Not your average holiday film

Is ‘Die Hard’ really a Christmas movie?


photo by ScreenRant

by Esme Harkess, staff

A terrorist takeover. Hostages. Shootings, explosions, and a dramatic finale. Not exactly the stuff of Hallmark holiday movies like “The Christmas Promise” or “You, Me, and the Christmas Tree.”

But the 1988 action film, “Die Hard,” starring Bruce Willis is definitely a Christmas movie.

“Die Hard,” directed by John McTiernan, follows John McClane (Bruce Willis), an undercover policeman in California visiting his wife and family at a holiday party at the high rise office where his wife, with whom he’s hoping to reconcile, works. When the party gets interrupted by a group of terrorists looking to steal millions from the building’s vault, McClane realizes there is no one to save him and the hostages but himself. Again, not exactly your typical holiday movie plotline.

But “Die Hard” is in fact a Christmas movie for the main reason that it literally takes place on Christmas Eve. But that’s not the only reason. Despite its unconventional holiday story, it does share many of the common elements of a holiday movie: it’s full of love in the air, holly jollyness, hope, gifts, redemption, family and friends, and of course multiple appearances of the Santa hat. The setting for this movie is, after all, a holiday party and you can even see Christmas decorations in the background of most scenes.

Even though the movie is different from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” or “Elf,” it has its own Christmas theme to it, turning Christmas into action and adventure. It’s a good Christmas movie for those of us over the age of 10. McClane sees the endangered people stuck in the building held hostage by the group of terrorists and through a series of explosions, gun fire, and chase scenes with no way to get out, Santa McClane saves the day.

Lastly, in every staple Christmas movie there’s usually snow and, low and behold, in this movie there is too – at the end when everything ends well and all are happy and cheerful. You feel relieved that everyone is saved and safe, and you feel very much in the spirit for Christmas.