Why ‘Die Hard’ Is The Greatest Christmas Movie Of All Time

Entertainment

The holiday season is a time for family, gift-giving, and most importantly forgiveness. Unless you’re John McClane, then it means all that, plus a ton of mayhem and violence.


The 1988 holiday classic centers around John McClane, a New York City detective who’s in Los Angeles to try to save his marriage when all hell breaks loose. A group of heavily armed villains break into McClane’s wife’s office building during their Christmas party and take the staff, including his wife hostage. Side note: her name is Holly, as in “deck the halls” and “fa-la-la-la-la” holly — subliminal messaging on the part of the movie’s screenwriters, no doubt.

It’s left to McClane, played by Bruce Willis, to save the day. Crawling around in air ducts and crashing through a number of windows, he takes out the bad guys one by one before dropping their leader Hans Gruber, played by an acerbic Alan Rickman, some 30 stories to his death.

Meme via Imgflip

It may not seem like a Christmas movie at first, but “Die Hard” hits all the marks, if you think about it, it’s basically “Home Alone,” but with live ammo. McClane sneaks about, setting traps, like Kevin McCallister from “Home Alone.” He’s even rescued by an unassuming ally, Sgt. Al Powell, the beat cop who comforts him over the radio and shoots one of the villains at the end, saving McClane. If this doesn’t sound familiar, think about the old man with the shovel who rescues another holiday hero at the end of a different Christmas classic.

Yep, “Die Hard” has more in common with “Home Alone,” than it does with “Lethal Weapon,” another 1980’s action movie set during the holidays. There’s the line — “Die Hard” qualifies as a Christmas movie, “Lethal Weapon” does not.

Related: A Tactical Assessment Of Kevin’s Battle Plan In ‘Home Alone’ »

For the naysayers who argue that two-hours of violent shootouts with terrorists isn’t a solid basis for a Christmas movie, well, they’re not actually terrorists. They’re thieves who planned a massive heist of hundreds of millions of dollars in bearer bonds during a holiday season meant to celebrate charitable giving. It’s like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” but with guns; and in this case, Santa’s little helper drops the Grinch from the top of Nakatomi plaza, which in real life is the headquarters for 20th Century Fox. But the point is that the bad guy is a thief who not only steals on Christmas, but is so possessed by greed he’d commit murder. That’s the ultimate Christmas villain.

Then, there’s our protagonist, John McClane, a loveable but still rough-around the edges father flying across the country to meet his wife (they’re separated) and two kids for the holidays. Hoping to patch things up, McClane comes bearing gifts, like a gigantic teddy bear for his kids, and a dead bad guy bedecked with a Santa’s hat and a message for Hans Gruber.

Photo via 20th Century Fox/Task & Purpose photo illustration by Matt Battaglia

McClane even goes so far as to “wrap a present” for the bad guys. At the end of the film, McClane tricks Gruber and one of his cronies by taping a pistol to his back with Christmas gift wrapping tape. It brings a whole new meaning to “Secret Santa.”

Even the film’s musical score is largely Christmas music, with “Ode to joy” playing intermittently throughout, and occasionally in a different key to make it sound more ominous.

Like any good Christmas movie, the main character discovers the importance of family and friendship by the end, with McClane tearfully making amends with his wife, and hugging it out with his new best friend, Powell.

Yes, it may be unconventional, bloody, and have more swear words in it than people are used to hearing in holiday movies, but don’t be fooled “Die Hard” is without a doubt a Christmas movie, and since it’s one of the few that has partial nudity and tons of dead bad guys, that also makes it the best.

So, in the words of John McClane: Yippee-ki-yay, mother fuckers (and Merry Christmas).

Maj. Matthew Golsteyn in Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy of Philip Stackhouse.)

Nearly a decade after he allegedly murdered an unarmed Afghan civilian during a 2010 deployment, the case of Army Maj. Matthew Golsteyn is finally going to trial.

Read More Show Less
In this May 28, 2019 file photo, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban group's top political leader, second left, arrives with other members of the Taliban delegation for talks in Moscow, Russia. (Associated Press/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The Taliban have sent a delegation to Russia to discuss prospects for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan following the collapse of talks with the United States this month, officials from the insurgent group said.

The move, days after President Donald Trump canceled a planned meeting with Taliban leaders at his Camp David retreat, came as the movement looks to bolster regional support, with visits also planned for China, Iran and Central Asian states.

Read More Show Less
Joe Heller (Legacy.com)

Per his final demands, Joe Heller was laid in his casket Thursday in a T-shirt featuring the Disney dwarf Grumpy and the middle finger of his right hand extended. He also told his daughters to make sure and place a remote control fart machine in the coffin with him.

"My father always wanted the last laugh," daughter Monique Heller said.

The Essex volunteer firefighter and self-described local "dawg kecher" died on Sept. 8 at age 82, and the off-color obituary written by his youngest daughter has become a nationwide sensation — a lead item on cable news sites, a top story on The Courant's website and a post shared far and wide on social media.

Laced with bawdy humor, the irreverent but loving obit captured Heller's highly inappropriate nature and his golden heart, friends who filled the fire station for a celebration of his life on Thursday evening said.

Read More Show Less

A 19-year-old man who planned a July mass shooting at a West Lubbock hotel that was thwarted by his grandmother was upset that he was considered "defective" by the military when he was discharged for his mental illness, according to court records.

William Patrick Williams faces federal charges for reportedly lying on an application to buy the semiautomatic rifle he planned to use in a shooting, according to a federal indictment filed Aug. 14.

He is charged with a federal felony count of making a false material statement during the purchase of a firearm on July 11, a day before he planned to lure people out of a hotel and shoot them. The charge carries a punishment of up to five years in prison.

Read More Show Less
A photograph circulated by the U.S. State Department's Twitter account to announce a $1 million USD reward for al Qaeda key leader Hamza bin Laden, son of Osama bin Laden, is seen March 1, 2019. (State Department via Reuters)

Reuters) - Hamza bin Laden, a son of slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and himself a notable figure in the militant group, was killed in a U.S. counter-terrorism operation, the White House said on Saturday.

Read More Show Less