Everyone has their favorite Christmas movie. There is a lot to pick from. You got your certified classics like A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle of 24th Street. You’ve also got your more modern films such as Home Alone, Trading Places and The Nightmare Before Christmas. While The Nightmare before Christmas is a personal favorite of mine, it’s not the best holiday film of all time.
That honor goes to Die Hard.
Now, most people think this is a wise-ass statement, saying Die Hard is your favorite Christmas movie. You know what? I don’t really care what they think! If you want an excuse to watch Die Hard (you don’t really need an excuse, by the way), what better excuse is that it’s a Christmas film? If you haven’t watched Die Hard, you really should right now!
Anyway, the film starts out with New York cop John McClane (played by Bruce Willis) flying into Los Angeles to visit his ex-wife at the Nakatomi Plaza, where her company’s Christmas party is being held. While McClane attempts to relax after the flight (he’s afraid of flying), a group of armed men, led by Hans Gruber (played by Alan Rickman) storm the party and hold the party goers hostage. As police are unable to find a way into the Nakatomi Plaza, it’s up to McClane to stop Hans.
Die Hard is one of those rare breed of action movies that’s well written. The movie flows through each scene very naturally and nothing really feels forced. The entire films moves in a nice pace, intermixing great action scenes, character development and even humorous segments expertly. This makes Die Hard a joy to watch even after all of these years.
This is also the movie that properly launched Bruce Willis into stardom. Before that, Bruce Willis was only really known for as the comedic detective from Moonlighting. In Die Hard, Willis still gets to show off his comedic talents as John McClane is a very sarcastic guy that manages to get in the last word in edgewise. Originally, the role was supposed to be given to Arnold Schwarzenegger. When he turned it down, it was offered to the big name stars of the time, including Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford and Don Johnson (yes, he was a thing).
Bruce Willis definitely lucked out here!
But every great hero needs an even greater villain. And that’s where Hans Gruber comes in. He is sadistic and callous; that’s pretty much everything you need in a good villain. But, like I said, Hans Gruber is a great villain! He’s also very smart and a tactical genius as well. He orchestrated the takeover of the Nakatomi Plaza almost flawlessly and, if it weren’t for the unknown element that is John McClane, he probably would’ve gotten away with it.
Not only that, Hans Gruber is able to think on his feet as well! In one scene, Hans goes to personally check on the explosives lining the building but runs into John. As he knows John’s got the drop on him, he quickly improvises…
The rest of the cast does a surprising great job as well. From McClane’s ex, her smarmy officemate, Hans’ tech guy, the two FBI agents who have the same name but aren’t related, Sgt. Powell (the cop who gives moral support to John) and… pretty much everyone has they’re own spots to shine. Heck, even the nameless Asian gunman gets to pull off one really awesome humorous moment!
But what would an action film be without action scenes? Not a really good action movie for one! It’s a good thing then Die Hard is packed to the gills with great action! There are a lot of memorable action scenes in the film, such as the jump off the top of the Nakatomi Plaza. While they are memorable, most people tend to remember all of the memorable lines from the film… which isn’t a bad thing at all! That just goes to show you that, in an action film with thrilling and exciting sequences, you still can remember what the characters are saying!
If I were to say anything bad about Die Hard (which is pretty difficult to do), is that I didn’t like the “jump scare” at the very end of it all. It’s nothing terrible but it was just so cliche that I didn’t care for it. Besides that, I can’t really say anything negative about the film
Die Hard is my favorite Christmas movie. Sure, it may have nothing to do with Christmas really. But I don’t care. It’s one of the best movies ever so… why not call it a Christmas movie? That just gives me an excuse to watch it every holiday season!
What’re your thoughts on the original Die Hard movie? Let me know what they are in the comments section below!