Another year, another revival of the same argument we have every year. Not the classic “is Christmas being too commercial” or even the ‘Merry Christmas VS Happy Holidays’ fiasco. It is simply ‘is Die Hard a Christmas film or not?’
Are some films clearly Christmas films right? You have films like Home Alone, Polar Express and Miracle on 34th Street the just scream Christmasy feeling at you. They have snow, they have families coming together and they are all about making kids feel happy.
So why do people think Die Hard is a Christmas film? Well, first of all, it’s set on Christmas Eve, but then again Batman Returns is set at Christmas and isn’t a Christmas movie while Frozen is technically set in the summer but is considered by most a Christmas movie.
Public historian Greg Jenner argues that:
“Christmas is a liminal ritualized period of carnivalesque inversion during which underdogs and the powerless are briefly elevated above hierarchical structures. John McClane is a classic Christmas underdog triumphing over selfish venality.”
More people have come in with arguments on both sides.
The fundamental lesson of Die Hard is that shooting people is extremely liberating and I’m just not sure that’s a Christmas message. pic.twitter.com/I7xAXTH5Og
— Elvis Buñuelo (@Mr_Considerate) November 26, 2017
Die Hard is about Christmas – it’s a family redemption story about about personal suffering in the service of fellow man, in defiance of systemic avarice. It’s pure Dickens. But with machine guns
— Greg Jenner (@greg_jenner) November 26, 2017
However, when it comes to lists of all-time best Christmas Movies Die Hard does remarkedly well.
Digital Spy – #5
Empire – #1
Entertainment Weekly – #4
Forbes – #1
The Guardian – #8
The Hollywood Reporter – #4
San Francisco Gate – #1
Other films that may or may not be Christmasy also cause controversy, but not on such a grand scale.
The Life of Brian (1979) begins right at the start of the Christmas story with Brian being born on the same on the same day as the son of God and being mistaken for Jesus. It does have a loyal Christmas following while others see it as borderline blasphemous.
As mentioned before Frozen is set in the summer and while it involves a lot of snow and ice and even a reindeer. While some families watch it each Christmas and there is a ton of Christmas merchandise for the film but many say it is not a Christmas film because there are no mentions of Christmas at all. The short sequal is a Christmas film however.
So are there any rules for Christmas Movies?
Is it set at Christmas?
Or do any of the Characters have anything do with Christmas?
And/or is there a tradition of this film being watched at Christmas?
We all know there is only true Christmas movie, The Snowman, which has been shown every year around Christmas since it first came out in 1982. It’s way better than Die Hard and more Christmasy.