Die Hard Actor Settles Festive Film Dispute: 'Remember This'

Iconic Film Sparks Enduring Holiday Genre Controversy.

by Nouman Rasool
Die Hard Actor Settles Festive Film Dispute: 'Remember This'
© Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

In the realm of cinematic debates, few topics have ignited as much fervor as the discussion surrounding the 1988 action classic, "Die Hard." The Bruce Willis-led film, which debuted 35 years ago, has perennially sparked a contentious discourse: Is "Die Hard" truly a Christmas movie? Set against the backdrop of a Christmas Eve office party at Los Angeles' Nakatomi Plaza, "Die Hard" follows NYPD officer John McClane, played by Willis, as he battles a group of terrorists.

The film, directed by John McTiernan, intertwines holiday themes with its high-octane action, leading many to argue for its classification as a Christmas film. This argument gains traction from the movie's Christmas setting, the inclusion of holiday songs in its soundtrack, and its underlying message about the significance of family and friendship.

Recently, De'voreaux White, who portrayed McClane's affable limousine driver, Argyle, weighed in during an interview with DailyMail.com, declaring "Die Hard" a "Christmas cult classic." Despite not being marketed as a Christmas movie, White's stance reflects the sentiment of many fans and industry insiders alike.

Celebrities such as Zooey Deschanel, Laurence Fishburne, and Kristin Wiig have also shared their perspectives. Deschanel, a veteran of the traditional Christmas film "Elf," acknowledges the unique emotions "Die Hard" evokes during the holiday season.

Fishburne confidently categorizes it as a Christmas movie, while Wiig humorously remarked on its ambiguity, noting its atypical nature as an action-packed holiday film. Conversely, some viewers oppose this classification, pointing to the film's R-rating, its intense violence, and the notion that the holiday element is not central to the plot.

Even former President Obama, during an appearance on the "Tonight Show" in 2020, sided with the view that "Die Hard" is more of an action movie that incidentally includes Christmas.

Die Hard: Divided Opinions

The "Die Hard" saga, which expanded to four sequels, has left its creators and cast members divided on the subject.

In 2018, Bruce Willis, during "The Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis," emphatically denied the film's status as a Christmas movie. However, opinions within the cast have evolved. Reginald VelJohnson and Bonnie Bedelia, who also starred in the film, have acknowledged the fan-driven nature of this debate, conceding that the audience's perception ultimately defines the film's genre.

An investigation by The Atlantic in 2021 traced the origins of this debate, highlighting its emergence in the digital realm with blog posts from Slate and The Guardian. The topic has consistently gained momentum online, especially during the holiday season.

Despite the varied opinions, what remains unequivocal is the impact of "Die Hard" on popular culture. As a box office sensation, it has cemented its place in cinematic history. Whether it's viewed as a Christmas movie or not, "Die Hard" continues to spark lively conversations and endures as a beloved film, watched and debated by generations of moviegoers.