It’s a bit weird that this even needs saying but Die Hard is not a Christmas movie. Every December, I hear people talking, “What’s your favorite Christmas movie?” and at least one person always answers, “Die Hard.” It’s time we put a stop to that.
First, I should say that I see where the Die-Hard-Is-A-Christmas-Movie people are coming from. The movie takes place in December at a company holiday party. John McLane is there trying to reconcile with his wife so his family can be together for the holidays. I get it. I don’t think the DHIACM people are insane. They’re just wrong.
The holiday setting in Die Hard is merely incidental to the story. Christmas was a convenient setting to have an office gathering with a family member stopping by. But it didn’t have to be Christmas. It would have been the same movie if it had been springtime and the Nakatomis were visiting from Japan. It would have even worked on a normal workday where McLane stops by to see his wife for lunch. If all that’s needed to make a movie a Christmas movie is a mention of Christmas, then there are tons and tons of Christmas movies. Plus, Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish” is a Christmas Song and Harry Potter is a Christmas book. It gets pretty ridiculous.
Add to that the fact that Christmas has a long history of stepping on/usurping other aspects of culture. How many “Christmas” songs are really winter songs and have nothing to do with Christmas at all? When watching television, Thanksgiving seems more like the day before Black Friday than a holiday of its own. Why on Earth can’t we drink eggnog in April if we want to? Enough is enough. We need to set some boundaries.
Finally, Die Hard doesn’t need Christmas. It is a great movie all by itself. Other movies use Christmas. Home Alone for example. I’m not trying to insult the people who made Home Alone. It was fine, perfectly entertaining when I saw it. But there was no reason for me, or anyone, to ever watch it again. Except, they made it a Christmas movie. Now people watch it to get in the spirit. Die Hard is simply better than that. It can be watched and enjoyed any day of the year. Tying it to Christmas is cheap and gimmicky.
So, there you have it. Die Hard is not a Christmas movie. If you disagree, I’d be happy to hear why. Just don’t get mad when it turns out you’re wrong.