Blade Runner (1982)

R   |    |  Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller


Blade Runner (1982) Poster

A blade runner must pursue and terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space, and have returned to Earth to find their creator.


8.1/10
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  • Harrison Ford in Blade Runner (1982)
  • Harrison Ford and Ridley Scott in Blade Runner (1982)
  • Sean Young in Blade Runner (1982)
  • Douglas Trumbull in Blade Runner (1982)
  • Harrison Ford in Blade Runner (1982)
  • Sean Young in Blade Runner (1982)

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Remembering Rutger Hauer (1944-2019)

We celebrate the life and legacy of Rutger Hauer, the award-winning actor best known for Blade Runner and The Hitcher.

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


5 March 2002 | joelhoff
10
| A compelling, thematically-deep SF film
This is truly one of the greatest science fiction films ever made, one that requires a thinking viewer in order to understand and appreciate it. The director's cut is the recommended one to see as it omits a somewhat distracting narration and avoids an unnecessary Hollywood-style ending that is at odds with the rest of the film's tone.

A true science fiction story or film is about ideas, not spaceship battles, futuristic gadgets, or weird creatures. "Blade Runner" fully qualifies as this in its examination of the impact of technology on human society, existence, and the very nature of humanity itself. These themes are set in a fairly basic detective story that moves slowly but gradually builds power as the viewer is immersed in a dystopian futuristic Los Angeles.

Harrison Ford fans accustomed to the normally dynamic roles that he plays may be dissatisfied with the seemingly lifeless lead character that he portrays here as the replicant-hunting detective known as a "blade runner". They should be, for this dissatisfaction is part of the film experience, part of the dehumanized existence in the story's setting. However, as the story unfolds, we see Ford's character, Rick Deckard, slowly come alive again and recover some humanity while pursing four escaped replicants.

The replicants, genetically-engineered human cyborgs, that Deckard must hunt down and kill are in many ways more alive than Deckard himself initially. Their escape from an off-world colony has an explicit self-directed purpose, whereas Deckard's life appears to have none other than his job, one that he has tried to give up. By some standards, Deckard and the replicants have thin character development. However, this is a deeply thematic and philosophical film, and as such the characters are the tools of the story's themes. Each character reflects some aspect of humanity or human existence, but they lack others, for each is broken in ways that reflect the broken society in which they live and were conceived/created.

There are several dramatic moments involving life-and-death struggles, but most of these are more subdued than in a normal detective story plot. The film's power is chiefly derived through its stunning visual imagery of a dark futuristic cityscape and its philosophical themes.

Among the themes explored are the following: - The dehumanization of people through a society shaped by technological and capitalistic excess. - The roles of creator and creation, their mutual enslavement, and their role reversal, i.e., the creation's triumph over its creator. - The nature of humanity itself: emotions, memory, purpose, desire, cruelty, technological mastery of environment and universe, mortality, death, and more. - Personal identity and self-awareness. - The meaning of existence.

If you are not someone who naturally enjoys contemplating such themes, the film's brilliance may be lost on you. The climax involves a soliloquy that brings many of the themes together in a simple yet wonderfully poetic way. Anyone who "gets" the film should be moved by this; others will sadly miss the point and may prefer watching some mindless action flick instead.

"Blade Runner" is a masterpiece that deserves recognition and long remembrance in film history.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

As well as using Edward Hopper's painting 'Nighthawks' for visual inspiration during the making of the film, director Ridley Scott also used the French comic strip 'Métal hurlant', especially the artwork of Jean Giraud (a.k.a. Moebius) in the story, 'The Long Tomorrow'. In fact, Moebius was asked if he would like to work on the film, but he turned down the opportunity to work instead on Time Masters (1982), a decision he always regretted.


Quotes

Female announcer over intercom: Next subject: Kowalski, Leon. Engineer, waste disposal. File section: New employee, six days.


Goofs

While snooping through Leon's hotel room, Deckard finds a scale in the bathtub. When he takes it to get examined, he is told it is a snake scale. Snakes don't shed individual scales, they shed their skin.


