7.3/10
110,885
426 user 217 critic

They Live (1988)

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4:54 | Clip
They influence our decisions without us knowing it. They numb our senses without us feeling it. They control our lives without us realizing it. They live.

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
1,355 ( 85)
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:

Obey or else - alien invasion of the subliminal kind... See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was released in Europe as 'Invasion Los Angeles.' See more »

Goofs

During the alley fight, Nada's belt goes in and out of its loop. See more »

Quotes

Street Preacher: This world may have blinded me, but the Lord has let me see.
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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

Referenced in Stand Up Guys (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock of Ages
(uncredited)
Music by Thomas Hastings
Lyrics by Augustus Montague Toplady
[Heard as one of the songs played on the church tape]
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User Reviews

 
Extremely Underrated Thriller
24 January 2001 | by chain67See all my reviews

"They Live" is one of the most original and underrated sci-fi action movies i've ever seen. Eventhough the acting isn't spectacular, and by the end turns into a down right urban action movie, "They Live" is one of the most entertaining ever.

The plot is quite simple, Nada(Roddy Piper) a homeless drifter stumbles upon a pair of sunglasses through which you can see the world for what it really is, a communist type environment controlled by aliens, and then joins up with his buddy Frank(Keith David) to stop them. In the middle of all this there a lot of great one liners, a lot of harebrained action and one of the longest, and best, fist fights ever filmed.

The way John Carpenter directs really makes the film work. Everything seems downbeat and realistic. The acting of ex-pro wrestler Roddy Piper is better than expected but not too spectacular and Keith David isn't at all convincing. But none of that matters, the real reason to see this movie is just to be entertained and on that level is suceeds. My Rating is 8/10


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

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:

$4,827,903, 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)| Dolby Surround 7.1 | Dolby Atmos

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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