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End credits contain the following information: “Special thanks to Larry Waterman - Proton TV; Modern Props; Cerruti 1881, Paris; Michigan Film Office, Deryl Beasley; Black & Decker; The citizens of Alpena, Michigan.”
       Though actress Sheila McCarthy’s character is listed in the credits as newswoman “Samantha Copeland,” her last name in the film is “Coleman.”
       The film was a sequel to Die Hard (1988, see entry), a top-grossing blockbuster. Only four characters carried over from the first movie: Bruce Willis’ “John McClane,” Bonny Bedelia’s “Holly McClane,” William Atherton’s irresponsible newsman “Richard ‘Dick’ Thornburg” (re-spelled Thornberg for the sequel), and Reginald VelJohnson’s Los Angeles, CA, Police Department Sergeant “Al Powell,” who appears briefly in two scenes. However, as a running gag, several new characters in Die Hard 2 recognize John McClane’s face or name from his exploits during the media-saturated terrorist takeover of the “Nakatomi Plaza” building in the original Die Hard. The antagonism between Dick Thornberg and Holly McClane, which includes a restraining order, was a continuation of events from the earlier film.
       The 6 Oct 1989 HR noted that actress Linda Fiorentino was “being wooed” to co-star in Die Hard 2, and that the story was about a terrorist attack on a Manhattan airport. Ultimately, Miss Fiorentino did not appear in the film, and the airport was changed to Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. Willis was paid $7.5 million to star in the sequel, according to the 17 Sep 1990 LAT and 11 Jun 1990 People.
       Principal photography lasted from 28 Nov 1989 to 6 Apr 1990. Studio documents in AMPAS library files ... More Less

End credits contain the following information: “Special thanks to Larry Waterman - Proton TV; Modern Props; Cerruti 1881, Paris; Michigan Film Office, Deryl Beasley; Black & Decker; The citizens of Alpena, Michigan.”
       Though actress Sheila McCarthy’s character is listed in the credits as newswoman “Samantha Copeland,” her last name in the film is “Coleman.”
       The film was a sequel to Die Hard (1988, see entry), a top-grossing blockbuster. Only four characters carried over from the first movie: Bruce Willis’ “John McClane,” Bonny Bedelia’s “Holly McClane,” William Atherton’s irresponsible newsman “Richard ‘Dick’ Thornburg” (re-spelled Thornberg for the sequel), and Reginald VelJohnson’s Los Angeles, CA, Police Department Sergeant “Al Powell,” who appears briefly in two scenes. However, as a running gag, several new characters in Die Hard 2 recognize John McClane’s face or name from his exploits during the media-saturated terrorist takeover of the “Nakatomi Plaza” building in the original Die Hard. The antagonism between Dick Thornberg and Holly McClane, which includes a restraining order, was a continuation of events from the earlier film.
       The 6 Oct 1989 HR noted that actress Linda Fiorentino was “being wooed” to co-star in Die Hard 2, and that the story was about a terrorist attack on a Manhattan airport. Ultimately, Miss Fiorentino did not appear in the film, and the airport was changed to Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. Willis was paid $7.5 million to star in the sequel, according to the 17 Sep 1990 LAT and 11 Jun 1990 People.
       Principal photography lasted from 28 Nov 1989 to 6 Apr 1990. Studio documents in AMPAS library files detail how much of Die Hard 2 was shot on three Twentieth Century Fox sound stages, in various locations around Los Angeles County, and in several states. The basement boiler room and tunnels beneath “Dulles International Airport” were filmed at the Harbor Generating Plant in Wilmington, CA, and the Jensen Filtration Plant in Granada Hills, CA. The tropical airport in the fictional nation of “Valverdes” was actually the Mojave airport north of Los Angeles. Other Los Angeles locations included the City Hall steps, the Pacific Stock Exchange building, Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport, and a downtown warehouse where production designer John Vallone built a large luggage conveyer room, in which an early shootout took place. Sets built on the studio lot included a traffic control tower, an airport police station, an airport annex with moving sidewalk, a church interior, and airplane interiors. Some airport scenes were filmed at Stapleton International Airport in Denver, CO. Snowy scenes were filmed in Mead, CO, where a circa-1896 church was given a false steeple and used for the terrorists’ headquarters. To augment the area’s melting snow, a snow machine covered the location with chipped ice and soap flakes. Other sequences were shot in Breckenridge, CO; Lake Tahoe, CA; Port of Moses Lake Airport in Moses Lake, WA; and Chippewa County Airport in Sault St. Marie, MI. According to the 9 Mar 1990 HR, when rain washed out the snow at Moses Lake, the production made an emergency move to Alpena, MI, a town of 12,000, to film at Alpena County Airport. The studio imposed a strict “closed set” policy at all locations. The 15 Jan 1990 WSJ detailed how officials at Stapleton International Airport in Denver restricted the production to shooting Bruce Willis’ arrival at the airport. They demanded that no planes or airline company logos be filmed, because, as one airline spokesman explained, “This movie is very negative toward airport operations and airport personnel.” A Stapleton official went further, stating, “It’s not a very good script,” and complained that it made airport employees look “incompetent, stupid, arrogant or otherwise not likable.” Another executive told the 12 Jan 1990 HR that the film’s violence, especially the “destruction of an aircraft and a crash,” concerned the commercial airline industry. Nonetheless, Denver Mayor Federico Pena and his wife greeted Willis and producer Joel Silver upon their arrival at Stapleton.
