The screenplay, which was written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, is loosely based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. The film itself features: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah, William Sanderson, Brion James, Joe Turkel and Joanna Cassidy; lead designer: Syd Mead, soundtrack composer Vangelis.
The film describes a future in which genetically manufactured beings called replicants are used for dangerous and degrading work in Earth's "off-world colonies." Built by the Tyrell Corporation to be 'more human than human', the Nexus-6 generation appear to be physically identical to humans — although they have superior strength and agility — while lacking comparable emotional responses and empathy. Replicants became illegal on Earth after a bloody mutiny. Specialist police units — blade runners — hunt down and "retire" (i.e., kill) escaped replicants on Earth. With a particularly brutal and cunning group of replicants on the loose in Los Angeles, a reluctant Rick Deckard is recalled from semi-retirement for some of "the old blade runner magic."
Blade Runner initially received polarized reviews from film critics, some who were confused and disappointed it didn't have the pacing expected from an action film, while others appreciated its thematic complexity. The film performed poorly in North American theaters while achieving success overseas. Despite poor early ticket sales, it was adored by fans and academia and quickly attained cult classic status. It gained such great popularity as a video rental, partly due to the film's ability to reward repeated viewing, that it was chosen to be one of the first DVDs to be released. Blade Runner has been widely hailed as a modern classic for its immersive special effects and prefiguring important themes and concerns of the 21st century. It has been praised as being one of the most influential films of all time because of its detailed and original setting, serving as a postmodern visual benchmark with its realistic depiction of a decayed future. Blade Runner brought author Philip K. Dick to the attention of Hollywood, and numerous films have since been based on his literature.
Bryant, who informs him that the recent escape of Nexus-6 replicants is the worst yet. Bryant briefs Deckard on the replicants: A total of six replicants have escaped on Earth. Roy Batty is a commando, Leon a manual laborer, Zhora an assassin, and Pris a 'basic pleasure model.' Bryant also explains that the Nexus-6 model has a four-year lifespan as a failsafe against their developing unstable emotions. Deckard is teamed up with Gaff and sent to the Tyrell Corporation to ensure that the Voight-Kampff test works on Nexus-6 models. While there Deckard discovers that Tyrell's young secretary Rachael is an experimental replicant with implanted memories which provide a cushion for her emotions.
Early in the 21st Century, THE TYRELL CORPORATION advanced Robot evolution into the NEXUS phase – a being virtually identical to a human – known as a Replicant.
The NEXUS 6 Replicants were superior in strength and agility, and at least equal in intelligence, to the genetic engineers who created them.
Replicants were used Off-world as slave labor, in the hazardous exploration and colonization of other planets.
After a bloody mutiny by a NEXUS 6 combat team in an Off-world colony, Replicants were declared illegal on earth – under penalty of death.
Special police squads – BLADE RUNNER UNITS – had orders to shoot to kill, upon detection, any trespassing Replicant.
This was not called execution. It was called retirement.
Deckard and Gaff then search Leon's apartment, where they find several clues including a stack of old photos and scales belonging to an unknown animal. Meanwhile, Roy and Leon force Hannibal Chew, an eye designer, to direct them to J.F. Sebastian who can lead them to Tyrell. Later, Rachael visits Deckard at his apartment to prove her humanity to him, but leaves in tears upon hearing that her memories are artificial. Pris meets up with Sebastian and takes advantage of his kind nature to gain access to his apartment.
Clues from Leon's apartment lead Deckard to Taffey Lewis' bar where he unsuccessfully questions Lewis. Deckard calls Rachael to ask her to join him, but she hangs up on him. When Deckard recognizes Zhora on stage, he pretends to be a representative from a dancer's union to gain access to Zhora in her dressing room. Zhora plays along until she suddenly attacks Deckard and escapes. Zhora makes a desperate attempt to get away from Deckard into the crowded streets, yet Deckard tracks her down and "retires" her. After the shooting, Gaff and Bryant show up and inform Deckard that Rachael will also need to be "retired". Deckard spots Rachael in the distance, though as he follows her he is suddenly disarmed by Leon who then proceeds to beat him. Rachael shoots Leon with Deckard's gun, saving Deckard's life. They go back to Deckard's apartment where Deckard tells her he won't hunt her down. They share an intimate moment, though it turns from tender to violent when Rachael rebukes Deckard's advances, and he then forces her to kiss him.
