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Die Hard Director Offers His Take On The Infamous Christmas Movie Debate


There’s no way possible that director John McTiernan, when working on the action classic Die Hard in the late 1980s, could have predicted that audiences members would still be debating – three decades after the film’s release – about whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie or not. McTiernan didn’t set out to make a Christmas movie… not by traditional standards of a Hollywood holiday story. But the Bruce Willis-led thriller has more than enough elements linking it to the happiest season to have everyone from Bruce Willis’ mom to House Democrats in Washington, D.C. giving their opinions regarding the “Christmas” nature of the original Die Hard film. 

John McTiernan has weighed in on the topic before, believing that the joy experienced by everyone on set turned Die Hard into a Christmas movie. Recently, however, the director turned up on the Empire Film Podcast (opens in new tab) to discuss Predator and Die Hard, and took a more Zen approach to the conversation, telling the hosts:

It’s not for us to say, it’s people. It’s for the audience to say. If the audience decides they want to make it a Christmas movie, it’s a Christmas movie. It turns out that way. It wasn’t intended as a Christmas movie, although the fact that it was deliberately built around Christmas – but not intended to be a Christmas movie. But the fact that it was a Christmas movie had a lot to do with, you know… because it’s actually, from a distance, when you look at it, it’s politically pretty strident. And the only reason that survived was that the people in the studio who would have stopped that were deceived, because they thought it was just an action movie about a Christmas party that goes wrong.


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