       The 7 Feb 1990 DV announced that Fox had shortened the title of its proposed Die Hard 2: Die Harder to simply Die Hard 2.
       The 6 Jul 1990 DV noted that the $60 million film, released on a Tuesday, grossed $9.6 million during its first two days. It passed the $100 million mark in forty-one days, according to the 15 Aug 1990 Var. The 6 Jul 1990 Newsweek placed the film’s cost at $62 million, noting that despite all the expense, Bruce Willis made a pay telephone call at a booth with a Pacific Bell logo, supposedly at Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International. Pacific Bell served only California.
       The 17 Dec 1990 Var reported that Black & Decker Inc. sued 20th Century Fox for $150,000 because a scene in which Bruce Willis used its cordless drill to remove an air-duct grill was edited out of the movie. The company claimed that, although it paid nothing for the “product placement,” it did spend money for a promotional campaign to coincide with the film’s release. The following year, director Alexis Kanner sued the studio for $900 million, claiming that both Die Hard and Die Hard 2 incorporated script elements of his 1981 Canadian film, Kings and Desperate Men, according to the 12 Jul 1991 HR and 17 Jul 1991 DV. Kanner said he sent Fox a copy of his film during negotiations for U.S. distribution, but the film was never released theatrically in America.
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BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
5 Feb 1990
p. 2.
Daily Variety
7 Feb 1990
p. 3.
Daily Variety
5 Mar 1990
p. 2.
Daily Variety
6 Jul 1990
p. 1, 42.
Daily Variety
9 Jul 1990
p. 1, 46.
Daily Variety
13 Aug 1990
p. 3.
Daily Variety
17 Jul 1991
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Oct 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jan 1990
p. 20.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Mar 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Mar 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jun 1990
p. 6, 42.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jun 1990
p. 1, 76.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jul 1991.
---
Los Angeles Times
3 Jul 1990
Section F, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
17 Jul 1990.
---
Los Angeles Times
17 Sep 1990.
---
New York Times
3 Jul 1990
Section C, p. 11.
Newsweek
6 Jul 1990.
---
People
11 Jun 1990.
---
Variety
13 Dec 1989
p. 8.
Variety
4 Jul 1990
p. 24.
Variety
15 Aug 1990.
---
Variety
17 Dec 1990.
---
WSJ
15 Jan 1990.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Terrorists:
Northeast plane:
Windsor plane:
Foreign military plane:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Renny Harlin Film
A Gordon Company/Silver Pictures Production
Produced and released by Twentieth Century Fox
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Prod mgr
Unit prod mgr, 2d unit
1st asst dir
1st asst dir, 2d unit
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Line prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Cam op
"A" cam op, 2d unit
"B" cam op Panaglide
"B" cam op, 2d unit
"C" cam op
1st asst cam
1st asst "B" cam
1st asst "C" cam
2d asst cam
2d asst "B" cam
2d asst "C" cam
Video assist op
Chief lighting tech
Best boy
Musco light
Musco light
Rigging gaffer
Best boy grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Process compositing by
Video coord
Video playback op
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Graphic artist
Art coord
Asst coord
FILM EDITORS
Supv ed
Film ed
Asst ed to Stuart Baird
1st asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set des
Set des
Set des
Set des
Set des
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst props
Asst props
Const coord
Standby painter
Set dresser
Set dressing buyer
Knives des and created by
COSTUMES
Women's cost supv
Men's cost supv
Key costumer to Mr. Willis
Costumer
Costumer
Costumer
Asst to cost des
Tailor
Bonnie Bedelia's bags provided by
MUSIC
Mus/Orch cond by/Orch by
Orch
Orch
Orch
Supv mus ed
Asst mus ed
Scoring mixer
Scoring crew
Scoring crew
Scoring crew
Children's choir
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Re-mixed by
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
ADR dir
Supv ADR ed
Supv ADR ed
ADR ed
ADR ed
Asst ADR ed
Foley by
Foley mixed by
Foley artist
Sd asst
Machine op
ADR rec
ADR rec
ADR voices
ADR mixer
ADR mixer
Eng
Dolby Stereo consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec makeup eff created by
Spec makeup eff created by
Visual eff coord
Spec eff coord
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Visual eff by
Supv of visual eff, ILM
Visual eff prod, ILM
Assoc eff prod, ILM
Visual eff dir of photog, ILM
Visual eff art dir, ILM
Eff rigger, ILM
Spec eff coord, ILM
Key grip, ILM
Gaffer, ILM
Matte artist, ILM
Opt photog supv, ILM
Visual eff ed, ILM
Matte cam supv, ILM
Visual eff coord, ILM
Visual eff coord, ILM
Prod coord, ILM
Prod coord, ILM
Exec in charge of prod, ILM
Exec in charge of post prod, ILM
Gen mgr, ILM
Visual eff cam op, ILM
Visual eff cam op, ILM
Visual eff cam op, ILM
Visual eff cam asst, ILM
Visual eff cam asst, ILM
Eff best boy, ILM
Eff best boy, ILM
Eff best boy, ILM
Eff best boy, ILM
Eff best boy, ILM
Supv model maker, ILM
Supv model maker, ILM
Transportation capt, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Asst ed, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt processing, ILM
Computer graphics, ILM
Computer graphics, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Rotoscoper, ILM
Rotoscoper, ILM
Addl visual eff seqs prod at
Visual eff supv
Titles & opticals by
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hair styling supv
Makeup artist
Hair stylist to Mr. Willis
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting assoc
Extras casting
Extras casting
Extras casting
Line prod
Scr supv, 2d unit
Spec forces adv
Tech adv
Driver/Tech
Driver/Tech
Projectionist
Loc mgr
Prod coord
Asst to Larry Gordon
Asst to Larry Gordon
Asst to Larry Gordon
Asst to Joel Silver
Asst to Renny Harlin
Asst to Renny Harlin
Asst to Chuck Gordon
Asst to Steve Perry
Asst to Bruce Willis
Asst to Bruce Willis
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
First aid
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Driver
Caterer
Craft service
Prod accountant
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Payroll accountant
Unit pub
Aerial coord, 2d unit
Pilot
Pilot
Pilot
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel 58 Minutes by Walter Wager (New York, 1987) and "certain original characters" created by Roderick Thorpe.
SONGS
"Old Cape Cod," written by Claire Rothrock, Milt Yakus and Allan Jeffrey, performed by Patti Page, courtesy of Polygram Special Projects, a division of Polygram Records, Inc.
"Carol of the Bells," written by Peter Wilhousky
"Finlandia," written by Jean Sibelius
+
SONGS
"Old Cape Cod," written by Claire Rothrock, Milt Yakus and Allan Jeffrey, performed by Patti Page, courtesy of Polygram Special Projects, a division of Polygram Records, Inc.
"Carol of the Bells," written by Peter Wilhousky
"Finlandia," written by Jean Sibelius
"Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!," written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne, performed by Vaughn Monroe, courtesy of MCA Records.
