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96 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Missing the point?
I think most of you are missing the point of the film here, its a social commentary, the aliens were an allegory for corporate greed and capitialism at the expense of personal freedoms and human rights. It was made in the 80's, Reagan era, when these things were being pushed aside in favour of power and a money making screw everyone else culture.

Personally, I...
Published on 9 Oct 2007 by Sandman

versus
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THEY LIVE:
I enjoyed this film (mostly.) If you like Total Recall or the mini series of the late 80's "V" then you will be pleasantly surprised by this nice little flick by John Carpenter that fell under the radar & not many people picked up on. Premis is down on his luck drifter (Roddy Piper) stumbles across a resistance movement operating from a rundown church. He...
Published on 12 Mar 2006 by Mr. S. Taylor


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96 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Missing the point?, 9 Oct 2007
By 
This review is from: They Live [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
I think most of you are missing the point of the film here, its a social commentary, the aliens were an allegory for corporate greed and capitialism at the expense of personal freedoms and human rights. It was made in the 80's, Reagan era, when these things were being pushed aside in favour of power and a money making screw everyone else culture.

Personally, I think it is brilliantly done, Piper is a pretty good actor (for a ex wrestler) and the tongue in cheek script and direction makes sure its doesnt get too caught up in its own message. Although, having said that, the message is pretty loud and clear by the time the two heroes get into the alien base and find out humans are collaborating with them, just for a guaranteed increase in their investments.

Keith David is great also, the pointlessly long and over the top fight scene between the two is one of the best thing about the film, just a bit of fun interjected into a serious film. The scene now has cult status, and was immortalized by Southpark, in the episode `cripple fight' where Jimmy tries to get Timmy to put on a silly hat. Brilliant stuff.

The film could have done with a bigger budget, but I still rate it as a classic, with a message that is perhaps even more relevant today; what with the political propaganda machine even more powerful and insidious than ever, and people even more stupid, it seems.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing movie!, 4 Aug 2008
By 
This review is from: They Live [DVD] (DVD)
Hi,
I personally can't wait for this movie to be released again.I'm looking forward to the Blu-Ray in particular.This is my favourite John Carpenter movie and i think in this day and age for me anyway the message in the movie becomes clearer and clearer.It really is a great reflection of western society in particualr and how our brains are manipulated 24/7 365 days a year by commercialism and things that have no real importance in the grand scheme of things.Well back to the movie and what a great performance by Roddy piper and also Keith David.My favourite line in the movie is when piper goes into a bank and declares:"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass.....and i'm all outta bubblegum"!!
I emplore anyone who is reading this and has not seen this movie to give it a go.Well definetely for me a 5-star movie quite frankly there has been nothing that has come close to it in it's 20 years.
Long live John Carpenter,granted he has made some crap in his later years but still i would love him to do a sequel!!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass, and I'm all out of bubblegum.", 7 Dec 2012
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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The two-picture deal he struck in the late 80s that produced the underrated Prince of Darkness [DVD] [1988] and They Live was pretty much the last spurt of creativity from John Carpenter before his mojo went walkabout (presumably it's living it up somewhere with Argento and Romero's similarly long AWOL mojos). Along with The Arrival [DVD], which saw aliens funding their colonisation of Earth by stock market manipulation, it's one of the best invisible invasion films since the 50s, at once rejoicing in its pulp origins and taking smart satirical swipes along the way.

Pro-wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper makes a surprisingly good actor as the down-on-his-luck everyman hero, travelling from city to city with his tools looking for work, the kind of guy who still believes in America, follows the rules and is just waiting for his chance. Unfortunately this is the 80s and he's another victim of the reality of Reaganomics, where, just as today, wealth trickles up, the middle class are downwardly mobile and even having a job isn't enough to keep some of the working class from being homeless. If this sounds like the film's a political tract, Carpenter never made any secret that it was, albeit one with a great satirical sci-fi spin - the reason for this downward spiral is that the rich and powerful don't just regard themselves as different to the rabble, they ARE different, and they ain't from Cleveland: alien invaders who have been here for years, grabbing all the best jobs and most powerful positions, stripping the planet of its assets before moving onto the next. For years they've been brainwashing the human race with signals sent through television sets that hypnotize them into seeing what they want them to see and hide their true form. It's only through wearing special sunglasses that you can see the subliminal messages and commands hidden behind posters and street signs. Not only that, but the real world is actually black and white because "They've colorized us!"

