A must on any self-respecting fan's list of Christmas movies, Die Hard is not only the best action film of all time, it's also one of the best festive flicks to ever hit the big screen.
Bruce Willis did his utmost to drag the image of the white vest away from one associated with Stella Artois in this two-hour-plus hostage epic which was adapted from Roderick Thorp's 'Nothing Lasts Forever' novel. The plot sees off-duty New York City police officer John McClane take on a crack team of Eurotrash terrorists in an LA skyscraper and win - of course.
Featuring guns, explosions and sellotape, it also spawned a festive-ish sequel in Die Hard 2: Die Harder. There have since been a few further sequels but the Christmas angle was ditched, which may explain why they are cack.
So what is it that makes the first instalment such a good fit with Xmas? Well, since you ask...
Bruce Willis / John McClane
The man/star himself is on classic form. He has more catchphrases than you can shake a stick at and manages to make that trusty white vest less Rab C. Nesbitt and more king of cool. This was also before Bruce himself started going a little off the radar but after he was plucked from 'Moonlighting' (forgettable romantic TV sitcom/drama - ask your mum/gran) to star as an action hero. What a shout!
It's set in sunny Los Angeles but somehow still seems to embody the character of Christmas for the rest of the world. From quotable Xmas jokes ("Now I have a machine gun, ho-ho-ho") to green and red set colouring and paper falling from a destroyed office block to symbolise snow, it's directorial genius by John McTiernan. There is also the family theme of Christmas. At the end of the day, all John McClane is trying to do is save his loved ones.
Alan Rickman / Hans Gruber
RIP, Alan. We were all devastated when Alan Rickman died, and one of the main reasons was his role as Hans Gruber. This part embodied an '80s' movie villain but that is not a bad thing. No, in fact, while some might be snooty about these sort of cliché villains, it was a genre-defining piece of acting. Plus, we all know the bad guys in films are slick as fuck. Hans spoke about designer suits but was also a cold-blooded killer. Hans even managed to bow out in style.
It Doesn't Take Itself Too Seriously
Isn't having a laugh what Christmas is all about? Die Hard might not pull any punches in terms of its violence or storyline but the fact that its script lets you laugh 'with it', rather than 'at it', like many '80s shoot-em-ups, is further testimony to its brilliance. For pure comedy value, think characters like Argyle the limo driver, office sleaze Harry Ellis, Sgt. Al Powell (try saying that after a mulled wine or two), LAPD Deputy Chief Dwayne T. Robinson, or the two FBI agents named Johnson.
While everywhere else is banging out 'Jingle Bells' or 'All I Want For Christmas Is You', Die Hard fittingly goes rogue. Run DMC's 'Christmas In Hollis' features early doors while Vaughn Monroe's 'Let It Snow' plays as the closing credits roll. If you've not watched Die Hard yet, why not? Tis the season.
Featured Image Credit: 20th Century Fox