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The 50 Best Sci-Fi Movies

21. They Live! (1988)

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster, George "Buck" Flower

After watching John Carpenter's criminally underrated They Live!, one question should come to mind: Why in the hell didn't Rowdy Roddy Piper become a huge movie star? And, yes, we're talking about the professional wrestler known for rocking kilts. Carpenter, at the top of his game, took a risk in casting the WWF superstar, and the gamble paid off tenfold. As an average Joe/construction worker who realizes that aliens have invaded Earth and wear human WASP costumes, Piper nails every one of the character's snarky, if not enjoyably cheesy, one-liners, and carries the entire film on his broad, believable action hero shoulders.

As an otherworldly exploration of upper-class snobbery and materialism, They Live! hits enough intelligent notes to transcend mere camp appeal; as a goofy showcase for Piper's unexpectedly awesome leading man charisma, it's the proverbial shit. How can you not love a sci-fi movie that shamelessly includes a random eight-minute fight scene involving zero aliens? Or a flick that offers such amazing quotables as, "I came to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I'm all out of bubblegum." Or, even better, one that allows a WWF heavyweight to diss an old lady with the line, "You look like your head fell in cheese dip back in 1957." Simply brilliant.

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