Blade Runner (1982)

R   |    |  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.

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8.2/10
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  • Harrison Ford in Blade Runner (1982)
  • Douglas Trumbull in Blade Runner (1982)
  • Harrison Ford and Ridley Scott in Blade Runner (1982)
  • Harrison Ford and Edward James Olmos in Blade Runner (1982)
  • Ridley Scott in Blade Runner (1982)
  • Harrison Ford in Blade Runner (1982)

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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

In 2000, Moviemail voted Blade Runner (1982) the 4th best film of all time. Also in 2000, BBC viewers voted it the 2nd best film ever made. In 2001, Empire magazine voted it the 16th best film of all time. In 2002, it was voted the 8th best film of all time in Channel 4's 100 Greatest Films poll. The same year, the Online Film Critics Society voted it the 2nd best science fiction film ever, whilst also in 2002, Wired magazine voted it the best science fiction movie of all time. Also in 2002, Sight & Sound voted it the 7th best film of the last 25 years. In 2004, in a poll amongst 60 prominent scientists, The Guardian also voted it the best science fiction film ever. In 2007, the American Film Institute (which is notoriously reticent to allow science fiction films into their top 100) listed it as the 97th greatest film of all time, and Empire magazine voted it the Best Science Fiction Film Ever Made in 2007. Also in 2007, it was named the 2nd most visually influential film of all time by the Visual Effects Society. In 2008, it was voted the 6th best science fiction film ever made as part of the AFI's 10 Top 10 lists. Also in 2008, New Scientist readers voted it the best science fiction film ever made. It is currently ranked the 3rd best film of all time by The Screen Directory and the best science fiction film of all time at Futurist Movies.


Quotes

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


Goofs

The positions of the chess pieces on Sebastian's board does not match the positions on Tyrell's board.


Crazy Credits

The opening credits sequence features a detailed, dictionary-style definition of the word Replicant.


Alternate Versions

All U.S video tape releases before January 1993 are the unrated version and contain the extra violence in the Euro-release that's not seen in the 117 minute American theatrical release:

  • When Roy attacks Tyrell we clearly see him pushing his thumbs into Tyrell's eyes, and blood spurting out
  • When Pris (Daryl Hannah) attacks Deckard, she reaches down and grabs him by the nostrils
  • When Deckard shoots Pris, he shoots 3 times instead of 2
  • When Roy pushes the nail through his hand, there is a shot of the nail coming through the skin on the other side.


Soundtracks

Search For Clues
(uncredited)
By
James Horner
[Workprint Cut only)

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Sci-Fi | Thriller

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