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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
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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 Lucille Meredith ... Female Interviewer
Susan Blanchard 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:

"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I'm all out of bubblegum." See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 November 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's They Live See more »

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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 IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (4 channels)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director John Carpenter had "final cut" on the film according to He Lives: Interview with John Carpenter (2013). See more »

Goofs

After Nada tells the primping alien woman "That's like pouring perfume on a pig," the actor's alien hand glove ends before her sleeve, revealing her bare arm. See more »

Quotes

Frank: The steel mills were laying people off left and right. They finally went under. We gave the steel companies a break when they needed it. You know what they gave themselves? Raises.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Honest Trailers: Fantastic Four (2005) (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Down by the Riverside
(uncredited)
Traditional
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Beautiful, Must-See Cult Classic
23 February 2017 | by hat_citySee all my reviews

I love this movie. It is a timeless classic. The signature 1980's dark comedy is so refreshing, especially in this new millennium of political correctness and Hollywood censorship.

Anyone who hasn't yet seen this movie should go out and get a copy right away. It may just change your life. The world keeps turning, the decades pass, but there are some facts of life in American society that have remained the same: The oppression and manipulation of the 99%, the parasitic elite, the poor dupes in the police force who don't realize who their masters really are, the call to arms for anyone on this planet who still has a human heart to stand up and do something about it. The central message of this movie is timeless and beautiful.

I also love the grotesqueness of it. It shows through very clearly, from beneath the sugar coating of dark comedy sprinkled throughout the movie. The poverty, homelessness, the Reaganvilles, police brutality, the cowardice and selfishness of humanity that prevents us from simply doing the right thing, the crushing weight of a nationwide system designed to keep us in line, keep us ignorant, divided and weak...

I'm a big fan of John Carpenter's movies, and this one is one of the best.


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