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Director John McTiernan Answers The 'Die Hard' Christmas Debate

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By Carol Cassada

There's no denying that "Die Hard" is the ultimate action movie.

The movie, which was released in July 1988 made stars out of Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman, who made his film debut playing villain Hans Gruber.

Although the film received mixed reviews at the time of its release, it went on to gross more than $130 million at the box office.

31 years later, "Die Hard" is still as popular as ever. Although, it's classified as an action flick, many believe that it has the right to be called a Christmas film.

The Christmas Movie Debate

Die Hard Christmas
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For years, there's been a heavy debate on whether "Die Hard" can be called a Christmas movie.

The film takes place during Christmas with New York cop John McClane visiting his estranged wife Holly in Los Angeles.

However, John's plans for a peaceful reunion with his wife is thwarted when Hans Gruber and his henchmen overtake Holly's workplace Nakatomi Plaza. It is up to John to take down the bad guys and rescue his wife from Hans.

With the setting being Christmas, many fans believe "Die Hard" classifies as a holiday film.

John McTiernan Gives His Answer

Die Hard Director John McTiernan
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As fans and critics continue to weigh in on the debate, "Die Hard" director John McTiernan offered his opinion.

McTiernan says although it was never intended as a Christmas movie, he's come to think of it as a Christmas film.

The basis of the film was inspired by the novel "Nothing Lasts Forever." When McTiernan and producer Joel Silver were collaborating on the script, McTiernan realized the character of John McClane.

McTiernan wanted McClane to be a real, working class hero, someone the audience could connect with. The director then drew inspiration from the holiday classic "It's A Wonderful Life" to mold the John McClane character.


Bruce Willis Disagrees

Bruce Willis Die Hard
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Although, McTiernan and many of the films producers agree that "Die Hard" is a Christmas classic, its star Bruce Willis seems to disagree.

Willis' film career skyrocketed after he landed the role of hero John McClane. He would go on to reprise his role as the heroic cop in the franchise's four sequels.

Although he's played various roles throughout his three decades Hollywood, John McClane is still the number one most-loved out of all of Willis' characters.

As for whether he believes "Die Hard" is a Christmas film, Willis gave his answer during a Comedy Central roast. 

Willis was straight to the point when he proclaimed "Die Hard" wasn't a Christmas movie.

However, fans couldn't determine if Willis was serious or trying to be funny.

The Debate Continues

Die Hard Christmas movie debate
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The film's director, producers, and stars have given their opinions on the question.

However, the debate over "Die Hard" continues.

Although, many feel the action flick isn't a holiday classic, others believe it truly is a Christmas film and watch it every year.

This season there's bound to be lots of "Die Hard" lovers who'll gather around to watch their favorite hero John McClane in action.

While "Die Hard" has a Christmas setting, it's also a film that can be enjoyed throughout the year.


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