IMDb > They Live (1988)
They Live
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They Live (1988) More at IMDbPro »

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Down 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Ray Nelson (short story "Eight O'Clock in the Morning")
John Carpenter (screenplay)
View company contact information for They Live on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
4 November 1988 (USA) See more »
"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I'm all out of bubblegum." See more »
A drifter discovers a pair of sunglasses that allow him to wake up to the fact that aliens have taken over the Earth. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
elite, parasitic subsociety exploits American working class--reflects real American society? See more (306 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

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 ... Bearded Man
Susan Barnes ... Brown Haired Woman

Sy Richardson ... Black Revolutionary
Wendy Brainard ... Family Man's Daughter
Lucille Meredith ... Female Interviewer
Susan Blanchard ... Ingenue

Norman Alden ... Foreman
Dana Bratton ... Black Junkie
John F. Goff ... Well Dressed Customer
Norm Wilson ... Vendor
Thelma Lee ... Rich Lady
Stratton Leopold ... Depressed Human
Rezza Shan ... Arab Clerk

Norman Howell ... Blonde Haired Cop

Larry J. Franco ... Neighbor (as Larry Franco)
Tom Searle ... Biker

Robert Grasmere ... Scruffy Blonde Man
Vince Inneo ... Passageway Guard
Bob Hudson ... Passageway Guard #2
Jon Paul Jones ... Manager
Dennis Cosmo Michael ... Male News Anchor (as Dennis Michael)
Nancy Gee ... Female News Anchor
Claudia Stanlee ... Young Female Executive
Christine Anne Baur ... Woman on Phone (as Christine Baur)

Eileen Wesson ... Pregnant Secretary

Gregory J. Barnett ... Security Guard #1 (as Gregory Barnett)
Jimmy Nickerson ... Security Guard #2 (as Jim Nickerson)

Kerry Rossall ... 2nd Unit Guard
Cibby Danyla ... Naked Lady
Jeff Imada ... Male Ghoul
Michelle Costello ... Female Ghoul
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Jeb Stuart Adams ... Homeless kid (uncredited)

Jennifer Austin ... Teenage Girl (uncredited)

John Carpenter ... Voice that says 'sleep' (voice) (uncredited)
Michael Forino ... Ghoul at Bar (uncredited)
Robert V. Greene ... TV Technician (uncredited)
Helen Kelly ... Woman at the Dinner Party (uncredited)

Al Leong ... Asian Revolutionary (uncredited)

Gunnar Magg ... Male Goulie (uncredited)

Tommy Morrison ... Dave - Resistance Fighter (uncredited)
Jan Rabson ... Anchor (voice) (uncredited)
Norman D. Wilson ... Newspaper Vendor (uncredited)

Directed by
John Carpenter 
Writing credits
Ray Nelson (short story "Eight O'Clock in the Morning")

John Carpenter (screenplay) (as Frank Armitage)

