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

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 43 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 into submission through subliminal advertising messages. Only specially made sunglasses make the deadly truth visible. ( Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 10
  2. Negative: 4 out of 10
  1. 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. 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
    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. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    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. 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. Reviewed by: Richard Harrington
    The plot for They Live is full of black holes, the acting is wretched, the effects are second-rate. In fact, the whole thing is so preposterous it makes "V" look like "Masterpiece Theatre." [5 Nov 1988]

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Sep 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 world around you. The violence is over the top fun and the one liners are the best ever. Expand
  2. Dec 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. Expand
  3. Apr 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. Oh and don't believe the critics who gave negative reviews, they obey the authority. Expand
  4. Nov 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 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
  5. Mar 16, 2013
    It's only sparingly interesting and sluggishly paced, but overall "They Live" still proves to be a slightly entertaining sociopolitical sci-fi flick.

See all 10 User Reviews