Opinion: Why Die Hard is the Best Christmas Movie


Take a break from watching Elf for the billionth time and tune into this overlooked Christmas classic

The Holidays are a time for family, food, celebration, and togetherness. For some families, including mine, it is often a tradition to watch a classic Christmas movie together. If you have a family with younger siblings, “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” is probably your speed. If you’re a little old school, “It’s a Wonderful Life” might suit you, or maybe you’ll enjoy the 24 hour “A Christmas Story” marathon on TV. But during the holiday season, if you find yourself in need for a high-octane action-thriller that also has the Christmas spirit, look no further than 1988’s Die Hard.

First, if you haven’t seen Die Hard by now I’m not sure where you’ve been. The film had tremendous critical and commercial success scoring a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and generated $140,767,956 at the box office which quadrupled its original 20th Century Fox budget. It was also a major part in film history, as it led the way for many action films like it, and kickstarted Alan Rickman’s acting career and turned Bruce Willis into one of the most iconic action movie stars of all time. But just in case you’ve missed it, here is a brief plot summary.

John McClane (Bruce Willis) is a divorced NYPD cop whose wife and children live in Los Angeles. He is invited to spend Christmas with them, but first he goes to see his wife, Holly, at the Christmas party where she works at the Nakatomi Corporation.  While John navigates this very new setting, a group of European terrorists led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) sneak into the building with the goal of stealing the millions of dollars in Nakatomi’s vault. The terrorists take the partygoers hostage, except for John, who escapes to the top floor of the 80-story building. While Hans and his team attempt to execute a complex heist, and with no help or immediate response from the LAPD, John must take matters into his own hands.

Some don’t believe Die Hard to be a Christmas movie, what with all its violence and weapons. To persuade you non-believers, I have created a short list explaining why Die Hard is the best Christmas movie

1.It is literally set on Christmas Eve.

I’ll start off with the most obvious reason. The entirety of Die Hard takes place on Christmas Eve, even though its theatrical release was in June, for some reason.

2. John McClane is Santa.

John McClane travels by air from a faraway land that is probably colder. Most importantly he comes bringing a gift, the gift of freedom. And he gives his gift of freedom to the people, making them happy Christmas morning.

3. John is a weary traveler = Joseph and Mary.

I’ve probably looked too deeply into this by now but the parallel is valid. Joseph and Mary travel in search of a place to have their baby, and John travels to see his family.

4. Both stories (the nativity and Die Hard) have a pregnant lady in it.

Since you’re probably not like me and don’t know the movie by heart, you probably forgot that one of Holly’s colleagues is pregnant, and Holly negotiates with Hans to move her onto a couch so she can be more comfortable. In contrast, you’ll probably remember who the pregnant lady in the nativity is (hint: it was the Virgin Mary).

5. It embodies the spirit of friendship.

Christmas is all about friendship with other people. This is reflected in Die Hard by the blossoming friendship between John and Sargent Powell.

6. It has one of the best Christmas songs ever in it.

There is always a place in Christmas for Jingling Bells and letting it snow, but if you haven’t heard “Christmas in Hollis” by Run- DMC, do yourself a favor and go find it on YouTube, you won’t regret it.