The Great Christmas Debate: Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?

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Star Wars or Star Trek? Coke or Pepsi? Batman or Superman? There are some debates that echo through the course of history pitting friend against friend, parent against kid, sibling against sibling. But one debate always seems to rear its head during the holidays: Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? So come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs, and let’s explore both sides of this thing.

Die Hard Is Not A Christmas Movie

The key argument most people point out when lining up on the “not a Christmas movie” side is that Christmas is not a central (or even necessary) part of the plot. The party that places everyone in Nakatomi Plaza could very well have been for another reason. Granted, Christmas makes the most sense for a man to travel from New York to L.A for a party, but I suppose it could have been some other holiday.

Another thing people point to is the lack of many classic Christmas motifs such as Santa Claus, elves, reindeer, and even snow. It does seem a tad strange for a Christmas movie to omit Santa Claus and the white stuff, but it does take place in L.A, there is a Christmas tree, and fans have pointed out the appearance of a Santa statue in Holly’s office.

One of the most damning pieces of evidence against it being a Christmas movie is that John McClain himself said it’s not. At his own Comedy Central Roast, Bruce Willis made the statement that “Die Hard is not a Christmas movie, it’s a…Bruce Willis Movie”. This was said during a comedy roast so it very well could have been a joke, but it is still a counterpoint that comes up constantly and Bruce Willis has never gone back on the statement he made.

One of the more flimsy accusations against Die Hard is that it’s far too violent to be a Christmas movie. While it’s true you never see Charlie Brown, Raplhie, or Frosty The Snowman pop a cap in someone, maybe a lot of these other Christmas movie problems could have been solved a lot quicker if Santa had a machine gun (ho, ho, ho).

Die Hard Is A Christmas Movie

Now onto the good stuff. I think it’s pretty obvious what side of this issue I’m on but in case you missed it…Die Hard is definitely a Christmas movie and there are so many compelling reasons why.

The most obvious reason that Die Hard is a Christmas movie is that it takes place on Christmas Eve. Many people claim that just because it’s set during Christmas time, that doesn’t automatically qualify it as a Christmas movie, however, you are hard-pressed to find a movie set during Christmas that isn’t a Christmas movie (not to mention if you agree with this logic, then “It’s A Wonderful Life” is also not a Christmas movie). They exist, but they are few and far between. Also, if the only thing Die Hard had going for it was that it was set during Christmas, you would have a point, but it’s the setting, combines with so many other things, that make it a Christmas movie.

What other things you might ask? Well, I’m glad you did. For one, the soundtrack is loaded with Christmas songs like “Winter Wonderland”, “Jingle Bells”, and “Let It Snow”. A movie with so many Christmas songs but isn’t a Christmas movie? Ridiculous. You could put the Die Hard soundtrack on during your Christmas Dinner and no one would be able to tell the difference between that and a Michael Buble Christmas Album.

The themes in Die Hard also point clearly to the fact that it’s a Christmas movie. A warm ending, good triumphing over evil, and a man who travels across the country, overcoming terrible odds to rekindle the love of his family. What’s more Christmas than that? The imagery of John McClain squeezing down a chimney (vent/elevator Shaft) and the fact that his wife’s name is Holly also ticks a few more boxes.

Possibly the best reason that Die Hard is indeed a Christmas movie has to be the fact that the man who wrote the screenplay, Steven E. De Souza, says it is. Sometimes movies become more than what the artists intended and what a movie is, ultimately falls on the audience to interpret, but when the screenwriter says it’s a Christmas movie, who are we to question?

Related Entertainment News: The best holiday movies, ranked (and where you can stream them)

If you love Die Hard and think it’s a Christmas movie, watch it at Christmas and if you Don’t, watch something else. One side can enjoy this Christmas classic in all its intended glory, and the other side can be wrong. It’s really that simple.


Featured Image: Diehard.fandom.com

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