Naturally Piper finds out, no-one believes him and he finds himself on the run with initially sceptical co-worker Keith David, briefly hooking up with the few dregs of human resistance - most humans who find out immediately sell out to the aliens for their own slice of the American dream - before making a do-or-die last stand against the rapacious corporate raiders. All of which is done with surprising wit and energy as the film gradually moves from its state of the nation opening to look behind the curtain, getting a head start on end of millennium angst along the way and probably reaching more people with its message than many a more worthy issue film because it doesn't forget to be fun. There's also great stunt choreography from Jeff Imada in the days when you could still tell what was happening in a fight scene, which is helpful when the film's most celebrated setpiece is a ridiculously but entertainingly prolonged fight scene in an alley where Piper tries to persuade David to just try the sunglasses for himself. For the most part the film does a fine job of hiding its low budget, with only a raid on a shantytown looking a bit underpopulated at times, and the tight hour-and-a-half hour running time works in its favour, keeping things relatively lean. Political commentary has rarely been this much fun.

Shout Factory's Region A-locked Blu-ray offers a satisfying 2.35:1 widescreen transfer with a sharp image with good colour and clear definition. It's not perfect - there's some occasional slight pulsing that makes you wonder if there aren't some subliminal messages encoded on the disc - but after some of the poor previous releases it's like seeing the film through a Hoffman lens and it's certainly the best its looked on any home video format. There's a good selection of extras too, including the enjoyable audio commentary Carpenter and Piper recorded for Optimum's European DVD release, the original making of featurette, new interviews with Carpenter, Keith David, Meg Foster, Jeff Imada, co-composer Alan Howarth and cinematographer Gary B. Kibbe, footage from the TV commercials seen in the film, stills gallery, TV spots and original trailer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film, 11 Dec 2013
By 
Mr. G. Jessop "Jezzyby47" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: They Live [DVD] (DVD)
One of those films that you've just got to have.
I suspect that this is so near to the truth than most would care to even imagine.
It includes the longest ever fight scene in it, and the reason why it was included is a statement of how asleep everyone is.
Even when he was trying his hardest to get his friend to take a look at what he could see through those glasses, he wouldn't put them on and the fight ensued. It is a perfect example of just how asleep everyone is today, and you will fight to keep it that way rather than just put on those glasses and take a look at what is right under your noses.
As more and more of you start waking up, you should buy this film.
David Icke does a whole hour on the 'moon' these days in his live shows, i think he may have been watching this movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nobody kicks a$$ (and chews bubblegum) better, 5 Mar 2014
By 
Albatross "Never argue with idiots" (Suburbia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: They Live [DVD] (DVD)
‘They Live’ is a masterpiece. No, not a masterpiece of acting, nor storytelling or even originality. It’s basically a masterpiece of a B-movie. In B-movie terms... this is the ‘Godfather’ Parts 1, 2 and 3.

We join a vagrant (played by a wrestler no less!) who stumbles onto an alien plot to take over the world. He decides that ain’t gonna’ happen! And he does it in style.

I could mention the numerous classic (yet completely cheesy) lines. I could also mention the truly ridiculous fight scene that transpires about half way through the film (and was so brilliantly parodied in ‘South Park’). And I could mention that They Live was directed by the master of horror in the seventies/eighties John Carpenter. However, you don’t need to know any of that. All you need to have in order to enjoy this film is an appreciation for the slightly dumb, the slightly daft, the slightly over-the-top and the ability to suspend your disbelief for an hour and a half so that you can really cheer the good guys on in their quest to rid the world of this corporate alien menace.

