It’s been a topic of debate since it was released in 1988: Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? Well, the issue has now reached a level of national importance as Public Policy Polling has gone so far as to include the question in a recent poll. Unfortunately, all they’ve done is prove the lack of reliability in polling, and that most people don’t understand what a Christmas movie should be. The overwhelming majority of those questioned don’t seem to believe that Die Hard is a Christmas film.
The poll found that 62% of respondents did not consider the action classic to be holiday fare. 25% chickened out and didn’t answer, saying they were "not sure." This leaves only 13% who gave the correct answer: "Of course, it’s a Christmas movie, what’s wrong with you?" This makes no sense as my admittedly unscientific poll of just people I know who happen to be on Facebook right now completely disagrees with these findings. In my poll, in fact, zero percent say it is not a Christmas movie. 12.5% do not know and 87% say that it is absolutely a Christmas movie. Please don't look at the methodology too closely.
So, what’s required to make a Christmas movie? The first item is obvious and Die Hard obviously succeeds: it takes place during Christmas. This much we can all agree on. Beyond that, however, the fact that it takes place at Christmas is important to the plot. Alan Rickman and his band of thieves take a Christmas party hostage. John McClain is visiting his wife because it’s Christmas. There is Christmas music On the soundtrack. These are unequivocal facts. Christmas isn’t simply a backdrop, it’s the reason that a number of the different plot points occur.
We have to assume that some people object to the argument because Die Hard doesn’t have the traditional feeling of a Christmas movie. It’s certainly not It’s A Wonderful Life or A Christmas Story, and it doesn’t give you that warm fuzzy feeling that those movies do, unless you’re a sociopath. This may be true, but that’s the part that seems unscientific. You can’t decide a genre based on how you feel. If you argue that an action movie can’t be a Christmas movie then I just can’t help you. They made a Christmas horror movie, so why can’t they make a Christmas action movie? Even the newscasters here don’t get it. Every one of them seems to be view Die Hard as a holiday film.
So let’s do our own poll of people who actually watch movies. Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? Let us know.
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