Meanwhile, Roy arrives at Sebastian's apartment and with Pris' charms they convince Sebastian to help Roy meet Tyrell. Once in Tyrell's bedroom Roy demands an extension to his lifespan and requests absolution for his sins; upon receiving neither he kills Tyrell and Sebastian.Deckard is sent to Sebastian's apartment after the murders and is ambushed by Pris, though he manages to shoot her after a struggle. Roy returns moments later, trapping Deckard in the apartment and playfully hunting him throughout the dilapidated Bradbury Apartments, eventually forcing him to the roof. Deckard attempts a jump to another building and ends up desperately hanging from a beam. Roy easily makes the jump and stares down at Deckard — just as Deckard loses his grip Roy grabs his wrist and saves his life. Roy is deteriorating quickly (his 4-year lifespan is up) as he sits down in the rain and eloquently marvels at the highlights of his life and concludes, "All those moments... will be lost... in time... like... tears in rain. Time... to die." Roy quietly dies as Deckard looks on in silence. Gaff arrives in a spinner shortly afterward and, as he's leaving, cryptically shouts, "It's too bad she won't live, but then again, who does?"
Deckard returns to his apartment and cautiously enters when he sees the door is ajar. He finds Rachael alive and as they leave Deckard comes across an origami calling card left by Gaff; he has allowed them to escape, and they depart toward an uncertain future together.
- Harrison Ford as Deckard
- Rutger Hauer as Batty
- Sean Young as Rachael
- Edward James Olmos as Gaff
- M. Emmet Walsh as Bryant
- Daryl Hannah as Pris
- William Sanderson as Sebastian
- Brion James as Leon
- Joe Turkel as Tyrell
- Joanna Cassidy as Zhora
- James Hong as Chew
- Morgan Paull as Holden
- Kevin Thompson as Bear
- John Edward Allen as Kaiser
- Hy Pike as Taffey Lewis
- Kimiro Hiroshige as Cambodian Lady
- Robert Okazaki as Sushi Master
- Carolyn DeMirjian as Saleslady
- Ben Astar as Abdul Ben Hassan
- Judith Burnett as Ming-Fa
- Leo Gorcey, Jr. as Louie–Bartender #2
- Charles Knapp as Bartender #1
- Thomas Hutchinson as Bartender #3
- Kelly Hine as Show Girl
- Sharon Hesky as Barfly #1
- Rose Mascari as Barfly #2
- Alexis (Susan) Rhee as Geisha #1 (Billboard)
- Hiroko Kimuri as Geisha #2
- Kai Wong as Chinese Man #1
- Kit Wong as Chinese Man #2
- Hiro Okazaki as Policeman #1
- Steve Pope as Policeman #2
- Robert Reiter as Policeman #3
Philip K. Dick died before its release, but saw a forty-minute special effects test reel, about which he was very complimentary. The screenplay, by Hampton Fancher, attracted producer Michael Deeley (who secured several financing sources, later problematic when one delayed the release of the film's Special Edition) who convinced director Ridley Scott to create his first American film; Scott was unhappy with the script and had David Peoples rewrite it.
The title derives from Alan E. Nourse's novel The Bladerunner (1974), whose protagonist smuggles black-market surgical instruments. William S. Burroughs' wrote Bladerunner, A Movie a cinema treatment. Aside from the title, neither Nourse's novel nor Burroughs's treatment are relevant to the film. Screenwriter Fancher happened upon a copy of Bladerunner, A Movie whilst Scott searched for a commercial title for his film; Scott liked the title, obtained rights to it, but not to the novel; (Note: some editions of Burroughs' treatment-novel use the two-word spacing: Blade Runner.)
