Why Die Hard is a Christmas Movie



Drake Drymond, Head Editor

The temperature drops, and the leaves fall. The night sky is lit up by a sea of red, green and white; all the while the sounds of carols fill the air. The Christmas season is officially upon us and with it comes all of the classic Christmas movies we love. Elf, Home Alone, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and A Christmas Story, all tend to come to mind when we think of great Christmas films. However, there is one movie that has not been given its due, and been placed amongst the greatest Christmas movies of all time. 

Die Hard (1988). One of the greatest action movies of all time is also one of the greatest Christmas films of all time. The movie has it all. It offers a great protagonist in John McClane played by Bruce Willis, an everyday- run of the mill New York City Cop out of his element in weird 1980’s California attempting to reconnect with his estranged wife and kids over Christmas. However, upon his arrival at his wife’s business Christmas party, it is over run by Hans Gruber and his band of terrorists who hold everyone in the building hostage while attempting to rob the company of millions of dollars stashed in the company vault. McClane soon realizes that he is the only one who can save the hostages (including his wife) as police and FBI forces are locked out of the building. Slowly as the movie progresses, McClane takes out the terrorist forces in a variety of stunning ways. A bevy of explosions and action set pieces entertain the viewer as McClane eventually comes face to face with Gruber who has his wife at gunpoint. (Spoiler ahead)… He rips a gun from behind his back and shoots Gruber out a window sending him to his death. All the while he manages to save his wife from falling and meeting the same fate. They exit the battered building and snow begins to fall. After a long embrace, they drive home together to see their kids. 

Now with all that said, Die Hard sounds like your pseudo action movie, and many people will make this claim as they have the belief that Die Hard is not a Christmas movie; but it really is so much more than an action movie. At the crux of it all is a man making a last ditch attempt to rekindle his marriage, and celebrate the holidays with his kids. And when presented with the daunting task of defeating a group of heavily armed German terrorists, McClane rises to the occasion, succeeds, and appears to have saved his marriage in the process. This theme of families coming together is a staple in Christmas films and is ingrained and woven into the story.

At the end of the day, Die Hard is a Christmas movie; a great one in fact. It just so happens to also be a great action movie.