“Die Hard” is a Christmas movie

No matter which way you slice it, there’s only one explanation; Bruce Willis’ “Die Hard” is undoubtedly a Christmas movie. The film follows John McClane, a cop visiting his estranged wife and her office Christmas party, only to fight terrorists who attack the building and everyone in it. One of the most obvious reasons why would be because it takes place on Christmas Eve at a Christmas office party. This point often warrants scoffs and eye-rolls from those who disagree. Many debunkers claim that the plot stands on its own and that you could seemingly input any holiday and the plot would continue. This is false. Not only are few holidays other than Christmas usually celebrated by offices and corporations, but festive holiday elements, like music and ambiance, are strung throughout the movie, making it very difficult to just instantly replace. Also, how would those criminals have been able to enter and hide in the office building seemingly unnoticed had it not been for the fact that the only event happening was the party? If you were to change the holiday, you’d have to revamp a majority of the film’s surrounding details, making this film incredibly dependent on Christmas.

“I would consider Die Hard to be a “Christmas movie” for the following reasons: the events of the film take place at an office Christmas party on Christmas Eve, and the protagonist’s motivation is centered around reconciling a relationship during the holiday. Also, Christmas-themed music is used throughout the film, and the antagonists’ strategy benefits greatly from the nearly vacant building due to the holiday,” Mr. Ernst said.

“Die Hard” screenwriter Steven E deSouza responded to CNN correspondent Jake Tapper on Twitter and confirmed that the film is a Christmas movie. (Photo courtesy of Twitter)

Debunkers also claim that the film exudes no traditional elements of Christmas spirits, which is just flat out wrong. Friendship, reconciliation, and a happy ending are all vital themes to this film, as they are with any Christmas movie. This specific plot may be more violent, aggressive, and harsh, but who cares? By claiming that it has no festive Christmas elements, people are claiming that every Christmas film should be the same. Honestly, that’s boring. Sure, I love a good happy movie around the holidays, but do they all have to be of the same overly-sweet mold? “Die Hard” already comes with a happy ending! What more do people want? 

“[Die Hard] is a Christmas movie because [John McClane] is trying to get home for Christmas, he makes up with his wife, and it’s a Christmas miracle all centered around the holiday,” senior Katie McCann said. 

The film also carries an element of tradition in a lot of households. Films like “Elf”, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and “The Polar Express” are examples of what people watch on repeat around the holidays, but for a lot of families, “Die Hard” is no exception. There isn’t enough evidence to disqualify “Die Hard” from being watched during the holiday season, and for me personally, I am more inclined to watch it during the holiday season than I am during other non-holiday months. Though it may not be the focus of the film, Christmas is an integral part of the story and the ambiance, which makes it the perfect Christmas film while you’re getting ready for the holidays. 

“Absolutely it’s a Christmas movie in our house,” Mrs. Pfau said. “As for why… that’s a bit harder to articulate as it doesn’t necessarily exude the Christmas spirit, does it? Nonetheless, we always watch it at Christmas time, and it does, after all, take place at a Christmas party!” 

There’s even the festive element of gifts strung throughout the film. The character Holly (an incredibly fitting and festive Christmas-y name!) is given a Rolex by the company she works for, and the character Hans Gruber is eventually given access to the Nakatomi vault by the FBI. Also, isn’t the protagonist John McClane kind of like Santa Claus in a way? He climbs through the vents of the office building like Santa climbs down a chimney. There are also some religious parallels; both this story and The Nativity story contain pregnant women, and you could deduce that John is like Mary and Joseph from the same Nativity story. Mary and Joseph traveled a long way to have their child, just like John traveled a long way to get home. That last one may be pushing it a bit, but you can’t deny there’s for sure a similarity. 

“I think considering it takes place during Christmas and, most importantly, that some people treat it as a Christmas movie and watch it as a family tradition around the holiday, [Die Hard] is a Christmas movie,” senior Jake Downey said. 

You could even claim that the character of John McClane is a parallel himself, paying homage to one of the most classic Christmas characters of all time, Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge is a grumpy guy, who is unwilling to allow change into his life and has to be shown the way to happiness and acceptance by a few Christmas ghosts. Though no apparitions pay McClane a visit, he is incredibly reluctant to make the move to Los Angeles to be with his family, and he does spend the majority of the film in quite the quarrel with his wife, until their final reconciliation at the end. McClane carries an element of Scrooge-like grumpiness with him, which is ultimately changed when the party is saved. 

“John McClane is very much Scrooge-like,” junior Elizabeth King said. “He’s reluctant to come to California and throughout the movie he begins to change. 

For some, their opinion on whether or not it qualifies as a Christmas one is based upon the opinion their parents pushed onto them growing up. In general, whatever side you’re on in this argument, you tend to stick to it wholeheartedly, and that sort of intense socialization can sway you even as you grow older. 

“I think it’s a Christmas movie because my parents told me it’s a Christmas movie,” senior Ashley Harmon said. 

In the end, there’s no denying that “Die Hard” has earned its place among many other films as a phenomenally festive Christmas classic. Even the film’s screenwriter, Steven de Souza, Tweeted that he agrees! With all those elements of Christmas festivity, music, and ambiance, not to mention the literal placement of the film’s major event on Christmas Eve, how could you claim that it’s not? It’s hard to deny “Die Hard”’s deep connections to Christmas, and who doesn’t love a little action on the side? Regardless of what you think, no film will have you screaming “Yippee-Ki Yay!” like this one, especially during the upcoming holiday season.