Point-counterpoint: Is ‘Die Hard’ a Christmas movie?

Two columnists debate whether or not 'Die Hard' is a Christmas movie.

December 13, 2018

Yippee Ki-Yay and happy holidays

“Welcome to the party, pal,” yelled my apartment’s TV as we put up our Christmas tree this year. Why? you may ask. Because Die Hard is not only an amazing movie, it’s also one of the rare action Christmas movies in the world.

Yes, Die Hard is a Christmas movie. Everything from its Santa-decorated robber/terrorist with writing saying, “Now I have a machine gun HO-HO-HO,” down to its festive use of RUN-DMC’s Christmas classic, “Christmas in Hollie.”

This film has aspects that truly makes it ring out as a Christmas movie, its soundtrack being a big selling point. Of its 11 tracks, five of them are Christmas songs.

Another aspect is the main plot is kicked off due to the holiday. John McClain is only in California because his wife works at Nakatomi Plaza. This makes him travel from NYC to LA to be with his family for the holiday.

But McClain must first stop at the Nakatomi Corp.’s Christmas party, and that’s when Hans Gruber enters with his robbers. The plot can only happen on Christmas, thus making it a Christmas movie.

Not only does this film have Christmas as a central plot point (reason that McClain is at Nakatomi Plaza), it also focuses on the value of family and why we tell the people in our lives we love them. Most of all it has an amazing maverick cop stopping terrorist/robbers. Yippee ki-yay and have a happy holiday season. 

Die Hard may be a classic, just not a Christmas classic

As an avid fan of all things Christmas, I find Die Hard on the very bottom of the list of movies to watch before the holiday season ends. Unlike others (including my own mother), I’d have to agree that Die Hard falls very short of being considered a Christmas movie.

Christmas, the Christian holiday marking the birth of Christ, is celebrated in many movies and music.  While sometimes the true meaning of Christmas is lost in those platforms, most forms of music and movies at least emphasize the giving aspect of the holiday if they do not showcase the religious aspect of the season.

Even humorous movies, such as National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, incorporate the importance of gratitude and family during Christmas. A favorite of mine, It’s a Wonderful Life, perfectly showcases the meaning of the holidays and power of prayer in a touching film. There is just no way the message of “everytime a bell rings, an angel gets his wings” compares to “Yippie-Ki-Yay” (with gunfire sounds in the background).

That characters in Die Hard are held hostage during a company holiday party does not qualify it as a Christmas movie. As viewers, we would not have noticed if there was lack of snow, a Christmas tree, or a holiday party to appreciate the plot of the movie. If the Christmas aspect of Die Hard is so easily erasable, it is safe to say that the movie should not be classified as a Christmas movie.

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