No brain cells required. Just sit back, crack open the popcorn (chewing bubblegum is optional) and watch the aliens get their collective a$$ kicked by ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I wear my sunglasses at night, 19 Mar 2008
By 
Mr. Jonathon T. Beckett "vampire lover" (Dracula's Crypt) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: They Live [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
Another of John Carpenter's great successes, this film turns the paranoia of the 50's science fiction film on its head. Instead of outsiders coming and attempting to disrupt the status quo, in this film the status quo is the whole problem, as aliens have taken over right to the very top. Only Roddy Piper stands between them and continued domination of American society.
Piper makes for another of Carpenter's very likeable heroes, very much in the mould of Snake Plisskin, and the supporting cast is uniformially excellent.
A little gem of a movie.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS is your God, 9 Jan 2003
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This review is from: They Live [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
This film is an undiscovered gem- I've seen it turn up more than once in one of those '20 films you've never heard of, but must see' type of things.
Following a drifter looking for work, we have the 'truth' behind society slowly revealed to us through his eyes(Quite literally, as it happens). We are shown a world of subliminal messages hidden behind every advertising hoarding 'Marry and reproduce', for instance, every magazine and book page carries a hidden motto: 'Obey' 'Consume' - the list goes ever on (The message on the dollar bill - 'This is your God' is my particular favourite...). A 'ruling order' is revealed to be controlling us all.
The concept of aliens living among us is not a new one within Science Fiction, but Carpenter has worked his magic on it to produce a film that is at times funny, shocking, weird, thoughtful and insightful. I could probably add more to that list if I tried, but you get the idea. This film is, in my opinion, Carpenter's finest hour.
Add to all this the greatest bare-knuckle punch-up in cinematic history (and possibly one of the longest), and you've got pure movie magic- an essential buy. Modern imitators in this genre don't even come close.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Universal economics, 15 July 2003
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: They Live [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
Turns out that some economic entrepreneurs are in the process of exploiting people. (All people. O.K. the world.) They seem to have a different physical appearance than you or I and for the sake of keeping the exploration covert, have electronically masked themselves to appear normal.

All is going well until the presents of this drifter come to LA looking for work. He finds himself in an unbelievable situation. Evidently malcontents have devised a way to spot these interlopers and are threatening exposure. He is skeptical at first then after a bout of fisticuffs will be forced to see the truth. Subsequently he becomes the most radical in a plot to blowup the masking devise and expose this cabal to the world. Will he succeed or are they clever enough to catch him at the last moment? A more sinister thought is will anyone care?

In a world where you can not tell the good buys from the bad without your glasses there is also a quasi love interest between the vigilante and a worker (Meg Foster) at a local TV studio.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life's a bitch and she's back on heat!, 12 Jun 2013
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: They Live [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
They Live is directed by John Carpenter who also adapts the screenplay form the short story Eight O'Clock in the Morning written by Ray Nelson. It stars Roddy Piper, Keith David and Meg Foster. Music is by Alan Howarth (and Carpenter) and cinematography by Gary B. Kibbe.

Unemployed drifter Nada (Piper) wanders into the city looking to find work, but upon finding a unique pair of sunglasses he sees a different world to everyone else. It's a world frequented by an alien race who are using the Earth for their own nefarious means.

See The Truth!

Carpenter does subversive sci-fi and it's a whole bunch of fun. Stripped back it's evident that They Live is Carpenter's wry observation on the politico posers who endorse the rich getting richer and everybody else sliding down the pole; to where they stop nobody knows! It's also a blatant paean to the glorious years of the 1950s when paranoia based sci-fi schlockers and creaky creature features ruled the air waves. It's also a wonderfully macho driven action movie, laced with comedy as well. You can rest assured there will be plenty of shooting, punching, dodging and spoken lines to make you smile.

Piper is no Kurt Russell, but we shouldn't hold that against him because he fills the role nicely. With muscular frame, 80s hair and a quip on the tongue, he is most assuredly a Carpenter leading man for the 80s. Alongside him is the reassuring presence of Keith David, himself a beefcake and also one of the coolest muthas on the planet. It's easy to believe that these two can save the planet, even after nearly beating each other to a pulp during a prolonged side-alley fight sequence, where Carpenter doesn't miss a chance to parody professional wrestling. While away from the beef, Meg Foster gets the lead lady role, with those amazing eyes nestling in perfectly with the world Carpenter has created.

Carpenter does political? Yes, but it's not the be all and end all of his intentions. He wanted to make an action sci-fi schlocker with sly politico undertones as motives. And that's exactly what he did. Joyously so. 8/10
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a body slam of a movie!, 29 Aug 2012
By 
Steven - See all my reviews
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This review is from: They Live [DVD] (DVD)
It's up there with the best of them. Loads of fun. Another Carpenter classic with a great story in which the leading man discovers an alien plot to infiltrate and enslave society and sets about getting some payback. I understand the messages about the economy, government fat cats, advertising and all the rest of it, but for me, the fun is on the screen. I just sit back and enjoy, the brutal fist fights, the fire fights, the excellent one liners. Best enjoyed with beer and friends!
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They Live [DVD] [1989] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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