Move over, Home Alone! There’s no shortage of films to watch over the Christmas season, but there are more movies to add to the queue beyond It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street or A Christmas Story.
In the film, New York City cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) reunites with his estranged wife (Bonnie Bedelia) in Los Angeles at her office’s Christmas Eve party. John must rescue the employees after a gang of terrorists take them hostage.
Despite the setting, Willis declared that Die Hard “is not a Christmas movie,” during his Comedy Central roast in July 2018.
Die Hard director John McTiernan might not have intended for the action film to become a Christmas classic. Author Larry Taylor detailed McTiernan’s initial intentions for the movie in his book John McTiernan: Rise and Fall of An Action Movie Icon.
“He didn’t consciously make it a Christmas movie, but he made sure to weave certain elements of it into the tapestry of the film,” Taylor explained. “It would keep the holiday season right behind the action, and it would help alleviate some of the stress of the intense action.”
Die Hard producer Joel Silver also made Lethal Weapon, which is another thriller set during the holiday season, one year earlier. Steven de Souza, who penned Die Hard’s original script, revealed in December 2017 that the Christmas backdrops were intentionally used in both films.
“The Christmas setting is in the source novel, Nothing Lasts Forever, by Roderick Thorpe,” De Souza told Dazed at the time. “One of our producers, Joel Silver, had made Lethal Weapon the previous year, which was also set during the holiday, and he had decided he liked all his movies to take place at Christmas, as they would then very likely be played on television every December, and we would all get residual checks. Obviously, he was right!”
Lethal Weapon follows two cops — played by Mel Gibson and Danny Glover — at odds with each other over the holidays. In November 2017, Gibson joked with E! News “how big it was in the ’80s to set films with a Christmas backdrop.”
The actor added that directors at the time would quip, “Set it at Christmas! Lots of snow, funny little songs, music to kill by, you know?”
Scroll down to see more Christmas movies that aren’t technically Christmas movies.