Yippie Ki Yay: The Action Movies That Are Also Christmas Movies

20th CENTURY FOX/COURTESY NEAL PETERS COLLECTION
Bruce Willis in 'Die Hard'

A brief guide to the action films that can also double as holiday titles.

Some of the most iconic action movies take place around Christmas, even though the holiday usually has little to do with their plot. 

From John McClane attending a Christmas party in Die Hard to Riggs and Murtaugh being partnered together around the holiday in Lethal Weapon, these films for some have become just as traditional viewing as Home Alone and Christmas Vacation.

There are numerous films that fit the bill, but here are a few that are more subtle and one very obvious. 

►First Blood (1982)

Sometimes when the holiday is such a minute detail in a title, many viewers may not even realize a plot takes place during Christmas time. Such is the case for First Blood. That's right. The first Rambo movie, released in 1982, could be considered a Christmas movie. The fictitious town of Hope, which John Rambo finds himself in, is clearly decorated for Christmas. See: the Christmas tree in the police station.

Lethal Weapon (1987)

Lethal Weapon is another film with a lot of background holiday imagery. In fact, the audience first meets Mel Gibson's Riggs character in a Christmas tree lot while he's making an undercover drug bust. The final fight between Riggs and villain Joshua, played by Gary Busey, is right outside the home of Murtaugh (Danny Glover), which is all decorated for Christmas — and has a huge hole in it from where a car drove through. The film ends with Riggs spending Christmas Day with the Murtaugh family.

Batman Returns (1992)

Batman Returns, the sequel to Tim Burton's 1989 film, also takes place at Christmas. One of the bigger action sequences takes place during the Gotham tree-lighting ceremony. There are numerous references to the holiday, including the gigantic tree poor Alfred has to trim in Wayne Manor. The last line in the 1992 film, spoken by Michael Keaton's Wayne: "Merry Christmas, Alfred. Good will toward men ... and women."

Gremlins (1984)

While maybe not in the same action realm as the aforementioned, Gremlins is another film that can be considered a holiday movie. In the 1984 comedy/action/horror pic, executive produced by Steven Spielberg, the cute little creature Gizmo is a Christmas gift from father to son. 

Of course, all hell breaks loose after Gizmo gets wet, and the ensuing action with all his evil spawn revolves around the holiday. There is also a good little scare when one of the Gremlins jumps out of the Peltzer family's Christmas tree.

Die Hard (1988)

The action movie most considered to also be a Christmas flick by fans is Die Hard. "Now I have a machine gun. HO-HO-HO." This is just one of the many classic lines from the 1988 John McTiernan film starring Bruce Willis.

The story is about a New York cop just trying to reconnect with his family for the holidays when in walk some terrorists set to wreak havoc during a Christmas party.

From the moment McClane arrives in Los Angeles and hears Run-D.M.C.'s "Christmas in Hollis" in the limo taking him to his wife's holiday party, it's clear the festive season will be intertwined with the unfolding action. 

Christmas is mentioned numerous times throughout the movie, and in the pic's climax, McClane uses Christmas-themed wrapping tape to secure his gun to his back before taking out the bad guy. 

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