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They Live

They Live

4.3 9
Director: John Carpenter

Cast: Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster


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John Carpenter wrote and directed this science fiction thriller about a group of aliens who try to take over the world by disguising themselves as Young Republicans. Wrestler Roddy Piper stars as John Nada, a drifted who makes his way into an immense encampment for the homeless. There he stumbles upon a conspiracy concerning aliens who have hypnotized the populace


John Carpenter wrote and directed this science fiction thriller about a group of aliens who try to take over the world by disguising themselves as Young Republicans. Wrestler Roddy Piper stars as John Nada, a drifted who makes his way into an immense encampment for the homeless. There he stumbles upon a conspiracy concerning aliens who have hypnotized the populace through subliminal messages transmitted through television, magazines, posters, and movies. When Nada looks through special Ray-Bans developed by the resistance leaders, the aliens lose their clean-cut "Dan Quayle" looks and resemble crusty-looking reptiles. Nada joins the underground, teaming up with rebel-leader Frank (Keith David) to eradicate the lizard-like aliens from the body politic.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Pete Segall
In this era of retro-chic it is genuinely surprising that John Carpenter's They Live hasn't caught on as a cult favorite, because this 1988 alien invasion satire is the most dead-on shot any American filmmaker has taken at life in the Reagan years. 1980s wrestling star "Rowdy" Roddy Piper is John Nada, an idealistic drifter who still believes in America -- until a pair of sunglasses allows him to see that the consumerist paradise he lives in is actually an alien paradise. The most socially-minded sci-fi movie since Don Siegel's Invasion of the Body Snatchers, They Live is an out-and-out condemnation of the rampant materialism in this nation at the time. Often passed over in the lexicon of excellent science fiction and horror directors, Carpenter (John Carpenter's The Thing) loads his film with plenty of over-the-top sequences (including the longest fight ever, between Piper and Keith David) to make the satire as fun as it is bitingly intelligent.
All Movie Guide - Robert Firsching
John Carpenter's inventive social satire centers on the notion that aliens with faces which look like melted skulls have paid off some rich people to take over the world. The aliens live among us, and subjugate the underclasses while constantly bombarding us with subliminal messages urging conspicuous consumption. Wrestling's Roddy Piper plays the average Joe who finally discovers the truth when he stumbles on a pair of special sunglasses which allow him to see both the messages and the aliens' true faces, as well as the startling secret that reality is really black-and-white. It's an interesting concept, and Carpenter plays it to the fullest, although the casting is a bit suspect. The action scenes are well-handled, the satire pointedly blunt. It might make a nice second feature to Bulworth on a night of mildly subversive video viewing.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Shout Factory
Region Code:
Sales rank:

Special Features

Audio Commentary with Director John Carpenter and Actor Roddy Piper; New Interview with Director John Carpenter; "Making Of" They Live; Theatrical Trailer; TV Spot

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Roddy Piper John Nada
Keith David Frank
Meg Foster Holly
George "Buck" Flower Drifter
Peter Jason Gilbert
Christine Baur Woman on Phone
Norman Howell Blond-Haired Cop
Rezza Shan Arab Clerk
Jason Robards Family Man
Raymond St. Jacques Street Preacher
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
Norman D. Wilson Vendor
Thelma Lee Rich Lady
Stratton Leopold Depressed Human
Larry Franco Neighbor
Tom Searle Biker
Robert Grasmere Scruffy Blond Man
Vince Inneo Passageway Guard
Bob Hudson Passageway Guard
Jon Paul Jones Manager
Dennis Michael Male News Anchor
Nancy Gee Female News Anchor
Claudia Stanlee Young Female Executive
Eileen Wesson Pregnant Secretary
Gregory Barnett Security Guard
Jim Nickerson Security Guard
Kerry Rossall 2nd Unit Guard
Cibby Danyla Naked Lady
Jeff Imada Male Ghoul
Michelle Costello Female Ghoul
John Lawrence Bearded Man

Technical Credits
John Carpenter Director,Score Composer,Screenwriter
Roy Arbogast Special Effects
Andre Blay Executive Producer
Robin Bush Costumes/Costume Designer
Frank Carrisosa Makeup,Makeup Special Effects
William Joseph Durrell Art Director
Larry Franco Asst. Director,Producer
Shep Gordon Executive Producer
Alan Howarth Score Composer
Jeff Imada Stunts
Gib Jaffe Editor
Frank E. Jimenez Editor
Ronald Judkins Sound/Sound Designer
Gary B. Kibbe Cinematographer
Sandy King Associate Producer
John Loggia Production Designer
Daniel Lomino Art Director
Marvin March Set Decoration/Design
Chuck Picerni Stunts

