Christmas Movies – Part One

Christmas means cold weather, family and sitting on the sofa with friends and loved one’s, putting a blu-ray or DVD in the player and watching a good movie, but does that mean the movie your choosing is a true holiday film?

A couple of weeks ago I asked my friends and family on my personal Facebook page what there favorite Christmas movie was and the responses I got back were intriguing. Some were the traditional movies that you would obviously expect, but there were other movies that at first glance you wouldn’t normally consider.

So what makes a movie a Christmas movie and when does it not? I’m going to answer this question from my point of view with the answer being, when Christmas is not just a setting, but also a character itself and the central theme of the movie. Is my answer the correct one? No. To be honest the answer is probably more subjective and there for up to the individual.

I picked out ten movies that use Christmas as a setting or a time of year, but Christmas is not the main focus or theme of the movie. Some of you may argue that one or two of these movies should be considered as a Christmas movie, but from my point of view I do not. They are…

1. Stalag 17 – 1953
2. Gremlins – 1984
3. Rocky IV – 1985
4. Lethal Weapon – 1987
5. Die Hard – 1988
6. Die Hard 2 – 1990
7. Batman Returns – 1992
8. Enemy of the State – 1998
9. The Ice Harvest – 2005
10. Iron Man 3 – 2013

If you Google the movie Die Hard and whether or not it’s a Christmas movie you will find an equal amount of arguments for and against. Die Hard is one of the best action movies ever made if not possibly the best period and was released to theaters in July of 1988. Which asks the question does a Christmas movie have to be released near Christmas to make it a Christmas movie and my answer would be no.

The original Miracle on 34th Street was released in May of 1947, Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire was released in August of 1942, two very traditional Christmas movies. So does that mean Die Hard could be considered a Christmas movie?

1. In the sense that it takes place very near to Christmas, sure.
2. You do see Christmas trees and Christmas decorations through out the movie.
3. A Christmas song is played at the end of the movie.
4. Bruce Willis’s character of “John McClane” does use Christmas tape to secure a handgun on his upper back in what could be considered the near final climatic scene in order to shoot and kill “Hans Gruber” played by the late Alan Rickman.

I could list a few other moments that were used in the film, but my point is Die Hard used the setting of Christmas to help tell their story of a group of terrorist who are looking to rob the Nakatomi corporation of $640 million dollars and one lone cop on holiday from New York trying to stop them.

The bottom line to all of this with the ten movies I’ve chosen to list below is simple. If you see these movies as Christmas movies and you and your family watch one or more as a tradition in your home then great. What one person sees as a Christmas movie, someone else may not and in the end it shouldn’t matter.

What does matter is that you and your family have made it a tradition to sit down with each other and with friends to view a movie that you see as a Christmas tradition even if someone else does not see the movie in the same way. So pop the popcorn, turn down the lights, turn up the surround sound and enjoy, but most of all have a safe and Merry Christmas!



Stalag 17 / 1953

Set in a 1944 German POW Camp of American airmen, a spy is discovered to be living in one of the prison barracks after an escape attempt fails resulting in the deaths of two inmates. The prisoners at once suspect Sefton, an unscrupulous inside dealer who trades almost anything with the Germans for extra privileges. After Sefton is beaten up, he himself determines to find the real spy and the result is a mixture of intrigue and betrayal leading to a surprise ending.



Gremlins / 1984

A gadget salesman is looking for a special gift for his son and finds one at a store in Chinatown. The shopkeeper is reluctant to sell him the “mogwai” but sells it to him with the warning to never expose him to bright light, water, or to feed him after midnight. All of this happens and the result is a gang of gremlins that decide to tear up the town on Christmas Eve.



Rocky IV / 1985

When Rocky’s old friend Apollo Creed is killed during a fight with a superfit Russian boxer, Ivan Drago, Rocky blames himself for the death when he could have thrown in the towel before the crucial moment. Fuelled by the Russian’s arrogance, Rocky arranges a fight with the new champion, only this time in Russia.

Rocky fights Drago on Christmas Day


Lethal Weapon Poster

Lethal Weapon / 1987

Martin Riggs is an L.A. cop with suicidal tendencies and Roger Murtaugh is the unlucky police officer with whom Riggs is assigned. Reluctantly thrown together to solve the mysterious murder of a banker’s daughter, the unlikely duo uncovers a dangerous ring of drug smugglers employing ex-military mercenaries. After a tragic turn of events, the mission becomes personal and the mismatched investigators must learn to trust one another as they wage a two-man war against a deadly criminal organization.

The Christmas touches in Lethal Weapon include the €œJingle Bell Rock opening,€ the Christmas Tree-lined drug bust, a Bugs Bunny Christmas special playing on TV as Riggs first contemplates suicide, and the touching closing scene where Riggs, spending the holidays with the Murtaugh€™s, gives his new partner the symbolic gift of the bullet he had been saving to kill himself with but now no longer needs


Die Hard Poster

Die Hard / 1988

NYPD cop John McClane goes on a Christmas vacation to visit his wife Holly in Los Angeles where she works for the Nakatomi Corporation. While they are at the Nakatomi headquarters for a Christmas party, a group of terrorists led by Hans Gruber take control of the building and hold everyone hostage, with the exception of John, while they plan to perform a lucrative heist. Unable to escape and with no immediate police response, John is forced to take matters into his own hands.



Die Hard 2 / 1990

John McClane, a year after the events in LA is at the Dulles Airport waiting for his wife to arrive so they can spend Christmas with her family. A team of terrorists, led by Col. Stuart is holding the entire airport hostage. The terrorists are planning to rescue a drug lord from justice. In order to do so, they have seized control of all electrical equipment affecting all planes. With no runway lights available, all aircraft have to remain in the air, with fuel running low, McClane will need to be fast.



Batman Returns / 1992

The monstrous Penguin, who lives in the sewers beneath Gotham, joins up with wicked shock-headed businessman Max Shreck to topple the Batman once and for all. But when Shreck’s timid assistant, Selina Kyle, finds out, and Shreck tries to kill her, she is transformed into the sexy Catwoman. She teams up with the Penguin and Shreck to destroy Batman, but sparks fly unexpectedly when she confronts the caped crusader.



Enemy of the State / 1998

Robert Clayton Dean is a successful labor lawyer in Washington DC. He has a beautiful wife and adorable son in Georgetown. But things take a turn for the surreal, when a chance encounter with an old friend leaves him evidence of a politically-motivated murder. On the run from a treacherous NSA official and his men, he comes into contact with a former government operative and surveillance expert, who is his only way out.



The Ice Harvest / 2005

Larceny, lust and lethal behavior. In icebound Wichita, Kansas, it’s Christmas Eve, and this year Charlie Arglist just might have something to celebrate. Charlie, an attorney for the sleazy businesses of Wichita, and his unsavory associate, the steely Vic Cavanaugh have just successfully embezzled $2 million from Kansas City boss Bill Guerrard. But the real prize for Charlie is the stunning Renata, who runs the Sweet Cage strip club. Charlie hopes to slip out of town with Renata. But as daylight fades and an ice storm whirls, everyone from Charlie’s drinking buddy Pete Van Heuten to the local police begin to wonder just what exactly is in Charlie’s Christmas stocking – and the 12 hours of Christmas Eve are filled with surprises.



Iron Man 3 / 2013

“Iron Man 3” pits the brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?

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