Die Hard is a Christmas movie. The article should end there. That’s it. How can one watch that movie, and not think it’s a Christmas movie? Is it because it’s an action movie where John McClane is killing terrorists/criminals? Is it because your brain isn’t developed enough to comprehend the finer points of cinema? Who knows. But really, for the people out there who don’t get it, and maybe for some of the people who do, let’s lay it all out on the line. Welcome to the party, pal. This is why Die Hard is a Christmas movie.
1. The Movie Does Not Happen, Unless It’s EXACTLY Christmas Season
This should be the main reason why anyone who’s dumb enough to argue that this isn’t a Christmas movie, to just give up. What’re some of the greatest Holiday/Christmas movies out there? It’s A Wonderful Life (more on this one later), The Santa Clause, Elf, Home Alone (also more on this one), The Nightmare Before Christmas (don’t get me started about this one), Christmas Vacation, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the list goes on and on. What do these movies (some of them) have in common? They all DO NOT HAPPEN UNLESS IT’S CHRISTMAS. That’s right folks, same with Die Hard.
The Nakatomi Plaza is a fantastic setting for a film. Whether it’s a romantic comedy that hasn’t been made yet, or Die Hard. Sure, it’s under construction still, but the majority of the building is done. So when John McClane strolls in for Christmas to surprise his wife and kids, it has to be Christmas. There’s a big party going on! What other holiday would have a party like this going on?
As much as I now want to see John McClane at a Halloween party, that doesn’t really fit. A Fourth of July party? Now that would be outside, and I’m sure John McClane would rather spend his time in New York. Here’s the last ditch effort, does this movie still happen if it’s a New Year’s Party? That’s the big question. But I don’t think it does, John and Holly McClane have a strained relationship. So naturally, the one holiday that usually brings people together and let’s them reconciliate, is Christmas.
The Robbers Wouldn’t Do This For Any Other Holiday
Like the points above, take some time to really think about what other holidays Hans Gruber and his boys would do this heist for? Because you can’t. Christmas is the only option. I always say that Back To The Future might be the tightest screenplay ever written, but Die Hard is not too far behind. At any point you can question what’s going on and why, but the answers are rock solid. Everything in the film happens for a reason that shows up later in the film. That’s the sign of a great film. You get paid off on everything that happens.
This is turning into a review of Die Hard, which is not the intended reason for this article. Hans Gruber’s grand plan of pretending to be terrorists to kidnap people, grab the money, blow the roof, and fly off to a beach somewhere to live off the money, is foolproof and tight. It just didn’t account for John McClane being there.
Hans Gruber even gets into the holiday spirit during the film. So that leads us to our second point.
2. It Has Christmas Music And Jokes
Now I have a machine gun. Ho-Ho-Ho.John McClane to Hans Gruber on a note.
The film has egg nog in it. That should really be enough to qualify for the thick headed people out there. That’s not enough? Well refer to the image above. Because that’s a Santa hat and “Ho ho ho”. You’ve got “Jingle Bells”, “Let It Snow”, “Ode To Joy” (similarly debated as to whether it’s a Christmas song now), and the Christmas Classic “Christmas In Hollis” by Run D.M.C.. So you can add that to the pile of evidence.
Like kids ripping open presents on Christmas morning, Hans Gruber and his boys rip into that safe. “Ode to Joy” blasting on your speakers, you feel the same rush of emotions that everyone feels on those cold mornings.
Outside of that, you’ve got other jokes and nods to Christmas. But the thing that makes a Christmas movie, a Christmas movie, is the presence of themes, jokes, and music. Otherwise, what the hell is the point?
3. It’s More Of A Christmas Movie Than It’s A Wonderful Life Or Home Alone
I said it. It’s A Wonderful Life is a classic film. It’s the shining example, in some people’s minds, of a holiday film. Well guess what. Mr. Potter could have been a dickhead to George Bailey at any point in the year. Maybe it has to be the winter for George to try to kill himself in the frozen river, but it’s just advantageous to the story that Mr. Potter was a dick ON Christmas. This might be the hottest take I’ve ever written, but I’m standing by it. Die Hard has more relevance to the holiday, more holiday cheer, and unless I’m missing that long-lost director’s cut where Frank Capra had George Bailey lay waste to Mr. Potter’s office with a machine gun, Die Hard wins.
Home Alone is no different. The McCallister family can go on a vacation at any time, really. It just so happens that it’s near Christmas. This one is more of a stretch, but Kevin McCallister and John McClane would probably be pretty good friends. That’s a team-up that I want to see.
The point with this whole thing, is to show you the idea of a Christmas movie is a pretty nebulous thing. Take all the other classics of the genre, besides certain ones, and you can fit it into other holidays, other days, other seasons, and so on.
The Lethal Weapon Sized Elephant In The Room
You might be sitting there wondering, “All these things seem to fit into the parameters of Lethal Weapon“.
Well, you just started another debate. If it’s such a slippery slope that we allow Die Hard into the pantheon of Christmas movies, does that mean Lethal Weapon sneaks in as well? It does fit some of the reasoning why Die Hard is. But there is one slight issue. Die Hard does not happen unless it’s Christmas. Lethal Weapon can happen outside of Christmas. But it does have holiday music and jokes. So I guess that one is for you to decide. I love Lethal Weapon, so I count it as a Christmas movie.
But you might not. And that, is okay. However, if you don’t think Die Hard is a Christmas movie, that’s not okay, go get your head checked, and re-read this article.
The Real Reason You Don’t Think It’s A Christmas Movie (Besides Your Cold, Dead Heart)
I think the real reason is that some subsection of the population has a natural aversion to action movies. It might be too macho. It might be something else. I’m just guessing that you have this predetermined notion of a Christmas movie in your head, and the sight of John McClane shooting terrorists breaks that whole thing. Do me a favor. If you hate Die Hard AND you sat through this whole thing, go watch the movie again. If you’re with your family right now, and being safe, get the family together and watch it.
If you don’t think it’s a Christmas movie after you watch it (likely for the first time, because anyone who’s actually seen the movie and enjoyed it, you’ll know it’s a Christmas movie) then you can @ me on Twitter. @HunterBolding.
That’s the one reason I can think of. That, besides that cold, dead, uninspired, heart of yours, that you would think this movie isn’t a Christmas classic.
The most important thing to remember during Christmas season is: what would John McClane do?
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