Twenty-five years ago this week, the action movie Die Hard opened and Bruce Willis uttered that famous line. But where does the yippee-ki-yay part come from? If you're more interested in the origins of the second half of that saying, check out this article from Slate. Let's break it down. The yip part of yippee is old. It originated in the 15th century and meant "to cheep, as a young bird," according to the Oxford English Dictionary OED.
The greatest one-liner in movie history.
Portrayed by Bruce Willis , he is known for his sardonic one-liners , including the famous catchphrase "Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker". Die Hard villain Hans Gruber describes him as "just another American McClane's marriage is in a constant state of crisis, his vigilantism and disregard for authority have put him in danger of losing his job more than once, and he is a chain-smoker who is described by Inspector Cobb in Die Hard with a Vengeance as being "two steps away from becoming a full blown alcoholic ", on which McClane jokingly corrects him saying only "one step". McClane is consistently portrayed as a reluctant hero who, with little or no assistance from others, is required against his wishes to thwart the elaborate plans of a group of like-minded villains because no one else is in a position to do so. The trailer for the first Die Hard film states, "The last thing McClane wants is to be a hero, but he doesn't have a choice.
Just another American who saw too many movies as a child? Another orphan of a bankrupt culture who thinks he's John Wayne? Marshal Dillon? In fact, many fans say that the dramatic, triumphant Yippee Ki-Yay from Die Hard 2 is the best of the entire series, although some disagree and prefer the original, subtler version. In the original script for the movie, the line was intended to be used during the aqueduct scene where McClane talks to Simon over the CB radios. This would have been in the subtle spirit of how the line was originally used in the first Die Hard. The studio however felt the line should be used during the film's climax similar to Die Hard 2. The use of the line during the aqueduct scene can be briefly seen during the theatrical trailer. The novelization of the film also retains the line in its original placement, right after Simon's line: "How very colorful. In the fourth film, McClane uses it when he kills Thomas Gabriel.