Die Hard Isn’t Just A Christmas Film It’s The Ultimate Christmas Film

by : Tom Percival on : 21 Dec 2018 13:48
20th Century Fox

It’s the festive season again and that means three things; the nights are drawing in, we’re all drunk on mulled wine, and people are arguing over whether Die Hard is a Christmas film. 

For the record, and this is the third time in as many years I’ve had to say this, Die Hard is a Christmas film. There’s no question about it.


Unfortunately, for whatever reason (presumably willful ignorance) some people refuse to acknowledge this fact or Die Hard’s place in the great pantheon of Christmas films.


In fact, a recent survey by Sky Movies found that, at the time of writing at least, 42 per cent of people didn’t think that John McClane’s first and best adventure was a festive film.

Clearly that 42 per cent are lacking the benefits of a classical education.


So for the third and hopefully final time I present the feature, which much like the Die Hard trilogy, quadrilogy, tetralogy really didn’t need any sequels, ‘Why Die Hard is A Christmas Film‘.

Bruce Wiillis as John McClane after god answers his prayersTwentieth Century Fox

The first point is the most obvious, the film’s set on Christmas Eve and the early hours of Christmas day. Christmas is also important to the plot because it explains why the building is empty, and the holiday party is obviously why John’s there in the first place.

Not only that there’s a Santa cameo, a few Christmas trees scattered about and there, and Christmas songs are thrown in for good measure including, Winter WonderlandLet It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow and Jingle Bells. 


I mean the film’s dripping in Christmas tropes and cliches, McClane’s wife is even called Holly!


Of course, if being set over the holidays was enough to make a film a Christmas film then most Shane Black films would be suitable to watch as you tuck into your turkey, and we all know that’s not the case.

No, in my mind it takes something a little extra to make a movie a true Christmas film. Specifically, it has to address one of two themes, family and redemption.


Take Charles Dicken’s Christmas Carol, for example, a story I think we can all agree is the quintessential Christmas story. That story sees Scrooge reunited with both his own family and Bob Cratchit’s after he’s redeemed by ghosts.


All you have to do to get to Die Hard is replace the ghosts with German terrorists and the Victorian setting with explosions. It really is that easy, Okay it’s not but it’s almost that easy.

In all seriousness, though the attack on Nakatomi Plaza does force John to take a look at his life and reconnect with his wife and kids just in time for Christmas.


It’s every bit as heartwarming as It’s a Wonderful Life, as charming as Elf and a better John McTiernan film than Predator (come at me Predator nerds).

Also, the film’s writer, Steven de Souza, has publically addressed this saying that he believes Die Hard is a Christmas film.

And the final nail in the coffin is that Twentieth Century Fox, the studio behind Die Hard have just released a trailer which clearly demonstrates it’s a holiday classic.

Case closed, tell your family and friends! We now never have to talk about this again and I will nevr have to write this again.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to [email protected]

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Tom Percival

More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism. Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV. He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.

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