Universal Pictures | Release Date: November 4, 1988
8.0
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 88 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
72
Mixed:
10
Negative:
6
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10
jcolesDec 1, 2011
The movie was well ahead of its time if one considers contemporary affairs (2011). The premise is both satirically hilarious and compelling on its own terms. The execution is admirable. This is a must see cult-classic.
3 of 3 users found this helpful30
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8
DynamithixApr 6, 2012
Just saw this movie for the first time and damn was it good. I love the soundtrack and the build-up of it all, the main character's actor is also pretty good and now I see where Duke Nukem got some of his quotes, haha. Overall a good movie.Just saw this movie for the first time and damn was it good. I love the soundtrack and the build-up of it all, the main character's actor is also pretty good and now I see where Duke Nukem got some of his quotes, haha. Overall a good movie. Oh and don't believe the critics who gave negative reviews, they obey the authority. Expand
2 of 2 users found this helpful20
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8
SpangleFeb 1, 2017
Characterized as an allegory for Jewish control of the media by neo-nazis, it is borderline comical to see how such great art has been misinterpreted. Guess that is what happens to those of us who are a few cards away from a full deck. As itCharacterized as an allegory for Jewish control of the media by neo-nazis, it is borderline comical to see how such great art has been misinterpreted. Guess that is what happens to those of us who are a few cards away from a full deck. As it stands, the film is truly just an inventive alien invasion flick that doubles as a social critique for how people sit back and do not question what they are told. This, again, is a problem that continues to today where people simply read or hear something and take it as the gospel truth because the person is on the news or sounds like they know what they are saying. They Live is a cautionary tale in this regard as people have been lulled into believing they are safe when, in reality, we are blind to the negative forces all around us that corrupt our minds. In John Carpenter's incredibly inventive and imaginative They Live, those negative forces are aliens.

Unaware of what is going on until he puts on some special sunglasses, John Nada (Roddy Piper) quickly sets out to help the resistance expose the control the aliens have achieved. Through cool gadgets such as those sunglasses of the aliens' watches, the film creates some great little science fiction touches that really only add to the experience. In particular, the former creates incredible anxiety. As John gets surrounded by aliens that know he can see, the film takes on an incredibly thrilling and terrifying tone. However, the same can be said for when he has the glasses off. Whenever he is in a tough situation and Carpenter does not immediately have him put on the glasses, the film is packed with tension and paranoia. The film manages to convince you that everybody and anybody could be an alien, especially when he lacks the glasses. When he loses them, the tension and anxiety to put them back on is felt by the audience as our heart races along with John's.

Action-wise, the film is incredibly strong. Each action set piece is incredibly strong and Carpenter knows his way around a gun battle. This is very much the case in They Live in which his battles are very similar to ones found in the very beginning of his career, except with more polish and better effects. On that note, the visual effects are very good. The film does a great job crafting the look the aliens and it feels like it is very similar in style in that area to Tim Burton's Mars Attacks!. However, it feels realistic and looks funny at the very least. Carpenter plays on this at the end when the aliens are revealed in bars, having sex, or on television. While comical in look and feel, the aliens do look pretty interesting and feel authentic and an interesting take on what aliens would like and do on earth.

They Live could also be categorized as Carpenter being very tongue-in-cheek with his fighting against criticisms towards his use of sex and violence. The ending highlights this with an alien on television saying that he and George Romero need to tone down both. Here, Carpenter essentially compares his critics to being mindless robotic aliens, incapable of formulating their own opinions. Instead, they opt to parrot what they have heard others say. This is unfortunately still prevalent today, especially in film criticism when a popular film or artist's reputation is quickly torn apart after one critic or person makes a short-sighted argument, which then gains steam and popularity. Carpenter had obviously been critiqued for both sex and violence, so he answers with a film built on testosterone and campy violence and action. Honestly, it is admirable to see him fight back in this fashion.