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- They Live
1. Chapter 1 [:01]
2. Chapter 2 [:01]
3. Chapter 3 [:01]
4. Chapter 4 [:01]
5. Chapter 5 [:01]
6. Chapter 6 [:01]
7. Chapter 7 [:01]
8. Chapter 8 [:01]
9. Chapter 9 [:01]
10. Chapter 10 [:01]
11. Chapter 11 [:01]
12. Chapter 12 [:01]
13. Chapter 13 [:01]
14. Chapter 14 [:01]
15. Chapter 15 [:01]
16. Chapter 16 [:01]
17. Chapter 17 [:01]
18. Chapter 18 [:01]
19. Chapter 19 [:01]
20. Chapter 20 [:01]
21. Chapter 21 [:01]
22. Chapter 22 [:01]
23. Chapter 23 [:01]
24. Chapter 24 [:01]
25. Chapter 25 [:01]
26. Chapter 26 [:01]
27. Chapter 27 [:01]
28. Chapter 28 [:01]


Customer Reviews

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4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Kasia_S More than 1 year ago
Oh man what a fun movie, I saw this a few months ago and still marvel at how much I enjoyed it. This is one of those eighties movies that borderlines on silly and cheesy at times but overall there is so much to enjoy that in this case it barely stands in the way. Basically this is a story of an accidental discovery by a construction worker down on his luck. Trying to find some work, Nada arrives in LA and quickly makes some "friends" and gets in trouble on his first day of work. Eventually he tries to settle in but things seem strange, how strange he has no idea until one day he stumbles on a whole box of black plastic sunglasses. He soon finds out that they are made by a resistance group that send out announcements on TV channels about aliens and warns people that things aren't as they seem. Deem lunatics, they hide and act in secret, but when Nada puts those glasses on he discovers just how much what he believed in is true.

Driven by money and power, people will do anything to have more, even sell out their own species to aliens who are willing to exploit and use them. Those special glasses let Nada see the real aliens, disguised as human to unprotected eye and upon looking at TV shows, magazines and billboards he sees the true message that is meant for the average human; to buy and to obey. One has to see this movie to get the full gist of the idea, but it's something that I have actually felt about today's world for a while. Everything revolves around money, ways of making it, using people for it and luring others to spend their. This movie does a fantastic job of shedding some light on real life and mixes in some ultra terrestrials with incredible twists.

Nada is soon discovered by those who pretend to be human and chased through some really fantastic adventures. There are a few more secrets that make this movie so fun but spoiling them would be a shame, it's best to watch it without knowing too much. I highly recommend for a few hours of shameless fun and the ending is super, very well driven to the point.

- Kasia S.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Piper plays an out-of-luck blue collar worker looking for employment in L.A. who stumbles upon an eerie alien conspiracy to take over the world. Revealed to the truth by a resistance movement who provide him with special sunglasses, Piper sees the horrid reality and seeks new converts to bring down the aliens. Orwellian in theme, it's a good movie to watch for its action and clever theme. I give the movie 3 stars for its originality but it is still a B-movie. The plot is clever and the satire is rich.
Guest More than 1 year ago
who ever did the make up job after the &quot long fight scene&quot was defenetly the best ive EVER seen! even till this day! it was very realistic! anyway the movie was fun to watch.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The only reason this film is not a cult favorite with the masses (it is with the minority) is because the materialism theme is still as ever strong in America today as it was 15 years ago. What a shame!! To much of a reality shot to the solar plexus for numbed, brainwashed masses with 'money is my god/psuedo-Christian' beliefs!! Kudos to Carpenter for taking such a bold and real view on modern America, I wish there were more producers like him today.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I always wondered where that quote came from since I had heard it from somewhere and then of course that little fight scene thanks to that South Park episode. The film has its funny moments and another funny quote quot Mamma don't like tattletales. I must say after watching it that this is a pretty good movie and don't know if anyone's noticed but it seems that there's a pattern with John Carpenter's films where in the beginning his films flop but then later become cult classics? Seems Hollywood and its viewers can't make up their minds whether or not they should like his films now or later. To be honest I sometimes think certain movies shouldn't be in theaters but straight to video, don't ask me why. I guess when it comes to movie theaters that movie sometimes becomes overrated and its like a competition of which movie will make the most money instead of what people want to see. Its sad really. Anyway this is the story of a drifter who finds work and some very interesting sunglasses including that there are aliens amongst them. The wrestler Roddy Piper is a pretty good actor and Keith David the voice were great. Meg Foster who played Holly Thompson was not only a b**** but looked very familiar and I was like OMG its Hera from Hercules, it must of been those creepy yet beautiful eyes. Another John Carpenter favorite that never gets old next to Big Trouble in Little China and The Thing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago