It’s one of the great controversies of our time – is Die Hard, starring Bruce Willis as an off-duty cop taking on a gang of terrorists, actually a Christmas movie? Okay, so it’s not a story about whether Santa is real or not, but it does encompass all the elements of what makes a seasonal film a perennial, heartwarming favourite (with a few explosions and shoot-outs thrown in for good measure). Here’s a look at why this action classic is the perfect film to watch as you tuck into your mince pies after polishing off a turkey dinner.
Christmas, traditionally, is the time of making long journeys – think of the Three Wise Men making their way to Bethlehem, or the four hours you’ll spend on the motorway to get to the in-laws. In Die Hard, John McClane flies all the way from New York to Los Angeles on Christmas Eve, in the hope of making up with his wife.
No Christmas film is complete without a Scrooge – a cantankerous character trying to ruin Christmas for everyone, getting his deserved comeuppance. In this case it’s German terrorist Hans Gruber (played by Alan Rickman), who puts a serious damper on the festive spirit with his hostage-taking, heisting ways.
Worst office party ever
The terrorist Gruber totally wrecks the Christmas party being held by the Nakatomi Corporation. All the staff wanted to do was let their hair down, and see the year out with a few drinks and jokes. Think about that next time you grumble that your office Christmas party was a bit of a letdown – at least it wasn’t interrupted by a gang with heavy weaponry shouting demands and shooting the ceiling.
‘Tis the season to be merry
Argyle, the limo driver, seems oblivious to the action unfolding in the Nakatomi Corporation building, indulging instead in a bit of Christmas spirit while it all kicks off inside. Isn’t this exactly what Christmas is all about – putting your troubles to one side and enjoying yourself?
Unbeknownst to the evil Gruber, who plans to steal a fortune in bearer bonds, there’s a surprise guest at the Christmas party, there to remind him that Christmas is a time for giving, not taking. Although said surprise guest does take a machine gun so he can even the odds.
It’s all about family
All McClane wanted to do that Christmas Eve was make peace with his estranged wife Holly (Bonny Bedelia) – because Christmas is, after all, about forgiveness and coming together. If he manages to save a building full of people and kill the baddies into the bargain, so be it.
Time to vent
Christmas can be a testing time – tempers get frayed, family disagreements can reach boiling point, and the sherry runs out too quickly. But spare a thought for John McClane, trapped in an air vent like a turkey left too long in the oven. In comparison your Christmas is a breeze.
Still not convinced Die Hard is the best film to watch this Christmas? A Christmas setting, a Christmas party, Let It Snow! And Jingle Bells on the soundtrack. It couldn’t be any more Christmas if it was wrapped up and with a bow on top!