Produced by
Andre Blay .... executive producer
Larry J. Franco .... producer (as Larry Franco)
Shep Gordon .... executive producer
Sandy King .... associate producer
Original Music by
John Carpenter 
Alan Howarth 
Cinematography by
Gary B. Kibbe (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Gib Jaffe 
Frank E. Jimenez 
Art Direction by
William J. Durrell Jr. 
Daniel A. Lomino  (as Daniel Lomino)
Set Decoration by
Marvin March 
Makeup Department
Elle Elliott .... hair stylist
Francisco X. Pérez .... makeup artist (as Frank Carrisosa)
Production Management
Stratton Leopold .... unit production manager
Alan Levine .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Larry J. Franco .... first assistant director (as Larry Franco)
Artist W. Robinson .... second assistant director (as Artist Robinson)
B. Scott Senechal .... dga trainee (as Scott Senechal)
Art Department
Jack Eberhart .... lead man
Dick Girod .... paint foreman (as Richard Girod)
Sean Haworth .... art department assistant
Richard M. Kerns .... assistant property (as Richard Kerns)
Frank Leasure .... propmaker
Ernie Millanponce .... stand-by painter
Vic Petrotta Jr. .... property master (as Victor Petrotta Jr.)
Gregori Renta .... swing
John Sweeney .... assistant property
Kenneth Truby .... labor foreman
Michael Wright .... construction foreman
Luigi Mugavero .... set dresser (uncredited)
Sound Department
Roberta Alstadter .... foley recordist
John H. Arrufat .... sound editor (as J.H. Arrufat)
Gregg Barbanell .... foley artist
Gary Blufer .... sound effects recordist
Mark Boisseau .... assistant sound editor
Larry Carow .... sound editor
Samuel C. Crutcher .... sound editor
Laurie Ecker .... sound effects coordinator
John Michael Fanaris .... sound effects coordinator
Frank A. Fuller Jr. .... sound effects researcher
Walter A. Gest .... sound re-recordist
Hector C. Gika .... sound editor
Douglas Greenfield .... stereo consultant: Dolby
Gary A. Hecker .... foley artist (as Gary Hecker)
Timothy A. Hoggatt .... foley mixer (as Timothy Hoggatt)
Michael Hoskinson .... foley editor (as Mike Hoskinson)
Alan Howarth .... synthesized sound effects
Robert Jackson .... boom operator
Ron Judkins .... sound mixer
John Leveque .... sound editor
Robert J. Litt .... sound re-recording mixer
Bob O'Brien .... foley editor
Thomas J. O'Connell .... adr recordist (as Tom O'Connell)
Sergio Reyes .... sound re-recording mixer
Gary D. Rogers .... adr mixer (as Gary Rogers)
Jeffrey L. Sandler .... supervising sound editor
Solange S. Schwalbe .... adr editor (as Solange Schwalbe Boisseau)
Becky Sullivan .... supervising adr editor (as Becky Sullivan-Coblentz)
Shawn Sykora .... foley editor
Elliot Tyson .... sound re-recording mixer
Donald L. Warner Jr. .... sound editor (as Don Warner)
Tim Webb .... sound recordist
Richard E. Yawn .... foley supervisor
David Napoli .... utility sound (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Michael Arbogast .... special effects assistant
Roy Arbogast .... special effects coordinator
David Blitstein .... special effects assistant
Jim Danforth .... special photographic effects
William Lee .... special effects assistant
Rick Avery .... stunts
Christine Anne Baur .... stunts (as Christine Baur)
Simone Boisseree .... stunts
John Borland .... stunts
Brad Bovee .... stunts
John Branagan .... stunts
Tony Brubaker .... stunts (as Anthony Brubaker)
Kurt Bryant .... stunts
David Burton .... stunts
David Cadiente .... stunts
James J. Casino .... stunts (as Jimmy Casino)
John Casino .... stunts (as John J. Casino)
Phil Chong .... stunts
Gary Combs .... stunts
Gilbert B. Combs .... stunts
Bob K. Cummings .... stunts
Gary Davis .... stunts (as Gary Charles Davis)
Tim A. Davison .... stunts (as Tim Davison)
Shane Dixon .... stunts
Cheryl Wheeler Duncan .... stunts (as Cheryl Wheeler-Dixon)
Richard L. Duran .... stunts (as Richard Duran)
Eurlyne Epper .... stunts
Gary Epper .... stunts
Jon H. Epstein .... stunts
Debbie Evans .... stunts
Diamond Farnsworth .... stunts
George Fisher .... stunts
Joe Gilbride .... stunts (as Joseph G. Gilbride)
Andy Gill .... stunts
Allan Graf .... stunts
Randy Hall .... stunts
Steve Hart .... stunts
Eddie Hice .... stunts
Freddie Hice .... stunts
Marcia Holley .... stunts
Norman Howell .... stunts
Brian Imada .... stunts
Jeff Imada .... stunt coordinator
Mike Johnson .... stunts (as John Michael Johnson)
Matt Johnston .... stunts (as Matt D. Johnston)
