They Live is a 1988 American science fiction action film written and directed by John Carpenter, based on the 1963 short story "Eight O'Clock in the Morning" by Ray Nelson. Starring Roddy Piper, Keith David, and Meg Foster, the film follows an unnamed drifter who discovers through special sunglasses that the ruling class are aliens concealing their appearance and manipulating people to consume, breed, and conform to the status quo via subliminal messages in mass media.


A homeless drifter—credited as "Nada"—comes to Los Angeles in search of a job. While out on the street, he sees a street preacher warning that "they" have recruited the rich and powerful to control humanity. Nada finds employment at a construction site and is befriended by coworker Frank, who invites him to live in a shanty town soup kitchen led by a man named Gilbert.