In 2007, Time to 'Live Free or Die' at the Movies This year, the New Hampshire motto, "Live Free or Die," makes its appearance in the title of two movies. One is an offbeat comedy about a would-be criminal who struggles to escape the dreariness of his northern New Hampshire town. The other is the fourth Die Hard film.

In 2007, Time to 'Live Free or Die' at the Movies

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Now a note about two new movies and about the history of New Hampshire. In 1809, Revolutionary War hero General John Stark uttered these words:

Unidentified Man: Live free or die. Death is not the worst of evils.

SIEGEL: Stark was from Londonderry, New Hampshire. In 1945, the state abbreviated his remark about freedom and mortality and sacrifice, and made it the official motto of the Granite State. And then in 1971, the motto appeared on automobile license plates from New Hampshire.

This year, that motto makes its appearance in the title of, not one, but two motion pictures. One is an offbeat comedy about a would-be criminal who's struggling to escape the dreariness of his northern New Hampshire hometown.

(Soundbite of comedy movie "Live Free or Die")

Mr. AARON STANFORD (Actor): (As John "Rugged" Rudgate) Chicago had Al Capone. New Mexico had Billy the Kid. And New Hampshire has Rugged.

SIEGEL: The other movie is an action-adventure flick about a criminal plot to take down the entire computer and technological structure that supports the economy of the United States. The hero of that film is police detective John McClane, played by Bruce Willis.

(Soundbite of movie "Live Free or Die Hard")

SIEGEL: Actually the full title of this movie is "Live Free or Die Hard." It's the fourth part of the ongoing series of adventures of the cop who always finds himself in the wrong spot at the right time. And the screenplay here seems to have summer blockbuster written all over it with scenes like this one.

(Soundbite of movie "Live Free or Die Hard")

SIEGEL: The other "Live Free or Die" has low budget indie written all over it. It does have the advantage of coming out first in theaters this weekend. But it has the disadvantage of opening on only a handful of screens, all of them in New England.

It won a couple of festival awards and it's written and directed by Hollywood pros - two writers from "Seinfeld." They are Gregg Kavet and Andy Robin. Robin says they were committed to the title from the beginning.

Mr. ANDY ROBIN (Writer-Director, "Live Free or Die"): "Live Free Or Die" on the license plates, you know, it's a threat directly from the license plate to the car behind you. And it really epitomized what our main character is, a guy who's really trying to project a much bigger image than he has.

SIEGEL: And what's ironic, says Gregg Kavet, is that they both are big "Die Hard" fans.

Mr. GREGG KAVET (Writer-Director, "Live Free or Die"): I don't know for sure that they stole it, but we didn't offer Bruce Willis the role. You know, and why pick "Live Free or Die Hard"? They have so many juicier titles to pick from, not least of which is "Die Hardest."

SIEGEL: And the pair suspect that they may actually benefit from the confusion "Die Hard" fans might have at the multiplex. Kavet is looking forward to a few people mistakenly stumbling into their movie.

Mr. KAVET: If they're looking for comedy and they're really into Bruce Willis, they'll only be disappointed on one count.

SIEGEL: Gregg Kavet who with Andy Robin made the movie "Live Free or Die" that's opening this week in New England. The movie "Live Free or Die Hard" is due out this summer.

(Soundbite of music)

SIEGEL: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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