By Waid Jones
John McClane’s quest to reunite with his estranged wife and defeat the evil Hans Grueber is the absolute definition of a Christmas film.
The movie allows us to experience all of the highs and lows of mine-laden get togethers with family members. These trials and tribulations that many of us experience going home are emblematic of
Mclane’s journey through Nakatomi Plaza.
McClane, played by Bruce Willis, starred in this film as the highest paid actor at the time, and it was his first jump on the big screen. He plays opposite of Alan Rickman as a would-be robber and kidnapper.
Rickman’s performance is, as always, fantastic.
The story, an action movie plot so good it was nominated for an Oscar, has its holes to be fair, but it brought new life to the genre when it was released in 1988.
The film follows detective John McClane as he attempts to thwart a terrorist plot to blow up an office building. Throughout the movie McClane gets progressively more road worn and visually shows us how difficult his journey through the dangerous maze. The stakes are what make it great, they make the audience wonder if he is actually going to defeat Gruber in a believable way.
Much like the transition from childhood to adulthood, gone are the days of infallible super hero action stars, and now we’re met with the troubles of adulthood. Family strife becomes more real and our ability to deal with it is not veiled in the shroud of youth.
McClane’s struggle to reunite his family and the question of how his wife will respond is left completely up in the air until the very end of the film, when arguably Willis’ McClane has more of a connection with the police officer he’s been talking to throughout the film. (Honestly, I’ve definitely had this same interaction with friends after winter breaks).
Aside from the film’s parallels to real life, it’s also a good time. “Die Hard’s” status as a Christmas movie primarily comes from its setting at a company Christmas party the night before the holiday, but embodies much more of what I’m looking for in a Christmas movie.
It’s a good time and enjoyable for all. It has stakes that I can believe in every time and the right dosing of action, suspense and mediocre German accents to make it so that even on repeat viewings it holds up.
It shows us the true meaning of a Christmas movie in that we can see perservearance and togetherness.
The action special effects, perfectly dispersed throughout the film, hold up brilliantly as they were primarily done practically.
So, when you’re sitting down looking for a Christmas movie to watch, think about “Die Hard” it’s as much of a Christmas movie as any of the Harry Potter films.
Waid Jones was the editor-in-chief of The Alabamian during the 2019–2020 academic year. In 2018, while managing editor of The Alabamian, he received the Veterans of Influence Rising Star Award from the Birmingham Business Journal. Prior to coming to UM he was in the U.S. Marine Corps for two and a half years. Jones graduated with a degree in political science from UM in 2020. He is currently the news editor for the Jackson County Sentinel in Scottsboro, Alabama.