The 1988 classic Christmas film Die Hard is currently number 10 on Starz, according to a report from Flix Patrol. The Bruce Willis led film, which wowed critics and audiences alike has long been a staple watch for the holiday season, routinely propelling it to the top 10 on streaming charts and DVD sales every December. Of course, if you’ve spent any time on the internet, you’ll know that there’s a heap of discourse surrounding whether or not the classic assault on Nakatomi plaza, which is widely regarded as one of the greatest action movies of all time, counts as a Christmas movie in the first place.
Die Hard stars Bruce Willis in the leading role as New York City police officer John McClane, a wise cracking, no nonsense, hard-nosed beat cop who has become estranged from his wife and two daughters. The plot centers around Willis’ McClane clumsily attempting to rekindle his relationship with his family during a Christmas Eve event being thrown at his wife’s office, the Nakatomi Plaza office building in Los Angeles. During the party, a group of German terrorists, led by Alan Rickman in his most menacing performance as Hans Gruber, take everyone in the building hostage, before being picked off one by one by John McClane.
Despite its December 24th setting, Die Hard‘s place in pop culture as a Christmas movie has been hotly contested for several years, sparking the greatest debate in movie history since Han Solo shooting Greedo first. Some argue that the film’s tight focus on plot and character development stands on its own, rendering its Christmas theme null and void, maintaining that the film could feasibly have been uprooted and set during any other day of the year without missing a beat. Others have argued that Christmas iconography and themes of family togetherness function as a main driving point of the movie, making it as much a Christmas movie as Home Alone or the Guardians of the Galaxy Christmas Special.
This argument about the validity of Die Hard‘s Christmas movie status has ranged from calm exchanges between friends to frothing at the mouth arguments over internet comments, making constant think piece appearances on websites from Mens Health to Nerdist and everywhere in between. The film released during the summer of 1988, lending further credence to the notion that Christmas serves as an afterthought in the film, but this is mostly a result of 20th Century Fox studio lack of faith in the movie’s ability to perform. At the time, nobody could predict what heights Die Hard would reach, as Bruce Willis’ wavering star power and the script’s multiple rewrites drew the production into an uncertain limbo.
Whether you find Die Hard to fit your personal criteria for a Christmas movie or not is largely subjective, but the ongoing annual debate of whether the movie belongs in holiday rotation viewings has become a fun tradition for pop culture fanatics the world over. So this December 24th, consider sitting with some of your closest friends and family members, firing up Starz or dusting off a DVD player, and raucously fighting over the supremacy of your ultimately inconsequential opinion, it just might become your favorite holiday routine!