When it comes to the question of whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie, Peter Billingsley, who has previously been in a number of holiday films, is not without his own perspective.
The 52-year-old actor, who starred in A Christmas Story and Elf and Four Christmases, and co-host Steve Byrne discussed Die Hard with Jan de Bont, the film's cinematographer, on A Cinematic Christmas Journey podcast.
“You know Jan de Bont’s work — he directed Twister and Speed,” Billingsley tells PEOPLE. He denied that Die Hard was a Christmas movie, according to several quotes. He answered, ‘I just don't see it.’ ‘Would you mind if I attempt to convince you why this is a Christmas movie? I know you survived. I know you've had it since 1988. He responded, ‘Okay.’
Die Hard, about a New York City police investigator played by Bruce Willis who becomes involved in a terrorist takeover of a Los Angeles building, was released in summer 1988, although its storyline takes place on Christmas Eve.
I sold de Bont by saying, ‘That connection between John McClane and his estranged wife, they're damaged, but by the end, they come to forgive each other. Billingsley thinks they'll have a lovely Christmas morning with their kids because of hope and joy.
Die Hard director John McTiernan agrees with fans and reviewers that it's a Christmas picture. In 2020, he told the American Film Institute, “We hadn’t intended it to be a Christmas movie, but the joy that came from it is what turned it into a Christmas movie
At Comedy Central's 2018 Roast of Bruce Willis, the actor finally addressed the Die Hard topic 30 years after its premiere. “I did this roast for one reason and for one reason only, to settle something once and for all,” stated Willis. Please listen carefully: Die Hard is not a Christmas movie! Goddamn Bruce Willis film.”
“I went through my criterion,” Billingsley tells PEOPLE. He said, ‘I’ve never thought of it that way.’ He added, ‘You have now convinced me it is a Christmas movie.’ I said, ‘Yes!’ I changed a filmmaker's opinion, which was cool.”