10 fantastic holiday movies and where to find them

Bruce Willis in “Die Hard.”

Editors note: This story was originally published in December of 2019. 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but also one of the most contentious as a long-running and heated debate takes place yet again around the holidays. It’s a question everyone wants to know the answer to but can’t seem to agree on. Is the 1988 film “Die Hard,” starring Bruce Willis, a Christmas movie?

Yes, it is. That’s the simple answer, at least according to a poll I posted on Twitter recently. The results of the poll, in which nearly 100 people voted, revealed that 67% of people believe “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie.

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I can understand why some people might think that’s a ridiculous statement. Many moviegoers recognize “Die Hard” as an action film. It has an action star as the lead, gunplay galore, and the movie came out in July, which is prime action film season. So how in the world can this film be a Christmas movie?

Because the evidence for it being exactly that is overwhelming. Here are eight examples.

1. It takes place during a holiday office party. A lot of crazy shenanigans happen at holiday Christmas parties, at least according to Hollywood. Hans Gruber crashing your shindig is evidently one of the things to be worried about in late December. But think of it this way — would any of the events that took place at the Nakatomi Plaza occur if it weren’t during Christmas? Hans, Fritz, Marco, Theo and friends needed executives to be around and security to be loose for their plan to work. Offices don’t hold parties like this any other time of the year.

2. It has Christmas music. The “Die Hard” soundtrack is loaded with Christmas songs. “Winter Wonderland,” “Let it Snow!,” “Christmas in Hollis,” and “Ode to Joy” are all on the soundtrack and make appearances in one form or another in the film.

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3. John McLane’s wife has a Christmas-y name. She may not use the last name McClane, but you can’t get much more festive than Mrs. Gennaro’s first name of Holly.

4. There are presents involved. John’s L.A. cop bud Al buys snack cakes for his pregnant wife at a convenience store, Harry Ellis gives Holly a Rolex watch as a company present and the FBI gifts Hans Gruber with access to the Nakatomi vault after shutting off a local power grid. Even John’s gun is (kind of) gift wrapped in his final showdown with Hans.

5. Santa Claus makes an appearance. You might remember that the first person John takes out is Tony, as they stumble down a flight of stairs during a fight early in the film. John sends Tony’s body down to Hans in an elevator, wearing a Santa hat and the message of “Now I have machine gun. Ho, ho, ho” on his shirt. John McClane has holiday spirit no matter the situation.

6. It has Christmas spirit. The friendship between Al and John demonstrates goodwill towards men. And despite having marital issues, the stress of his situation reminds John of what’s truly important — his family. There’s no greater trope than learning a lesson about the value of family on Christmas.

7. It snows at the end. The last time it snowed in Los Angeles was 1962. There’s no better way to end a Christmas movie than with a little bit of snowfall.

8. The screenwriter who wrote it says it’s a Christmas movie. The script for “Die Hard” was written by Steven E. de Souza. He’s been asked in interviews and through social media several times whether or not the film is a Christmas movie and he always confirms it is. In fact, in 2018 de Souza posted a chart on social media that showed that “Die Hard” was just as much of a holiday film as “White Christmas.”

Yippee-ki-yay! Its official, “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie. Feel free to use these talking points should anyone say otherwise. Merry Christmas!

Terry is a journalist for The Gazette. He's a graduate of the University of Denver, loves the Denver Broncos, and is a member of the Television Critics Association and Critics Choice Association.

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