The Screen Room
Film Debate: Is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?
Since its release in 1988 one movie has divided fans on an issue that has sparked such furious debate, physical violence has ensued on multiple occasions…(ok I made that bit up).
Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?
I say no!
Yes it’s set at Christmas, but so are a lot of movies that aren’t generally regarded as Christmas films - for instance: Lethal Weapon (1987), Prometheus (2012) (yes, Prometheus), The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996), When Harry Met Sally (1989), Edward Scissorhands (1990), Money Train (1985), DIE HARD 2 (1990) etc etc...
Don’t get me wrong, I get it! It’s set at Christmas, it kind of starts and finishes with a Christmas song and has a Christmas theme bla bla bla.
To me a “Christmas film” is a film that centres predominantly around Christmas. I look at it like, if you took away the Christmas element would you still have a movie? With Die Hard, you definitely would. Sure he’s at the Nakatomi Plaza because it’s Christmas, but he could’ve been there for ANY other reason and you’d still have a movie about a guy stuck in a skyscraper fighting a bunch of terrorists. The same principle applies to Lethal Weapon.
To get technical, “Christmas movies” are typically released between the end of October and early January to capitalise on the festive period. Die Hard was released in July 1988, so wouldn’t that make it a summer blockbuster..?
Personally I wouldn’t watch Elf (2003) or The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) any other time than on the lead up to Christmas, but I can watch Die Hard all year round.
Even Bruce Willis himself has stated that he doesn’t think Die Hard is a Christmas movie, although 20th Century Fox who distributed the film have said that it is (why wouldn’t they? That’s just clever marketing).
If you weren’t aware, Die Hard is based on the 1979 book, Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp.
In the book, retired NYPD detective Joe Leland is visiting the 40-story office headquarters of the Klaxon Oil Corporation in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve where his daughter, Stephanie Leland Gennaro works. It’s while he’s waiting for her Christmas party to end that events similar to that in the movie start to kick off.
In a way, Die Hard could actually be considered the sequel to the the movie The Detective (1968) starring Frank Sinatra, since that film is an adaptation of the book of the same name also written by Roderick Thorp prior to Nothing Lasts Forever.
So, would that make Nothing Lasts Forever a “Christmas book”...?!
At the end of the day it’s totally down to personal opinion and how you interpret it. But my opinion is that as much as Die Hard is probably the best action movie of all time, it is definitely NOT a Christmas movie.
What do you think? Let me know below (I’m a poet!) 👇