“Not only is Die Hard a Christmas movie, but it’s actually a stealth retelling of It’s a Wonderful Life. …

When we first meet Bruce Wills’s detective John McClane, he isn’t exactly contemplating his own mortality on the precipice of a bridge like James Stewart’s George Bailey – that comes later and involves a fire hose – but life isn’t exactly great. He’s tired. He’s cranky. He’s got a long backlog of New York scumbags and a long flight standing between him and his family. Looking to rekindle things, he makes fists with his toes, boards a plane and heads off for a surprise reunion.

Yet no sooner than he slips on a fresh undershirt, John is suddenly slapped with a reality: his LA trip shows him what life would be like without him… just like the angel Clarence did to George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life. Whereas George finds out what the world would be like had he never been born, McClane is basically seeing a vision of life after his inevitable divorce and bitter custody battle….” (Andy Kryza, Time Out)

1988 Dir. John McTiernan. 2.35:1 Color dcp 132 min.