Crazy Credits

In the "happy ending" Theatrical/International cuts, the credits play over the gorgeous scenery. In later Director/Final cuts, they play over a normal black background.


Alternate Versions

A 113 minute 70mm workprint was shown at the some sneak previews in Dallas and Denver in 1982. The film scored extremely poorly from the test audiences, and it was this poor reaction which led to the happy ending and the voice-over narration. In 1989, sound preservationist Michael Arick came across a 70mm print of Blade Runner in the TODD-AO vaults. Thinking it was the International Cut, Arick purchased the print for Warners, who loaned it out to the Los Angeles Cineplex-Odeon Fairfax Theatre in 1990 for a festival of 70mm prints. It was at this screening that people realized they were watching the Dallas/Denver Workprint. The film was subsequently screened at UCLA's Los Angeles Perspectives Multimedia Festival in 1991. A 35mm reduction of this version was later shown at the NuArt Theatre and the Art Deco Castro Theater in San Francisco in 1991. It was the success of these four screenings that prompted Warner Bros. to look into the possibility of releasing a Director's Cut of the film. The workprint briefly resurfaced again, by accident, for a one-week engagement (1/15 - 1/21) at the Seattle, WA Landmark Egyptian Theater in 1999. However, this print was the one-of-a-kind 70mm blow-up, directly from the Warner Bros. vault. In 2007, the workprint was made available to the public for the first time on disc 5 of the 5-disc Ultimate Collector's Edition DVD/HD-DVD/Blu-ray Disc of the film (which also contains the US theatrical cut, the European cut, the Director's Cut and the Final Cut). The differences between the workprint and the other versions include:

  • The logo for the Ladd Company is on a white background, not a black background.
  • The title screen for the film is different, with the words 'BLADE RUNNER' sliding onto the screen accompanied by the sound of knives.
  • New American Dictionary (2016) definition of a replicant is used in lieu of the opening credit crawl.
  • The opening shots do not include the close-up and subsequent pull-away from the eye seen in all other cuts, it simply cuts closer and closer to the Tyrell building. Additionally, the shot moving into towards the window is absent, as are two interior wide shots of Holden standing at the window. Throughout the scene, air-traffic control headings can be heard.
  • After Leon shoots Holden and he crashes through the wall, hitting the table, the shot stays on Holden as fan blades brush his hair and his back smokes from the gunfire.
  • Deckard's meal at "The White Dragon" can be seen being laid on the bar in front of him, rather than merely being heard. Additionally, the shot of Deckard rubbing his chopsticks together is longer. Also, as Gaff speaks to Deckard, the shot remains on Deckard rather than cutting to Gaff, showing Deckard having some difficulty eating his noodles.
  • As Deckard and Gaff are flying to the police station, in all versions of the film, you can see Gaff speaking to Deckard, but in the Workprint you can actually hear what he says.
  • During the briefing, the shot of Bryant getting a bottle and pouring two drinks is absent. Also missing is Bryant's line "I need the old Blade Runner, I need your magic."
  • Bryant says "two" replicants were fried running through an electric field instead of one."
  • When looking at the incept tapes, Bryant comments on Leon's ability to work all day and night.
  • As Gaff and Deckard approach the Tyrell building, there is more air traffic control heard.
  • When Rachael asks Deckard if she can ask him a personal question, Deckard responds "Sure. What is it?" In all other versions of the film, he simply says "Sure."
  • When Deckard and Gaff inspect Leon's address and the attendant opens the room for them, he mutters "Kowalski".
  • After Chew tells Roy that J.F. Sebastian will take him to Tyrell, the shot where Roy leans forward and says, "Now, where will we find this J.F. Sebastian?" is missing.
  • After Rachael has left Deckard's apartment, and he walks out onto the balcony, there is the sound of a police siren, which is absent in all other cuts.
  • When Deckard plays the piano in a depressed stupor: a) there is no unicorn vision, b) there is no background music, and c) we hear one or two notes Harrison Ford actually played on the set.
  • A whirring sound comes from the Esper that is absent in all other versions.
  • After zooming in on the shot of Roy in the photo, Deckard can be heard to say "Hello Roy." Then, after printing the hardcopy, he says "Zhora or Pris?"
  • When Deckard gives the snake scale to the Cambodian lady, she says "It will take a moment."
  • Deckard's search for Abdul Hassan lasts longer: we see more of Animoid Row and the back streets of the sector. As Deckard moves away from the Cambodian lady, there is an eighteen second crane shot showing Deckard disappearing into the crowd.
  • The dialogue heard during the scene with Hassan matches perfectly with the lip movements.
  • As Deckard nears Taffy Lewis' club, there is a twelve second crane shot showing the geography of the street.
  • There is a shot of two dancers in hockey masks outside Taffy's bar.
  • There is a shot of Deckard asking for directions to Taffy Lewis' from a uniformed policeman.
  • The audio-only introduction of 'Miss Salome' is slightly different.
  • There is a close-up shot of Deckard examining a sequin from Zhora's costume.
  • After Zhora attacks Deckard and flees, we see Deckard loosen his tie from his throat.
  • "If I Didn't Care" by the Ink Spots, is in the background when Deckard purchases a bottle of Tsing Tao, instead of "One More Kiss, Dear."
  • After Rachael shoots Leon, the shot of him falling forward onto Deckard is absent, as is the shot of Rachael lowering the gun and stepping forward.
  • In Deckard's apartment, there is no "Love Theme"; the initial music track merely continues on longer. Also, Rachel plays a different selection on the piano when testing herself, and the shot of her undoing her hair and letting it floor to her shoulders is missing.
  • Roy says to Tyrell, "I want more life, father".
  • When Roy kills Tyrell, the footage is the same as in the International version, showing Roy's thumbs going into Tyrell's eyes and blood spurting out. Additionally, when Roy turns to Sebastian, he says "I'm sorry, Sebastian. Come. Come", as he walks towards him. As Sebastian turns to run, he can be heard whimpering.
  • Bryant's info to Deckard over the CB about Tyrell's and Sebastian's deaths are heard as we see Deckard driving through the tunnel. When Deckard is parked in his sedan on the street, he is merely preparing to call J.F.'s apartment before the police spinner interrogates him. Also, when the spinner arrives, we hear police sirens.
  • During the fight between, Pris and Deckard, we see Pris lift him up by the nostrils.
  • When Deckard shoots Pris, he shoots 3 times instead of 2.
  • There is the sound of a thunderclap as Roy examines Pris' body.
  • We actually see Roy break Deckard's fingers, in a split second close up, with a prop-hand. Also, the shot when Deckard pops his fingers back in is taken from a different angle, and Deckard's scream is much quieter than in all other versions of the film.
  • There are more shots of Roy running through the Bradbury.
  • When Roy pushes his head through the wall, there is an extra line; "You're not in pain are you? Are you in pain?"
  • There are more shots of Deckard as he climbs to the roof, and also more shots of him as he hangs on to the neighboring building.
  • The music during the chase is completely different from the music of Vangelis (according to Paul Sammon, the music used is from old soundtracks by James Horner and Jerry Goldsmith).
  • Different, farther-away shots of Roy as Deckard watches him die. Additionally, there is an alternate narration (the only narration in this version): "I watched him die all night. It was a long, slow thing and he fought it all the way. He never whimpered and he never quit. He took all the time he had as though he loved life very much. Every second of it...even the pain. Then, he was dead."
  • Deckard's movement through his apartment as he searches for Rachael is different, with a wide shot of him scanning the room. The overall scene is approximately 20 seconds shorter than in all other versions
  • The shot of Deckard telling Rachael to wait before leaving the apartment is missing.
  • There is no happy ending, the film ends when the elevator doors slam.
  • There are no end credits, merely exit music for about a minute: the same cue heard as when Gaff takes Deckard to see Bryant at the start of the movie.


Soundtracks

Harps of the Ancient Temples
Composed by
Gail Laughton
Performed by Gail Laughton
Courtesy of Laurel Records

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller

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