Die Hard, for many, is one of the greatest action movies ever made.
But a far smaller amount of people actually consider it a Christmas movie, which may not seem unusual until you realize the whole thing takes place during a company Christmas party.
Regardless, respondents in a new poll are not having it.
The Public Policy Polling organization, in anticipation of the holiday season, asked a number of people to give their thoughts on whether Die Hard was a Christmas movie, and an overwhelming majority said no way.
Sixty-two percent in all said that John McClane’s (Bruce Willis) finest hour did not belong in the same breaths as It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story.
Business Insider notes that that doesn’t stop many people from including it in their Christmas viewing schedule each year, and the news site even goes so far as to include it in its picks for the 12 best holiday films of all time.
MovieFone writer Drew Taylor goes even farther than that, making the following case.
“During the course of the movie, McClane is transformed. When he emerges, bloodied and burnt, at the end of the movie, his wife can barely recognize him. And how does she address him? ‘Jesus Christ,’ the kid whose birth we’re ostensibly celebrating on Christmas Day. But his transformation is also spiritual. At the end of the movie, you get the sense that he’s recommitted to being a fully present parent (and there is some evidence to suggest that he followed through, at least in the second movie).”
Taylor is not the only person to express his belief that Die Hard is a Christmas movie. Many commenters on the Business Insider piece saw it as a worthy inclusion to holiday viewing, and they had some pretty well-thought-out reasons behind the decision.
One said the movie “has a very strong message of redemption and the reuniting of a separated family for Christmas through adversity and perseverance.”
“What could be a more positive holiday message?” the viewer continued. “Just because it has explosions, shooting, blood and killing doesn’t mean its not a holiday classic that has an appropriate theme for Christmas. I would rather watch that than a bunch of singing and dancing.”
As many like Taylor express their outrage at the idea that Die Hard is not a Christmas movie, it does set one to thinking about what the criteria for holiday films actually are.
Do you need more than to simply use the big day as a backdrop, or will it suffice?
The reality is that movies like Die Hard are not altogether different from films like It’s a Wonderful Life in their ability to tug at the heartstrings, provided the characters are interesting enough.
While it cannot be said for every film in the Die Hard series, the first film clearly resonated with audiences enough to warrant repeat viewings.
Not calling the original a Christmas movie could be akin to denigrating the plight of many people, who have to deal with their conflicts in different ways than George Bailey.
In the original Die Hard, John McClane is a man who is losing his family due to the pressures of his job. When he is faced with losing his wife, he realizes how much he loves her and the lives they have as parents.
The fact that he has to bust a few heads and kill people to get the family back together shouldn’t make his ordeal any less important than Bailey’s, right?
What do you think, readers? Is Die Hard a Christmas movie or not?
[All Images via Die Hard screen grab]