Rowdy Roddy Piper Is Responsible For They Live’s Most Famous Line

It’s a silly line, really. The sort of line that’s clever for how not clever it is. Its cheesiness reflects Piper’s pro wrestling background. But so does the coolness and the conviction with which he delivers it, turning a stupid joke into a badass declaration. Piper himself was amazed with the line when he ad-libbed it, according to an interview. “Yeah, I couldn’t tell you what it really means, either. It was one of those — ‘Roddy, you’ve got bullets on you, you’ve got a shotgun, you’ve got sunglasses, you go into a bank, you’re not gonna rob it, say something … action!’ ‘I’m all out of bubblegum.’ ‘Lunch!’ That was it. No more than that. I know, it’s crazy.”

Professional wrestling is an oft-looked down upon art form by many, but it’s in his “They Live” performance that Roddy Piper showcases all of its strengths. A wrestler’s main job is to get a reaction from a crowd of ordinary people, and Piper utilizes his unique ability to do so in the film. “They Live” is, at its core, a story about the working man coming together against the ruling class, and that theme is as common in professional wrestling as it is anywhere else. Piper wasn’t just a two-bit wrestler-turned-actor; he was an intensely talented performer.

A potential sequel to “They Live” was teased as recently as 2018, and although John Carpenter doesn’t love reflecting on his films, Roddy Piper remained the film’s greatest advocate for the rest of his life, helping to cement the movie as an all-time cult classic.

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