Die Hard Remains Triumphant As A Christmas Movie


Heidi Schwarzmann, Managing Editor

As the season for watching cult favorite Christmas movies begins, the annual debate over whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie reemerges. The 1989 film starring Bruce Willis follows the story of an NYPD officer trying to save his wife and other hostages from terrorists. This morbidly violent movie is set on Christmas Eve at an explicitly Christmas themed party, which in many people’s books is enough to sell them on the argument. However, many still find ways to argue the movie is far from spreading the traditional Christmas spirit. 

Christmas movies are generally released around December and are intended to be watched as a family. Critics point out that Die Hard was released in the summer of July 1988 and was clearly made for an adult audience. When tasked with naming Christmas movies, many turn to classics that feature Santa, reindeer, and elves. Advertisements for these films make it loud and clear that they are intended to put the audience in the holiday spirit, while Die Hard’s advertisement only features weapons and explosions.

  In contrast to the non-Christmas movie belief by some viewers, director John McTiernan and writer Steven De Souza confirmed the movie was intended to fall under the Christmas category, even if it is in an unconventional way. Writer John Hughes and director Chris Columbus similarly joined in on the unconventional Christmas approach in 1990 with the movie Home Alone. While Home Alone was geared towards a young audience, the film is still more so action packed than heart-felt. Home Alone seemingly is more up to par with society’s Christmas standards, so the question still remains: why not Die Hard

If the setting was not convincing enough, there are a significant number of notable Christmas motifs. In addition to the basic narrative being a man trying to return to his family for Christmas, the main character’s wife’s name is Holly, the soundtrack features Chirtsmas tunes such as Frank Sinatra’s Let It Snow, and an enemy is dressed as Santa. 

RCHS students were surveyed to get their opinions on the infamous Die Hard Debate. In contrast to all the provided evidence, 73 students said it was not a Christmas with only 64 agreeing that is.

Despite all the evidence that Die Hard deserves a spot in everyone’s Christmas classics collection, it still remains one of the most debated holiday topics to this day.