Cover photo courtesy of Erik Thauvin on Flickr
In recent years, fans have debated if the classic film Die Hard is a Christmas movie or not. The debate comes up every year and is a staple of every Christmas season.
Die Hard stars Bruce Willis as John McClane, a New York cop that flies out to California to spend Christmas with his wife and family. As a part of his visit, he attends his wife’s company’s Christmas party, which has an unexpected turn of events when the guests are taken hostage by Hans Gruber, played by Alan Rickman, and his men, who wish to steal the company fortune. McClane, who was able to avoid capture, fights back and kills Gruber’s henchmen one at a time in iconic action scenes, while attempting to save the hostages. This movie is a classic, regarded as one of the best action movies of all time, yet people have failed to categorize if it is a Christmas movie.
Those who believe that it is a Christmas movie argue that the day that the movie takes place is a vital aspect of the plot, one that differentiates the movie and gives the film some of its charm. One of these people is Michael Dakoske (12), who says that “the whole plot is a Christmas party being hijacked.” He also cites the famous scene from the movie in which McClane writes the words “Ho ho ho, now I have a machine gun” in blood on the shirt of one of the attackers as a message to Gruber as proof that Christmas is an essential part of the plot.
While the movie relates to Christmas, Tristen Pfizenmeyer (11) argues that the movie is just an action movie, as there is much more to the movie than just Christmas. He says that, “Christmas has nothing to do with the central plot of the movie, so it doesn’t make any sense for people to call it a Christmas movie.” He believes that the action scenes are the focus of the movie, making it ridiculous to put it in the same category as movies like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Since Die Hard is a genre-defining movie, it has inspired many other action movies. An example of this is the recently released movie Violent Night, which is about a family that is taken hostage by mercenaries on Christmas Eve, and when Santa comes in to deliver presents, he discovers what has happened. He then fights against the mercenaries to save the family, putting an interesting twist on the story of Die Hard.
While many are very opinionated about Die Hard, many others have yet to see it, as it was released in 1988, while many high schoolers’ parents were still in high school themselves. Although the movie is a classic, regardless of what genre it is, the movie has lost some relevancy in recent years, especially among teens. If you’re reading this and have yet to see Die Hard, go watch it, and comment below if it is a Christmas movie or not!