The Die Hard Debate

by Kelly

Every December when the holiday season rolls around, an ages-old debate is revived and rumbles around our family discussions and social media channels. Memes argue for and against it, people take their stand, but the question remains, is Die Hard a Christmas movie?

We at the library will step aside the debate for a minute to pose what we find to be an even more important question. Have you read Nothing Lasts Forever, the 1979 American action thriller written by Roderick Thorp that inspired the movie Die Hard?

Wait, what? There’s a book? Admittedly, it was about three hours ago when I learned that Bruce Willis’s action-packed, high-octane blockbuster 1988 film is based on a book. Who knew? And, according to reviews, Die Hard very closely follows the plot of the book, so fans of the film won’t be disappointed as they read.

The story begins the same, set in a high rise building during an office party on Christmas Eve where the action begins. Willis’s character, John McClane, is 25 years younger than his novel counter-part who is named Joe Leland in Thorp’s story, but many of the scenes, drama, and thrills are paralleled from book to film. Author Thorp got his inspiration for the story’s iconic high-rise setting from his own view from home, nestled high on a hilly overlook.  

Originally published over 40 years ago, this book was re-released in 2013 to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the film, and was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as “a ferocious, bloody, raging book so single-mindedly brilliant in concept and execution it should be read at a single sitting”.

But, is the fact that this story takes place on Christmas Eve enough to qualify it as a Christmas movie? Should we take into consideration that this film was released in theaters as a summer blockbuster on July 15, 1988? What did a recent poll of Americans voting about this debate decide? We won’t spoil it for you, rather, leave it for you to decide.  

Whichever side of the Christmas Movie debate you are on, we can’t wait to get our hands on a copy of this thriller! Look for it soon to be added to our library collection, as well as A Die Hard Christmas: An Illustrated Holiday Classic by Doogie Horner.


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