Actor Bruce Willis in scene from Christmas film 'Die Hard'.
Actor Bruce Willis in scene from Christmas film 'Die Hard'.

Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?

SINCE festive telly became the phenomenon that it is, armchair fans have rowed over what they think is the greatest Christmas movie ever.

Naturally, these passionate debates involve discussions about how a film qualifies for consideration, reports The Sun.

For some, Die Hard, with its f-bomb-loving, wisecracking New York cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) battling machine gun-firing terrorists led by Hans Gruber (the late, great Alan Rickman) in LA's Nakatomi Plaza skyscraper, just isn't Christmassy enough.

They're wrong.

As wrong as a police chief sending in the SWAT team after McClane's already said that the villains have "enough plastic explosives to orbit Arnold Schwarzenegger". Damn bureaucrats!

So what counts as a Christmas film?

Well, these are the rules - and by the rules I mean my rules.

Just like John McClane, I'm a no nonsense bad boy delivering my own brand of justice, and even as I write this I'm wearing a white sleeveless top and walking barefoot on broken glass.

(I'm doing neither of those things but I want you to know this is serious business. Sorry.)


1. The action has to take place at Christmas.

2. Christmas has to be used as a plot device.

3. Christmas has to be referenced throughout the screenplay.

When Christmas rolls around, it’s always good to watch Die Hard.
When Christmas rolls around, it’s always good to watch Die Hard.


Die Hard satisfies all three rules easily, and does so very early on.

In the first two scenes of the movie, we see our hero John land in LA on Christmas Eve carrying a huge cuddly toy bear.

It's a Christmas present for one of his kids. He's off to a Christmas party, thrown by his estranged wife Holly's (Bonnie Bedelia) firm - the Nakatomi Corporation - and he asks his limo driver - the genius Argyle - if he has any Christmas music.

On arrival, as McClane makes his way to the 30th floor where the party is being held, he's actually whistling the tune of Jingle Bells.

Come on people. That's a lot of Christmas already and we're only five minutes in

Rule one is already taken care of, as this story is clearly happening at Christmas.

Rule two is sorted, as the only reason McClane is even there is because he's coming to see his family for the holidays.

The building in question is under construction and the soon-to-be-hostages are only on site because their bosses thought it'd be a cool place to have a Christmas do. And what's more Christmassy than the office party?

Rule three is not even a contest.

The original trailer has three Christmas references in its first 10 seconds and the gag-heavy screenplay, co-written by Steven E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart, is littered with them.

A personal favourite is just after McClane kills his first terrorist.

He sends a warning to the remaining villains by dressing him in a Santa hat and sending him down in a lift with "Now I have a machinegun. Ho, Ho, Ho" written on his top.

Still not satisfied?

OK then. What about something miraculous?

In a later scene Theo, chief villain Hans Gruber's tech guy, tells his boss that to open the final lock of the Nakatomi vault he's going to need a miracle.

When the authorities shut down power around the building to scare the terrorists, it has the impact of enabling the electronic safe to open.

It prompts one of the movie's most famous lines, as Hans says triumphantly: "You asked for miracles Theo, I give you the F-B-I."

Towards the end of Die Hard, John McClane faces up to Hans Gruber and one of his henchman, who are still holding Holly hostage.

As she spots her beaten and bloodied husband, her first word is "Jesus!" - quite apt for a potential saviour!

To Hans it now appears as though he will finally get to kill John, but what he doesn't know is that McClane is hiding a gun which he has stuck to his back with Christmas tape.

This story first appeared on The Sun.

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