28 December 2020
They Live (1988)
They Live (1988)
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John Carpenter – THEY LIVE

3.5 out of 5 stars

  • A very poignant subtext (capitalism, avarice, etc.)
  • A very well balanced camera attitude.
  • It’s fun and the exchanges tend to be comical.
  • An endless fight.
  • Ahead of its time: an unheard cry.
  • It may indeed seem a bit didactic as far as its symbolic study is concerned. This can be justified by the director’s desire to fit everything into a genre that, at times, must be simplistic. Despite this, Carpenter manages to make even the genre itself more layered and complex.

Do we recommend it?

Yes, we do!

A small example of why? In the film, there are drones used for control purposes. Who forgot the drones that chased runners in 2020 during the lockdown period? Here, consider that the film was released in 1988.
They Live is a film ahead of its time: it offers a cry of alarm that has gone unheard and has a rather particular vision of the social fabric and what holds it together. It speaks of the disintegration of the middle classes and general impoverishment: Power, human avarice and unbridled capitalism have a different symbolic “dress” in the film which, however, manages to amply indicate the very sign to which it refers. And for those who are scared that the film may be too “intellectual” following our description can rest assured: there are witty jokes, aliens, sunglasses and muscles.

At the bottom of the page you will find the trailer to decide for yourself whether to watch it or not.

Film Quote

Have you already had a look at our film quotes page? Who knows, if you are lucky, you will find a quote from one of your favourite films. Haven’t you done it yet? Let’s play together.


Now, nothing left to do here, you just have to go and watch it, unless you have something to say about this movie and you want to share it with us on this platform. Feel free to leave a comment at the end of the page and say whatever you want about the film. On this site, we are always happy to host others’ opinions on cinema.

Something else?

To read more of these film “pills”, please visit our dedicated section. Or, if you’re after a more-in-depth look at some films and/or filmmaking techniques more than just a few words, please have a look at our Film Analysis page.

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