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Die Hard is a Christmas movie

Written By: - Date published: 8:09 am, December 25th, 2021 - 33 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, Politics, Social issues - Tags:

Here at the Standard we choose to debate the important issues of the day.  What needs to be done about climate change, how the Country’s covid response is going (remarkably well and don’t believe the naysayers), and which National faction is leaking and undermining which leader.  But there is one debate that is currently raging that has not yet been addressed …

It is the perennial question raised at this time of year, is Die Hard a Christmas movie?

Google the issue and you get a huge number of hits.  This debate has raged on for years.

One of the more authoritative descriptions I discovered was this post from Kaitlyn Tiffany at the Atlantic:

According to Google Trends, search traffic for the phrase Is Die Hard a Christmas movie jumps every November and December. Somehow, in 2020, there was about as much search interest as there had been in any year prior, despite it being quite clear that Die Hard can be a Christmas movie if you want it to be, it’s fine, and no one cares, or no one would in an ideal world. By January, we will be able to more accurately survey this year’s damage, but I’m not optimistic. This is a sad state of affairs, but what are we going to do? Lecture people about it until they stop? That would be, in its own way, continuing the discussion.

The perennial revelation that Die Hard is a Christmas movie seems to have appeared online for the first time in 2007. A post on Slate titled “‘Now I Have a Machine Gun. Ho Ho Ho.’”—a reference to a key scene in the movie Die Hard—made the case. Through the eyes of Willis’s character, it argued, “the office Christmas party is revealed for what it really is: the fake fun of capitalism, the dying gasp of another pointless year.” In an instance of multiple discovery, the same idea appeared again just two weeks later, in a blog post for The Guardian titled “My Favourite Christmas Film? How About Die Hard.” (Fine!) Over the years, guys saying this online became a trope, to the point where there were T-shirts, and to the point where BuzzFeed’s Katie Notopoulos had to beg, “Stop Saying Die Hard Is Your Favorite Christmas Movie,” in 2013. Yet there was nothing to be done. A huge spike in “Die Hard Christmas movie” tweets and search traffic arrived in 2016, when a British magazine ranked Die Hard No. 1 on its list of the best Christmas movies ever and a British newspaper then published a rebuttal titled “Die Hard Is Not the Best Christmas Movie.” Ever since, the fight has been a yuletide tradition (and a marketing opportunity).

My totally unscientific take based on nothing more than my own personal belief that Die Hard is indeed a Christmas movie is that most lefties think that it is, and many right wingers refuse to accept such hysterical nonsense because their belief of what a Christmas movie is involves sticking to tradition and not veering from it one little bit.

According to them any movie in which the immortal phrase “Yippee Ki Yay mother fucker” is used cannot ever under no circumstances be considered a Christmas movie because a traditional Santa Claus would never say such a thing.

I am interested in your thoughts, either in support of my bold and assertive claim that lefties think Die Hard is indeed a Christmas movie, or to rubbish my admittedly dreamt up in a moment of reading twitter theory that lacks completely in proper analysis.

And Meri Kihirimete one and all.  Look after yourselves and your Whanau.

33 comments on “Die Hard is a Christmas movie ”

  1. Ross 1

    Well, yes, Die Hard is a Christmas movie in the same way that Love Actually is a (pornographic) Christmas movie (the latter may be the best such movie ever made, although the field is probably small). But Die Hard isn't a traditional Christmas movie, because traditional Christmas movies don't feature gratuitous violence or swearing. They also don’t feature pornography. They are wholesome and can be watched by the whole family. 🙂

    • Descendant Of Smith 1.1

      "gratuitous violence"

      Pretty sure Die Hard's violence is not gratuitous.

      The candidate for the most popular left wing Christmas movie however has to be Frank Capra's "It's A Wonderful Life"

      The Wiki for this movie notes:

      On May 26, 1947, the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a memo stating, "With regard to the picture 'It's a Wonderful Life', [redacted] stated in substance that the film represented rather obvious attempts to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a 'scrooge-type' so that he would be the most hated man in the picture. This, according to these sources, is a common trick used by Communists. [In] addition, [redacted] stated that, in his opinion, this picture deliberately maligned the upper class, attempting to show the people who had money were mean and despicable characters." Film historian Andrew Sarris points out as "curious" that "the censors never noticed that the villainous Mr. Potter gets away with robbery without being caught or punished in any way".

      It's a Wonderful Life (1946 poster).jpeg

  2. RedLogix 2

    Then there is this excellent Joe Hildebrand essay:

    If the Covid crisis has taught us anything it is that humans are both heroically stoic and easily scared. We are both tough and timid. We accept what we need to do to keep our societies safe but we also know that life is an endless balancing act of risk and reward.

