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First Blood  /  They Live

They Live
December 6, 2019 - 7:30 pm
In-person: 
author J. Hoberman.


First Blood  (1982)

Still at the top of the box office charts in the fall of 1982 when Vietnam Veterans Memorial officially opened, First Blood upended the returning vet genre. Pushed to the limit by a small town sheriff, Stallone’s John Rambo fights back, equal parts “super-grunt, Green Beret, hippie protester, VC guerilla, righteous outlaw [and] Hollywood Freedom Fighter” in a violent mash up of “patriotic and countercultural signifiers” that launched a decade-defining franchise.

Print provided by UCLA Film & Television Archive. 35mm, color, 94 min. Director: Ted Kotcheff. Screenwriter: Michael Kozoll, William B. Sackheim, Sylvester Stallone. Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Brian Dennehy.

They Live  (1988)

Released the week before George H.W. Bush was elected to succeed his boss of eight years, They Live posits that human society is secretly controlled by a race of yuppie aliens. Explicitly crafted by John Carpenter as a critique of Reaganism, it stands as the last, great masterpiece of the kind of “topical, metaphoric genre film” that achieved a resurgent purpose during the Reagan era then faded away.

Print provided by UCLA Film & Television Archive. 35mm, color, 94 min. Director: John Carpenter. Screenwriter: Frank Armitage. Cast: Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster.