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A fun popcorn movie from John Carpenter (spoilers)

  • May 10, 2009
  • by
They Live is another classic science fiction-action film from John Carpenter. The eighties were a great time for this legendary film maker. Some of his best work was made during this era. Professional Wrestler Roddy Piper stars as Nada, a homeless day laborer who becomes a hero by accident. Keith David co-stars as his running buddy.

Earth has been slowly invaded by aliens under the guise of conservative Reganites. They have repressed the have nots and corrupted those who are willing to sell out their friends and neighbors. The aliens use a form of mind control to not only brain wash the masses but it's also used to cloak the aliens true identity. They pollute the environment to make the air more breathable. Nada stumbles across a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses (During a routine police raid on homeless camps) that allows it's wearer to go beyond the sophisticated alien cloaking device. Shocked by what the world has become, he tries to get his friend to wear them. After a lengthy fist fight, his buddy is convinced and joins him to find those who made the glasses.

The two hide out in a flophouse until things cool down. It's there that they met the few remaining members of the human underground. They're planing a raid on the local television station (that's where they think that the satellite feed from the aliens is coming from). But before they can execute the plan, a informant has ratted them out from their hide-out. Only a handful of fighters escape the raid. Nada and his buddy head for the Television Station. Nada fights his way to the top of the building only to be betrayed yet again. Before he's gunned down by a police helicopter, he fires his pistol into the transmitter. Dying, Nada sees it blow up right before his eyes. Now everyone wakes out of their alien induced slumber and sees the aliens for what they're truly are.

Awesome film. I wished John Carpenter continued to make such violent and cheesy action fantasies. But he had to sell-out to continue his career.

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October 04, 2009
Only give out the ending in a flick that isn't worth seing to spare people the pain of having to see it for themselves. Where's the fun in seeing a movie when you know everything that's going to happen?
May 11, 2009
Agree about the awesomeness of this film. It was way ahead of its time and some of the running conspiracies of the X-Files were very similar to the ideas set forth in They Live. Also, the subliminal brainwashing messages and 80's era "Greed is good" overtones were really interesting and a powerful commentary on society.
More They Live reviews
review by . July 05, 2011
I usually approach any film starring a professional wrestler (retired or otherwise) with rightful skepticism. However, I must admit that Roddy Piper was well cast opposite Keith David as a pair of brawny, down-on-their-luck construction workers who come across evidence of a pervasive, widespread alien invasion and a grassroots terrorist resistance movement opposed to it.      While the social commentary of this movie's script (very loosely adapted by Carpenter from Ray Nelson's …
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Joseph Ulibas ()
Ranked #31
I have been working on my web series Fine Feather Friends.
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About this movie


Based upon the short story "Eight o'clock in the Morning".

John Carpenter casted Roddy Piper in the role of Nada after watching him in Wrestlemania III.

The screenplay is credited to Frank Armitage (John Carpenter).
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