Is 'Die Hard' a real Christmas movie?
via Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Is 'Die Hard' a real Christmas movie?

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Let's look at the facts. "Die Hard" is set during an office holiday party on Christmas Eve, where protagonist John McClane frequently invokes the holiday, and the film features a holiday-inspired soundtrack. But haters say the film has nothing to do with the spirit of Christmas and is just another action film, albeit one with a holiday backdrop. It was even released in July! What do you think?

The Votes Are In!

Ever since BuzzFeed cataloged users on social media saying "Die Hard" is their favorite Christmas movie, the Internet has been split on how to label the 1988 John McTiernan-directed classic. Most Americans say it is not a Christmas movie, but the number of folks who keep adding it to lists of favorite Christmas films keeps growing every year.


Matt K. Lewis of the Daily Caller says any movie must pass two simple tests in order to be called a proper Christmas movie. The first test is that "the holidays must be an integral part of the storyline" for the movie—and for Lewis, "Die Hard" fails easily:

Die Hard is a terrific film, and it certainly benefits from the music and imagery of the holiday season. But (like Lethal Weapon) this film would have worked without that conceit. John McClane is in Los Angeles to attend a Christmas party, but he could have just as easily have headed out to L.A. for Thanksgiving—or spring break. Christmas creates a nice ambiance, but isn’t a vital part of this story.

The second rule is "the film should be released at Christmastime." Once again, "Die Hard" fails to meet Lewis' criteria:

And it’s interesting to note that Die Hard was released on July 14, 1988—right in the middle of a very hot summer. There was no attempt to label it a holiday film. And it would be revisionist history to suggest otherwise. Compare that to It’s a Wonderful Life (December 25, 1946), or even Love Actually (November 6, 2003.)

On the flipside, Drew Taylor of MovieFone says "Die Hard" is the greatest Christmas movie ever made. The action classic both embodies and celebrates Christmas for modern audiences—and the movie is filled with holiday imagery:

Another reason that "Die Hard" is the perfect Christmas movie is that it's loaded, front to back, with Christmas imagery. It's shocking, re-watching the film, how many Christmas trees are in the movie. Most are tiny, but they're all fully lit and totally cinematic (my favorite on is in the Los Angeles police station dispatch room). There are decorations all around the building, and the movie is one of the few to truthfully recreate the drunken, sloppy, under-the-mistletoe flirtatiousness of a work Christmas party. Even more than that is the fact that McClane uses these decorations -- at one point he taunts the thieves by sending a corpse down the elevator wearing a Santa hat (his sweatshirt reading, "Ho-Ho-Ho Now I Have a Machine Gun"), while at the end of the movie, he saves the day by affixing a gun to his back using gift wrapping tape.

Also, John McClane is basically Santa Claus with mad handgun skills:

John McClane's journey, too, somewhat mirrors that of old St. Nick. He travels down a chimney (or in this case a steely, multi-veined ventilation system), gets covered in soot, and awards the people of Nakatomi the biggest present he can afford: their lives. He also laughs, a lot, although if you were to phonetically spell it out, it probably wouldn't be ho-ho-ho. Instead, it'd be something more along the lines of yippe-ki-yay.

Plus, "Die Hard" succeeds in making people feel like it's Christmas. And isn't that what's most important?

But maybe the biggest reason that "Die Hard" is the best Christmas movie ever is that it's just Christmas enough to put you into the Christmas spirit, without ever drowning you in it. There aren't any carolers and not a single reindeer, but man does it get you in the mood for egg nog and questionable sweaters. 

A lot of people definitely believe "Die Hard" is absolutely not a Christmas movie.

And lot of people definitely believe "Die Hard" is absolutely a Christmas movie. Maybe, the best Christmas movie ever!

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