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Arts & Culture
0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8cd30001A blog featuring the work and work life of NHPR's interns and fellows.

Is Die Hard A Christmas Movie?

What doesn't say Christmas like a terrorist plot foiled by Bruce Willis? - Author Kevin Flynn, Die Hard die-hard

To many, any best-of action film list would ring hollow with the exclusion of Die Hard - but each year, as the holiday season approaches, it begins to fly under a different flag:  an admittedly less warm, less traditional Christmas classic.

When you think of holiday spirit set to celluloid, perhaps you think of newly-inspired George Bailey embracing his wife Mary as the town breaks out into one glorious chorus of carols, in Frank Capra's It's A Wonderful Life:

Heartwarming, no? But is Christmas the exclusive territory of fuzzy feelings, or is there room for something... else? While critics can't agree, Leon Thomas of thatguywiththeglasses.com uses an objective methodology, and breaks down what makes a Christmas movie into five criteria:

  • Does it take place around Christmas?
  • Do we learn something about the Christmas spirit?
  • Are there any visual or audio references to Christmas, like seeing elves or hearing "Jingle Bells"?
  • Is the Christmas element absolutely essential to the plot?
  • Do people watch this movie around Christmas?

Using these criteria, Thomas says Die Hard pulls a tie, but he offers this tie-breaking logic:

"If 'Winter Wonderland' can be a Christmas song with no Christmas lyrics, then Die Hard is without a doubt a Christmas movie even though it is mainly about non-Christmas themes and events."