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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.

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Writers:

(short story "Eight O'Clock in the Morning"), (screenplay) (as Frank Armitage)
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3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Nada
... Frank
... Holly
... Drifter
... Gilbert
... Street Preacher
... Family Man
John Lawrence ... Bearded Man
Susan Barnes ... Brown Haired Woman
... Black Revolutionary
Wendy Brainard ... Family Man's Daughter
Lucille Meredith ... Female Interviewer
Susan Blanchard ... Ingenue
... Foreman
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:

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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 November 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's They Live  »

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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  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(4 channels)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Often cited by British author David Icke as John Carpenter's best film. See more »

Goofs

As Nada and Frank run through the TV station, a man in a gray suit quickly turns the corner. A moment later, the same man turns the corner again. See more »

Quotes

Frank: What do these things want?
Gilbert: They're free-enterprisers. The earth is just another developing planet. Their third world.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Kent Hovind: An Atheist's Worst Nightmare (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

I Love to Praise Him
(uncredited)
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User Reviews

The more things change, the more they stay the same.
8 September 2001 | by See all my reviews

They Live. Where to begin? Yes, it is goofy. Yes the production value is very low. Yes the action is standard. The guns never empty. The fights are poorly choreographed at times. But that, my friends, is not the point.

This film was an attack on the Regan era. An attack on the rampant consumerism of the 80's. But open your mind. Saying that it's just an attack on the 80's is merely shutting your eyes. Telling yourself that things have gotten better. Sorry to disapoint you, but they haven't.

Rowdy Roddy Piper puts on some sunglasses. The world changes. Billboards now say Obey or Sleep. Or Marry and Reproduce. Magazines no longer have articles or advertisements. They are blank white pages with said phrases upon them. Money now are white pieces of paper that say This is Your God. Boy oh boy are they right.

So watch They Live. Grab some beer and score some corn. Enjoy the cheese. Enjoy the great one-liners. But also pay attention to the lines that sum up the truth. Remember the point of the film. Then go outside. Re-enter the corporate world outside your door.

You won't need special glasses to see the truth.


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