Blade Runner owes much to Fritz Lang's 1927 film Metropolis. Scott credits Edward Hopper's painting Nighthawks and the proto-cyberpunk short story comic "The Long Tomorrow" (by Dan O'Bannon, art by Moebius) as stylistic mood sources. Scott hired Syd Mead as conceptual artist, both were influenced by the French science fiction comic magazine Métal Hurlant (Heavy Metal), to which Moebius contributed. Moebius was offered pre-production of Blade Runner, he declined, to work on René Laloux's animated film [es Maîtres du temps — a decision Moebius later regretted. Lawrence G. Paull (production designer) and David Snyder (art director) realised Scott's and Mead's sketches. Jim Burns briefly worked designing the Spinner hovercars; Douglas Trumbull and Richard Yuricich supervised the special effects for the film.
Prior to principal photography, Paul M. Sammon was commissioned by Cinefantastique magazine to do a special article on the making of Blade Runner. His detailed observations and research later became the book Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner, which is also called the Blade Runner Bible by the cult following of the film. The book outlines not only the evolution of Blade Runner but the politics and difficulties on-set; particularly on Scott's expectations (coming from Britain) of his first American crew. Also, his directing style with actors created friction with the cast and likely contributed to Ford's subsequent reluctance to discuss the film.
- Main article: Themes in Blade Runner
Despite the initial appearance of an action film, Blade Runner operates on an unusually rich number of dramatic levels. As with much of the cyberpunk genre, it owes a large debt to film noir, containing and exploring such conventions as the femme fatale, a Chandleresque first-person narration (removed in later versions), and the questionable moral outlook of the Hero — extended here to include even the humanity of the hero, as well as the usual dark and shadowy cinematography. It is one of the most literate science fiction films, both thematically — enfolding the philosophy of religion and moral implications of the increasing human mastery of genetic engineering, within the context of classical Greek drama and its notions of hubris — and linguistically, drawing on the poetry of William Blake and the Bible. Blade Runner also features a chess game based on the famous Immortal Game of 1851. (The king and queen are interposed on Tyrell's side, a position which a grandmaster would never attempt.)
The world of Blade Runner depicts a future whose fictional distance from present reality has grown sharply smaller as 2019 approaches. The film delves into the future implications of technology on the environment and society by reaching into the past using literature, religious symbolism, classical dramatic themes and film noir. This tension between past, present and future is apparent in the retrofitted future of Blade Runner, which is high-tech and gleaming in places but elsewhere decayed and old.
A high level of paranoia is present throughout the film with the visual manifestation of corporate power, omnipresent police, probing lights; and in the power over the individual represented particularly by genetic programming of the replicants. Control over the environment is seen on a large scale but also with how animals are created as mere commodities. This oppressive backdrop clarifies why many people are going to the off-world colonies, which clearly parallels the migration to the Americas. The popular 1980s prediction of America being economically surpassed by Japan is reflected in the domination of Japanese culture and advertising in LA 2019. The film also makes extensive use of eyes and manipulated images to call into question reality and our ability to perceive it.This provides an atmosphere of uncertainty for Blade Runner's central theme of examining humanity. In order to discover replicants an empathy test is used with a number of questions focused on the treatment of animals; making it the essential indicator of someone's "humanity". The replicants are juxtaposed with human characters who are unempathetic, and while the replicants show passion and concern for one another the mass of humanity on the streets is cold and impersonal. The film goes so far as to put in doubt the nature of Deckard and forces the audience to reevaluate what it means to be human.
Blade Runner has both won, and been nominated for, many awards. It was nominated for the following awards:
- BAFTA (1983)
- Best Film Editing – Terry Rawlings
- Best Make Up Artist – Marvin G. Westmore
- Best Score – Vangelis
- Best Sound – Peter Pennell, Bud Alper, Graham V. Hartstone, Gerry Humphreys
- Best Special Visual Effects – Douglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich, David Dryer
- British Society of Cinematographers: Best Cinematography Award (1982) – Jordan Cronenweth
- International Fantasy Film Award (1983) - Best Film – Ridley Scott
- International Fantasy Film Award (1993) - Best Film – Ridley Scott (Director's cut)
- Golden Globe: Best Original Score (1983) - Motion Picture – Vangelis
- Oscar (1983)
- Best Art Direction-Set Decoration – Lawrence G. Paull, David L. Snyder, Linda DeScenna
- Best Effects, Visual Effects – Douglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich, David Dryer
- Saturn Award (1983)
For more, see Awards Won.
The film is often thought to have inspired William Gibson's Neuromancer.Template:Ref Gibson has said in interviews that he was already writing Neuromancer when Blade Runner was released, and was actually inspired by the implied background of the film Alien. The film arguably marks the introduction of the cyberpunk genre into popular culture. Blade Runner continues to reflect modern trends and concerns, and an increasing number consider it one of the greatest science fiction films of all time.Template:RefTemplate:Ref The film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 1993 and is frequently used in university courses. Its memorable quotations and soundtrack have made it the most musically sampled film of the 20th century.
- "Ridley Scott's film remains the defining vision of futuristic science fiction." – Steve Biodrowski
Blade Runner also served to influence the cyberpunk role-playing game, Shadowrun, the seminal computer game System Shock and the Syndicate games.
Iron Maidens' album "Somewhere in Time" features artwork influenced by the city scenes in the movie.
The song "More Human Than Human" by White Zombie, found on their 1995 album "Astro Creep:2000" is a direct reference to the film, which was a favorite of Rob Zombie's at the time. The song's title as the tagline of the Tyrell Corporation is obvious. Near the end of the song, the lyrics "I am the nexus one, I want more life, fucker, I ain't done" are inspired by Roy Batty's conversation with Eldon Tyrell.
The Fear Factory album Demanufacture features a song entitled "Replica" which was influenced by the movie.
- For more information, such as differences between the versions, see Versions of Blade Runner.
Seven versions of the film exist:
- The original 1982 international cut, which included more graphic violence than the U.S. theatrical release, and which was released on VHS and on Criterion Collection Laserdisc.
- The U.S. theatrical version, also called the domestic cut.
- The San Diego sneak preview version, which is nearly identical to the domestic cut, but containing two additional scenes.
- The U.S. broadcast version, edited for network television.
- A workprint version, shown only as an audience test preview and occasionally at film festivals; This version was distributed in 1991, as a Director's Cut without Scott's approval (and was later included on the 2012 30th Anniversary Blu-ray set).
- The Ridley Scott-approved 1992 Director's Cut, prompted by the unauthorized 1991 release.
- A fifth version, Blade Runner: The Final Cut, was shown in theaters in Los Angeles and New York in October, 2007. A 3-DVD set and a 5-disc Blu-ray set followed in 2007. It was then re-released on Blu-ray for the film's 30th anniversary in 2012.
Of the seven, five are widely available: the domestic cut, international cut, workprint, Director's Cut, and Final Cut.
- Main article: Blade Runner (soundtrack)
Vangelis, fresh off of his wikipedia:Academy Award winning score from Chariots of Fire, composed and performed the music on his synthesizers. The musicscape of the 2019 was created in Vangelis' "space" mode of new age music, as heard on such albums of his as Heaven and Hell. He also made use of various chimes and the vocals of collaborator Demis Roussos. Ridley Scott also used "Memories of Green" from Vangelis' album See You Later (an orchestral version of which Scott would later use in his film Someone To Watch Over Me).
- "Both emotional and unsettling, the Blade Runner score plays off conflict (discord versus harmony, light against dark) for a rich, textured tapestry of sound." – musicoutfitter.com
Despite the promise of a soundtrack album from Polydor Records in the end titles of the film, the release of the original soundtrack recording was delayed for over a decade. There are two official releases of the music from Blade Runner. In light of the lack of a release of an album, The New American Orchestra recorded an orchestral adaptation in 1982 which bore little resemblance to the original. Some of the film tracks would in 1989 surface on the compilation Themes, but it wasn't until the 1992 release of the Director's Cut version would a substantial amount of the film's score see the light of day. However, while most of the tracks on the album are from the film, there were a few that Vangelis composed but were ultimately not used and some new pieces. Many do not consider this to be a satisfying representation of the score.