They Live is a truly entertaining and campy science fiction horror comedy about a man who wakes up to alien invasion taking place on Earth. While silly, its science fiction pieces are imaginative and truly engaging. It creates a world that is worthy of further looks and is truly fun to imagine the possibilities within this world, especially with the cool knick knacks introduced by Carpenter throughout the film. Action-packed, inventive, and simply a good time, They Live is another top-notch film from John Carpenter.
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1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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10
McCorpseSep 23, 2013
I love this movie. john carpenter has a way of making his actors iconic. he did it with kurt russel and he does it here with rod piper. The premise of the movie is pure genius and makes you think and mistrust the begin to question the worldI love this movie. john carpenter has a way of making his actors iconic. he did it with kurt russel and he does it here with rod piper. The premise of the movie is pure genius and makes you think and mistrust the begin to question the world around you. The violence is over the top fun and the one liners are the best ever. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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7
ballpark_frankNov 24, 2012
Another 'rassler takes a try at acting on the big screen. The thing is, 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper actually plays the role, rather than injecting his wrestling persona into the character (unlike other wrestlers-turned-movie-actors). I find thisAnother 'rassler takes a try at acting on the big screen. The thing is, 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper actually plays the role, rather than injecting his wrestling persona into the character (unlike other wrestlers-turned-movie-actors). I find this movie very watchable. For one, it's science fiction (and I'm a sucker for that genre). The main objection I have about it is it's relentless 'persecution' of commercialization (not that it shouldn't be persecuted, just that the film keeps pile-driving the point home). The special effects really aren't too bad - but that's mostly limited to the makeup, which is rather cute (especially the results showing the 'special' glasses being put on and taken off). Another bone to pick is that it almost wants to lean heavily into the comedy genre, especially the closing sequences. But overall I enjoyed it. Collapse
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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8
talisencrwSep 21, 2014
Unexpectedly I loved it. Amazing fight between Piper and David! Nice bluesy-country feel to Carpenter's soundtrack. It really showed Carpenter's strengths, both in terms of ideas and visual storytelling. Piper's ad-libbed dialogue was hit andUnexpectedly I loved it. Amazing fight between Piper and David! Nice bluesy-country feel to Carpenter's soundtrack. It really showed Carpenter's strengths, both in terms of ideas and visual storytelling. Piper's ad-libbed dialogue was hit and miss, probably the film's only weakness, but still had some wonderful gold to mine. Sad to say, due to the state of the world, this is a film that not only doesn't age, but is years ahead of its time. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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8
YorkManApr 26, 2016
John Carpenter's modern masterpiece is an action/horror/comedy film wrapped up inside a narrative of Capitalism, greed, destruction, friendship and the struggle of the have-nots in a world of rampant consumerism and overt aspirationalJohn Carpenter's modern masterpiece is an action/horror/comedy film wrapped up inside a narrative of Capitalism, greed, destruction, friendship and the struggle of the have-nots in a world of rampant consumerism and overt aspirational advertising.
Oh,and there are aliens..... Never a bad thing in a big(gish) budget B-Movie, in fact in a lot of ways it's more of a B-Movie parody!
It's not a perfect film by any means. Carpenter's direction can get very distracting, the soundtrack is a 'love it or hate it' mash up of electronica and thumping basslines, the acting varies wildly in quality, and the pacing lurches from slow, to fast, then back to slow.

However, for all its flaws, it IS a fantastic movie. Criminally slated back in 1988, it's now a definitive 80's cult classic, watched as a rite of passage by teenagers everywhere!

If you're someone who missed it as a teenager, then find a copy and settle in for some serious fun and action.
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1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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10
Intention__PlayJul 27, 2016
Фильм, который открыл глаза многим на то, что нами управляют масоны, которые не жалеют, чтобы мы что-то осознавала, они нас контролируют, издеваются над нами, как могут, но мы сея верим, что рабство нет, но он есть и посмотрев этот фильм, выФильм, который открыл глаза многим на то, что нами управляют масоны, которые не жалеют, чтобы мы что-то осознавала, они нас контролируют, издеваются над нами, как могут, но мы сея верим, что рабство нет, но он есть и посмотрев этот фильм, вы проснитесь от долгого сна и осознаете что-то то, чего вы раньше никогда не знали. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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10
RyanH.Jan 18, 2010
This movie rocks. there is absolutely no reason not to watch it! it is funny, intense, and generally all around bad-ass.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
AthanasiosTFeb 12, 2017
1984 for movies. That's how I interpret this film. The plot and images it shows are out of our present and future. Last but not least, the music, which is imprinted in your mind. A perfect 10 for years to come.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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