This Year The Debate About Whether “Die Hard” Is A Christmas Movie Is Officially Over
Published on December 10, 2019
It’s officially the Christmas season, which means that it’s time to start your Christmas movie marathons! Usually, this would also mean that it’s time to start the yearly debate about whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie.
But this year, there’s nothing to debate. Why? Because on Christmas Eve 2018, the NYPD and the LAPD both officially confirmed that Die Hard is indeed a Christmas movie.
What Makes A Movie A Christmas Movie?
For several years, the Internet has engaged in a spirited debate as to whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie. Those on the “yes” side insist that since the film takes place on Christmas Eve, and is centered around a Christmas party, that makes it solidly a Christmas movie.
Those on the “no” side retort that just because Die Hard takes place on Christmas doesn’t mean it’s a Christmas movie. According to these people, for a movie to be a Christmas movie, it must deal with Christmas themes, the spirit of the holiday, and/or Santa. And since Die Hard doesn’t have a Christmas focus, it’s not a Christmas movie.
The classic 1988 action movie is about an NYPD cop, John McClane (Bruce Willis), who flies to LA to see his wife and family for Christmas. While at his wife’s Christmas party, a group of criminals led by the notorious Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman, may he rest in peace), stage a heist, taking the party hostage. The rest of the movie is an action-packed account of McClane’s heroics in taking down these criminals.
While Die Hard is clearly an action movie first and foremost, there’s a lot of Christmas involved in that synopsis for it not to be a Christmas movie. McClane is headed home specifically to see his family for the holiday. He’s trying to win back the love of his wife at her work Christmas party. Family, love, being together for the holidays – aren’t these things what Christmas movies are all about?
But as many have pointed out, Christmas itself is not a central theme to the movie. There’s no Santa, no reindeer, no presents, no heartwarming lessons about the reason for the season.
So, the question of whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie is really about what makes a movie a Christmas movie. Does a film need to be overtly Christmas-y to qualify? Or is the fact that a movie is set during the holiday season enough?
And most importantly: is Die Hard a Christmas movie?
The NYPD And The LAPD Weigh In
On Christmas Eve last year, the NYPD decided to weigh in on this hotly contested issue. The official NYPD account tweeted:
“On this Christmas Eve, we’d like to acknowledge our partners at @LAPDHQ who have been working with us to protect Christmas since Hans Gruber’s 1988 attack on Nakatomi Plaza.”
At the end of the tweet, they added the hashtags #DetectiveJohnMclean #YesItsAChristmasMovie, making their stance on the issue very clear.
The LAPD wasted no time responding to the tweet. From the official LAPD account they replied:
“On this Christmas Eve, we too would like to acknowledge our partners at @NYPDnews for their continued partnership-they’ll always be more than welcome to follow in McClane’s footsteps & come to the (better) coast & have a party. Yippie Ki Yay & ho ho ho.”
They also added #YesItsAChristmasMovie to the end of the tweet, making it clear that they agreed with the NYPD’s stance on the debate.
With both of the police departments featured in the movie on the side of #YesItsAChristmasMovie, it seems like the debate is over!
You heard it here folks, Die Hard is officially a Christmas movie! So add it to this year’s marathon while you’re enjoying the holidays.