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On this day in history, July 15, 1988, ‘Die Hard’ hits theaters, first in the franchise

Yippee ki-yay! 

Bruce Willis introduced the world to the character of John McClane on this day in history, July 15, 1988, when the film “Die Hard” was released in theaters. 

The hit movie would result in four sequels: “Die Hard 2,” “Die Hard with a Vengeance,” “Live Free or Die Hard,” and “A Good Day to Die Hard” — as well as a video game series.

The plot centers around McClane, a New York City police officer, and his efforts to rescue his estranged wife and her colleagues after they’re taken hostage at a Christmas party by a terrorist organization.

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“High above the city of L.A. a team of terrorists has seized a building, taken hostages, and declared war,” said the poster for “Die Hard.”

“One man has managed to escape … An off-duty cop hiding somewhere inside. He’s alone, tired … and the only chance anyone has got.” 

Actor Bruce Willis poses with objects from the “Die Hard” series of films that he donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History on June 27, 2007, in Washington, D.C. The first film was released in theaters on July 15, 1988.  (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

“Die Hard” also starred Bonnie Bedelia as McClane’s wife Holly and Alan Rickman as terrorist Hans Gruber. 

John McTiernan directed the film. Roderick Thorp, Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Souza were the writers, notes IMDB. 

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The bulk of the film’s action takes place at the fictional Nakatomi Plaza, located in Los Angeles. 

The real-life shooting location, 2121 Avenue of the Stars, was the headquarters of 20th Century Fox at the time of the movie’s creation. 

A scene from Die Hard with Bonnie Bedelia and Bruce Willis

Bonnie Bedelia is held down by Bruce Willis in a scene from the film “Die Hard,” released in theaters on this day in 1988. (20th Century Fox/Getty Images)

Despite the movie’s July release date, its R rating and its intense action scenes, there are some who insist that “Die Hard” is actually a Christmas movie.

The ongoing debate on whether “Die Hard” should be considered a Christmas movie even had one of its writers weighing in.

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In 2017, de Souza was asked for his thoughts on whether the film was a Christmas movie.

In a tweet, he replied, “Yes, because the studio rejected the Purim draft” along with the hashtag “#DieHardIsAChristmasMovie.” 

Purim is a Jewish holiday. 

Despite what its writer claimed, polling has shown that people have very varying thoughts on if “Die Hard” should be considered among the pantheon of holiday classics. 

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A poll in 2018 done by Morning Consult/Hollywood Reporter found that while only 25% of American adults consider “Die Hard” to be a Christmas movie, the results are different across sex and age variables.

Bruce Willis in Die Hard

Bruce Willis starred as John McClane in the movie “Die Hard,” released in theaters on July 15, 1988.  (20th Century Fox/Getty Images)

Only 20% of women surveyed thought “Die Hard” was a Christmas movie — compared to 32% of men. 

When the results were broken down by age, those over age 65 were least likely to view “Die Hard” as a Christmas movie.

Only 13% of that group thought so. 

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Comparatively, 37% of those ages 30 to 44 who were surveyed said that they believe “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie. 

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Those ages 45 to 54 were also more likely to see “Die Hard” as a Christmas movie. The poll found that 31% of respondents agreed that it was a Christmas movie.

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