It’s that time of year again – not to snuggle up by the fire and roast some chestnuts, but to watch John McClane deal with European thieves hijacking his office Christmas mixer inNakatomi Plaza. Frankly, it’s also around this time that this continues to spark debate in the film community –Is ‘Die Hard’ a Christmas movie?
Despite its frequent explosions and spy-filled escapades, this action-packed blockbuster continues to make its rounds in family homes during Christmas. We’ll acquaint you with a few reasons Die Hard is a Christmas movie – and one of the greatest of all time, at that.
The movie's plot surrounds the fact that John McClane is trying to reach his family for the holidays. He’s just arrived in L.A. in an attempt to reconcile with his estranged wife, Holly (whose name also has Christmas vibes, mind you) when the action begins.
Does that whole thing sound familiar to you? If so, it’s because that’s just about the storyline of any other feel-good Christmas flick you’ve watched growing up. Estranged families coming back together for the holidays are just the perfect thing to make you feel warm and gushy inside – and it’s one of the reasons Die Hard is so good around this time of year.
You frequently see it in Christmas movies – a cold and stern man turning soft and loving after being touched by the holiday spirit. That’s much like John McClane, starting out as a cop and struggling to balance his work, romantic, and family life. Then, when he’s called out to enjoy the holiday season with his family, he desperately tries to apologize to his neglected wife. Now, this is the kind of message – reconciliation, and love – everyone likes to see around the happiest time of year!
3. The film takes place on Christmas Eve.
A defining reason that declares Die Hard a Christmas movie. Duh. If it took place on any other day, this debate wouldn’t exist. The film includes Christmas trees and a fair number of references. Remember the limo driver, Argyle, declaring, “If this is your idea of Christmas, I gotta be here for New Year’s”?
Christmas movies usually aren’t the most complex in plot and storyline, but the predictability keeps consumers flocking over to the same holiday movies year after year. People love a simple film that comforts the soul, and in Die Hard, scenes like McClane saving his wife from a pack of threatening terrorists are enough to pull on the heartstrings. Sure, Die Hard may be a little more action-packed and brutal than average Christmas movies, but it nevertheless will get you into the holiday spirit.
What’s a Christmas movie without an appearance from jolly old Saint Nick? Granted, Die Hard’s portrayal of our sleigh-riding Kris Kringle isn’t what you’d typically expect from a Christmas film, but hey, it’s still Santa! A terrorist wearing the classic red-and-white Santa hat meets his untimely demise, but we’d still count this one as a feature that puts this film in the Christmas books.
“Now I have a machine gun, ho, ho, ho.” That’s the line most people remember when it comes to Die Hard, and it’s no shocker that it pays homage to Christmas idol Santa Claus. It may be a humorous take on the jolly red man’s famous slogan, but it gets people going wild around this time of year.
You probably think there’s no way you could compare Die Hard to the bible, but hear us out. John McClane’s weariness as he winds down in his hotel room could compare to Joseph and Mary’s stop in Bethlehem, where they would bring the son of God into the world.
Then, like the three Wise Men who came bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, McClane also comes up with his own trio of holiday cheer – bullets, explosives, and a few chokes here and there. A little less heartwarming, sure, but at least he cared enough to bring something!
There isn’t a year that goes by without radios blasting Christmas tunes all day and night, which means everyone should be acquainted with Frank Sinatra’s Let It Snow and Run DMC’s Christmas in Hollis. The film features these songs while McClane runs wild in his thrilling escapades. After all, if this wasn’t a Christmas movie, why are Christmas songs even playing?
Die Hard has many characteristics of a classic, feel-good Christmas film – the touching romance, the family values, and most importantly, the villain. Alan Rickman brings villainry at its best in his portrayal of Hans Gruber, a capitalist villain looking to steal money. If that doesn’t sound familiar, think of Old Man Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life. Clearly, it’s nothing new to see greed and capitalism overcome during the holiday season.
Name a better bromance than John McClane and Al Powell. We’ll wait. Although these two only get a few minutes of screen time together, McClane and Powell are a classic representation of what it means to be a friend. Granted, you might not be saving your friends from a terrorist attack any time soon, but it’s the idea behind it that matters – friends always have each other’s backs.
Yipee Ki-yay, we’ve made it to the end of the list! Clearly, Die Hard has many of the classic characteristics of a good old Christmas film. It’s packed with references to the jolly season and even shows us the importance of being with family and friends for the holidays.