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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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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:

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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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

Shepard Fairey credits the film as a major source of inspiration, sharing a similar logo to his "OBEY" campaign. "They Live was...the basis for my use of the word 'obey'," Fairey said. "The movie has a very strong message about the power of commercialism and the way that people are manipulated by advertising." See more »

Goofs

The shotgun that Roddy Piper's character uses can only hold 5 to 6 rounds (including one in the chamber) due to the length of the magazine tube. Yet it is fired 9 times without a reload. See more »

Quotes

Female Interviewer: Last place of employment?
Nada: Denver, Colorado. I worked there for ten years and things just seemed to dry up. They lost fourteen banks in one week. So, well...
Female Interviewer: There's nothing available for you right now.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Movie Nights: Hell Comes to Frogtown (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Wake Up
(uncredited)
Written by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth
Performed by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth
See more »

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User Reviews

 
I'm here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and i'm all outta bubble gum.
28 April 2018 | by mcatearSee all my reviews

This is one of my top 5 sci-fi movies of all time, i just love it, the sad thing is not many people i know have even heard of the movie.

The movie seems really slow for the first 20-30 minutes but for me the moment the movie starts is when Roddy Piper puts the sunglasses on, that's the time i sat up and got into it.

The fight scene in the alley was the best movie fight scene i had saw up to that point and it stayed the best fight scene in my opinion for some years after.

If you are a sci-fi fan and not seen this movie yet then i ask you WTF? Get this movie watched now because you're not a true sci-fi fan until you have saw this.

I could go on and on about this movie but i have a life i have to get back too so get out there and watch it.


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