    In some cases it is perhaps that these are two different types of people but for the most part it is probably just all of us at different times. Maybe even at the same time.


    This and so many other sentiments, from the personal to the practical to the profound, are all bound up in the Christmas message, a message that whatever your religion or creed holds universal truths that can offer strength and comfort to us all.

    Some of them, such as “Peace on Earth and goodwill to all men”, are both simple and impossible. How do we reconcile with our enemies without compromising our values? How do we love our neighbour even when they have wronged us?

    And yet that contradiction is precisely their meaning — that there are things we must always strive for even if they seem forever unachievable. This is both the great moral conundrum and the great moral purpose of the Judaeo-Christian tradition.

  3. weka 3

    Of course it's at Christmas film.

    There's a countdown of two Christmas films, in order.

    • Ross 3.1

      Hmmm I’m not sure Rickman’s character deserves to die in Love Actually, simply because he has an affair. And I don’t think his wife being named Karen is any coincidence. She says she has low expectations of him giving her a decent present and then complains when she doesn’t get jewellery. She’s all about the presents and has clearly bought into the commercialisation of Christmas. In addition she tells Liam Neeson’s character to harden up after his wife dies. Not very sympathetic. Karen and her husband deserve each other. 🙂

      • weka 3.1.1

        well it was a joke rather than implying he should actually die. I liked them as a couple. I think her telling her brother to harden up was also a joke 👍

  4. weka 4

    btw, pitch perfect post for the front page of TS this Christmas. Thanks for doing this micky. Meri Kirihimete to your and your whānau 🎄

  5. weka 5

    more twitter fun

  6. joe90 6

    The twelve days of Christmas.

    (12 > 1)

  7. KJT 7

    Merry Christmas to you all.

    "Live long and prosper".

  8. Rosemary McDonald 8

    Die Hard? You lot into movies?

    Here's a short film about just one of your fellow Kiwis not having a very Merry Christmas at all. And don't be frightened about the alternate viewing platform…everyone's favourite site actively censor these personal accounts. for some reason.wink


  9. Dennis Frank 9

    I couldn't care less about the movie – why would anyone want to see another piece of crap from Hollywood??

    Christmas almost falls into that category too. Nobody recorded the actual day of the birth of Jesus so christians had to make it up as they went along:

    Although no date is indicated in the gospels, early Christians connected Jesus to the Sun through the use of such phrases as "Sun of righteousness." The Romans marked the winter solstice on December 25. The first recorded Christmas celebration was in Rome on December 25, AD 336… Around AD 200, Clement of Alexandria wrote:

    "There are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord's birth, but also the day; and they say that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus, and in the 25th day of [the Egyptian month] Pachon [May 20] … Further, others say that He was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi [April 20 or 21]."


    So if you put together a bunch of wild guesses, various attempts to clutch at straws, plus a resolute convergence on `fake it till you make it', you get christian tradition.

    • weka 9.1

      Why did the Romans mark the winter solstice on the 25th?

      • Dennis Frank 9.1.1

        I do recall noticing that reason a long time ago. I did serious investigation of calendrical history while researching the link to astrology in 1983. Zodiac & calendar had a common origin in ancient time measurement. Months & signs both total twelve for that reason.

        Unfortunately I don't recall exactly when or why it got fixed onto the 25th to produce the current 3-day difference. I remember stuff like the year beginning on the vernal equinox originally. First degree of Aries remains the start of the tropical zodiac (zodiac was originally sidereal) consequently…

        • weka

          some explanation here. Blame Julius.


          The return of the sun three days after it standing still at midwinter sounds more lunar to me, but perhaps it's how it was visible in that place and time i.e. it takes three or four days to notice that the days are longer. Or the sun is rising in a different place.

          • Dennis Frank

            Ah yes, likeliest explanation is the solstice actually being on Dec 25 at that time, then convention preserving the date after the solstice moved on.

            And, when shifting a paradigm, a cultural grafting & blending process often facilitates the shift of public allegiance better than an abrupt radical break:

            Many Christian’s were jubilant, seeing their usurping of the December 25th as a victory over the pagans. Others, such as St Augustine, however did not approve. For they worried that many Christians needed constant reminding that it was the son of god’s birth they were celebrating- not the rebirth of the sun.

            For ideology to prevail over tradition, you need constant reinforcement. Anyone who has tried to detach a limpet from a rock will have an inkling of the difficulty in the mass mind.