These delays and poor reproductions led to the production of many bootleg recordings over the years. A bootleg tape surfaced in 1982 at science fiction conventions and became popular given the delay of an official release of the original recordings, and in 1993 "Off World Music, Ltd." created a bootleg CD that would prove more comprehensive than Vangelis' official CD in 1994. A disc from "Gongo Records" features most of the same material, but with slightly better sound quality. In 2003, two other bootlegs surfaced, the "Esper Edition," closely preceded by "Los Angeles - November 2019." The double disc "Esper Edition" combined tracks from the official release, the Gongo boot and the film itself. Finally "2019" provided a single disc compilation almost wholly consisting of ambient sound from the film, padded out with some sounds from the Westwood game "Blade Runner." The Gongo release is considered the best presentation of the music, while Los Angeles - November 2019 and the Esper Edition are excellent mementos of the film.
- "Dreamy, evocative, beautiful and essential." – moviegrooves.com
Template:See also The original screenplay by Hampton Fancher was based loosely on Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which he optioned in 1980 after an unsuccessful previous attempt. However, Fancher's script focused more on environmental issues and less on issues of humanity and faith, which weighed heavily in the novel. When Ridley Scott became involved with the film, he wanted changes to the script made, and eventually hired David Peoples to perform the re-writes after Fancher refused. The film's title also changed several times during the writing process, it was to be called Dangerous Days in Fancher's last draft before eventually taking the name Blade Runner, actually borrowed (with permission) from a William S. Burroughs science fiction novel titled Blade Runner: A Movie.
As a result of Fancher's divergence from the novel, numerous re-writes before and throughout shooting the film and Ridley Scott never having entirely read the novel it was based on, the film diverged significantly from its original inspiration. The changes have led many critics and fans to consider them as independent works of fiction; despite the fact Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was reprinted for a time with the title Blade Runner to help promote sales. Some of the themes in the novel that were minimized or entirely removed include fertility/sterility of the population, religion, mass media, Deckard's uncertainty that he is human, real versus synthetic pets, and emotions.
Three official and authorized Blade Runner novels have been written by Philip K. Dick's friend K. W. Jeter that continue the story of Rick Deckard and attempt to resolve many of the differences between Blade Runner and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. The novel Blade Runner 2 contains numerous inconsistencies with the film, however, including the resurrection of a dead character and a complete reworking of the nature of another. The final result is more of an alternate universe than a direct sequel.
- Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human (1995)
- Blade Runner 3: Replicant Night (1996)
- Blade Runner 4: Eye and Talon (2000)
David Peoples, who co-wrote Blade Runner and wrote the 1998 film Soldier, has said that Soldier is intended to be a "sidequel" to Blade Runner. Soldier takes place in the same universe, and the spinners used in Blade Runner are also used in Soldier. However, Soldier is an unofficial sidequel, as it was never formally approved by the Blade Runner partnership, who own the rights to the elements of Blade Runner that appear in Soldier, and to that overall universe.
Though not an official sequel to Blade Runner, many fans have noted the similarity of the 1999 TV series Total Recall 2070 to the Blade Runner universe. Many consider the series a sequel to, or at least set in, the same universe as Blade Runner. Some truth actually lies in this assumption. Total Recall 2070 was based on two works by Phillip K. Dick: the short story, We Can Remember It for You Wholesale (on which the film Total Recall is based), and the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, on which Blade Runner is based.
The cult computer game Snatcher was heavily influenced by Blade Runner, so much so that websites exist detailing the numerous similarities between the two.
Archie Goodwin scripted the comic book interpretation, A Marvel Comics Super Special: Blade Runner, published September, 1982. The Jim Steranko cover leads into a 45-page adaptation illustrated by the team of Al Williamson, Carlos Garzon, Dan Green and Ralph Reese. (This adaptation includes one possible explanation of the title's significance in story context: the narrative line, "Blade runner. You're always movin' on the edge.") Also there was a parody comic of Blade Runner called "Blade Bummer" by Crazy comics.
- Dustin Hoffman was the original choice for the lead, although he was asked why they asked him to play a "macho role". Hoffman was interested in the project, but wanted to change Deckard's character, so the producers decided to make Harrison Ford.
- Deborah Harry was the first choice for Pris.
