It’s that time of year again. Christmas trees are in every window, shoppers are getting their last-minute gifts, and children are all hoping for that one special toy. But the most die-hard fans of Christmas are…watching Die Hard, right?
I personally love it when the old Is-Die-Hard-a-Christmas-Movie debate comes up on social media. It seems that everyone is particularly adamant about their opinion, although I’ve noticed that neither side usually backs it up with any proof.
To settle the debate once and for all, let’s take a look at the elements of a Christmas movie and whether or not John McClane and crew bring it to the table.
It’s the Holiday Season: I think we can all agree that a Christmas movie has to take place at Christmas time, at least in part. McClane comes into town for Holly’s company Christmas party, so there’s really no doubt as to the time of year. There’s not a lot of holiday music, since we mostly hear typical action movie soundtrack, but there is a little bit. There’s also lots of seasonal decor, some of which even gets used to fight the bad guys. John could’ve chosen regular old packing tape that I’m sure would be in that building somewhere to strap a gun to his back, but did he? No. He went for the Season’s Greetings tape, like any good little elf would do.
Isn’t it Romantic?: Most holiday films seem to have at least some romantic element to them. There’s something about this time of year that makes us all want to have our loved ones with us. George Bailey falls back in love with his wife (and his life) in It’s a Wonderful Life, and even Rudolph finds Clarice.
Personally, there’s no doubt to me that Die Hard is romantic. I remember seeing John McClane walk barefoot across broken glass when I was about ten (don’t worry, it was on cable and edited), and I thought it was the most heroic, romantic thing I’d ever seen. In fact, everything he goes through to save his estranged wife and as many other people as he can is one hell of a romantic sacrifice. And of course, despite their differences, John and Holly are together at the end.
Miracles Do Happen, Don’t They?: You can’t have a Christmas movie without a Christmas miracle! Whether it’s snow on Christmas Eve, a gift that only the real Santa could bring, or a crabby old man having a change of heart, something amazing has to happen!
You could say that Die Hard is full of Christmas miracles, actually. Do you think he would’ve survived that fall down the elevator shaft at any other time of year? Or his dive off the top of the building with a fire hose around his waist? How about the massive amount of blood he must’ve lost throughout the length of the film? And all while barefoot! These definitely aren’t everyday occurrences.
If those aren’t good enough Christmas miracles for you, then consider Sergeant Al Powell’s final act of shooting the last terrorist. He’d been so traumatized by a past mistake he’d made that he never thought he’d be able to draw a weapon again, not even to protect someone he loved. But the close bond he and McClane have built over the walkie-talkies gives him the courage to save his friend.
A Quotable Christmas: Many of the great Christmas classics have a great quote that just about everyone can recite. There’s Tiny Tim’s “God bless us, every one!” We all know that every time a bell rings, and angel gets its wings. One of my personal favorites is from Home Alone: Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal! While “Yippee ki yay, m*****f*****” might not make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, it sure is catchy.
In conclusion, I contend that Die Hard is absolutely a Christmas movie, considering that it has all the required elements. Is it fair to exclude it from the holiday movie list simply because of the action sequences, dead bodies, blood, and f-bombs? Maybe we should think about those as added bonuses, something for the grownups to enjoy after the kids have gone to bed and we don’t have to keep it PG anymore. Besides, this is a holiday movie that I can watch with my husband without him making fun of it, so it’s definitely staying on my list!
Merry Christmas, readers!
Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois. She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University. Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside Detective. Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous. Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world. You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.
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