Yuletide Conspiracy: Is ‘Die Hard’ a Christmas Movie?

Yuletide Conspiracy: Is ‘Die Hard’ a Christmas Movie?

There’s ‘9/11 was an inside job.’ Maybe ‘JFK: Oswald or U.S. government.’ How about ‘the Moon Landing was a stunt.’ Perhaps ‘Bigfoot’ or ‘Area 51’?

Conspiracy theories are everywhere. Close to one of every three people in the United States believe in one theory or another. What’s yours? ‘#SnyderCut: Does it exist? (Update: We know now!)

Now that we have your attention: One of the most bandied-about, cinematic seasonal notes is about a simple movie in 1988 that ended up as an action-movie bonanza and perpetual cult classic for decades. Yet, we can all agree on its status in cinematic history, we can never agree on its timing.

Say it with me…

Is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?

Cinephiles Everywhere

Every time you have seen the Nakatomi Tower, do you hear “Let It Snow” and see cheap, dollar store Christmas lights everywere? Well, Yippee-Ki-Yay-M@th#r F@%ker!

Settling the Seasonal Die Hard Debate

No matter what time of the year you see Die Hard, it is one of the best action films ever. Now, is it a Christmas movie?
Source: 20th Century Fox/Silver Pictures/Gordon Company

Die Hard is, without question, one of the best action movies of all time. This franchise is the prototype upon which many franchises have been created. From Bourne to MI:1-7, they all share similar action characteristics.

Much like any genre, “Christmas movies” share similar characteristics as well:

  • The movie is portrayed during the Holidays
  • Yuletide paraphernalia litters the screen (i.e., lights, holiday tunes, Santa hat)
  • A theme imbued with the Holiday Spirit

We learn immediately that it’s Christmas Eve at 2121 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067. (Fun Fact: The real corporate HQ of FOX is here.) The snow, the music, the crazed airport — all are holiday staples. And all are featured prominently throughout Die Hard.

Sure, there have been other movies that cross the Christmas aisle (e.g., Sleepless in Seattle, Harry Potter, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns) but those are not considered “Christmas movies.”

That’s not the case with Die Hard. 

What about the paraphernalia? Starting with that big dopey teddy bear to Sergeant Al Powell humming a Christmas classic before he gorges on Twinkies, there are flakes of the Holidays scattered throughout this movie.

Blink… and you’ll trip over a winter reference. Shoot, that’s why McClane was on the plane in the first place — to check in on his family during the holidays.

A Die Hard Theme

hans gruber christmas
Another Fun Fact: Alan Rickman, scared of heights, didn’t know he was being dropped. That look of fear is real!

That leads us to the “Christmas Theme.” All the great holiday classics have one:

  • Home Alone — Family
  • It’s a Wonderful Life — Grace
  • A Christmas Carol — Redemption
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation — Relationships
  • A Christmas Story — Mall Santas Really Suck

And Die Hard (again) is no different.

Easily, one of the paramount Yuletide greetings involve family. Sure, Det. McClane’s wife is no longer using his last name, but as soon as Hans’ gang of terrorists enter the scene, Die Hard was all about family and reuniting with his wife and kids. All with a backdrop of Christmas Carols and Seasons’ Greetings.

If none of that settles this debate, let’s look at endorsements.

During the much ballyhooed ‘Bruce Willis Roast‘ on Comedy Central in 2018, he screamed in the microphone declaring Die Hard is not a Christmas movie rather, “It’s a f*ck!ng Bruce Willis movie!”

Since narcissism isn’t a flourishing holiday trait, he was disqualified. Someone who was also close to the film was screenwriter of the flick, Steven E. de Souza. One day in 2017 (yes, the debate rages on many years later), CNN anchor Jake Tapper got into the argument, when the guy who wrote the thing chimed in with this:

Suffice to say, if the guy who helped create the movie rings true about the movie, we can connect all the dots and accept reality.

Die Hard? Ho-Ho-Ho!  


Film images courtesy of 20th Century Fox/Silver Pictures/Gordon Pictures
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