Why Die Hard is a Christmas Movie


It’s the eternal question. When the air gets crisp and you see those first few snowflakes you know you’re going to get asked “Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?Your answer should always be “Yes”. “But if you take out Christmas . . . blah blah blah”. That’s pretty much true of any movie. If you take out one of the core elements of it then yes it’s not that thing anymore.

This doesn’t negate that all the classic trappings of Christmas movies are present in Die Hard. There are decorations everywhere, music playing, and in the end, someone learns an important lesson. You could almost take out John McClane and put in Ralphy and his Red Rider BB Gun and you’d have the same Christmasy movie. The next time someone asks you here are some handy responses for why Die Hard is in fact a Christmas movie.


Die Hard Soundtrack

Christmas music is all over this movie. The entire film is loaded with Christmas music. The always classic Christmas In Hollis by RUN DMC being one of my personal favorites. We also get classic songs like Walking In A Winter Wonderland, Ode To Joy, and Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow. Some will say that you can slap Christmas songs over anything but that doesn’t make it a Christmas movie. Within the movie John McClane whistles Jingle Bells to himself and his buddy Al is humming Let It Snow while at the gas station. Everyone is feeling in the Christmas spirit.

Christmas Party

Die Hard Christmas Party

When Hans and the gang take over the building the office is having its annual Christmas party. Does Hans know this? Probably. He knew the building and company would be much easier to take over if everyone was busy in one central location. This makes the Christmas party very important to Hans’ plan. Without the holiday festivities, they would have had to round up a lot more employees while hoping that no one was able to get out and notify the authorities. This makes Christmas very important to the plot of the movie. Without it, the terrorists would have either canceled their plans, been foiled even faster, or had to pick a different time of year to try to pull off their heist.

Christmas Jokes

Die Hard Machine Gun

With John being in the holiday spirit he uses the holiday to crack a few jokes in the film while taking down terrorists. After dispatching one of them and stealing his machine gun he leaves a very pointed message to Hans on the guy’s sweatshirt. “Now I Have A Machine Gun Ho Ho Ho”. This again places the movie firmly in the Christmas category. The fact that you can now buy an ugly Christmas Sweater with this phrase written on it as seen in the film should be evidence enough that it is a Christmas movie. If that weren’t enough the computer guy Theo uses the classic “Twas The Night Before Christmas,” line to begin talking about the SWAT team that is heading into the building to break things up. Even terrorists have to get in on the holiday spirit this time of year.

John Is Only In LA Because It’s Christmas

Die Hard Plane Ride

The whole reason John is visiting is because it’s Christmas time. The rift between him and his wife seems to develop because neither of them wants to budge on their careers. He hasn’t been to LA to visit the family yet because he likes to keep himself busy at work. He’s here now trying to spend the holiday with his kids and fixing the problems between him and his wife. What happens in most Christmas movies? Families learn to come together as they figure out what is most important in their life isn’t what they think it is. That is at the heart of this movie. John learns not to be so stuck on things like his job and that his family is the most important thing to him.

Family Over Greed

Die Hard John And Holly McClane

Continuing the theme of family, this film also shows that greed is bad. Hans’ gang of thugs can only think about how rich they are going to be. All they want is money and at the end of the day, it causes their downfall. For Hans literally. John dispatches each one of them because all he is trying to do is keep his wife (and the other hostages) safe. His motivation is family. Things like work, arguments, and marital disputes are nothing compared to keeping his family safe. Weirdly in Die Hard With A Vengeance, Hans’ brother Simon is thinking more about his family than Hans was in this film. He planned to get revenge for his brother’s death while also becoming extremely rich. Hans should have had his priorities in check and then maybe he would still be around to enjoy another Christmas.

Source: JoBlo

About the Author

Bryan Wolford is a feature writer for JoBlo, and also writes scripts for both JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals, including a multi-part retrospective on the Highlander franchise. When not writing for the site, he’s an avid podcaster.