+
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Titles:
Die Harder
Die Hard II
Release Date:
3 July 1990
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 3 July 1990
Production Date:
28 November 1989--6 April 1990
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Copyright Date:
12 July 1990
Copyright Number:
PA470434
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
gauge
70mm
Widescreen/ratio
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
124
Length(in feet):
11,046
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
30402
SYNOPSIS

New York police detective John McClane gets a parking ticket from a rude cop as soon as he arrives at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. Inside the terminal, John learns that his wife Holly’s flight from Los Angeles, California, is a half-hour late. Television sets herald the news that General Ramon Esperanza, a deposed, drug-smuggling Latin American dictator, is being extradited to the U.S. and will arrive in Washington that evening. John bumps into Colonel Stuart, but only vaguely recognizes him. Near Dulles, two of Stuart’s men murder the caretaker at an empty church. In an airport bar, John watches a man slide a suitcase under a table to Oswald Cochrane. When Cochrane leaves, John follows him to a restricted baggage handling area. Nearby, as television reporter Samantha “Sam” Coleman stops Col. Stuart for a comment about Esperanza’s extradition, he rudely rebuffs her. John enters the baggage area and sees Cochrane with an African-American named Miller. When John displays his badge and announces that they are in a restricted area, the men draw guns and a shootout ensues. Cochrane is crushed on a conveyer belt during the struggle, and as Miller escapes, John is arrested by two airport policemen. Taken to security chief Captain Carmine Lorenzo, John demands that airport police set up a crime scene investigation. Wary of shutting down the airport only days before Christmas, Lorenzo minimizes Cochrane’s death as a luggage robbery gone bad, despite John’s claim that one man carried a porcelain Glock 7 pistol that does not show up on airport metal detectors. John returns alone to the baggage area in time to see police carrying out Cochrane’s body. Borrowing a stamp pad ... +


New York police detective John McClane gets a parking ticket from a rude cop as soon as he arrives at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. Inside the terminal, John learns that his wife Holly’s flight from Los Angeles, California, is a half-hour late. Television sets herald the news that General Ramon Esperanza, a deposed, drug-smuggling Latin American dictator, is being extradited to the U.S. and will arrive in Washington that evening. John bumps into Colonel Stuart, but only vaguely recognizes him. Near Dulles, two of Stuart’s men murder the caretaker at an empty church. In an airport bar, John watches a man slide a suitcase under a table to Oswald Cochrane. When Cochrane leaves, John follows him to a restricted baggage handling area. Nearby, as television reporter Samantha “Sam” Coleman stops Col. Stuart for a comment about Esperanza’s extradition, he rudely rebuffs her. John enters the baggage area and sees Cochrane with an African-American named Miller. When John displays his badge and announces that they are in a restricted area, the men draw guns and a shootout ensues. Cochrane is crushed on a conveyer belt during the struggle, and as Miller escapes, John is arrested by two airport policemen. Taken to security chief Captain Carmine Lorenzo, John demands that airport police set up a crime scene investigation. Wary of shutting down the airport only days before Christmas, Lorenzo minimizes Cochrane’s death as a luggage robbery gone bad, despite John’s claim that one man carried a porcelain Glock 7 pistol that does not show up on airport metal detectors. John returns alone to the baggage area in time to see police carrying out Cochrane’s body. Borrowing a stamp pad from an airline desk, he takes the corpse’s fingerprints, calls Police Sergeant Al Powell in Los Angeles and faxes him the prints. Meanwhile, Trudeau, head of traffic control, tells his controllers the weather may keep airplanes circling overhead for a while. Later, Sgt. Powell telephones John to tell him Cochrane is listed as being killed two years earlier while working as a U.S. military advisor in Honduras. Reporter Sam Coleman recognizes John from the famous “Nakatomi” incident in Los Angeles and follows him to the control tower, where John shows Trudeau evidence that the dead man was a professional mercenary. Capt. Lorenzo tries to convince Trudeau not to listen to him. Suddenly, runway lights shut down and the control tower’s electronic system goes dead. Col. Stuart telephones Trudeau moments later and demands he divert General Esperanza’s airplane to an isolated runway and prepare an empty 747 cargo-conversion airplane for a long flight. Otherwise, he will start crashing airliners. At Capt. Lorenzo’s insistence, Trudeau orders John and Sam out of the control tower. As he leaves, John overhears chief engineer Leslie Barnes tell Trudeau he can reestablish communication by activating the “antennae array” at the airport’s “Annex Skywalk,” which is under construction. In the elevator, when Sam tells John that both he and Col. Stuart brushed her off, John remembers Stuart as the man he bumped into earlier. He stops the elevator and escapes through the roof. Making his way to the