- Daryl Hannah could not perform her own stunt movements in the scene where Pris attacked Deckard, so she was rented a gymnast. But she practiced with Scott's scene for so long that she was exhausted to do anything when it was time to shoot, so she was hired by a male gymnast
- When Gaff talks to Deckard in a Japanese restaurant he speaks a part of the Hungarian language. Speak: "Azonnal kövessen engem!" ("Follow Me Now!") and "Lófasz", which means something very rudely (literally "horses di..."). Later, he said, "Nehogy mar, te vagy a Blade Runner!", which translates to "Impossible, you're the Blade Runner!". Then he starts speaking in another language. Allegedly to the viewers in Hungary that an hilarious sequence.
- In a sequence in which Deckard and Gaff are approaching a police station, Millenium Falcon's model from the "Star Wars" series is masked as a building and can be seen on the left side of the screen. And the model of a spacecraft from the movie "Dark Star" can be found masked as a building.
- Rachael, Holden and Pris smokes "Boyrd" cigarettes, originating in France.
- At one time every replicator has a red spark in his eyes (Rachael in Deckard's Apartment, Pris in Sebastian). And Deckard has the same light when he talks to Rachael in his apartment.
- Rutger Hauer partially improvized his final speech.
- In the original scenario, six replicants were mentioned. The sixth was called "Mary", but it was kicked out of budget constraints and time schedules. This resulted in illogicalities because Bryant's character reminded Deckard that six replicants had escaped, but one was killed by an "electrical fence", which would mean that there were five of them. But in the movie, only four of them are shown. So some have developed the theory that Deckard is the fifth replicant.
- Filming was allegedly so tiring that the members of the team were hijacked by Ridley Scott. Even the shooting of Harrison Ford remained in bad memory. They even gave the movie a mocking name "Blood Runner".
- This was the first film to be released in the "director's version" by the original director's vision.
- In 2000 Ridley Scott stated that Deckard was a replicant. Ford then angered and said "We agreed that he definitely was not replicant".
- 2004. "The Guardian" has conducted a study with 60 scientists nominated by Blade Runner as the best SF film.
- Template:Note Bukatman, Scott. (1997) Blade Runner: BFI Modern Classics. ISBN 0851706231
- Template:Note Sammon, Paul. (1996) Future Noir: the Making of Blade Runner. ISBN 0061053147
- Template:Note Giraud, Jean. (1988) The Long Tomorrow & Other SF Stories. ISBN 0871352818
- Template:Note Jenkins, Mary. (1997) The Dystopian World of Blade Runner: An Ecofeminist Perspective
- Template:Note Kerman, Judith. (1991) Retrofitting Blade Runner: Issues in Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" and Philip K. Dick's "Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep?" ISBN 0879725109
- Template:Note Sammon, Paul. (1996)
- Template:Note Sammon, Paul. (1996)
- Template:Note Hicks, Chris. (1992) DeseretNews.com – Review of Blade Runner
- Template:Note Flynn, John. (2003) Towson.edu – Blade Runner Retrospective
- Template:Note Ebert, Roger. (1992) RogerEbert.com – Review of Blade Runner
- Template:Note Rutledge, Sean M. (2000) CandidCritic.com – Review of Blade Runner
- Template:Note Brinkley, Aaron. Gunn, R. (2002) The Blade Runner / Star Wars References
- Template:Note Mariman, Lukas. (2000) BR FAQ: Influence
- Template:Note Jha, Alok. Rogers, S. Rutherford, A. (2004) Guardian.co.uk – Our expert panel votes for the top 10 sci-fi films
- Template:Note Netrunner. (2005) BRmovie.com – Top 100s and Reviews
- Template:Note Cigéhn, Peter. (2004) Sloth.org – The Top 1118 Sample Sources
- Template:Note Sammon, Paul. (1996) Page 298
- Template:Note IMDB. (2005) Trivia for Blade Runner
- Template:Note KoKee. (2001) Blade Runner & Snatcher
- Template:Note Kupperberg, Paul & Camp, Bob. (1982) BladeZone.com – Crazy: Blade Runner Parody
- Template:Note Curse at the Blade Runner FAQ.