- Beam Me Up, Scotty!: The Chew Bubblegum line often gets switched up to "I'm here to kick ass and chew bubblegum". Funnily enough, Piper himself was guilty of this at WWE's 1994 King of the Ring PPV.
- Inspiration for the Work: The idea came from a short story called "Eight O'Clock in the Morning" by Ray Nelson, originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in November 1963, involving an alien invasion in the tradition of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which Nelson, along with artist Bill Wray, adapted into a story called "Nada", published in the Alien Encounters comics anthology in April 1986.
- Prop Recycling: The PKE Meter from Ghostbusters (1984) is used as an alien communication device.
- Release Date Change: Originally scheduled for an October 21, 1988 release date, the film was moved to November 4, not only in order to avoid competition with Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, but to capitalize on the November 8 presidential election, in tandem with the film's social commentary.
- Throw It In!:
- The famous "Chew Bubblegum" line was, in fact, an adlib by Roddy Piper. The stage directions amounted to "You walk into a bank. You have a shotgun. You're not here to rob it. Say something."
- There's also the very, very long fist fight between Nada and Frank. It was supposed to be cut down, but the creators enjoyed the fight so much, they decided to leave the whole thing in.
- The entire fist fight scene was always intended to be ad-libbed. Carpenter's shooting script simply said "FIGHT CONTINUES" for six pages, having the two actors do their thing.
- During said fight, they also really hit each other. The only thing faked were the face and nut shots.
- Apparently, one Universal executive didn't see the horror in aliens controlling the world's businesses, reportedly telling John Carpenter that "we sell out every day!" That line made its way into the finished film, where it was spoken by The Quisling.
- What Could Have Been: The role of John Nada was originally written for Kurt Russell. John Carpenter felt he should cast somebody else after casting Russell in three of his films prior to this one (Escape from New York, The Thing and Big Trouble in Little China). Also considered were Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn, Jeff Bridges, Bruce Campbell, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Keaton, Christopher Lambert, Stephen Lang, Dolph Lundgren, Michael Madsen, Bill Paxton, Ron Perlman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Bruce Willis.
- Word of God: For some reason (see the Clueless Aesop entry on the main page), racists like to use this movie as an allegory for the alleged international Jewish conspiracy to take over the world. This prompted an exasperated John Carpenter to come out on Twitter and give them all a telling-off.John Carpenter: THEY LIVE is about yuppies and unrestrained capitalism. It has nothing to do with Jewish control of the world, which is slander and a lie.
Trivia / They Live