Die Hard. The greatest action movie of all time… The greatest Christmas movie of all time! Not exactly “nerdy,” but essential viewing for any movie-watching human being.

Also, WAY more violent than I remember…

Was It Always This Bloody?

The least bloody scene in Die Hard
Copyright: Twentieth Century Fox

Seriously, I think I first saw Die Hard around nine or ten years old, and haven’t seen it since I was maybe 20. In the seven or eight years it’s been since I last saw it, my mind somehow glossed over the brain-splattering and violence. Maybe being a parent now has changed my perspective on it, or maybe I’m just more used to the TV version at this point.

My wife had never seen the movie at all, which I thought was a travesty, so I dusted off my old DVD from high school. While my wife was enjoying (yes, enjoying) the first-time viewer’s experience of Die Hard, I was realizing there’s no way we can show Sam this movie any time soon.

I was completely expecting to be the one to show him action and horror movies at way too young an age, but my wife ended up being less fazed by everything. (I assume it’s just the feeling of euphoria that comes with watching Die Hard for everyone.)

Yippee-Ki-Yay, Mother-Trucker

There’s also a fair bit of language in the movie, but how much can we really protect our kids from the F-word in the modern world? It’s in music and movies and tv shows and video games, sure. But it’s also being said out loud by people everywhere. I was using the F-word by the time I was 10. (Not regularly, but I felt super rebellious and edgy when I did.)

I’m not saying I’ll be dropping curse words without regard around my kids, but they’re going to hear the word whether I like it or not. Probably 50 times a day or more at some point in their lives. So what good does protecting them from another three or four in a movie really do?

What Is and What Isn’t Okay?

Who says "Die Hard" isn't a Christmas movie?! Just look at his festive hat!
Copyright: Twentieth Century Fox

When I sat down with my wife to talk about showing Die Hard to our son someday, we had to decide what kind of things he should be allowed to see in a movie, and how intense those things could be.

The violence in Die Hard is pretty intense, but not as intense as say, Game of Thrones. There’s some raunchy humor in Tommy Boy, but not as raunchy as say, Superbad.

Really, this is what you (or any parent) has to decide in this situation. The MPAA provides some basic guidelines, but no one anywhere in the country follows those ratings to the letter. So what’s important to you and your significant other?

Your Child’s Maturity Level

Another factor in deciding what is or isn’t okay for your child to watch is… your child. Is a scary scene going to keep them up all night? Are they likely to repeat the curse words they heard in the movie? Is the violence going to disturb them and give them nightmares?

These are things that will probably be pretty easy to pick up on after watching a few movies with your kids. Just keep an eye on them and see what they can handle.

Our Rating System

We decided that we were going to divide movies into four appropriate age ranges: 3-4, 5-7, 8-10, 11-13.

Under 3 and they probably won’t really be able to follow any movie. Past 13 and they can pretty much see whatever they want to see without your help, so there’s no point in restricting it anymore.

Die Hard contained occasional strong language, lots of gun violence, but not an excessive amount of gore, and a brief scene with some nudity. I was surprised my wife agreed with this, but we settled on:

Appropriate Age for Die Hard: 8-10 Years Old

Copyright: Twentieth Century Fox