While in the past most people haven't considered it a classic of the festive genre, the movie's writer has settled the debate once and for all, confirming it is indeed a Christmas classic.
Steven E de Souza gave us a handy checklist while appearing on the Script Apart podcast, comparing it to the "baseline" Christmas movie – 1954's White Christmas.
In his examination, he notes that Die Hard takes place entirely in the Christmas holidays, while only the first and final scenes of White Christmas are set during the holiday season. The entirety of Die Hard is also at a Christmas party, while only the end of its 1950s counterpart is.
Interestingly, there are four Christmas songs in Die Hard, compared to only two in White Christmas, and in Die Hard the party venue is threatened by terrorists, while the one in the earlier movie is threatened by foreclosure.
De Souza goes on to note there are broadcasters with hidden agendas in both movies – Dick Thornburg in Die Hard and Johnny Grant in White Christmas – while there are also German ringleaders, namely Hans Gruber and Adolf Hitler.
However, the most startling figures are when it comes to the body count, with 23 deaths in Die Hard. Yet if you count off-screen casualties in White Christmas, they tally up to over 26,000. Yes, really.
"Some people say to me Die Hard can't be a Christmas movie because you kill people… and I say was Ellis killed? Yes," he explained. "We don't see Ellis killed, he's off-camera, does that still count? Do off-camera deaths count? Yes.
"Well, if we're counting Ellis... now that you, my sceptic about Die Hard being a Christmas movie, admit that off-camera deaths count, the body count in White Christmas is 26,128 people in the Battle of the Bulge, the opening scene in the movie."
Finally, De Souza notes that the selfless sacrifice in Die Hard is Bruce Willis' John McClane running barefoot over broken glass, while White Christmas' one is only Danny Kaye upgrading Vera Ellen's train ticket.
Well, we think that settles it.
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