Henry Kingi .... stunts
Joel Kramer .... stunts
Daniel Lee .... stunts (as Daniel Eric Lee)
Al Leong .... stunts
James Lew .... stunts
Billy D. Lucas .... stunts
Eric Mansker .... stunts
Matt McColm .... stunts
John Meier .... stunts (as John C. Meier)
Bennie Moore .... stunts (as Bennie E. Moore Jr.)
Donna L. Noguchi .... stunts
Chuck Picerni Jr. .... stunts (as Charles Picerni Jr.)
Branscombe Richmond .... stunts
Danny Rogers .... stunts
Ronnie Rondell Jr. .... stunts
Thomas Rosales Jr. .... stunts
Tim Roslan .... stunts (as Timothy Roslan)
Debby Lynn Ross .... stunts
Michael Runyard .... stunts (as Mike Runyard)
Ben Scott .... stunts
John-Clay Scott .... stunts
Walter Scott .... stunts
Jan Michael Shultz .... stunts
Christopher Corey Smith .... stunts (as Chris Kent)
Russell Solberg .... stunts
Ceci Vendrell .... stunts
Michael M. Vendrell .... stunts
Ric Roman Waugh .... stunts (as Ric Waugh)
Danny Weselis .... stunts
Scott Wilder .... stunts
Dianne L. Wilson .... stunts (as Dianne Wilson)
Merritt Yohnka .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
Kevin Arnold .... electrician
Sidney Ray Baldwin .... still photographer (as Sidney Baldwin)
Sanford Barr .... electrician
Bruce Birmelin .... still photographer
Clyde E. Bryan .... first assistant camera: second camera
Ron Cardarelli .... key grip (as Ronald Cardarelli)
Larry D. Davis .... second assistant camera (as Larry Davis)
Robert DePerna .... electrician
Anthony Di Mase .... grip (as Anthony DiMase)
Jud Kehl .... camera operator
John T. Kennedy .... best boy electrician (as John Kennedy)
Jeffrey Norvet .... first assistant camera
John Palka .... best boy grip
Robin Roberts .... grip
Richard Smock .... electrician
Ken Spencer .... gaffer (as Kenneth Spencer)
Raymond Stella .... camera operator: second camera (as Raymond N. Stella)
Raymond Stella .... panaglide operator (as Raymond N. Stella)
Dave Wachtman .... dolly grip (as David Wachtman)
Sid Lucero .... grip (uncredited)
Randy Nolen .... Steadicam operator (uncredited)
Casting Department
Barbara Harris .... voice casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Robert Lewis Bush .... costumer (as Robert Bush)
Robin Michel Bush .... costume supervisor (as Robin Bush)
John Melvin Young .... costumer (as John Young)
Editorial Department
Gary Burritt .... negative cutter
Phil Downey .... color timer
Margaret Goodspeed .... assistant film editor
Frederick Wardell .... assistant film editor (as Fred M. Wardell)
Richard Alderete .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Transportation Department
George Bess .... driver
Fred Brookfield .... driver
James R. Brown .... driver (as Jim Brown)
Russ Buckens .... driver
Bob Cromwell .... driver
James Langhorne .... driver (as Jim Langhorne)
Stephen A. Latina .... driver (as Steve Latina)
Leo Loa .... driver
John Marendi .... driver
Dennis McLaughlin .... driver (as Denny McLaughlin)
Frank Mielcarek .... driver
Thomas M. Reposar .... driver (as Mike Reposar)
Tim Roslan .... transportation captain
Kenny Searle .... transportation coordinator
Other crew
Rick Chavez .... craft service (as Richard Chavez)
Karin Costa .... assistant: Mr. Carpenter
Maurice Costello .... first aid
James Deeth .... helicopter pilot
Mathew Dunne .... production associate
Billie Don Evans .... helicopter pilot
Joy Ewing .... production accountant
T.Z. Garrison .... stand-in
E. Barry Haldeman .... production legal counsel (as E. Barry Haldeman Esq.)
Sandra Holden .... assistant: Mr. Franco
Sandy King .... script supervisor
Ken Lavet .... location manager
Gregory Parrish .... stand-in
Marian Shambo .... production coordinator
Jill L. Smith .... production legal counsel (as Jill L. Smith Esq.)
Mark A. Stankevich .... production legal counsel (as Mark A. Stankevich Esq.)
Larry Sulkis .... producer: commercials
Angel Trujillo .... caterer
Michael Forino .... production assistant (uncredited)
Lynnanne Zager .... voices (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"John Carpenter's They Live" - USA (complete title)
"They Live!" - USA (poster title)
See more »
93 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Dolby Stereo (4 channels)
Australia:M | Finland:K-18 (uncut) (self applied) (2002) | Finland:K-16 (cut) (1989) | Iceland:16 | Ireland:18 | Netherlands:16 | Norway:18 | Portugal:M/12 | Singapore:M18 | Sweden:15 | UK:18 | USA:R (certificate #29297) | West Germany:18 (nf)

