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Director John McTiernan confirms Die Hard is a Christmas film

The director of the original has finally explained how it became a Christmas classic.

Published: Thursday, 17th December 2020 at 2:58 am

The director of Die Hard, John McTiernan, has released a short video explaining why the original Die Hard movie is a bona fide Christmas film.


It's a debate that rears its head each year as the Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman blockbuster invariably crops up among festive television schedules and, despite a fan proving why it is a Christmas movie, it always sparks debate for and against.

McTiernan said in his video, first reported in The Hollywood Reporter: "We hadn't intended it to be a Christmas movie, but the joy that came from it is what turned it into a Christmas movie."

This may not satisfy the nay-sayers, including star Bruce Willis, but he continues in a particularly rambling fashion that the original Die Hard script sent to him by producer Joel Silver was a terrorist film about particularly nasty people at the heart of capitalism.

McTiernan didn't want to make that film – he wanted to make Christmas classic inspired by It's a Wonderful Life, with a working-class hero at the heart of it, which is what John McClane became.

The figures of authority and not just the terrorists were all made to be "foolish".

He said there was a "joy" among the cast and crew because they "got it", they understood how the story had changed and been subverted from a straightforward terrorist movie into a parable about greed, a story that's at least as old as Ebeneezer Scrooge and A Christmas Carol.

McTiernan related the authoritarians in Die Hard to modern US politicians.

"There are genuinely evil people out there," he said. "My hope at Christmas this year is that you will all remember that authoritarians are low-status, angry men who have gone to rich people and said, 'If you give us power, we will make sure nobody takes your stuff.' And their obsessions with guns and boots and uniforms and squad cars and all that stuff. And all those things you amass with power meant to scare us, meant to shut us up so we don't kick them to the side of the road and decent people of the world get on with building a future."

Still in doubt?

Watch Die Hard on Sky Cinema now or buy it on  on DVD from Amazon.


Check out what else is on with our TV Guide, or take a look at our new TV shows 2020 page to find out what's airing this autumn and beyond.


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