“Die Hard”: the Christmas movie


Twentieth Century Fox

The critically-acclaimed movie “Die Hard” became a source of opposing viewpoints as to whether or not it could count as a Christmas movie due to the nature of the genre that it represents: action. Despite people saying that it does not fit the theme of a Christmas movie, it does take place on Christmas and there remains a substantial spike in viewership of the movie during the Christmas season.

William Mullinax, Reporter

The beloved action movie, “Die Hard”, released in July of 1988, remains a source of contention on whether or not it constitutes a Christmas movie. The debate regarding it as a Christmas movie stems from the setting of “Die Hard”, seeing as it takes place on Christmas; the film itself does not follow the typical holiday movie route of romance or comedy. Instead, the film features an action-heavy hostage situation within a highrise building where the main character John McClaine, played by Bruce Willis, acts out a shootout with Hans Gruber, played by Alan Rickman. From the playing of Christmas music in a car to Gruber saying to one of his henchmen, “It’s Christmas, Theo, it’s the time of miracles”, 21 total references to the famed holiday exist throughout the film. Despite people saying the film does not fit the stereotypical Christmas movie theme, several families undoubtedly watch it as their annual Christmas movie. 

The overall premise of the adaptation may not heavily rely on Christmas, but it does not fail to use the holiday to its advantage when making witty jokes at the expense of the terrorists in a Christmas-themed fashion. This, however, does not take away from the obvious festive undertones shown throughout the film, such as the stuffed bear McClaine trying to deliver to his family. This evidence shows clearly that “Die Hard” constitutes a Christmas movie.

“‘Die Hard’ is most definitely a Christmas movie. I believe that it perfectly embodies the Christmas spirit. Also, it takes place during Christmas and has Christmas music in the movie,” junior Dylan Alves said.

Numerous families have made watching “Die Hard” a Christmas tradition in their family. The adoption of “Die Hard” as a Christmas film not only provides an action aspect to holiday movies but also shows the wide variety of films that can come on holidays like horror, science fiction and of course, action. A number of people continue to disagree with the idea that the film qualifies as a Christmas movie– people usually categorize holiday films with the standard rom-com genre. Those who do not think that the adaption exhibits the correct characteristics as does a regular holiday movie provide their opinions based on the fact that a majority of Christmas films usually feature a lighthearted story.

Others keep an open mind and come to a consensus that watching “Die Hard” stands as an important tradition for families and acts as an escape from the sea of rom-com Christmas movies. Families may divide on whether or not the movie counts as one with sufficient holiday spirit or not, but a myriad of families that watch it on Christmas can agree that the film became an important tradition for them. Whether or not “Die Hard” acts as a Christmas movie or not still remains up for debate, but no question remains about the quality of the movie, especially when the number of times the movie plays on the holiday becomes taken into account.

The graph depicts the standard search for the movie “Die Hard” in the U.S., showing that the highest peaks in the searches appear on or around Christmas. This remains conclusive evidence that “Die Hard” constitutes a Christmas movie. (www.stephenfollows.com)

“I believe it has become a fun tradition of many people to watch ‘Die Hard’ close to Christmas or on Christmas Eve. It’s a fun way to spend time with your family and I, like many people like to think it’s a Christmas tradition to watch John McClaine defeat Hans Gruber,” senior Mia Courtney said.