Known as the “film connoisseur” of my family, it is rare that I go a holiday season without being asked for my take on the age-old question; whether the 1988 cult classic Die Hard is a Christmas movie.
For me, the answer is simple, Die Hard is in fact a Christmas movie. But, before I fall victim to all of your wrath and censure if you disagree, hear me out.
To start, I think we first need to pick apart the anatomy of a Christmas movie. I’m sure this differs for everybody, but for most, a Christmas movie is defined as a movie that centers around Christmas, the Christmas season, etc.
That description may be too broad for some, as a lot of people’s arguments against Die Hard being a Christmas movie is that it just so happens to take place around Christmas, and that the holiday doesn’t directly affect the plot. I understand where those people are coming from, but if that’s the definition we’re going with, then a lot of other Christmas classics are cut out too.
Take Home Alone (1990) for example. While a staple of many people’s holiday traditions, it doesn’t directly relate to Christmas. In theory, Kevin could have been left at home at any time of year, the McCallister’s vacation just so happened to take place over the holiday in this instance.
An easy counter argument to this definition is that if the only criteria to be a Christmas movie is for the movie to be set around Christmas, then why aren’t the Harry Potter movies, Toy Story (1995), or Goodfellas (1990) considered Christmas movies? They all have scenes set around Christmas time, some even on Christmas day, so why aren’t they commonly associated with the holiday?
This year’s The Green Knight (2021) even takes place entirely around Christmas day, yet I haven’t once seen or heard it discussed in tangent to being a Christmas movie. Even the movie’s release date seems to try and distance itself from the holiday, being released July 31 of this year.
In conclusion, I think that a Christmas movie is whatever you want it to be. There are so many holiday traditions that people partake in each year that whatever you find yourself watching can be considered a Christmas movie.
Maybe your family makes a note to watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1976) every Christmas morning while you open presents, therefore leading you to identify that as a Christmas movie. Whatever you watch around the holiday that gets you in that warm fuzzy mood we all associate with Christmas can be your Christmas movie.
So, to answer the question, Die Hard (1988) is whatever you want it to be. And if you want it to be a Christmas movie, then it is exactly that.