Is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?

Is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?

The Endless Debate on Whether 'Die Hard' Is a Christmas Movie"

Written 29th November 2023 | Subscribe to our Christmas newsletter

The holiday season is a time for traditions, festive decorations, and cozying up with loved ones to watch classic Christmas movies. However, in recent years, a seemingly unconventional contender has entered the debate over what constitutes a Christmas film – "Die Hard." The action-packed thriller, originally released in 1988, has sparked a spirited discussion among movie enthusiasts and casual viewers alike. Is "Die Hard" truly a Christmas movie, or is it merely an action film that happens to be set during the holiday season?

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Image credit: Vieriu Adrian/20th Century Fox/Getty)

The Plot:

"Die Hard" follows New York City police officer John McClane, played by Bruce Willis, as he battles a group of terrorists who have taken hostages in a Los Angeles skyscraper during a corporate Christmas party. The film's setting, filled with twinkling lights, festive decorations, and a soundtrack featuring classic holiday tunes, certainly aligns with the Christmas season. However, does the holiday backdrop alone qualify it as a Christmas movie?

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The Criteria for a Christmas Movie:

Defining what makes a movie a Christmas movie can be subjective, but certain elements are commonly associated with the genre. Traditionally, Christmas movies focus on themes of love, generosity, family, and the holiday spirit. They often include iconic symbols like Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and snow-covered landscapes. While "Die Hard" may not adhere to these conventions in a conventional way, it does weave elements of the holiday season into its narrative.

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The Argument in Favor:

Proponents of the "Die Hard as a Christmas movie" camp argue that the film captures the essence of the holiday season in a unique and entertaining way. The setting of a Christmas party provides a backdrop for both action and humor, with memorable scenes involving holiday-themed references, like McClane using Christmas tape to secure a weapon. The film's resolution, with McClane reuniting with his family on Christmas morning, adds a heartwarming touch that aligns with traditional Christmas movie resolutions.

In recent years, we've witnessed the emergence of action-packed Christmas films like Silent Night (2023) and Violent Night (2022). This trend suggests that Die Hard would be considered a Christmas movie, given its thrilling narrative and holiday-themed setting.

Furthermore, the argument goes, "Die Hard" has become a part of many people's holiday traditions, with some families making it a point to watch the film every year alongside more conventional Christmas classics. The movie's enduring popularity during the holiday season has solidified its place in the Christmas movie canon for a substantial number of viewers.

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The Argument Against:

On the other side of the debate, skeptics argue that "Die Hard" lacks the sentimental and wholesome qualities typically associated with Christmas movies. While the setting may be festive, the film's focus on intense action, violence, and a high body count diverges significantly from the typical holiday fare. Detractors claim that the film's status as a Christmas movie is merely a product of clever marketing and the desire to classify an unconventional film within a well-established genre.

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The debate over whether "Die Hard" is a Christmas movie may never reach a unanimous conclusion. Ultimately, the classification of a film as a Christmas movie is subjective and varies from person to person. For some, the unconventional blend of action and holiday spirit in "Die Hard" is precisely what makes it a unique and cherished part of their seasonal traditions. For others, the absence of traditional Christmas movie elements relegates it to the category of action films that happen to be set during the holiday season.

In the end, whether you believe "Die Hard" is a Christmas movie or not, one thing is certain – the debate adds an extra layer of excitement and discussion to the holiday season, keeping the spirit of lively conversation alive and well each year.

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