Only 37% of the British public believe the 1988 blockbuster is a Christmas movie
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – time to debate whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie or not. Both Die Hard director John McTiernan and scriptwriter Steven De Souza have said that the film is a Christmas movie.
With the film taking place during an office party on Christmas Eve and the soundtrack featuring four Christmas songs, it could be argued that Die Hard is a Christmas film. But a recent YouGov RealTime survey has revealed that 46% of Britons don’t consider it to be a festive flick while only 37% do.
Six out of ten Britons aged 55 and over (60%) don’t think Die Hard can be classed as a Christmas film compared to 23% who do. Although all other age groups were more likely to say Die Hard is a Christmas movie than not, this was only a majority view among those aged 35 to 44 (53% say it is and 36% say it isn’t).
While a third of Britons aged 18 to 24 (34%) say Die Hard is a festive film compared to 28% who do not, more than a quarter (27%) say they are not familiar with the 1988 film.
There is also a clear gender divide in the ‘is Die Hard a Christmas film’ debate, with 45% of men saying it is a Christmas film but just 29% of women.
The films Britons consider to be Christmas movies, and those they don’t
If Britons don’t think Die Hard is a Christmas movie, then what other films containing elements of the festive season do they think qualify as a Christmas film? Both Home Alone and its sequel are considered Christmas movies, with eight in ten Britons (82%) considering the 1990 original box office hit a festive movie while 68% say Home Alone 2 is also a Christmas film.
With its happy ending set around the Christmas tree, two-thirds of Britons also consider the 1946 classic It’s a Wonderful Life to be a festive film. Most Britons also think Bad Santa is a Christmas movie (62%) — no surprise given its title — and 54% also consider Richard Curtis’ 2003 romantic comedy Love Actually to be a film for the festive season.
Although set at Christmas time with a main character that is a Christmas present, Gremlins is considered a Christmas film by even fewer Britons than think the same of Die Hard. Only three in ten Britons (31%) consider the 1984 horror comedy to be a festive flick compared to 42% who do not.
Die Hard 2 fares even worse on the Christmas scale than the original with only one in five Britons (19%) thinking of it as a Christmas movie compared to more than half (54%) who do not.
At the other end of the scale, the Christmas setting of Batman Returns isn’t enough to persuade Britons that it is a Christmas film; only 6% say it is a festive movie. The British public hold a similar view towards another of Tim Burton’s films, with just one in twelve (8%) considering Edward Scissorhands to be a Christmas movie despite key scenes taking place during the festive season.
What aspects of a film make it a Christmas movie?
The main argument for the Christmas Die Harders is that the film takes place during Christmas and, when asked to say in their own words, what makes a film a Christmas movie, 18% of Britons believe a Christmas setting is an important element. However, 15% of Britons believe the Christmas theme being central to the story is a vital ingredient for any festive watch – and not something Die Hard can claim to include.
Suitability for the whole family is an essential ingredient for a Christmas film, according to 13% of Britons. Again, this is another element missing from Die Hard, which carried an 18 certificate upon its release in the UK in 1988 before the British Board of Film Classification lowered the film’s certificate to 15 in 2008.
One in nine (11%) say that a Christmas film must include snowy/wintry scenes and 10% say it must have a feelgood factor.
As for Father Christmas himself, only 6% say he needs to make an appearance in order for a film to be classed as a Christmas movie.