The Gospel story of Christ’s birth is what the story of Exodus was always pointing to. The story of Exodus is about God delivering an enslaved people from a tyrant, and, in so doing, rescues His bride. Die Hard is the story of a man, John McClane, who delivers people held hostage by the tyrant Hans Gruber, and, in so doing, rescues His bride. Sounds pretty Christmasy to me.
Like Moses reigns down terror or Pharaoh, McClane reigns down terror on Hans Gruber. McClane brings many plagues on Gruber. Again, typologically Christmasy.
The Gospel story is about the reconciliation of God and Man, Christ and Christ’s Bride. Die Hard is about the reconciliation of John McClane and his stiff-necked bride, who initially refuses his name, but accepts it after he delivers her.
The debate about whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie is often conflated with the issue of whether it’s a family movie. Obviously, it’s not a family movie (and, to be fair, most Christmas movies are family movies). However, It’s A Wonderful Life is a story which turns on the subject of suicide, which isn’t family-friendly, and after It’s A Wonderful Life, the greatest Christmas movie of all-time is Children of Men, which is also not a family movie. Similarly, Blade Runner 2049 is also pretty much a retelling of the Nativity story and it’s totally not family-friendly either. I have nothing against family-friendly movies and would love to see a good deal of the Hays Code reinstated, but a little cursing and violence don’t preclude Die Hard from being a Christmas movie.
There’s a Christmas everything. Christmas music. Christmas food. Christmas clothes. There’s even special ethics for Christmas. People who never give to the poor will totally give to the poor at Christmas time. People dress themselves up for Christmas, but also their houses, their cars, and even their pets. It’s not weird that there’s a Christmas action movie.
Let me tell you what’s not a Christmas movie: Some Hallmark schlock about a nominally depressed 28-year-old widow who inherits a car dealership in the month of December and has to learn the real meaning of Toyotathon from a mechanic with kind eyes. And it has some stupid name like Auto Want For Christmas. Give me John McClane any day.