Is Die Hard a Christmas film? A new poll reveals all

5 December 2018, 13:36 | Updated: 5 December 2018, 15:05

The debate over the Bruce Willis film continues. Which other famous movies are surprisingly set at Christmas?

One of the biggest arguments at Christmas isn’t over what to watch on TV or whether sprouts are a good thing or not. Oh no - it’s more important than that.

Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?

It’s a tough one. Despite being a taught action thriller featuring a sardonic hero and one of cinema’s greatest villains, the story is definitely set in late December. Detective John McClane (played by a be-vested Bruce Willis) heads to LA on Christmas Eve to meet with his estranged wife and terrorist-led mayhem ensues, courtesy of Alan Rickman as arch baddie Hans Gruber.

Willis is even listening to Christmas In Hollis by Run DMC at the beginning, but any festive fun is quickly sidelined by the action and the running about. So, is it officially a Christmas movie?

Some point out that Die Hard was released in July in the US (February in the UK), but the Prince Charles Cinema in London regularly add the movie to their annual selection of Christmas films.

Bruce Willis in Die Hard (1988)
Bruce Willis in Die Hard (1988). Picture: 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images

Asked on Twitter whether Die Hard actually should be included in your festive viewing marathon, Steven E. deSouza, who actually co-wrote the thing replied: “Yes, because the studio rejected the Purim draft #DieHardIsAChristmasMovie.”

(Purim, of course, is the Jewish holiday that takes place in around February/March.)

However, during his Comedy Central roast in July 2018, Willis himself announced: “Die Hard is not a Christmas movie. It’s a god damn Bruce Willis movie!”

Bonnie Bedelia and Bruce Willis in Die Hard (1988)
Bonnie Bedelia and Bruce Willis in Die Hard (1988). Picture: 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images

Hold the front page, because the Hollywood Reporter had research company Morning Consult conduct a survey to get to the bottom of the matter. The results were:

Morning Consult asks Is Die Hard A Christmas Movie
Morning Consult asks Is Die Hard A Christmas Movie. Picture: Graphic: MorningConsult.com

Is Die Hard A Christmas Movie?

Yes: 25%

No: 62%

Dont Know: 13%

So, the American people have spoken. Are they right?

Are these Christmas movies... or not?

  1. The Shining (1980)

    Jack Nicholson is the winter caretaker of the haunted Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s classic adaptation of a Stephen King novel. It’s the most horrible Christmas job imaginable as the family sit out the festive months while dad goes slowly psychotic. Is it a Christmas movie? Not really. More of a "crap winter" movie.

  2. Psycho (1960)

    The events of Alfred Hitchcock’s legendary horror-thriller take place (according to the opening caption) from 11 December onwards… and Christmas decorations are briefly seen as Janet Leigh’s character takes off with her stolen money. Seems like Norman Bates was too busy to put up his tree, maybe? Is it a Christmas movie? Definitely not.

  3. Edward Scissorhands (1990)

    Tim Burton’s enchanting fairy tale sees Johnny Depp as the ultimate outsider brought to the sunny suburbs with manicured lawns. But, the most memorable scene has the titular character creating a huge ice sculpture of an angel while his beloved (Winona Ryder) looks on. Is it a Christmas movie? Undoubtedly - Danny Elfman's beautiful score turns up in nearly every Christmas ad, too.

  4. Lethal Weapon (1987)

    This Mel Gibson / Danny Glover cop/buddy movie is set at the end of December… hell, there’s even a shoot-out in a parking lot where Christmas trees are being sold. The film winds up with Gibson spending Christmas Day with Glover. Aw, nice. Is it a Christmas movie? Not really.

  5. Gremlins (1984)

    Young Billy Peltzer his Mogwai as a last minute Christmas present from his inventor father, and the whole sorry affair kicks off with the sounds of Darlene Love’s festive classic Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). But the seasonal aspects of the story take a back seat to the cartoonish gremlin-on-human horror. It was originally released in June in the US, too (but we got it in December!). Is it a Christmas movie? Absolutely!

  6. Batman Returns (1992)

    Tim Burton again. Danny DeVito’s Penguin makes his first appearance at Gotham’s annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Season's Greetings everyone! Is it a Christmas movie? Ehhhh... not really.

  7. First Blood (1982)

    The original Rambo movie sees Sly Stallone’s alienated, traumatised Vietnam war veteran heading to a bleak Washington town, only to be persecuted by the local cops. He flees to the countryside and a mini-war ensues. And all of this is set in December 1981, with Christmas decorations in the windows. Rambo, you’ve ruined Christmas! Is it a Christmas movie? Hell, no!

  8. In Bruges (2008)

    Irish hitmen Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) head to the Belgian city of Bruges at Christmas to lay low after a job goes wrong and a young boy is killed. Someone isn’t going to see Boxing Day. Is it a Christmas movie? It's not very festive, to be honest.

  9. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

    Stanley Kubrick’s last film, a torrid tale of sexual adventures and misadventures starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, kicks off at a Christmas party and things get stranger from then on. Christmas lunch must have been awkward. Is it a Christmas movie? Depends what you tend to get up to over the festive season...