Die Hard (1988) Dir. John McTiernan – QFT Belfast, 20th Dec
Who’s in it? Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman
What’s it about? Arguably as much a staple of the annual Christmas canon as it is the epitome of the 80s hero movie, Die Hard has fast become a tradition of alternative festive viewing, the bedrock of the post-turkey TV schedule along with Elf, Home Alone and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, earning cult followings beyond the remit of their genres. Willis’ hard boiled New York detective Lt. John McClane finds himself in the wrong place at the right time at his wife’s office Christmas do in L.A. when a group of European terrorists, headed by Alan Rickman’s delightfully villainous Hans Gruger, crash the party. From his initial tentative nausea relieving toe curls on the carpet of the executive washroom, to his single-handed crusade of baddie bashing (‘Now I have a machine gun, Ho Ho Ho!’), the film is a bona-fide Christmas cracker and a modern classic.
Memorable Moments? Replete with legendary one-liners like “Welcome to the party pal!”, as McClane alerts the attention of the LAPD by dropping a dead terrorist on a squad car, following their initial suspicion that he was a prank caller. One scene sees McClane crawling through a ventilation shaft murmuring derisively “Come out to the coast, we’ll have a few laughs” and another has him literally stepping into the bad guys shoes, “Nine million terrorists in the world and I kill one with feet smaller than my sister”.
Look who’s talking? ‘Its many imitators (and sequels) have never come close to matching the taut thrills of the definitive holiday action classic.’ – Rotten Tomatoes
Like that? Try this: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989), starring Chevy Chase as the ever optimistic and charmingly calamitous Clarke W Griswold, is another essential Christmas DVD and hilarious, food-coma comedy.
Trivia Pursuit: The Nakatomi Plaza building is the real-life headquarters of 20th Century Fox.