Did You Know?

John Carpenter wanted a truly rugged individual to play Nada. He cast wrestler Roddy Piper in the lead role after seeing him in WrestleMania III (1987) (TV). Carpenter remembered Keith David's performance in The Thing (1982) and wrote the role of Frank specifically for the actor.See more »
Continuity: Upon completion of their alley fight, Frank and Nada both have blood on their faces. While walking from the alley to the boarding house, the blood has disappeared. Once inside the boarding house, the blood has returned.See more »
Nada:I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Duke Nukem Forever (2011) (VG)See more »
Down by the RiversideSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
118 out of 146 people found the following review useful.
elite, parasitic subsociety exploits American working class--reflects real American society?, 25 June 2004
Author: unperson102 from Houston

This movie is not so much about aliens who are hiding among us, but instead it taps into the deeply submerged suspicion held by most of us that we are being manipulated and taken advantage of by the elite of American society, by our leaders, by the rich, etc. Also, we sometimes feel that we are manipulated and programmed (in a subtle way) to respect hierarchical authority ( e.g., the "OBEY" subliminal command from the movie).

Some leftist thinkers might say that human societies are in a way being parasitized by the elite of their societies, and that the elite operate as a parasitic sub-society, living off of the lower classes. America might be said to be operated more in such a fashion (i.e., parasitized by the elite) than are the countries of western Europe. Obvious examples of this parasitic behavior are the "golden handshakes" and backscratching exchanged between corporate CEO's and the Boards of Directors of their companies. But it is far more pervasive than just that.

_They_Live_ uses the invisible alien elite as a proxy for our suspicions about how we are all being exploited by the elite of our real-life society, and how these elite are subtly programming us to accept this exploitation.

So, the major theme of the movie is not, as another poster correctly pointed out, about being manipulated to be good little consumers in a crassly commercial world. No, it is far more profound than that. Instead, it is more about how the working class Americans in _They Live_ are being exploited by the elite upper crust, who, in the movie, happen to be aliens, but who, in the real world, are a subsociety that use their collective power to exploit the rest of us.

Unfortunately, this movie sometimes has an unintentionally comic air to it. Still, the exploration of that theme is so rare in pop culture, and that theme is so profound, and reaches so far into what American society is, was, and is becoming, that this movie is a Must-See for anyone with an interest in politics and sociology.

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Recent Posts (updated daily)User
7.1?? What a load of cr@p!! DawsonRoseDawson
Matrix not so original. joseph-702-233922
Keith David's comments about They Live Treeman222
Why wasn't Kurt the star of this? jtf1986
Best Pre-Ass kicking one liner :) Carpenter_May89
The blind Pastor (spoiler) Bruvski
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