Is ‘Die Hard’ a Christmas Movie?
Every year as we watch uber-terrorist Hans Gruber get his comeuppance in a glorious fall off the Nakatomi Building at the hands of our "Nation's Greatest Hero" (TM), the question is once again debated in a heated fashion:
IS DIE HARD A CHRISTMAS MOVIE?
Not only does this author steadfastly believe that Die Hard IS a Christmas Movie, but that Die Hard 2 also qualifies for such lofty stature in the holiday vernacular. After all, both movies are centered around the desire to reach your family during the holidays, if not for those pesky terrorists that always seem to show up to ruin the Christmas Spirit.
However, there are those who firmly are of the opinion that Die Hard is nothing more than a testosterone-soaked excuse to blow stuff up. To that, I offer up this response:
With that in mind, I offer up the following examples to support both opinions.
PRO: People are traveling for the holidays.
Holly McClane moved her kids to L.A. to take a lucrative job with the Nakatomi Corporation, while her selfish, ass of a husband decoded to stay behind to catch bad guys in New York. So, he's doing the only proper thing: flying out to spend Christmas with his wife and kids.
CON: No company has its Christmas Party on Christmas Eve
Usually, company holiday parties happen a week or two prior to Christmas to accommodate for employee vacations, etc. Mr. Takagi (RIP) should have known this, which makes him a cruel boss. So, this is strictly fantasy and unrealistic.
PRO: There's Christmas symbolism everywhere
From the Christmas wrapping tape that John McClane uses to conceal a pistol before popping a cap in Hans Gruber, to the Santa Hat and message that he places on a dead terrorist, it's obvious that our hero is consumed with the Spirit of Christmas. And rage. Besides, now...he has a machine gun. Ho Ho Ho.
CON: Christmas is NOT the Reason for the Season
I'm pretty sure that the heist would have happened regardless of the time of year, as long as they had the staff sequestered in one small area and unfettered access to the building. It could have been a random weekend when a few folks were working during off hours. The fact that a Christmas party had been planned was mere convenience for the terrorists. It only complicated their situation when John McClane stopped by his wife's office before going to a hotel or something. Also, if McClane's flight had been delayed or something, the movie doesn't exist.
PRO: Ellis Dies
This is the gift that keeps on giving. You're lying if you weren't SCREAMING for Hans to dispatch this sleazeball. It's a Christmas Miracle! Capiche?
CON: It's really more of a Lifetime movie
What the heckety heck? Yup. We know Lifetime is seriously invested in the Christmas Movie phenomenon, with a new one being produced at a rate that rivals the spread of Covid-19. However, at its heart, Die Hard is a LOVE STORY. A tale of a broken family, and a man who needs to see the error of his ways to be the father and husband that his wife and children deserve. Plus, he wastes bad guys. Lots of 'em.
PRO: It's Home Alone with automatic weapons
We all love Home Alone (the first one, not the crappy sequels after Macaulay Culkin grew up), and the premise is similar. Bad guys take advantage of Christmas to steal things, and an unlikely hero saves the day. Kevin McCallister uses cans of paint, while John McClane paints the walls with the blood of his enemies. Besides, we almost unanimously acknowledge Home Alone as a Christmas classic even though it was really about negligent parenting.
CON: Die Hard did NOT come out at Christmastime
It was released on July 15th, 1988, so it's more of a summer blockbuster than anything. Christmas was just a plot device.
So, those are just a few arguments that can be made, although there are many more that could be discussed. But, in my mind, Die Hard IS a Christmas Movie. So is Lethal Weapon, but that's another argument for another day.
Yippee Ki Yay...