They Live

They Live Image
Metascore
52

Mixed or average reviews - based on 10 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 79 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: 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. A rugged loner (Piper) stumbles upon a terrifying discovery: goulish creatures are masquerading as humans while they lull the public intoThey 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. A rugged loner (Piper) stumbles upon a terrifying discovery: goulish creatures are masquerading as humans while they lull the public into submission through subliminal advertising messages. Only specially made sunglasses make the deadly truth visible. (TheOfficialJohnCarpenter.com) Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 10
  2. Negative: 4 out of 10
  1. Los Angeles Times
    Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    80
    Has its share of underthought or overwrought moments. The tone keeps shifting radically. It has some silly lines, plot lapses and goofball action scenes. But you can forgive the movie everything because of the sheer nasty pizazz of its central concept. [4 Nov 1988]
  2. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Dave Kehr
    75
    The looniest movie of the season and also one of the most engaging. [7 Nov 1988]
  3. Reviewed by: Chris Klimek
    Dec 3, 2013
    70
    They Live is, to scramble its most famous line, better at chewing bubblegum than kicking ass.
  4. All in all, an entertaining (if ideologically incoherent) response to the valorization of greed in our midst, with lots of Rambo-esque violence thrown in, as well as an unusually protracted slugfest between ex-wrestler Roddy Piper and costar Keith David.
  5. USA Today
    Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    38
    Live dies around the time Carpenter allows 10 minutes of gratuitous Piper-David eye-gouging, an apparent bone to wrestling fans. Forget the amusing premise; a full crate of magic glasses couldn't make this a bearable movie. [7 Nov 1988]
  6. The New York Times
    Reviewed by: Elvis Mitchell
    30
    Mr. Carpenter has directed the film with B-movie bluntness, but with none of the requisite snap. And his screenplay (written under the pseudonym Frank Armitage) makes the principals sound even more tongue-tied than they have to. [4 Nov 1988, p.C8]
  7. San Francisco Chronicle
    Reviewed by: Peter Stack
    0
    Typical of some of the absurd moments in this film is a long drawn-out fist fight between the hero and Frank, who almost kill each other because Frank is too proud to try on the magic dark glasses. It is completely stupid. [5 Nov 1988]

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 15
  2. Negative: 1 out of 15
  1. Dec 1, 2011
    10
    The movie was well ahead of its time if one considers contemporary affairs (2011). The premise is both satirically hilarious and compelling onThe 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. Expand
  2. Jul 27, 2016
    10
    Фильм, который открыл глаза многим на то, что нами управляют масоны, которые не жалеют, чтобы мы что-то осознавала, они нас контролируют,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, вы проснитесь от долгого сна и осознаете что-то то, чего вы раньше никогда не знали. Expand
  3. Sep 23, 2013
    10
    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. TheI 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
  4. Sep 21, 2014
    8
    Unexpectedly I loved it. Amazing fight between Piper and David! Nice bluesy-country feel to Carpenter's soundtrack. It really showedUnexpectedly 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
  5. Apr 26, 2016
    8
    John Carpenter's modern masterpiece is an action/horror/comedy film wrapped up inside a narrative of Capitalism, greed, destruction,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 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.
    Expand
  6. Nov 24, 2012
    7
    Another 'rassler takes a try at acting on the big screen. The thing is, 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper actually plays the role, rather than injectingAnother '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. Expand
  7. WJS
    Oct 2, 2015
    3
    This movie takes forever to get going and once it does, it really doesn't go anywhere. It proves to me that Roddy Piper should have investedThis movie takes forever to get going and once it does, it really doesn't go anywhere. It proves to me that Roddy Piper should have invested some of the wrestling money he earned into acting lessons and it also shows that John Carpenter is a hit and miss director, and this is one of his misses. Meg Foster has some of the weirdest eyes I've ever seen. Expand

See all 15 User Reviews

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