MOVIES BY THE SLICE — Celebrating “Die Hard” as it turns 35

Published 12:10 am Saturday, December 23, 2023

Celebrating the 35th anniversary of the action classic, “Die Hard,” the film made a triumphant return to theaters in December, rekindling its enduring appeal and amassing an impressive $923,000 in its opening re-release weekend.

Experiencing it on the big screen once again last weekend was nothing short of amazing! This ’80s action gem has stood the test of time, albeit with a few dated elements like widespread cigarette smoking in public spaces, a cop casually wielding a concealed gun on an airplane, a limo driver chatting away on a corded car phone and the absence of smartphones in a world engrossed in lively conversations.

Patrick Bennett

Upon its release in 1988, “Die Hard” not only raised the bar for action films but also marked Bruce Willis’ transition from comedic roles to the realm of action stardom.

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The movie also introduced audiences to the exceptional talent of Alan Rickman, propelling his career from small television roles to cinematic greatness.

Over the decades, the film has become an iconic benchmark, with NYPD officer John McClane’s (Willis) barefoot heroics setting the gold standard for countless action films that followed.

It is often invoked to describe other movies, such as “Under Siege” (1992) as “Die Hard” on a ship, “Passenger 57″ (1992) as “Die Hard” on a plane, or “Sudden Impact” (1995) as “Die Hard” in a hockey stadium, highlighting its enduring influence.

IMDb ranks “Die Hard” at an impressive No. 33 on its list of the greatest movies of all time, a remarkable feat given the vast cinematic landscape spanning over a century.

The perennial debate over whether “Die Hard” qualifies as a Christmas movie persists, given its festive setting, Christmas decorations, and music.

While some may jest about its holiday classification, many, including myself, consider it a true Christmas movie. The narrative revolves around a father visiting his family for the holidays that has moved across the country for the mom’s new job, with the entire film unfolding during a Christmas party in an office building adorned with seasonal decorations and melodies.

So what do you think?

Is it a Christmas film or not?

Here’s a fascinating trivia tidbit: Did you know that “Die Hard” is technically a sequel to the 1966 film “The Detective,” starring singer Frank Sinatra as John McClane?

Due to a contractual clause regarding sequels, Sinatra was offered the chance to reprise the role in “Die Hard” over two decades later. Fortunately, he declined, paving the way for Bruce Willis to etch his mark in cinematic history.

“Die Hard” is easily among my 25 top movies of all time, and yes, I watch it every Christmas!

If you enjoy movies, “like” the Facebook page I set up called “Movies by the Slice” and follow all of my cinematic, streaming, and physical media adventures to come.

To reach Patrick Bennett, email bennettvision@gmail.com.