7.3/10
84,957
353 user 162 critic

They Live (1988)

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

Director:

Writers:

(short story "Eight O'Clock in the Morning"), (screenplay) (as Frank Armitage)
Reviews
Popularity
1,610 ( 250)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
3 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In 1997, when the U.S. president crashes into Manhattan, now a giant maximum security prison, a convicted bank robber is sent in to rescue him.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An All-American trucker gets dragged into a centuries-old mystical battle in Chinatown.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun
The Fog (1980)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A ghostly fog descends upon a small coastal town exactly 100 years after a ship was mysteriously sunk in its waters.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A research team finds a mysterious cylinder in a deserted church. If opened, it could mean the end of the world.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Donald Pleasence, Lisa Blount, Jameson Parker
Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An insurance investigator begins discovering that the impact a horror writer's books have on his fans is more than inspirational.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Sam Neill, Jürgen Prochnow, Julie Carmen
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A police sergeant and an unlikely band of criminals defend a closing LA precinct office on New Years Eve against an army of gang members.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Austin Stoker, Darwin Joston, Laurie Zimmer
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Snake Plissken is once again called in by the United States government to recover a potential doomsday device from Los Angeles, now an autonomous island where undesirables are deported.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Kurt Russell, Steve Buscemi, Stacy Keach
The Thing (1982)
Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A crew in Antarctica finds a neighboring camp destroyed and its crew dead. Whatever killed them is nowhere to be found, unless it's hidden in plain sight.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David
Christine (1983)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A nerdish boy buys a strange car with an evil mind of its own and his nature starts to change to reflect it.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul
Vampires (1998)
Action | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Recovering from an ambush that killed his entire team, a vengeful vampire slayer must retrieve an ancient Catholic relic that, should it be acquired by vampires, will allow them to walk in sunlight.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: James Woods, Daniel Baldwin, Sheryl Lee
The Fly (1986)
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz
Starman (1984)
Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An alien takes the form of a young widow's husband and asks her to drive him from Wisconsin to Arizona. The government tries to stop them.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen, Charles Martin Smith
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
John Lawrence ...
Susan Barnes ...
Brown Haired Woman
...
Black Revolutionary
Wendy Brainard ...
Lucille Meredith ...
Susan Blanchard ...
Ingenue
...
Foreman
Dana Bratton ...
Black Junkie
Edit

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:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 November 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's They Live  »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,827,000, 6 November 1988, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$13,008,928
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(4 channels)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the alien TV broadcasts refers to the director by name. An alien commentator is complaining about sex and violence in the media, and his dialog breaks off with the words, "Film-makers like George A. Romero and John Carpenter have to show some restraint. They're simply--." See more »

Goofs

When Nada is falling through Holly's window, a pair of sunglasses can be seen falling with him outside as he first falls to the ground. However, a short time later, Holly is looking at the floor of her place where the sunglasses are now sitting. See more »

Quotes

Nada: And who are you, little fella? Come to show 'em where I am, huh? Not nice!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Trailer Trauma 3: '80s Horror-Thon (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Down by the Riverside
(uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Good for a night of not-so-serious movies
25 February 2005 | by See 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.


91 of 129 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 353 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Best of 2017: Our Favorite Movie and TV Stills

Take a look at our favorite movie and TV stills from the past year. Spot any of your faves?

Browse the Best of 2017