By Joe Harker
Die Hard really is the film that has everything. Not only is it the model that many 90s action movies tried to copy, it's also a brilliantly well made film that understands how to set up and pay off character arcs and interactions. Oh, and it also has Bruce Willis in a tank top and Alan Rickman in a vaguely German accent.
The film is still talked about today, particularly at this time of year. Because the heroics of John McClane and Al Powell in resolving the hostage situation at Nakatomi Plaza are set at Christmas many viewers hold to the idea that it's a Christmas film, a bona fide classic that stands along It's A Wonderful Life and whichever version of A Christmas Carol you like best (the Muppets version, obviously) as a staple of the season. But is it really a Christmas film, or just a film that happens to be set at Christmas?
As you can probably tell by the tweak to the usual Perspecs format, I believe Die Hard is definitely a Christmas film. The writers of the film agree, with Steven E de Souza confirming that the movie he co wrote with Jeb Stuart was intended to be a proper Christmas movie. He pointed out that it features a Santa hat and the words "Ho Ho Ho" (mockingly daubed onto the corpse of on a criminal McClane has killed) as well as a woman about to give birth. How much more Christmas stuff do you need?
However, lead actor Bruce Willis thinks otherwise. Earlier in the year at his Comedy Central roast he insisted "Die Hard is not a Christmas movie. It's a god damn Bruce Willis movie!", but we're going to take the word of the screenplay writers over Mr Willis.
The actor's disagreement with the screenwriters is perhaps the best example of how differently people see the movie. While almost everyone agrees it is a brilliant action movie the fierce debate is over whether it deserves a place on the Christmas classic shelf or whether fans of the film are just pretending so they can have a reason to watch it during the festive period.
Some who believe Die Hard is a Christmas film would also like everyone to stop discussing the matter any further, thank you very much. As great as the film is the years of debate over its festive status can become tiresome. Years of talking about the film and running over the same argument repeatedly can grow stale, so perhaps it would be best if we all agreed that the "Die Hard is a Christmas movie" camp has won this particular discussion and consider the matter closed forever.
Meanwhile, I'm going to put my feet up and enjoy watching Bruce Willis trapped in Nakatomi Plaza with Alan Rickman's gang of lethal bank robbers. Yippee Ki Yay!