DIE HARD returns December 8
Over the years, Christmas movies have returned to the big screen, giving younger audiences the chance to see a classic holiday film as well as providing an opportunity for others to relive fond memories. And now, the 1988 action spectacle that was DIE HARD is coming back to the silver screen for a brief engagement this holiday season.
That’s right, John McTiernan’s all-time great action flick that introduced us to characters like John McClane and Hans Gruber, is coming back to AMC Theatres ahead of the holidays, and we couldn’t be more excited. As we look toward its release, let’s look back on DIE HARD and what makes it a perfect Christmas movie to revisit all these years later. Yippee-ki-yay!
A Seminal ‘80s Action Movie
Whenever discussing the best ‘80s action movies, or the entire history of the genre, it doesn’t take long for DIE HARD to enter the conversation. There are so many iconic moments that have been replicated countless times over the years like a hero crawling through a ventilation system, henchmen getting picked off one by one, and so on.
What John McTiernan, Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, in their respective roles as director and actors, were able to achieve is nothing short of astounding, and helped build the blueprint for the modern action flick. There’s a reason so many movies are described as “DIE HARD on a train,” or “DIE HARD on a plane,” 35 years later.
An Iconic Hero Faces An Unforgettable Villain
There is no denying the fact that DIE HARD gave cinema one of its best heroes in Bruce Willis’ John McClane, as well as an all-time great movie villain in Hans Gruber, played by the late Alan Rickman. Whether they’re interacting on screen or dealing with each other’s actions, or reactions to their plans, McClane and Gruber have this incredible chemistry that turns what is otherwise a good action movie into a classic.
There have been other great pairings of heroes and villains over the years, but few, if any, come close to pulling off what McClane and Gruber – and the actors who played them – have been able to do.
Holiday Cheer And Classic One-Liners
Even though DIE HARD was released in the summer blockbuster season – it opened July 15, 1988 – this movie is bursting at the seams with holiday cheer. No, really. There’s holiday anthems like Run-DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis” in John McClane’s limo ride from the airport to Nakatomi Plaza. There’s a massive holiday party when Hans Gruber and his criminal team take over the building. And there are more uses of “Merry Christmas” than most traditional Christmas movies, and more times than not, they’re hilarious.
DIE HARD also holds it down with the one-liners, of both the festive and not-so-festive variety. Be it McClane writing “Now I have a machine gun… Ho, ho, ho,” on a dead criminal or saying “Got invited to the Christmas party by mistake, who knew?” while talking with Gruber, or saying the classic “Yippee-ki-yay” line, the quotes just work and continue to be a part of our vocabulary 35 years later.
The True Meaning Of Christmas
Another thing DIE HARD does really well is the way in which it stresses the true meaning of Christmas. Sure, it’s an intense action movie with several incredible set pieces, but sweep away the bullet casings, broken glass, and wreckage of a helicopter crashing into a building, and you have yourself a merry little Christmas movie with a heart of gold and wonderful stories about redemption, rebirth, and doing everything you can to be there for and protect those you love.
Whether it’s John McClane flying across the country to patch things up with his estranged wife, Holly Gennaro (Bonnie Bedelia), or Al Powell (Reginald VelJohnson) getting a second chance after accidentally killing a child holding a toy gun, or McClane saving an office full of hostages, this stocking is stuffed with stories to tell.