They Live

1988 R 1h 34m DVD

They Live

1988 R 1h 34m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
In this consumer culture parody, professional wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper plays an unemployed working stiff who inadvertently finds a pair of sunglasses that allow him to see the world as it truly is. Billboards carry subliminal messages such as "Submit to Authority," and yuppies are actually aliens who are bent on subduing the human race. Before you can say, "Die, yuppie scum!" Piper grabs a gun and starts blasting.
Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster, George "Buck" Flower, Peter Jason, Raymond St. Jacques, Jason Robards III, John Lawrence, Susan Barnes, Sy Richardson
John Carpenter
Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1
English, Spanish (Neutral), French
English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround
R - Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.
age 16+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 16+
age 16+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that They Live is a 1988 John Carpenter movie in which an unemployed drifter (played by "Rowdy" Roddy Piper) comes across a special pair of sunglasses in which he sees that yuppies and many police officers are actually aliens trying to colonize the earth through subliminal messages in advertising. Though this is a campy, satirical, and wildly entertaining classic of a B-movie, there's also quite a bit of violence, including an exaggerated fistfight between two of the lead characters. Police move in on a homeless encampment, striking people with billy clubs. Police fire machine guns on a meeting of humans resisting the alien colonization; many are shot and killed. A woman is naked from the waist up while having sex. Frequent profanity, including "f--k" and its variations.

Sexual Content

Sex scene -- woman is naked from the waist up, straddling and moaning.


A fistfight between two characters goes on for a ridiculous amount of time; some blood. Police move in on a homeless encampment and strike people with billy clubs. Characters do battle with machine guns. Police open fire on a meeting of those resisting the aliens; many are shot and killed. A man is thrown out of a second-story window, falls to the ground, but isn't as injured as one might think.


Frequent profanity: "f--k" and variations, "ass," "s--t," "bitch."

Social Behavior

Through satire, this movie questions consumer culture, materialism, and greed.


Consumerism is satirized; when a man puts on a special pair of sunglasses, he sees the real messages behind TV commercials, billboards, magazine ads: "Obey," "Marry and Reproduce," "Consume," "Stay Asleep," and so on. Colt 45 ads.

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Occasional beer and alcohol consumption, but no one acts drunk.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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