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Agree to Disagree: Is 'Die Hard' a Christmas Movie?

by Mason Kupiainen and Baylie Clevenger Ever since the film's release in 1988, there has been an endless debate over whether or not Die Hard could be considered a Christmas movie. This argument almost always seems to resurface whenever the film is brought up around the holidays, with nobody seeming to agree on whether or not it deserves to be seen as a holiday classic. While we may never come to a consensus on the film's Christmas-y status, we can continue to argue about it and see where both sides are coming from:

Die Hard is a Christmas movie

Image from IMDb
This viewpoint is by Mason Kupiainen The Christmas season brings with it one of the best traditions—rewatching classic holiday movies and cartoons. Cartoons like Charlie Brown and The Year Without a Santa Claus and movies like Elf and Christmas Vacation are some of the best parts of Christmas. There are, of course, movies that have been questioned as to whether or not they are actually Christmas movies, and one such movie is Die Hard.  The simple answer is: yes. Die Hard is most certainly a Christmas movie. When arguing whether or not the movie is or isn’t a holiday movie, it’s important to see what makes a movie a Christmas movie. The basic foundations of Christmas movies state that Christmas plays a role in the movie’s plot or the movie carries the themes of Christmas. Die Hard meets both of these qualifications. Die Hard takes place on Christmas Eve at a work Christmas party, making Christmas a central plot point. John McClane is a man simply trying to get home to his family for Christmas, but gets stuck battling a group of terrorists. Since the movie takes place at a Christmas party, this helps reinforce that all-important Christmas theme. The score of the movie even plays Christmas music, which adds to that feeling of Christmas.  If you believe that Die Hard is not a Christmas movie, then you also must believe that Home Alone is not a holiday movie. Home Alone is similar to Die Hard in regards to the fact that both take place around Christmas time with a family trying to get together for the holidays. Neither movie has Christmas as a central point of the movie, yet it is a driving force for the narrative.  If the producers of the movie themselves didn’t feel that Die Hard was a Christmas movie, then there would be no arguments. Yet, the creators of the movie have claimed that it is in fact a Christmas movie. The distributor of the film, Twentieth Century Fox, said back in 2018 that Die Hard is not only a Christmas story, but “the greatest Christmas story ever told.” Die Hard writer Steven E. de Souza gave his input into the conversation when asked on Twitter if he thought it was a Christmas movie and he replied, “ Yes, because the studio rejected the Purim draft.” Having the creators say that it’s a Christmas movie makes it hard to argue that it’s not. Sure, the movie is filled with blood, death, and gore, but that just helps make it a great Christmas movie for any action fan to watch around the holidays.  

Die Hard isn't a Christmas movie

Image from IMDb
This viewpoint is by Baylie Clevenger It’s that time of year again—holiday ads, movies, and shows flood the networks and streaming services of most homes. Rudolph plays on a loop and the Grinch is just around the corner. There are certainly plenty of Christmas movies to choose from… most of them being cute little claymations or Jim Carrey dressed as the Grinch.  The point of Christmas movies is to give viewers that warm, fuzzy, holly-jolly feeling that gets them ramped up for the big day. The same can be said for other holiday movies.  Having said that, it’s time to put to rest the infamous argument about what does and does not qualify as a “Christmas Movie.” That’s right, I’m talking about the 1988 classic, Die Hard.  Sure, it takes place during a Christmas Party and it was advertised with Christmas music, but does it really fit the criteria?  To answer this question, it’s important to take into consideration the purpose of a Christmas movie and then take into account the purpose of Die Hard. Just thinking about the setting of the movie and the music in it is not enough.  For example, one could take into account movies like Home Alone, which Die Hard has been compared to. Sure, Home Alone is not technically about Christmas, but there was a jolly purpose behind it. The kid is alone on Christmas, that’s sad, and his mother is trying to rush home to be with him. The family in the movie is even taking their vacation for Christmas.  The same cannot be said for Die Hard. This film is far more action-packed and was meant to be that way. Explosions, fights, and other violent conflict clearly point it to the action genre, not Christmas. The setting is far less important in this instance because the overall theme and purpose do not revolve around Christmas. Sure, he wants to get home to his family, but if that were really the case, he could have just decided not to fight the terrorists and leave. It’s that simple; however, the movie was written with the intent of creating violent conflict and action.  Finally, though it has been said that not only is Die Hard a Christmas movie, but it is the “greatest Christmas story ever told.” That statement needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Though the creators of the movie have been quoted as saying such, it is said more to add to the gimmick of an action-and-pew-pew-explosions movie, which just happens to take place during Christmas. Ultimately, it is meant to be a funny juxtaposition rather than a serious statement of purpose.  So, this Christmas, my family and I will be sticking to A Christmas Story and other heart-warming, holly-jolly, fun snow time films to fill our Christmas with joy.
Sources: The Washington Post Images: IMDb Featured Image: Tt Shinkan

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