The discussion has gone on for decades. Is Die Hard, the 1988 Bruce Willis-fueled thriller, a Christmas movie? I’m sure you have your own take on this (non-earth-shaking) issue, but in my humble opinion…yeah, I’d say it is. Here are a few bullet points—without the bullets—to support this.
SIGNS OF THE SEASON
To begin with, New York City cop John McClane arrives in Los Angeles on Christmas eve (see?) to spend the holiday with his two kids and his estranged wife, Holly (does that count?), who has moved to the West Coast for a lucrative job with the Nakatomi Corporation. A limo driver, who is playing a Christmas rap song (see?) on his tape deck, takes him to Nakatomi Plaza, where the employees are celebrating a great year with a Christmas party (see?). A musical ensemble is playing Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” (the final movement of his Symphony #9), not necessarily Christmas music, but quite inspirational, in keeping with the season. The piece is reprised throughout the film, and at one point is even hummed by the lead terrorist, Hans Gruber (the late, great Alan Rickman).
Also, the towering, brightly lit Christmas tree (see?) on the 30th floor, where the terrorists are holding the employees hostage, is shown throughout the film, ultimately toppling and then being blown up. And, at the film’s end, “Let it Snow, Let it Snow” (see?) by Vaughn Monroe plays as over $600 million in untraceable bearer bonds trickles down from the sky (the closest you’ll get to snow in L.A.) after the Nakatomi Building blows up, prior to the song morphing into the rousing finale of “Ode to Joy” as the credits roll.
Okay, I get it: Die Hard is replete with tons of bullets and bad language flying, a high body count with buckets of blood, and lots of shit blowing up. Also, I doubt if anyone would ever use “Yippee ki-yay, motherfucker,” as a holiday greeting. Still, I’ll stand by my bullet points. And I’ll also add that the film appears on a number of “Best Christmas Movies” lists, topped by the British film magazine Empire, whose readers voted Die Hard the greatest Christmas movie of all time in 2015. That said, I have no doubt that the debate will continue to rage for decades to come.