Opinion: Is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?

As we move closer to the holidays, controversy always occurs whether some movies constitute as a Christmas movie

As the holiday season grows ever closer, people are dreading the inevitability of being hounded with the multiple Christmas movies and specials that are broadcasted over and over again. As they settle down to spend hours watching these movies to get into the holiday spirit, one movie might catch their attention and will either fill them with delight or disappointment. This movie has been the subject of many debates on whether it even is a Christmas movie, or if it should even be shown alongside films like “Elf” or “Home Alone.” That movie is Die Hard.”

Die Hard is an action movie released on July 15, 1988. The film follows New York cop John McClane, played by Bruce Willis, as he travels to Los Angeles on Christmas Eve to see his wife Holly, who works in a high-rise owned by the Nakatomi corporation. While he is there, the building is taken hostage by terrorists led by Hans Gruber, played by the late Alan Rickman. As he hides from the terrorists within the building, John must thwart their terrorists’ plans, save his wife, and avoid being shot by the LAPD, who keep mistaking him for one of terrorists. Based on that description alone, people will argue that there’s no way Die Hard could be considered a Christmas movie. However, despite this, there are arguments that Die Hard could fall under the qualifications to be a Christmas movie. By the way, there will be some major spoilers for the movie.

As stated before, the movie takes place on Christmas Eve. The entire point of why John travels to L.A. is to visit Holly. He normally wouldn’t visit her if it wasn’t Christmas. Christmas is featured heavily throughout the movie. John arrives at Holly’s office while a Christmas party is going on. After John and one of the terrorists get in a fight and John kills him, he takes his gun, dresses him up with a Santa hat, and sends him down the elevator with the message “Now I have a machine gun. Ho-ho-ho” written on the terrorist’s shirt. At the end of the movie, John is able to beat Hans by tapping a handgun to his back with Christmas-themed tape and shoots him. Lastly, the movie ends with the popular Christmas song “Let it Snow.”Therefore, these facts are indisputable evidence that Die Hard is a Christmas movie, but there is something else that could make Die Hard a Christmas movie.

Not only does Die Hard show that it is a Christmas movie, it shows that any movie can be a Christmas movie. A 2018 article from the Hollywood Reporter states that “In the end, no matter how passionately anyone argues his or her case, the Die Hard debate is unlikely to die because Christmas movies are not a distinct ‘genre.’ The label is subject to personal definition. If someone considers a Christmas film to be any picture with even a glimpse of the holiday, then that’s what it is, to them.On the flip side, there’s yet another way to define ‘Christmas movie’: a film that we love to revisit with friends and family at Christmastime not for any holiday content but simply for its pure, escapist entertainment value — a Marx Brothers comedy, perhaps, or a Gene Kelly musical, or a James Bond film. In fact, there’s even a Bond film that significantly incorporates Christmas: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969).” 

Everyone has different traditions for how they celebrate Christmas. No celebration is the same. For my family, we watch “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” which is undoubtedly one of the funniest movies ever made. However, this is not the same for someone else’s family, as they might watch something else or have different Christmas traditions. That’s the great thing about Christmas. Everyone can celebrate the holiday how they want with who they want. It’s the same with Christmas movies. Anyone can think something is a Christmas movie if they sit down and watch it around the holidays. Whether or not you agree with the argument that Die Hard is a Christmas movie based on its plot is irrelevant. It’s all based on how you celebrate with the ones you love, and if that involves watching a movie like Die Hard, then that is enough to call it a Christmas movie.