Is Die difficult a Christmas movie? We usage the music (starring Beethoven) to explain. Picture: Alamy
john McClane, dice Hard. Picture: Alamy

Let’s start with a recap that the plot

New York cop, detective john McClane (Bruce Willis), come in Los Angeles come visit his estranged wife, Holly Gennero (Bonnie Bedelia). Gennero is attending a Christmas Eve work party hold by her employer Nakatomi Corporation, and also McClane meets she at her offices in skyscraper, Nakatomi Plaza.

You are watching: Michael kamen let it snow! let it snow! let it snow!

Unbeknownst to the guests, a terrorist plot hold by a German criminal mastermind, Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), is unfolding, and also those in ~ the party soon end up being hostages to the group. McClane, that is not part of the company, manages to stay unnoticed and escapes into different parts the the building, unsuccessfully trying to alert local authorities to the situation.

When aid does come, it arrives in the form of LAPD sergeant, Al Powell (Reginald VelJohnson), who have the right to only help McClane the end from down on the ground. As McClane learns the the authorities will be no immediate help, he realises that he needs to take ~ above the terrorists fully alone in stimulate to save all the hostages, and his wife.

Sergeant Al Powell, die Hard. Picture: Alamy

Who composed the music for Die Hard?

Michael Kamen created the score because that Die Hard and its two succeeding sequels, Die difficult 2 (1990) and Die hard with a Vengeance (1995).

His vault work consisted of eleven ballets, one saxophone concerto, and an electrical guitar concerto which was originally performed by Eric Clapton.

Other significant scores encompass the 1989 bond film, Licence come Kill, Disney’s 101 Dalmations, the American superhero film X-Men, and also Robin Hood: Prince the Thieves.

Beethoven’s involvement in ~ Nakatomi Plaza

The manager of Die Hard, man McTiernan, knew he wanted to incorporate Ode to Joy indigenous Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 after that heard the in Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 film, A Clockwork Orange.

He hired Kamen ~ this decision, and the composer wasn’t encouraged that the item was suitable for the film. Kamen instead said misusing a item written by fellow German symphonic composer, Richard Wagner.

However, after ~ McTiernan confirmed Kamen exactly how the choral work had actually been offered in the 1971 Kubrick movie to underscore the ultra-violence, which gave Kamen a much better understanding that the director’s intentions.

The American composer thus insisted that and including the ninth Symphony, they should additionally license Singin’ in the Rain, one more track offered in A Clockwork Orange.

Kamen offered Ode come Joy, Singin’ in the Rain, and also Winter Wonderland – three song which in many contexts seem upbeat and also joyful – come underscore the villains of the film.

This junxtap location is checked out multiple time throughout the score, and also Ode come Joy is purposefully scored below its usual pitch to offer it a darker, menacing tone.

Most noticeably, the work is supplied to underscore the opening of the for sure by the group of German terrorists. In the safe opened scene, the triumphant nature of the music offers the ethereal implication to the audience that the poor guys could have just won...

Having the nine Symphony as Gruber’s layout is a dark Easter Egg, as most musicians will know that Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 to be the composer’s last symphony prior to he died.

The 9th Symphony is often regarded together Beethoven’s best work by musicologists, and in the same way, after maybe what is Gruber’s greatest work (taking end the plaza and also breaking into the safe), the antagonist dies.

Many personalities in the film finish up to sing the musical theme most linked with them, including Gruber that hums the Ode come Joy when in one elevator earlier in the film.

Theo, the sole computer hacker in Gruber’s terrorist group, hums Singin’ in the Rain, and also the Christmas classic, Let the Snow, which is sung by sergeant Al Powell both while overhearing it at a gas station prior to he arrives at Nakatomi Plaza, and also again after that finishes his preliminary examination there.

This musical means of directing came naturally to McTiernan, who said in the director’s commentary: “I found myself thinking of movies together musical structures.

“I kind grew up about opera and even though i’m musically illiterate, i think in musical develops at least.”

His musical affect also means that the film features another well-known item of classical music; Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3. This is played by the musicians displayed at the party in ~ the beginning of the movie, before the action starts to take place.

Hans Gruber, die Hard. Picture: Alamy

What go the score say?

We’ve currently mentioned two classic Christmas songs, Winter Wonderland, and Let it Snow! which attribute in the film, and also there’s additionally a 3rd track, Christmas in Hollis, i beg your pardon plays early in the movie.

So let’s examine other musical selections which ar this film firmly right into the Christmas movie genre.

In the initial score, classic Christmas tropes were provided in the instrumentation. The consists of sleigh bells, pizzicato and arco strings, with full brass, and flurrying woodwinds enhance every stereotype used by composers when writing ‘Christmassy’ music.

Read more: What makes Christmas music sound therefore Christmassy?

In-keeping with the juxtaposition, these musical festive frills are added to menacing moments in the film, to remind the viewer that this gritty activity film castle watching, is actually following at Christmas.

Coming earlier to the usage of Christmas music in the film, Let it Snow is a clever choice for a recurring design template thanks to its lyrics. And also its Christmas-themed nature, the native of the songs aid play the end what is keep going in the film.

Although probably a little on the nose, the 3rd line the the track is “and since we’ve no ar to go, Let the Snow! Let that Snow! Let it Snow!”

Like the characters in the song, the protagonists in the film additionally have no place to go as they space hostages in a skyscraper.

The song likewise concludes the whole film, play as the credits role and the protagonists reunite ~ the traumatic occasions of the film.

So, is Die hard a Christmas movie?

From the perspective of the score, us think it’s a yes. From its stereotypical festive instrumentation, to its inclusion of three different Christmas songs, the music speaks because that itself.

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Whether you pick to clock it throughout the holiday period is up to you, all us can include is that hopefully ~ this article, you recognize that this film and score is an excellent enough to clock all year round.