Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? The ultimate EW investigation
Through the years, everyone from Willis to EW have weighed in with their opinions on the matter, but there's been no merry consensus. Now, with the help of some Die Hard alums, we're finally ready to settle this once and for all.
Before diving in, it feels like we should lay out our credentials for being the definitive voice on such a crucial case. While none of them have risen to this importance, among the previous EW investigations are whether all of Dwayne Johnson's characters are the same person, who is the fastest and furiousest in Fast & Furious, and if Tom Cruise's characters can in fact handle the truth.
But none of that could have prepared us for our hardest verdict yet. Welcome to the ultimate EW investigation.
Christmas Movie: Yea
Within Die Hard’s first 10 minutes, the Christmas Eve setting is established and John McClane (Willis) is jamming to Run-DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis” on the way to a holiday party. The yuletide music sampling continues throughout, wrapping up with “Let It Snow!” over the credits. But it goes much deeper than those surface references: You’ve got unwanted visitors, big fights, a custom Christmas sweater, wishing for new clothes (hopefully your old ones aren't bloody like McClane's), spending much of the day on the phone, being asked questions you don't want to answer, the appearance of snow falling (it's L.A. here, so papers have to do the visual trick), and bickering with family, only for them to make up at the end of a long day.
Christmas Movie: Nay
Stars Bonnie Bedelia (who plays McClane’s estranged wife, Holly Gennaro-McClane) and Reginald VelJohnson (LAPD sergeant Al Powell) both admit to EW that they never viewed Die Hard as a Christmas movie during production. “The main theme was not Christmas, it was getting McClane out of a bad situation," says VelJohnson. Adds Bedelia: "In the script, it was not, and while we were shooting, it was not." Those confessions, along with Willis' own comment saying it is not a Christmas movie ("It's a goddamn Bruce Willis movie!" he previously declared), is pretty damning evidence...
The Expert Opinions
…and yet, Bedelia and VelJohnson have defied their star’s declaration. "You never know what the public is going to respond to," says VelJohnson. "Whatever in the movie makes the audience respond it, I'm all for it. Although I didn't consider it a Christmas movie before, now you couldn't tell me it isn't. I'm 100 percent certain that it is." Bedelia shares a similar sentiment. "It's quite wonderful that this is still being debated 30 years on," she remarks. "But, the people have spoken, and it's their movie now."
More traditional Christmas movie stars like The Family Stone’s Dermot Mulroney and Elf’s Zooey Deschanel second that vote. Says Deschanel, “It brings up different feelings than those [other] Christmas movies, but sometimes we need that.” Plus: Andy Samberg's Jake Peralta is the foremost McClane expert and Brookyln Nine-Nine did a Die Hard-themed Christmas episode. Not sure how the nays counter that.
Now we have a Christmas movie. Ho ho ho.