Even Bruce Willis’ Mom Has A Controversial Take In The Die Hard Christmas Movie Debate

Bruce Willis charging with gun in Die Hard
(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Christmas has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean talk about Christmas movies has to wrap up. Maybe you’re not ready for the yuletide season to end just yet and have been watching Christmas movies to keep things going just a little longer. Well, to the folks who have Die Hard as part of this particular film lineup, I’ve got some bad news for you: like her son, Bruce Willis’ mother doesn’t consider the 1988 action flick to be a Christmas movie.

It’s been 23 years since Die Hard was released, and the debate continues over whether or not it can be classified as a Christmas movie. Back in 2018, Bruce Willis closed out the Comedy Central roast centered on him by proclaiming that Die Hard should not be considered as such, and now we know his mother, Marlene, feels the same way. She explained to TMZ that while Die Hard is set at Christmastime, the festive season isn’t an “essential element” of the story. 

She has a point. Although Die Hard sees Bruce Willis’ John McClane going to Nakatomi Plaza on Christmas Eve to visit his wife during her company’s holiday party, and John later pops a Santa hat on the bodies of one of Hans Gruber’s men, nothing Christmas-y truly factors into our main protagonist’s clash with these terrorists. If you moved Die Hard to any other time of year, aside from needing a few minor tweaks, the story would basically unfold the same way.

Needless to say that this isn’t going to end the Die Hard Christmas movie debate, but at least those who think this action-packed romp has no business being required viewing during the Christmas season have another supporter on their side. Still, let’s not forget that last year, Die Hard director John McTiernan talked about how It’s A Wonderful Life influenced his movie, comparing John McClane to George Bailey… but, you know, shooting bad guys rather than clashing with a morally-reprehensible banker.

Regardless, whatever side of the debate you fall on, at least the Christmas-y aspects of Die Hard are loose enough that it’s easy enough to enjoy this movie all year round. Hitting theaters on July 15, 1988, Die Hard was initially met with mixed critical reception, but in the years to follow, it became a fan-favorite in the action genre. It also catapulted to new heights of fame, as before this movie, he was best known for starring in the comedy-drama series Moonlighting.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Die Hard also did well enough to spawn a film series, with four sequels being released between 1990 and 2013. While there had been plans to make a sixth movie called McClane, which would have taken a Godfather: Part II-style approach in following along with both the present John McClane and his pre-Die Hard self, that project was scrapped following Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox. While there are rumors of the franchise being rebooted as a TV series, for now, it remains in limbo.

If there are any major updates on the Die Hard front, we’ll let you know. For now, our 2022 release schedule is available for those curious about what movies are coming out next year.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.