It’s a time-honoured conundrum that rears its head every December: is Die Hard actually a Christmas movie?


The case for and against has been made by film fans over and over again in the 34 years since the movie landed in cinemas.

While the action classic starring Bruce Willis and directed by John McTiernan doesn’t have many of the ingredients of a traditional Christmas movie, it does have a festive setting, taking place on Christmas Eve.

NYPD detective John McClane (Willis) touches down in Los Angeles on 24th December, with grand plans of making amends with his estranged wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) at her company’s Christmas party.

Just before he enters her office, though, the building is seized by the villainous Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) and his gang, who take everyone inside hostage.

“Die Hard is a Christmas movie now but it didn’t start out as one," film critic James King explained to "Back in 1988 when it was released in the summer, I don’t think anyone thought it was a festive film. Sure it had a seasonal setting but it was hardly warm and cuddly.

“But over time the fans have embraced its Christmas background and reinterpreted it as a yuletide classic. That’s what’s great about brilliant films: they don’t just have to be one thing.”

Here’s when you can catch John McClane on screen over the festive period and how to stream all five films, so you can make your mind up on the Christmas movie debate once and for all.

Where can I watch Die Hard?

All five films are now available to stream on Disney Plus as part of the Disney Plus Star content that's been added to the platform, including the first film which joined the streaming service much later than the sequels.

In addition to Disney Plus, you can buy Die Hard and the other sequels on Amazon Prime Video. iTunes also has the full collection available to purchase.

We'll have to wait for the Christmas schedules to be announced in full before we know whether the original Die Hard will also be broadcast on TV over the Christmas period.

Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?

die hard
20th Century Fox

Philosophers across the world ponder the big questions in life – and perhaps the most prominent is the conundrum is Die Hard a Christmas movie, or is it just a movie that just happens to be set at Christmas? (It’s a Christmas movie and we won’t hear otherwise.)

Like the pronunciation of scone, it is a query that has plagued people for decades (or, at least, since 1988), with even Die Hard star Bruce Willis saying – controversially – that he doesn’t believe the action-thriller is a Christmas movie.

A recent poll by YouGov stepped in to settle the festive debate, finding that the public does not consider it to be a true Christmas film. (Outrageous).

Christmas film or not, Die Hard still remains one of the best and most influential action films ever made, and the holidays just wouldn’t be the same without settling down to watch Bruce Willis’s star turn.

How to watch the Die Hard films in order

There are five films in the Die Hard series which were released over a 25 year period. The latest, A Good Day to Die Hard, first hit US cinema screens on Valentine's Day 2013. Here's the order they came out:

  1. Die Hard (1988)
  2. Die Hard 2 (1990)
  3. Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)
  4. Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
  5. A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)

Find something to watch tonight with our TV Guide and Streaming Guide, or check out the best Disney+ Star movies.


The latest issue of Radio Times magazine is on sale now – subscribe now. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to the Radio Times View From My Sofa podcast.