Die Hard is a Christmas movie. It’s a known fact and anyone who says otherwise is wrong.
But with a running time of only 2 hours and 12 minutes, you’re going to be left with a Nakatomi Plaza’s worth of time watching a bunch of boring Christmas films about “peace” and “joy” and “a severe lack of machine guns.” The good news is that the Die Hard franchise has more than one Christmas film.
Thankfully, there are a number of other movies with kick-ass fight scenes and explosions that can technically be classified as Christmas flicks, so put down that holiday rom-com, buckle up, and get ready for some delightfully festive violence.
1) Die Hard 2 (1990)
Okay, this one is pretty obvious. You just watched Hans Gruber plummet to his death, so why not keep the John McClane train rolling with this action-packed sequel?
Taking place on Christmas Eve two years after the original, McClane is finally wearing shoes again and waiting for his wife’s plane to arrive at Dulles International Airport. Of course, when a cadre of no-good terrorists decide to hijack air traffic control, John is forced to dole out some more holiday punishment the only way he knows how.
2) Lethal Weapon (1987)
Another late-80s action flick, Lethal Weapon isn’t widely regarding as a Christmas film despite characters in several scenes celebrating the December holiday and Martin Riggs himself attempting to buy a Christmas tree from a drug dealer.
This classic buddy cop movie starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover is the one that kicked off the unforgettable franchise and still holds up to this day. In other words, it’s definitely not too old for this shit.
3) First Blood (1982)
You might have missed it the first time you watched Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo on the big screen, but the small Washington town that the ruthless Vietnam vet gets pushed out of is clearly in the middle of their Christmas season.
So, while everyone was settling into their cozy homes, avoiding the biting cold of the Pacific Northwest, Rambo was out in the local woods, turning the hunters (a.k.a., the scumbag local law enforcement) into the hunted. It just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, right?
4) Cobra (1987)
Another Sly Stallone classic that is subtly set during Christmas (check out all those holiday decorations for sale in the grocery store shootout). The aviator-wearing, matchstick-chewing Lt. Marion “Cobra” Cobretti is ready to fill your holiday with fancy gunplay and just the coolest one-liners. Some fans even claim this to be Stallone at his best.
Sure, the film received abysmal reviews from critics, but what do they know? We’re here for the big boom-booms and shooty-shoots!
5) Jingle All The Way (1996)
By the 90s, Arnold Schwarzenegger had a pretty diverse resume of films behind him. He was one of the ultimate action stars of the 80s after starring in hits like The Terminator (1984), Commando (1985), and Predator (1987), but he also branched out for more family-friendly classics like Twins (1988) and Kindergarten Cop (1990).
While Jingle All the Way is definitely more of a family comedy than an action flick, it is overtly about Christmas and features some pretty solid action sequences to boot. Hell, where else can you watch an action film star of Arnold’s caliber battle it out against an army of variously-sized Santa Claus’s?
6) Iron Man 3 (2013)
What even makes a Christmas movie? As I always say, it’s just a bunch of regular movie stuff happening around the holiday season. Iron Man 3 nailed the casual “oh, this old thing?” *gestures to a general atmosphere of holiday cheer.*
Marvel does say, though, that Tony Stark’s hero’s journey in Iron Man 3 is much like that of Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, except I think we can all agree Tony Stark is way hotter than Scrooge.
The film kicks off with Tony suffering from PTSD, escaping to Tennessee, and the figuring out there’s something fishy behind the Mandarin bombings. Very similar to what Scrooge did in his journey, but more bombings.
And if you’re wondering how watching Iron Man 3 fits into your chronological Marvel marathon, look no further.
7) Rocky IV (1985)
I always say a movie must check two boxes to be on my holiday watch list: a major fight scene takes place on Christmas Day, and someone gifts someone else a robot butler.
Well, what do you know. This one’s got both. Drago, Soviet Union boxing champ, beats Rocky’s best friend Apollo Creed literally to death in a boxing match (I feel like they’re not supposed to do that?) So then Rocky is like, Merry Christmas, Drago — get ready to get your ass beat. Ah, good old fashioned Christmas vengeance. Turns out Rocky basically ends the cold war on Christmas, a true Christmas miracle.
8) Batman Returns (1992)
You know how most holiday movies are about family and togetherness? Well, Batman Returns creators were like let’s do that, but the opposite.
It takes place around Christmastime but there’s no holiday cheer in sight — Penguin, a mistreated orphan, and now-villain is on a mission to kill all the first-born sons in Gotham. And Batman’s parents are — well, you know what happened. Catwoman has her cats, cat least. Not having parents/a family is a big theme in this one, and Batman must rise to the occasion to save family togetherness. I believe in you, Batman. I believe in you.
9) Gremlins (1984)
Have you ever watched your kids open gifts on Christmas day with a touch of nostalgia like I miss those horrifying little Furbies we used to get as kids? Say no mo’ — they made that into a movie.
They’re not technically Furbies but the effect is the same: mischievous little creatures called mogwais who wreak havoc when you break the cardinal rules for gremlins (that we should all know by heart by now).
Next time your kid asks for a puppy for Christmas, show them this movie and say, “You sure?” If they still want one, teach them proper creature care: don’t expose it to sunlight, don’t get it wet — and for god’s sake, don’t feed it after midnight.