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Congratulations. You are still alive.
~ Simon Gruber to John McClane.
Simon says.
~ Simon Gruber's most famous line.

Simon Peter Gruber is the main antagonist of the 1995 live action film Die Hard with a Vengeance. He is an East German People’s Army colonel turned terrorist leader and the brother of Hans Gruber. He was bent on killing John McClane in order to gain revenge upon him for the death of his brother in the first film and to steal gold bullions worth of $140,000,000,000 from the Federal Reserve Bank.

He was portrayed by Jeremy Irons, who also played Profion in Dungeons & Dragons, Alan Rikkin in the Assassin's Creed franchise, Rodrigo Borgia in the HBO series The BorgiasScar in The Lion King, and Ozymandias in the HBO series Watchmen.

Die Hard With a Vengeance


Simon begins his plan by blowing up a department store in New York City. While the NYPD are trying to deal with this act of terrorism, Simon phones police Inspector Walter Cobb, claiming responsibility for the bomb. He then tells Cobb that he wants to play a game of "Simon Says" with Lieutenant John McClane, or another bomb will go off. He instructs McClane to go to Harlem wearing a sign board that says "I Hate N----rs". The police drop McClane off in Harlem dressed only in the sign and his boxers. Before McClane can be attacked by a street gang, a local electrical store owner, Zeus Carver, intervenes and rescues him.

Revelation of His Plan

The two return to the police headquarters. "Simon," annoyed that Carver has interfered with his "well laid plan," sends both Carver and McClane on a wild goose chase around New York City, telling them the location of bombs that will blow up if the two don't reach them and solve Simon's riddles. "Simon" is eventually revealed to be Simon Gruber, the elder brother of Hans Gruber, whom McClane dropped off the 32nd story of the Nakatomi Plaza. He has singled out McClane because of his involvement in the death of his brother, and at first it seems revenge is his primary motivation. It later becomes clear, however, that Simon shares his brother's pragmatism; he is not interested in terrorism and actually intends to steal $140 billion worth of gold bullion from the Federal Reserve Bank. The bombs scattered throughout the city merely act as a distraction.

Confronting McClane

Simon Gruber during his first meeting with John McClane and Zeus.

When the gold is stolen, and deposited in dump trucks, Simon's henchmen flee to Canada, while Simon remains behind with his personal guard. Simon informs the police that the gold is on a ship off Long Island, which he intends to blow up, thus distributing the gold across the seabed. However, the ship contains only scrap metal, while the gold is in the dump trucks heading to Canada. When McClane and Carver make an attack on the boat, they are captured and handcuffed to a pole, with the bomb intended to blow the ship sitting directly next to them. Simon reveals that whilst he disliked his brother, he will kill McClane anyway for repeatedly meddling with his plans (he also admits that he did want revenge for his brother's death: "There's a difference, you know, between not liking one's brother and not caring when some dumb Irish flatfoot drops him out of a window."). He then leaves for Canada with the rest of his henchmen, leaving McClane and Carver to die on the boat.

Final Showdown 

Simon is electrocuted inside his helicopter after McClane shoots down a power line

In Canada, Simon and his henchmen celebrate the successful heist, but are interrupted by the police (including McClane and Carver, who escaped the boat moments before it exploded). Whilst the soldiers leave to battle the police, Simon and his girlfriend Katya set off in a helicopter to kill McClane once and for all. With Katya piloting, Gruber shoots McClane's helicopter down with an M60 machine gun. As the pilot lands, McClane runs into the open, knowing that Simon only wants to kill him. Simon aims at McClane but before he can kill him, McClane shoots a fusebox on a power line telling Simon to "Say hello to your brother.", sending a live wire into the rotating blades of the helicopter, electrocuting Simon and Katya and causing them to crash the helicopter into a pylon which then explodes.

Alternate Ending

In the original ending, Simon succeeds in the heist and McClane is left to take the blame. Simon is then seen sitting in a secret cafe somewhere in Europe. McClane appears and after initial banter, McClane forces Simon to disarm with a bomb of his own, then play a game of "McClane says", which involves Simon spinning a modified Chinese rocket launcher, which has had it's directional markings removed, and to answer riddles. Simon soon answers a riddle wrong and is forced at gunpoint to fire the rocket launcher. It fires in Simon's direction, killing him. McClane had been wearing a flak jacket, in case it was fired in the other direction.


Like his brother, Simon is an extremely callous, relentless, and unsympathetic murderer who is nevertheless genteel, assertive, respectable, well-spoken, complaisant, and well-educated. Much unlike Hans (and most Hollywood villains, for that matter), however, Simon possesses a measure of morality and honor; he will deliberately make sure that no innocent children will be (directly) harmed by his actions, even if it will compromise the mission at hand. This sense of honor seems to be shared by his men. He even joins in and approves of mourning for the men lost in the battle against McClane, seeming to be genuinely saddened by their deaths. If ever bested in scheme and combat by an equal, like McClane, he shows genuine respect for the bravery and resourcefulness of said enemy. Simon's personal pride in his sense of honor is summarized by his response to McClane's surprise that no real bombs were planted in schools "I'm a soldier, not a monster; even though I sometimes work for monsters".

Also, unlike his brother who was more of a master tactician and strategist, Simon seemed to be master of psychological warfare which gave him the ability to play mind games with his nemesis, John McClane, and manipulate him into solving his games that he prepared for him and Zeus in exchange for disarming his bombs that he secretly planted all over New York City.


  • Sean Connery was director John McTiernan's first choice for the role of Simon Gruber. He turned down the role, saying that he didn't want to play such a diabolical villain. David Thewlis was also considered before Jeremy Irons was cast.
  • Jeremy Irons is the only Academy Award winner to play a Die Hard main villain.
  • In real life, Alan Rickman was older than Jeremy Irons by two years, despite the fact that Simon is the older brother.
  • Jeremy Irons claimed that someone described his hairstyle in the film as a "mid-life crisis".
  • Simon doesn't physically appear until fifty minutes into the movie.
  • Simon and Katya's sex scene was added in at the last minute because director John McTiernan knew that the film would get an R rating and he might as well put a sex scene in.
  • Like his brother, Simon used a false identity under the name "Peter Krieg", as his middle name is Peter.
  • Simon Gruber confronting John McClane has strong similarites to Scar from Lion King, where he confronts the adult Simba. It's also a meta joke, because Jeremy Irons portrayed both villains.


           DieHardTitle.png Villains

Die Hard: Hans Gruber | Karl Vreski | Theo | Tony Vreski
Die Hard 2: William Stuart | Ramon Esperanza | Major Grant
Ricochet: Earl Talbot Blake | Kim
Die Hard with a Vengeance: Simon Gruber | Katya | Mathias Targo
Live Free or Die Hard: Thomas Gabriel | Mai Linh | Trey | Rand | Robert Russo | Emerson | Casper
A Good Day to Die Hard: Yuri Komarov | Irina Komarov | Viktor Chagarin | Alik

Video Games
Die Hard: Vendetta: Piet Gruber
Die Hard Arcade: Wolf Hongo
Die Hard Trilogy 2: Viva Las Vegas: Kenny Sinclair | Reese Hoffman | Elena Goshkin | Amir El Kahr | Victor Rashenko

Comic Books
Die Hard: Year One: Alan Douglas
A Million Ways to Die Hard: Mr. Moviefone