Bruce Willis Shocks Fans With Controversial Die Hard Opinion

Years ago, Bruce Willis said Die Hard is not, in any way, a Christmas movie.

By Michileen Martin | Published

bruce willis

According to John McClane himself, Bruce Willis, Die Hard is not a Christmas movie. As Entertainment Weekly recalled in 2020, the man who saved the Christmas Eve inhabitants of Nakatomi Plaza says that — in spite of the passionate arguments of Die Hard fans — the game-changing action movie is not a part of the same genre as The Santa Clause and A Christmas Story. Willis’s answer was pretty succint:

“It’s a goddamn Bruce Willis movie!”

Bruce Willis on Die Hard not being a Christmas movie

Some of the stars who worked with Bruce Willis on Die Hard said very much the same thing; at least at first. EW said that both Reginald VelJohnson (Family Matters) who plays the uniformed Twinkie-loving cop Sgt. Al Powell and Bonnie Bedelia (Presumed Innocent) who plays McClane’s wife Holly claimed there was nothing in the script or in the direction of the film that made them think Die Hard was a Christmas movie. They both, however, admitted the fans had changed their minds.

bruce willis die hard
Reginald VelJohnson and Bruce Willis in Die Hard (1988)

“Whatever in the movie makes the audience respond it, I’m all for it. Although I didn’t consider it a Christmas movie before, now you couldn’t tell me it isn’t. I’m 100 percent certain that it is.”

-Reginald VelJohnson

Like VelJohnson, Bedelia has come to differ with movie husband Bruce Willis on the subject of Die Hard. “It’s quite wonderful that this is still being debated 30 years on,” she said. “But, the people have spoken, and it’s their movie now.

As EW points out there’s a lot about the Bruce Willis led flick that makes Die Hard feel very Christmas-y. The story takes place on Christmas Eve, there’s sampled Christmas music throughout the movie, and even as McClane’s hidden gun is revealed on Willis’s back the audio fills with sleigh bells. And who can forget McClane’s bloody message left after his first bad guy kill: “Now I have a machine gun, ho-ho-ho.”

We do have to say one tiny detail does weigh things a little bit on Bruce Willis’s side of things about Die Hard: namely, time. Die Hard was a summer blockbuster that hit theaters July 22, 1988 but most Christmas movies land in theaters in November at the earliest. The Santa Clause, Home Alone, A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Scrooged, Elf, and Jack Frost all released in either November or December.

nightmare before christmas 2
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) is one of the few Christmas movies to hit theaters before
November or December

Even outliers like Bad Santa and the more recent Violent Night bowed during the holiday season. One of the few exceptions is The Nightmare Before Christmas which released in October; which, with the Halloween connection, makes sense.

Regardless of what Bruce Willis or anyone else has to say about Die Hard, fans who celebrate the film as a Christmas movie shouldn’t put away their debate hats just yet. No one actually gets to look over your shoulder while you watch movies and tell you what kind of movie it is. If you want Die Hard, or any other movie, to be a Christmas movie; it gets to be a Christmas movie.