Die Hard: An Action Packed Holiday Classic

By: Alayna Smith

Since the day it came out, a long war has been waged between two intense rivals, those who believe the 1988 movie Die Hard is a Christmas movie and those who are simply wrong. 

The movie follows an active cop, John McClane, who is visiting his wife and kids that recently moved to LA for a job opportunity while he chose to stay in New York. Just as McClane arrives and begins to make amends with his wife at her company Christmas party, a group of thieves takes the entire building hostage. Against his will, the cop must start picking off the bad guys one by one. By the end, as nearly all action movies go, the bad guys met their fate and everyone else (well, those who lived) saw a happy end.

And yes, I did say that this was an action movie, but this does not take away from the fact that Die Hard is also a Christmas movie. While action may not be the most common genre during the holidays, there are very few Christmas movies that do not also fall into other categories. From heart-warming family movies like Home Alone to tear jerking rom-coms such as Love Actually, Christmas movies can be found practically everywhere. Die Hard is no exception to being in multiple categories as it captures the spirit of the holidays for those in search of something a little more thrilling and exciting.

The film also not only takes place during the Christmas season, but the main lesson to be learned is one of togetherness with loved ones, a common theme of the holidays. Through his journey to save his wife and the people trapped within the building, McClane discovers the importance of being in LA to protect and support his family. The ending is left open for interpretation but based on the events leading there (and the plots of the next four movies), it is safe to assume that McClane stayed for far longer than just the holidays.

In the spirit of explaining the Christmas elements of this movie, it would be criminal not to mention the allusions to the holidays through clever moments. Towards the end of the movie comes a popular quote from Argyle, one of the side characters, “If this is their idea of Christmas, then I gotta be here for New Years,” which of course is said in reference to the excitement during the holiday party. Another line, written on the shirt of one of the thieves McClane killed read, “Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho,” and while it may not be very wholesome, it ties into the underlying Christmas theme.


The film closes with a classic holiday staple: As all classic Christmas movies go, it closes when the long night comes to an end, a sweet kiss on a street lined with Christmas lights, and a carol playing as the credits roll. Something that all Christmas movies seem to have. Including Die Hard.

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