basement, John enlists Marvin, a janitor, to provide him with an airport map and the location of the Annex Skywalk. Meanwhile, Trudeau keeps airplanes in a holding pattern above Dulles and Capt. Lorenzo sends Leslie Barnes, along with a S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons and Tactics) team, to the Annex Skywalk. Mercenaries disguised as construction workers ambush the cops and kill them all except Barnes. As a gunman named O’Reilly prepares to execute the engineer, John arrives and shoots the would-be killer. Suddenly, an explosion destroys the annex “antennae array.” Overhead, Holly McClane and television reporter Richard “Dick” Thornberg both notice they are circling the airport with other airplanes. Listening to O’Reilly’s radio, John overhears Stuart threaten to crash an airplane. Cutting in on the colonel’s telephone call to Trudeau, John identifies Stuart by name, and Capt. Lorenzo shouts for McClane to shut up. Stuart recognizes John’s name from the Nakatomi news coverage. When John accuses Stuart of treason, the colonel replies that America’s leaders are the real traitors, because they are undermining the country’s “anti-Communist allies.” Col. Stuart orders his men to reactivate the airport’s landing system, but recalibrate ground level by minus-200 feet. As the only one who can contact pilots overhead, he imitates a ground controller and brings in an airliner for a landing. John rushes onto the runway with two improvised torches and tries to alert the airplane, but fog and snow obscure his efforts. The airplane hits the runway and explodes, killing everyone aboard. Trudeau demands that Barnes figure out a way for them to warn other pilots, then informs John that Holly’s airplane has only ninety minutes of fuel left. Overhead, sensing something wrong, Dick Thornberg tells his TV soundman to cut in on the pilot’s transmissions with his personal radio, but discovers there is no reception. On the ground, Major Grant, a special operations officer who trained Stuart, arrives with a commando squad. Engineer Barnes devises a way to transfer radio frequency to the airport’s “outer marker” beacons that automatically give off signals to aircraft. Barnes successfully contacts the pilot of Holly’s plane and explains the problem. Listening in the passenger section, Thornberg hears everything. When Trudeau gathers his staff in the pilots’ briefing room, John is forbidden to follow, so he returns to the basement and learns from Marvin how to get to the briefing room. Meanwhile, as his military plane approaches Dulles, General Esperanza kills his guard and shoots the pilot, but in the altercation he blasts a hole in the cockpit window. Taking the pilot’s seat, he radios Stuart that he is losing air pressure and has to land quickly. John hears the transmission over his radio. With instructions from Marvin, he hurries through a tunnel to the runway where Esperanza is landing and arrests him as he opens the airplane door. However, mercenaries arrive, send John scrambling for cover, and pull General Esperanza to safety. They riddle the cockpit with machine-gun fire and toss in several hand grenades. John straps himself in the pilot’s seat and pushes the “eject” button, sending him flying into the air a split second before the grenades blow up the plane. The mercenaries drive away, John lands by parachute on the runway, and Capt. Lorenzo’s men return him to the tower. There, Barnes guesses the mercenaries must be nearby, because they were able to react quickly to the general’s distress call. Barnes suggests a likely place is an old church on the west side of the airport, so he and John hurry there, and John kills the sentry. At that moment, Major Grant and his men, along with Captain Lorenzo, surround the church, but the mercenaries slip out the back door and escape on snowmobiles. John kills one man, grabs his semi-automatic rifle, and jumps on his snowmobile. In a firefight with Col. Stuart, John’s snowmobile is hit and catches fire, forcing him to crash into a ditch. Wondering why his rifle was ineffective, he checks the magazine and realizes the cartridges are blanks. Meanwhile, Thornberg contacts his television station by telephone and broadcasts what is happening above Dulles. Passengers in the terminals below panic and stampede. Holly borrows a fellow passenger’s stun gun and knocks Thornberg unconscious. When John convinces Lorenzo that Maj. Grant and his men are part of the terrorist operation, they hurry to the hangar where a 747 has been fueled for General Esperanza’s escape, but the airplane has already taxied onto the runway. Commandeering Sam Coleman’s news helicopter, John is dropped onto the airplane’s huge left wing and stuffs his jacket into an aileron, preventing the airplane from lifting off. Grant and Stuart climb onto the wing to stop him, but in the ensuing fight, Grant falls into the jet engine and John is nearly knocked off the front of the wing. Unscrewing one of the fuel caps and letting the liquid pour out, he drops to the ground. Sitting next to gasoline on the runway, he sets it afire with his cigarette lighter. Fire rushes along the string of fuel and follows the airplane into the air, turning it into a fireball that crashes onto the runway. Airline pilots use the long line of flames to land their airplanes, and John grabs Holly as she escapes down a chute. Captain Lorenzo arrives in time to tear up John’s parking ticket. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.