the staff of the Ridgewood blog – originally posted on the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, this debate comes up every year , is “Die hard” , the greatest Christmas movie ever made ? Die Hard is a 1988 American action film directed by John McTiernan and written by Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Souza. It is based on the 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp, and it stars Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Alexander Godunov, and Bonnie Bedelia. Die Hard follows New York City police detective John McClane who is caught up in a terrorist takeover of a Los Angeles skyscraper while visiting his estranged wife.
“Die Hard’s” story revolves around John McClane (Bruce Willis), a New York City police officer in Los Angeles visiting his wife, “Holly” at her boss’s Christmas party. Their marriage is on the rocks, and McClane’s trip over the Christmas break is a last-ditch attempt to save their failing marraige . This attempt is complicated when a group of European terrorists, led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), takes over the building, leaving McClane as the only one able to defeat the bad guys and save the day. The dialogue is full of ironic Christmas references and the film is loaded with Christmas symbolism, including the “stuck in a chimney” scene. A stretch maybe, but once you think about Die Hard in the Christmas context, it’s tough to shake that McClane crawling through that air shaft ,as Santa coming down the chimney.
The crux of the film, like all great holiday films, is the clashing of these two conflicting ideologies the greedy terrorist looking to steal Christmas vs the good guy with fate handing him no choice but to save the day .
The studio actually called it “the greatest Christmas story ever told” in an updated Die Hard trailer that frames the movie as a Christmas comedy and not an action film, like the original trailer. The whole movie takes place at a Christmas party on Christmas Eve .
We know Die Hard lead Bruce Willis doesn’t agree. According to The Washington Post, Willis said : “Die Hard is not a Christmas movie. It’s a g–d— Bruce Willis movie”.
More importantly, the “Die Hard” screenwriter disagrees and thinks it’s a Christmas movie. More via The Washington Post: Steven E. de Souza, the film’s screenwriter, is firmly in the “‘Die Hard’ is a Christmas movie” camp. He told The Washington Post’s Alex Horton, who has seen “Die Hard” four times and believes it is “the most iconic action flick of the 1980s,” that the film’s producer, Joel Silver, had predicted the movie would get played at Christmastime for years.