Is Die Hard A Christmas Movie?

Bruce Willis as John McClane shimmies through a tight space in a still from “Die Hard”
20th Century Fox

Every holiday season, the debate sparks up once again whether action thriller Die Hard is a Christmas movie. After all, that’s when the movie takes place, so why not rewatch Bruce Willis’s breakout hit during the holidays?

Die Hard is set in 1988 and follows NYPD detective John McClane, who goes in solo to the enormous Nakatomi Plaza to confront German bank robbers holding his wife hostage. The movie is critically acclaimed and spawned a series of box office hits.

But should you watch Die Hard during the holiday season? There are arguments both for and against the film belonging on Christmas movie marathons. In this article, we’ll be sharing our take on the age-old debate.

Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?

No. The film does take place during the holiday season, however, Christmas isn’t integral to the plot of the movie nor does it prominently feature in the film.

Traditional Christmas films center around the season of giving or star particular Christmas figures. Unfortunately for die-hard Die Hard fans, a bank robbery doesn’t quite meet this criteria. In fact, the most synonymous figure with the holiday, Santa Clause, doesn’t pop up at any point in the movie.

Other Christmas films use holiday-specific imagery in its advertising, and that’s something we don’t see within any of the promotional material for Die Hard either. In the synopsis present on Die Hard’s movie posters, the holiday isn’t mentioned at all.

Die Hard 6

While McLane’s wife and her colleagues were at a Christmas party when the robbery took place, this could have easily be substituted for any other gathering of work colleagues, and the story could function almost identically.

The most damning evidence of all for Die Hard not being a Christmas movie is that the film was first released in July 1988, months removed from the holiday itself.

So no, Die Hard is not a Christmas movie, even if it does take place on Christmas Eve. That said, there is no reason why you can’t watch Die Hard this holiday season, as it still remains one of the greatest action thrillers of all time.