They Live
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A homeless drifter discovers a reason for the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor: a conspiracy by non-human aliens who have infiltrated American society in the guise of wealthy yuppies. With the help of special sunglasses that reveal the aliens' true faces and their subliminal messages ("marry and reproduce," "submit to authority"), our hero tries to stop the invasion. This satire of Reaganomics and the "greed is good" era also has one of the funniest (and longest) fight scenes in American cinema.

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"As a movie, They Live is lethargic. As election propaganda, it's terrific."
‑ Desmond Ryan, Philadelphia Inquirer
"The joke is in the material; the idea itself is funny and daring. And some time soon, They Live suggests, with grim, knowing wink, the joke may be on us."
‑ Michael Wilmington, Los Angeles Times
"Carpenter should stick to what he's good at-scaring folks-and leave the political satire to Spitting Image."
‑ Steve Newton, Georgia Straight
"Too bad director John Carpenter doesn't match this tantalizing premise with snappy, thoughtful filmmaking; long stretches of the movie are trite and silly."
‑ David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
"They Live is a paranoid thriller that stretches a paper-thin budget with inventive special effects that serve the story and a message that still holds water today."
‑ Eric Melin,
"John Carpenter's They Live has cult favorite written all over it, and part of the reason is the way it regenerates the cheap, juicy, surprisingly potent sci-fi of the 1950s."
‑ Jay Carr, Boston Globe
"A fantastically subversive film, a nifty little confection pitting us vs them, the haves vs the have-nots."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Behold the message as articulated by John Carpenter's sublime sci-fi opus: "I'm giving you a choice: Either put on these glasses, or start eating that trashcan.""
‑ Calum Marsh, Slant Magazine
"It's a little bit V and a little bit Lethal Weapon. A little bit "1984" and a little bit Rambo. It's got sledgehammer political satire, humor, goofiness and little bit of Wrestlemania thrown in to boot."
‑ Renee Lucas Wayne, Philadelphia Daily News
"Carpenter sweeps aside political preaching to allow the film to finish on a note of humour when the aliens are finally revealed for what they are."
‑ Lisa Williams, Electric Sheep
"They Live is the looniest movie of the season and also one of the most engaging."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Tribune
"All in all, an entertaining (if ideologically incoherent) response to the valorization of greed in our midst."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"Director John Carpenter's They Live is an undistinguished sci-fi thriller."
‑ Candice Russell, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"Arguably John Carpenter's most underrated film, They Live combines kick-ass action, clever allegory and eerie, they're-among-us sci-fi paranoia to hugely enjoyable effect."
‑ Stephen Carty, Flix Capacitor
"A loopy movie that got its messages right."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
More reviews for They Live on Rotten Tomatoes

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