The movie Die Hard was released 30 years ago this year, in the summer of 1988. The film spawned four sequels and was hugely influential on the action movies that came along in the years afterward. Many of them were pitched as “Die Hard in a [blank],” including 1994’s Speed, which was “Die Hard on a bus.” The influence has continued all the way until today, with the recent Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson vehicle Skyscraper bringing it all the way back around to “Die Hard in a tall building.”
For the last few years, there’s been another aspect to the conversation about Die Hard: A near-constant argument about whether or not Die Hard counts as a Christmas movie. On the one hand, it doesn’t have the usual tone of a traditional Christmas film, but on the other, it’s set on Christmas Eve, and its plot concerns the hero John McClane seeking to reconcile with his wife for Christmas.
Now, at least, we have a poll of this crucial question. Morning Consult, a polling firm that usually concerns itself with presidential approval ratings and other issues related to politics and culture, has teamed up with the Hollywood Reporter to put out a survey of adults, asking “Is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?” The results are that 62 percent say no, 25 percent say yes, and 13 percent don’t know or have no opinion.
Breaking down the results further, men (32 percent) are more likely to answer yes than women (20 percent.) Respondents aged 30-44 are most likely to answer “yes,” while those aged 65 or older are more likely to answer no. The poll has a margin for error of +/- 2 percent.
The magazine Empire in 2016 named Die Hard to the top spot on its list of the 30 best Christmas movies, beating out It’s a Wonderful Life, Gremlins, A Muppet Christmas Carol, and Trading Places.
“Bruce Willis’ John McClane may seem like an unlikely Santa Claus – he doesn’t have enough hair for one – but what better Christmas present is there than the gift of terrorists getting taken down as they try to take Nakatomi Plaza hostage during a Christmas party in order to carry out an elaborate theft,” the magazine said. “Not for Empire readers the cutesy Christmas trees of other Christmas movies, or the sight of people in ill-advised knitwear drinking eggnog. For you guys, nothing says deck the halls like jumping off a roof tied to a fire hose, and nothing says season of goodwill like a machine gun.”