So, when we’re talking about the really good Christmas films, there is only one film that any rational person can say is the best Christmas film ever made.
That film is, of course, Die Hard.
Today I would like to discuss this masterpiece but to also query why the film’s poster does not carry even the slightest mention of the Yule-tide fun contained within this movie.
The film is, partly, about a team of crack German terrorists taking over the Nakatomi building in the winter wonderland that is Los Angeles. At the same time, New York police detective John McClane has come to the building to meet his wife for Christmas. After that there is a lot of shooting.
This is all clearly invoked in the poster; there’s a building, a face and some explosions. But where is the holly? The Christmas hats? The tinsel?
Nowhere. The poster lets the film down and does nothing to reinforce the Christmas themes explored within.
The film contains plenty of heart warming Christmas moments, for example when McClane lets the terrorists know he has a weapon by propping up the corpse of one of their number in a lift and writing a message of good cheer on the terrorists jumper in his own blood.
The film also has a strong Christmas message at it’s heart, with McClane showing that if you’re good and shoot lots of terrorists then you’ll get the present you want for Christmas whereas if you’re naughty and try to steal hundreds of millions of bearer bonds that don’t belong to you then you’ll get some coal in your Christmas stocking. And by coal, I mean shot and thrown out of a thirty story window.
Yes, Father Christmas himself doesn’t appear in the film but his spirit is certainly present within John McClane. You could argue that McClane gives the ultimate final judgement on whether most of the people within the film are naughty or nice, dispensing with the list and moving straight to bullets.
The soundtrack also contains a couple of Christmas classics, not least a Run DMC festive favourite which does not get enough air play at this time of year. Not to mention the sleigh bells that are dusted throughout the main score giving the shootouts a touch of Christmas magic.
It’s thanks to this poster that Die Hard doesn’t have the legacy that it should. Whilst it is fondly remembered it isn’t held up as the Christmas classic that it should be. This is a film to rate alongside things like It’s A Wonderful Life, A Muppet’s Christmas Carol and Ernest Saves Christmas, true Holiday classics that should be brought out and enjoyed by the whole family.
But it isn’t. And this can only be the fault of the poster that fails miserably to invoke any Christmas spirit whatsoever.