7.3/10
104,686
406 user 205 critic

They Live (1988)

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4:54 | Clip
A drifter discovers a pair of sunglasses that allow him to wake up to the fact that aliens have taken over the Earth.

Director:

John Carpenter

Writers:

Ray Nelson (short story "Eight O'Clock in the Morning"), John Carpenter (screenplay) (as Frank Armitage)
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Popularity
1,365 ( 47)
3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Roddy Piper ... Nada
Keith David ... Frank
Meg Foster ... Holly
George 'Buck' Flower ... Drifter
Peter Jason ... Gilbert
Raymond St. Jacques ... Street Preacher
Jason Robards III ... Family Man
John Lawrence John Lawrence ... Bearded Man
Susan Barnes Susan Barnes ... Brown Haired Woman
Sy Richardson ... Black Revolutionary
Wendy Brainard Wendy Brainard ... Family Man's Daughter
Lucille Meredith ... Female Interviewer
Susan Blanchard ... Ingenue
Norman Alden ... Foreman
Dana Bratton Dana Bratton ... Black Junkie
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Storyline

Nada, a down-on-his-luck construction worker, discovers a pair of special sunglasses. Wearing them, he is able to see the world as it really is: people being bombarded by media and government with messages like "Stay Asleep", "No Imagination", "Submit to Authority". Even scarier is that he is able to see that some usually normal-looking people are in fact ugly aliens in charge of the massive campaign to keep humans subdued. Written by Melissa Portell <mportell@s-cwis.unomaha.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You see them on the street. You watch them on TV. You might even vote for one this fall. You think they're people just like you. You're wrong. Dead wrong. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Unsurprisingly, both men have a problem with authority. "I have this adolescent hatred of authority," says Carpenter. "I've never gotten over it since I was a kid." Piper adds "Ask me for my shirt off my back I'll give it to you, tell me? Not a chance." See more »

Goofs

During the alley fight, Frank drops the sunglasses and tries to step on them before Nada stops him. The glasses fall on the lenses, but after Nada is kicked in the head and the camera pans down, the glasses are facing up. See more »

Quotes

Written on wall: They live. We sleep.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The screenplay writer for "They Live" which is credited to "Frank Armitage", does not exist. John Carpenter used many pseudonyms when giving credit to his works in films. With his vast amount of work that he did himself, (directing, producing, writing and composing the musical scores), he did not want to appear to be braggadocios and vain by having his name appear over and over in the credits of his movies. See more »

Connections

Featured in He Lives: Interview with John Carpenter (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

I Love to Praise Him
(uncredited)
Traditional
See more »

User Reviews

 
Good for a night of not-so-serious movies
25 February 2005 | by Smiley097See all my reviews

This film has a commentary as relevant today as in the 80s. Upper class people are actually aliens corrupting America. And the only way to see them is to wear special sunglasses that our hero, Nada, stumbles upon. This film has some cool ideas: the way all magazines and signs have subliminal messages, the paranoia, and the B-movie-on-purpose-so-it-feels-like-a-B-movie feel. It also has some really great cheesy one liners which I don't wish to spoil. Let it be known though, by the end of the movie you might just see a little of Ash from Evil Dead in Nada. The film also has a fight scene around the middle that is particularly funny to watch because it keeps going forever.

Definitely a fun flick to watch if you are light hearted and can enjoy the B-movie vibe it gives off.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 November 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

They Live See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,827,903, 6 November 1988

Gross USA:

$13,008,928

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$13,008,928
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (4 channels)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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