            It's why the popes learnt from experience that cultural assimilation only works if you use trad pagan icons as anchors. They then used that as official campaign strategy. So we inherited cathedrals with Black Madonna grottoes in the basement, and/or dolmens in the crypt of churches as a result. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Thus the Green Man icon is found decorating old churches all over Europe & Britain. About as far as the patriarchy was willing to go to acknowledge Gaia…

    • weka 9.2

      I couldn't care less about the movie – why would anyone want to see another piece of crap from Hollywood??

      Die Hard is a classic in its genre, and well made. Some of us watch such things for entertainment and fun 🙂

      • Dennis Frank 9.2.1

        Been there, done that. Not gonna argue the logic – there's been some I filed into that category too. I own my bias, but it does over-generalise.

  10. mary_a 10

    Compliments of the season one and all and many thanks for the interesting and varied contributions throughout the year.

    Let's make an effort to be kinder, caring, tolerant and more understanding in 2022. Take good care. Stay safe and well during the holiday season.

    Cheers and blessings

    Mary laugh

  11. bwaghorn 11

    It's a movie that's frequently played at Christmas time, there problem solved!!

    Sorry for spoiling the fun .

  12. McFlock 12

    Dunno about left vs right, but it's quite obviously a christmas movie: at the start, a couple in conflict. Then they go on an unexpected adventure with curious characters, and by the end they have forgotten their differences, love each other again, and it snows paper (because LA).

  13. Puckish Rogue 13

    Well yes of course it is

  14. Ad 14

    You want to see a proper Christmas movie, you need Desk Set with Spencer Tracey and Audrey Hepburn.

    Desk Set (1957) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers – YouTube

    Outstanding comedy of manners set in a media headquarters, the start of staff resisting automation, terrific costumes, sparkling and complex script, overlaid with the astonishing chemistry of suppressed real-life romance between Tracey and Hepburn.

    And of course a rare glimpse into female culture, single and competent in a corporate world, with all but one male character relegated to guest status.

    Plus, of course, by the end the right people really do finally get it together.

    • weka 14.1

      is that streaming anywhere?

    • mary_a 14.2

      Ad (14) … I think you mean Katherine Hepburn acting with Spencer Tracey, not Audrey Hepburn.

      KH and ST had a life long romantic relationship and acted in many great films together, where Hepburn more often than not, played strong decisive women. It was Tracy's Catholic religion that prevented him divorcing his wife, to marry Hepburn.

  15. I haven't actually seen the film but I get a clear double entendre Christmas message from the title.

  16. Jenny how to get there 17

    Is 'Die Hard' a Christmas movie?

    Is like asking; is the 'Fairytale of New York' a Christmas Carol?

    In the same vein as 'Fairytale of New York' which is set "In the drunk tank…"

    And the original Christmas story which is set in a cow shed.

    Lorde's 'We will never be Royal', celebrates the nobility of the common people.

    There is something uplifting about this message, that speaks to us all.

    Just like the bitter sweet 'Fairytale of New York' with none of the swearing bleeped out and sanitised by the censors,

    In my opinion, with its subversive message 'We will never be Royal' deserves to be our Christmas song to be put on high rotation airplay every Christmas.

    And on TV just after the Queen’s message.

    “That kind of Love is not for us, we crave a different kind of buzz…”

  17. Jenny how to get there 18

    a British magazine ranked Die Hard No. 1 on its list of the best Christmas movies ever and a British newspaper then published a rebuttal titled “Die Hard Is Not the Best Christmas Movie.”

    Is 'Die Hard' a Christmas movie?

    Yes Die Hard is a Christmas movie, but a perverted one.

    Die Hard tries hard, with its theme of the underdog over coming all odds to eventually triumph. But for me, 'Die Hard' incorporating a revenge fantasy element carried out with high calibre violence misses the heart of the Christmas message, of the nobility of the lowly and humble underdog. The lone police officer played by Bruce Williss killing terrorists is not really the underdog.

    A better contender for oddball Christmas movie, must be 'Bad Santa'.

    Bad Santa definitely is a Christmas movie, no debate about it, and my Christmas is not complete until i have seen it.

    Bad Santa has every element of every good Christmas themed movie ever, with all the pathos and bathos of any good tale, especially a Christmas themed one – an elf, a santa, the avaricious get there come-uppance, the irredeemible are redeemed. Justice is meted out to bullies, the mighty are humbled, (the meek inherit the earth).

    • Dennis Frank 18.1

      the meek inherit the earth

      Funny how that christian promise never happened, eh? Not the only false promise that shaped history, but perhaps #1 on the list of them.

      Actually, the geek shall inherit the earth. Why did Musk replace Bezos who replaced Gates at the top of the greasy pole? Better-selling tech, brought to market by yet another geek entrepreneur.

      Gotta remember that social hierarchy is driven more by values than control dominance nowadays. The more customers value your product, the higher you climb.

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