Every holiday season, people around the world debate one major issue: Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? Some people say because there's no snow, no Santa, no gifts and the movie came out in the summer that it's not a Christmas movie. These people are 100 percent wrong. Here are 10 reasons Die Hard is a Christmas movie.
1. It Takes Place on Christmas
John McClane arrives in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve to go to his wife's work Christmas party. Now you can quibble whether any company would actually have their Christmas party on Christmas Eve, thus forcing people to ignore their family's the night before the big holiday. But still, it takes place on Christmas. Groundhog Day takes place on Groundhog Day, but it's a movie about a guy living the same day over and over. It's still a Groundhog Day movie. So therefore Die Hard is a Christmas movie.
2. The Book Also Takes Place on Christmas
Many people don't realize that Die Hard is actually an adaptation of a book called Nothing Lasts Forever. The book is also set on Christmas Eve and has the same general plot as the movie (Terrorists take over building during Christmas party). The book though goes a little further with the Christmas theme, as the John McClane character in the book (whose name is Joseph Leland) deals with his guilt over missing out on his daughter's life due to his career and alcoholism, and wants to use this Christmas to atone for it. McClane in the movie is also hoping to reconnect with his wife and children this Christmas as well, just things go awry.
3. Christmas Songs
A big part of Christmas movies is the music. Every Christmas movie contains at least a couple of the famous holiday classics. And so does Die Hard. Both "Winter Wonderland" and "Let It Snow" play during the movie. And the limo driver Argyle listens to "Christmas in Hollis" by Run–D.M.C. while waiting in his car during the movie, so it even features modern Christmas hits.
4. The Events of the Movie Don't Work Unless It's Christmas
Hans Gruber and the terrorists needed to make sure it was the Christmas Party so that everyone would be contained in one place, making it a more manageable hostage situation. So the movie would not work if they just tried to rob the building on a random Tuesday, and there's no other work gatherings that ensure everyone is in one place besides Christmas parties.
5. Christmas References
Even once all the gun fights and explosions begin, the characters continue to reference Christmas. Hans says, "It's Christmas, Theo. The time for miracles," at one point. McClane writes, "I have a machine gun now, Ho Ho Ho," on one of the guys he kills. It's not like the movie just forgets about its Christmas setting after 20 minutes.
Another important aspect of a Christmas movie is whether it's rewatchable. A Christmas Story, Elf, It's a Wonderful Life and all the other classics are considered "classics" because you can rewatch them every year and get the same fuzzy feelings as you did the first time around. The same is true of Die Hard! Every time John McClane runs on the glass or drops the Yipee-Ki-Yay, it's still just as awesome as the first time you watched it.
7. The Writer Says It Is
Steven E. de Souza co-wrote the movie with Jeb Stuart. And de Souza himself says that Die Hard is a Christmas movie. You can't argue authorial intent when the author is directly saying he intended for it to be a Christmas movie.
8. It's Actually a Metaphor for Celebrating Christmas as an Adult
As a kid, Christmas is about presents and...that's about it. As an adult you hope that Christmas will be just as fun and exciting as when you were a kid, the same way McClane hopes his wife's Christmas party will help him reconnect with her. But instead you end up dealing with family drama, staying up all night putting presents under the damn tree and getting woken up at 6 in the morning by your children to open their gifts. Basically, your Christmas becomes all about survival and never meets your expectations.
9. What is a Christmas Movie?
People say Die Hard isn't a Christmas movie because the main thrust of the plot has nothing to do with Christmas. It's about terrorists trying to rob a building. But if you're pedantic, you can say that about any movie. It's a Wonderful Life is about a crappy bank manager who loses all his money and threatens to kill himself until an angel convinces him not to. Home Alone is about a family who leaves a kid at home...alone. But since these movies take place on or around Christmas, we call them Christmas movies. So what's the difference?
10. It's a Great Movie
Let's face it, there are not a lot of great Christmas movies. They're either super sappy and lame, they're dated and old-fashioned, or they're played on TBS so much that everyone's getting sick of them. Die Hard is consistently voted one of the greatest action movies of all time, with some people saying it's one of the best movies ever. Empire listed it as the 29th best movie of all time, and there were no other Christmas movies in their top 100. So would you rather watch that boring movie about Bing Crosby singing at a hotel in Vermont on Christmas Eve, or the one where Bruce Willis shoots terrorists? Just embrace it as a Christmas movie so you have an excuse every December to re-watch a great movie.