Film still from They Live

First Blood / They Live

Friday Dec 6, 2019 07:30 PM This is a past program

The UCLA Film & Television Archive presents classic film and contemporary cinema in the Hammer's Billy Wilder Theater.

Part of the film series Make My Day: Movie Culture in the Age of Reagan

First Blood

Still at the top of the box office charts in the fall of 1982 when the Vietnam Veterans Memorial officially opened, First Blood upended the returning vet genre. Pushed to the limit by a small town sheriff, Sylvester Stallone’s John Rambo fights back. Equal parts “super-grunt, Green Beret, hippie protester, VC guerilla, righteous outlaw [and] Hollywood Freedom Fighter,” Rambo was a violent mash-up of “patriotic and countercultural signifiers” that launched a decade-defining franchise. Print provided by UCLA Film & Television Archive. (1982, dir. Ted Kotcheff, 35mm, color, 94 min.)

They Live

Released the week before George H.W. Bush was elected to succeed Ronald Reaganhis boss of eight yearsThey Live posits that human society is secretly controlled by a race of yuppie aliens. Explicitly crafted by John Carpenter as a critique of Reaganism, the film stands as the last, great masterpiece of the kind of topical, metaphoric genre film that achieved a resurgent purpose during the Reagan era fading away. (1988, dir. John Carpenter, 35mm, color, 94 min.)

Still from First Blood (1982)
Still from First Blood (1982)