Some of you are shaking your head in agreement, questioning why this is even on this list, but then half of you are shaking your head side to side with an annoyed look on your face, because you are in the "Die Hard is not a Christmas movie" camp. I belong to the side that says Die Hard is a Christmas Movie, which is why it is number three in the series.
Die Hard (1988)
It's Christmas Eve in Los Angeles and there is a little celebration going on over at Nakatomi Plaza. A party Detective Lieutenant John McClane (Bruce Willis) was not expecting to attend. McClane just flew in from New York to visit his estranged wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) and their kids for the holidays when a limo driver named Argyle (De'voreaux White) picks him up (a nice gesture arranged by Holly's boss Joseph Takagi, played by James Shigeta). McClane is left alone in an office while Holly sets out to do a speech - when, of course, a group of terrorists walk off the elevator, machine guns in tow.
You have their leader Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman's fist film role!) who looks amazing in a nice suit plus his misfit crew of Karl (Alexander Godunov), Franco (Bruno Doyon), Tony (Andreas Wisniewski), Theo (Clarence Gilyard), Alexander (Joey Plewa), Marco (Lorenzo Caccialanza), Kristoff (Gérard Bonn), Eddie (Dennis Hayden), Uli (Al Leong), Heinrich (Gary Roberts), Fritz (Hans Buhringer), and James (Wilhelm von Homburg). When they take the party goers as hostages, they sort of miss McClane who has snuck out through the fire escape to start forming a plan of attack. After a few attempts, McClane is able to get the police interested in the events at Nakatomi Plaza, thanks to first responding officer Sgt. Al Powell (Reginald VelJohnson).
You have an idiotic deputy police chief (Paul Gleason as Dwayne T. Robinson), ridiculous FBI agents Johnson and Johnson (Robert Davi and Grand L. Bush), terrorists who think gray sweatsuits are all the rage in fashion, a douchey executive that lacks common sense (Harry Ellis played by Hart Bochner) attention-seeking reporters, personal vendettas, perfectly timed jokes, and honestly, one amazingly solid script. Oh, and yes, for you naysayers, it is a Christmas movie. Let me count the ways (and not just state the obvious - aka it takes place on Christmas Eve).
1. Christmas Music Represent
As Argyle says: "This is Christmas Music"
2. Office Holiday Party fitted with an ridiculous large tree? CHECK!
Or as John McClane says: "You throw quite a party. I didn't realize they celebrated Christmas in Japan." of course...later he says: " "Yeah. I got invited to the Christmas party by mistake." The party is crucial.
3. Christmas Humor
Now if only that weird uncle of yours had the dark sense of humor like John McClane... maybe not.
4. Best Use for Christmas Packing Tape
(and if you are curious - you can buy replica tape at Amazon - the 80s are alive on Amazon).
5. A reciting of "Twas a Night Before Christmas"... well sort of:
"All right, listen up guys. 'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except... the four a**holes coming in the rear in standard two-by-two cover formation." ~Theo
6. A shred of hope - a necessary component of all Christmas movies.
Hans puts it best "It's Christmas, Theo. It's the time of miracles. So be of good cheer... and call me when you hit the last lock."
7. Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow - ummmm Let it snow ash?
And right before the credits - you get "Let it Snow: and good wishes :John McClane: Merry Christmas, Argyle. / Argyle: Merry Christmas. Ash falls from the sky - LA snow. And love is in the air.
.... and in the end, we can all agree with Argyle: " If this is their idea of Christmas, I *gotta* be here for New Year's."
You can rent Die Hard on Amazon or get the disc from Netflix. But as always - I suggest stopping by your public library and seeing if it is available. Plus do not forget to check out the previous two titles in the series: L.A. Confidential and Desk Set.