Is “Die Hard” a Christmas Movie? You Betcha!

Is “Die Hard” a Christmas Movie? You Betcha!

In 1988 the movie Die Hard starring Bruce Willis and the late great Alan Rickman was released. Surprisingly, considering the later hoopla, it was NOT released over the Christmas holiday but rather on July 15. Being fans of action flicks, we saw the movie in the theater and loved it. So much so that we purchased the VHS when it came out and frequently popped it in. However, it was not until somewhere in the mid-1990s that it became our traditional family Christmas Eve movie.

How that happened is a humorous tale: One Christmas Eve in a year we can no longer recall (aside from the fact that our son was quite young so we covered his eyes several times), my husband and I were sitting with the children by the tree, probably sipping hot beverages, and discussing what movie to watch until the kiddies had to get to bed before Santa came. This was prior to Elf (2003) or Netflix or cable with gazillion channels, so the options were slim. We flipped through TV and there was Die Hard. It was about a third of the way through and to be honest our immediate verbalization was, “Why is Die Hard airing on Christmas Eve?” Feeling a tad ridiculous, we ended up watching it, fully realizing for the first time just how strongly the Christmas theme plays into the plot.

Fast forward to the following Christmas Eve, the kids had opened their one present and we were again flipping stations searching for It’s a Wonderful Life, A Charlie Brown Christmas, or something appropriately Christmassy, when someone (we no longer remember who) hesitantly tossed out, “What about Die Hard?” Well, we laughed a bit, the previous year’s ridiculousness tingling, but not nearly as strong as one might suspect. LOL! Long story short, we watched Die Hard on that second Christmas Eve, and for easily 20 years now we have unashamedly watched it every Christmas Eve since.

At least a decade ago, when still defending our traditional viewing choice to amazed people, I noticed that Die Hard was included on just about every Top Christmas Movie list out there. Don’t believe me? Google it! In 2016 Empire Magazine ranked it as #ONE (HERE) out of 30, in 2011 Forbes also ranked it as #ONE (HERE) out of ten, and Ranker listed it as #17 out of all Christmas movies but #ONE in the “Christmas Action” movie category (HERE)

In fact, Googling is exactly what I did the other day, as we were talking about our Christmas Eve plans with our daughter and son, and not only did I verify it still made the lists, I discovered that this year the “debate” over Die Hard as an official Christmas movie has risen to a fever across the web. Why after thirty years?

I believe we can, in part, thank Doogie Horner who on October 24, 2017 published A Die Hard Christmas: The Illustrated Holiday Classic. No, I am not making this up! Below is the blurb from Amazon, where it currently has 105 reviews with a 4.7-star average. Not bad at all! And yes, I have purchased a copy for my husband and son!

A delightful Christmas storybook for adults based on the action-packed Die Hard movie

All John McClane wants for Christmas is to reunite with his estranged family. But when his wife’s office holiday party turns into a deadly hostage situation, he has to save her life before he can get home in time for Christmas!

The unconventional fan-favorite movie Die Hard is now an illustrated storybook—complete with machine guns, European terrorists, and a cop who’s forced to rely on all his cunning and skills (and the help of a fellow officer) to save the day. Based on the classic “Night Before Christmas” poem and filled with whimsical illustrations, this cleverly reimagined homage is destined to become a holiday classic.

*Contains adult material including violence and strong language. Reader discretion is advised. Ho-ho-ho.

Click image for Amazon purchase link.


I honestly have no idea what to expect from the book, but the concept IS hilarious! Particularly humorous are the folks who get super agitated about it. Seriously, the internet is burning up over this, as if the fate of the world or Christmas itself hinges on the label of “Christmas movie” for Die Hard. As laughable as I personally view the hoopla, I have to admit it is satisfying to see the pendulum clearly swinging in favor of it being a Christmas movie right up there with Elf and Miracle on 34th Street (which, incidentally, was released in JUNE of 1947).


Below are just a small sampling of the articles written on the topic, my favorite being the first.

Does Die Hard Really Qualify as a Christmas Movie? on The Nerdist

Is Die Hard a Christmas Movie? on Screen Rant

People are Still Arguing Over Whether Die Hard is a Christmas Movie on Maxim


Or, just watch the excellently and logically argued video below from ScreenPrism. WARNING: Clips from Die Hard do contain blood and violence, natch!


3 Comments for Is “Die Hard” a Christmas Movie? You Betcha!

  1. Oh yes this is definitely a Christmas movie. I haven’t watched it recently but my son and his wife also watch it every year. It has long been one of his favourite films. I first watched it because hey Bruce Willis was in it and I was a devoted fan of Moonlighting, I really enjoyed it and we watched it regularly.
    Thanks for this post Sharon, I must get that book you mention for my son – he will love it.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family and a very happy New Year.

    • Thanks Glynis! It is funny how many people now openly admit to watching Die Hard at Christmas time. I suspect that people have for a very long time, just like us, but been too embarrassed to confess it. LOL! We sure got lots of amazed expressions in the early years. Of course, my next favorite Christmas movie is Scrooged, so that speaks volumes I suppose. Ha ha ha!!

      You have a VERY Merry Christmas as well, my friend.

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