The Burning Question Finally Answered: Is “Die Hard” a Christmas Movie?


Sadie Mittendorf, Staff Writer

Die Hard, released in 1988, tells the story of New York City police officer John McClane, who tries to save his wife and others taken hostage by German terrorists during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza. This seemingly straightforward action movie brings about conflict every holiday season as a raging debate occurs over the burning question: is Die Hard a Christmas movie?


The short answer is no. Die Hard is technically not a Christmas movie. To begin, the movie was released in July, nowhere near Christmastime. And although the movie takes place on Christmas Eve at a Christmas party, Christmas is not an essential aspect of the story. The setting of Christmas is used to make the movie more lighthearted and funny, but this could easily be achieved without the Christmas setting. 


The actual plot of Die Hard has nothing to do with Christmas. The movie is simply about a man trying to save people taken hostage by terrorists, which happens to occur during a Christmas party. Plenty of movies take place during Christmas, such as Batman Returns, Edward Scissorhands, and even Alvin and the Chipmunks, according to IMDB. Understandably, these aren’t considered Christmas movies, so Die Hard isn’t either. Although people may argue that Christmas-related themes such as family and love are present when McClane risks his life to save his wife and the other hostages, the same could go for virtually every movie where basic themes of family, love, and sacrifice are integral parts of stories. 


Even the poster for Die Hard has nothing to do with Christmas. While most Christmas movies have some sort of Christmas-related element in their movie posters, or a corny slogan like “yule crack up” (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation), the poster for Die Hard has a picture of McClane, Nakatomi Plaza, explosions, and various taglines that are completely unrelated to Christmas.


Bruce Willis, the star of Die Hard, had the final word in his Comedy Central roast when he said, “Die Hard is not a Christmas movie!”