The Die Hard 3 Water Jug Solution

vengeance 3
This could happen to you! A terrorist could be threatening to blow up New York City and the only way to save it is to do math riddles. I’m afraid if you were depending on me, New York would have been history. But maybe you can do better…

Do get me wrong. I’m smart and clever and wise and intelligent. I can solve riddles with the best of them! But, throw in a time limit and the pressure of blowing up a park full of children, then (AND ONLY THEN) might I freeze up.

The riddle: In Die Hard with a Vengeance, John McClane and Zeus are given two empty jugs, a 3-gallon jug and a 5-gallon jug. They are then assigned to put exactly 4 gallons of water on a scale to shut off a bomb. Oh, and there’s a time limit. The scene is fairly chaotic and they talk over each other and mumble the solution, so here I am to slow it down for you and help you figure this thing out.

I know what you’re thinking… “Gee BFG, Die Hard with a Vengeance is only 19 years old. Thanks for the timely post.” My response: You’re welcome! Because, for me, every single time I look a two different sized water bottles, I think about this movie and try to figure it out again in my head.

Before I just tell you the answer, I’m going to give you a moment to figure it out for yourself. I’m going to put a picture of Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson in Die Hard 3 to bump down the solution while you mentally try to solve it.

vengeance 1

Still not ready? Okay, how about this one…

vengeance 4

You haven’t solved it yet? Okay, but this is the last picture you’re getting!


Oops! That one’s from Unbreakable! Try this one instead:


Aw, nuts! That’s a Pulp Fiction promo shot. This next one is definitely from Die Hard 3.

vengeance 2

That’s better.

Okay, this is it! The solution to the puzzle that will very likely help you save someone’s life someday…

For reals, here it comes…

No more stalling…

The final answer…

Right below these words…

Okay, below these words…


  1. Fill up the 5-gallon jug.
  2. Pour three gallons of it into the 3-gallon jug.
  3. Dump the three gallons out.
  4. Pour the remaining two gallons from the 5-gallon jug into the 3-gallon jug.
  5. Refill the 5-gallon jug.
  6. Pour 1 gallon out of the 5-gallon jug into the leftover space of the 3-gallon jug.
  7. You are left with 4 gallons in the 5-gallon jug!

Congratulations, New York is saved! You are a true hero!

Did you figure it out without reading the answer? Let me know!



5 thoughts on “The Die Hard 3 Water Jug Solution

  1. Okay, I got this. Fill the 5, dump 3 into the 3. You have 2 left over. Dump the 3 and fill it with the 2 left over from the five. Fill the five and fill the 3 to the top. In the 5 you now have 4 left over. Ta-da! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How about this:

    Fill the 3. Pour it into the 5.
    Fill the 3 again. Pour into and fill the 5.
    Dump the 5.
    Poor the 1 that is left in your 3 into the 5.
    Fill the 3, and pour into the 5.

    Voila, 4 gallons.

    Liked by 1 person

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