- Written and directed by John Carpenter and inspired by Ray Nelson's story "Eight O'clock in the Morning."
- I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass, and I'm all out of bubblegum.
- Mama don't like tattletales!
- I don't like this one bit. Not one bit!
- Brother, life's a bitch, and she's back in heat.
- You know, you look like your head fell in the cheese dip back in 1957.
- The steel mills were laying people off left and right. They finally went under. We gave the steel companies a break when they needed it. You know what they gave themselves? Raises.
- The whole deal's like some crazy game. They put you at a starting line, and the name of the game is "Make It Through Life," only everyone's looking out for themselves and looking to do you in at the same time.
Bearded Man on TV
- Look around at the environment we live in. Carbon dioxide, fluorocarbons, and methane have increased since 1958. Earth is being acclimatized. They are turning our atmosphere into their atmosphere.
- They are dismantling the sleeping middle class. More and more people are becoming poor. We are their cattle. We are being bred for slavery. We could be pets, we could be food, but all we really are is livestock.
- The poor and the underclass are growing. Racial justice and human rights are nonexistent. They have created a repressive society and we are their unwitting accomplices. Their intention to rule rests with the annihilation of consciousness. We have been lulled into a trance. They have made us indifferent to ourselves, to others. We are focused only on our own gain.
- Graffiti: They live, we sleep
- Subliminal Messages on Billboards and Magazines: "OBEY“, "MARRY AND REPRODUCE“, "NO INDEPENDENT THOUGHT", "CONSUME“, "CONFORM", "SUBMIT", "STAY ASLEEP", "BUY", "WATCH TV", "NO IMAGINATION", "DO NOT QUESTION AUTHORITY"
- Subliminal Message on US Currency: "THIS IS YOUR GOD"
- Gilbert: The world needs a wake-up call. We're going to phone it in.
- Drifter: You still don't get it, do you, boys? There ain't no countries anymore, no more good guys. They're running the whole show! They own everything, the whole god-damn planet. They can do whatever they want!
- Announcer: Attention: Your wristwatch has malfunctioned. This entryway is temporary and will disappear in 10 seconds.
- Frank: I got a job now and I plan on keeping it. I'm walking a white line all the time. I don't bother nobody. Nobody bothers me. You better start doing the same!
- Nada: White line's in the middle of the road. That's the worst place to drive.
- Frank: So how you gonna make it?
- Nada: I deliver a hard day's work for my money. I just want the chance. It'll come. I believe in America. I follow the rules. Everybody's got their own hard times these days.
- Frank: [about the glasses] We can't be the only ones who can see. We've got to find the people who made these.
- Nada: Yeah, if any of them are still alive.
- Nada: I'm giving you a choice: either put on these glasses, or start eating that trash can.
- Frank: Not this year.
- Nada: OK. All right. (Fight ensues)
- Frank: How long have they been there?
- Nada: Who knows.
- Frank: What are they? Where do they come from?
- Nada: Well, they ain't from Cleveland.
- Frank: What do these things want?
- Gilbert: They're free-enterprisers. The earth is just another developing planet. Their third world.
- Drifter: What is wrong with having it good for a change? Now they're gonna let us have it good if we just help 'em. They're gonna leave us alone, let us make some money. You can have a little taste of that good life too. Now, I know you want it. Hell, everybody does.
- Frank: You'd do it to your own kind.
- Drifter: What's the threat? We all sell out every day. Might as well be on the winning team.
- Frank: Maybe they've always been with us, those things out there. Maybe they love it — seeing us hate each other, watching us kill each other off, feeding on our own cold fucking hearts.
- Nada: Well, I've got news for them. Going to be hell to pay, 'cause I ain't daddy's little boy no more.
- You see them on the street. You watch them on TV. You might even vote for one this fall. You think they're people just like you. You're wrong. Dead wrong.
- Who are they? And what do they want?
About They Live
- They Live is definitely one of the forgotten masterpieces of the Hollywood Left. ... The sunglasses function like a critique of ideology. They allow you to see the real message beneath all the propaganda, glitz, posters and so on. ... When you put the sunglasses on you see the dictatorship in democracy, the invisible order which sustains your apparent freedom.
- Roddy Piper - George Nada
- Keith David - Frank Armitage
- Meg Foster - Holly Thompson
- George Buck Flower - The Drifter
- Peter Jason - Gilbert
- Raymond St. Jacques - Street Preacher
- Jason Robards III - Family Man
- John Lawrence - Bearded Man
- Susan Barnes - Brown Haired Woman
- Sy Richardson - Black Revolutionary
- Wendy Brainard - Family Man's Daughter
- Lucille Meredith - Female Interviewer
- Susan Blanchard - Ingenue
- Norman Alden - Foreman
- Dana Bratton - Black Junkie