Blade Runner
Directed by Ridley Scott
Produced by Michael Deeley
Screenplay by Hampton Fancher, David Peoples
Based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos
Music by Vangelis
Cinematography Jordan Cronenweth
Editing by Terry Rawlings, Marsha Nakashima, Les Healey (director's cut)
Studio The Ladd Company, Tandem Productions, Sir Run Run Shaw
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s) June 25, 1982 (1982-06-25)
Running time 116 minutes (original theatrical cut) (See below for other versions)
Country United States
Language English
Budget $28 million
Gross revenue $32,768,670

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Blade Runner

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Original theatrical release poster by John Alvin

Blade Runner is a 1982 American science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, and Sean Young. The screenplay, written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, is based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.The film depicts a dystopian Los Angeles in November 2019 in which genetically engineered organic robots called replicants—visually indistinguishable from adult humans—are manufactured by the powerful Tyrell Corporation as well as other mega manufacturers around the world. Their use on Earth is banned, and replicants are exclusively used for dangerous, menial or leisure work on Earth's off-world colonies. Replicants who defy the ban and return to Earth are hunted down and "retired" by police special operatives known as "Blade Runners". The plot focuses on a brutal and cunning group of recently escaped replicants hiding in Los Angeles and the burnt out expert blade runner, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who reluctantly agrees to take on one more assignment to hunt them down.Blade Runner initially polarized critics: some were displeased with the pacing, while others enjoyed its thematic complexity. The film performed poorly in North American theaters. Despite the box office failure of the film, it has since become a cult classic, and is now widely regarded as one of the best movies ever made. Blade Runner has been hailed for its production design, depicting a "retrofitted" future, and it remains a leading example of the neo-noir genre.Blade Runner brought the work of author Philip K. Dick to the attention of Hollywood, and several more films have since been based on his work. Ridley Scott regards Blade Runner as "probably" his most complete and personal film. In 1993, Blade Runner was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".Seven versions of the film have been shown for various markets as a result of controversial changes made by film executives. A rushed director's cut was released in 1992 after a strong response to workprint screenings. This, in conjunction with its popularity as a video rental, made it one of the first films released on DVD, resulting in a basic disc with mediocre video and audio quality. In 2007, Warner Bros. released in select theaters, and subsequently on DVD, HD DVD, and Blu-ray Disc, the 25th anniversary digitally remastered Final Cut by Scott.

Plot

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In Los Angeles, November 2019, retired police officer Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is detained at a noodle bar by officer Gaff (Edward James Olmos). His former supervisor, Bryant (M. Emmet Walsh), tells him that several "replicants"—biologically engineered humanoids who serve as soldiers and slaves in off-world colonies—have escaped, and have come to Earth illegally. As a "blade runner" while active, Deckard's job was to track down replicants on Earth and "retire" them.

Bryant shows him a video of another blade runner, Holden (Morgan Paull), administering a Voight-Kampff test, which distinguishes humans from replicants based on their empathic response to questions. The subject of the test, Leon (Brion James), shoots Holden when it is likely he will be exposed as a replicant.

Deckard agrees to track down Leon and three other replicants—Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), Zhora (Joanna Cassidy) and Pris (Daryl Hannah)—after Bryant threatens him. These replicants—Tyrell Corporation Nexus-6 models—have a four-year lifespan as a fail-safe to prevent them from developing emotions and desire for independence. They may have come to Earth to try to have these lifespans extended.

Deckard is teamed 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 (Joe Turkel) assistant Rachael (Sean Young) is an experimental replicant who believes she is human; Rachael's consciousness has been enhanced with childhood memories from Tyrell's niece. As a result, a more extensive Voight-Kampff test is required to identify her as a replicant.

Roy and Leon enter the eye manufacturing laboratory of Chew (James Hong); under interrogation, Chew directs them to J.F. Sebastian (William Sanderson) as their best chance of meeting Tyrell. Rachael visits Deckard at his apartment to prove her humanity to him, showing him a family photo. She leaves in tears after Deckard tells her that her memories are implants. Pris meets J.F. Sebastian at his apartment in the Bradbury Building where he lives with his manufactured companions. Deckard finds an image of Zhora in Leon's photos.

Deckard goes to an area of the city where genetically engineered animals are sold to analyze a scale found in Leon's bathroom, learning that it came from a snake made by Abdul Ben Hassan (Ben Astar). Hassan directs Deckard to a strip club where Zhora works. Deckard "retires" Zhora, whose death is witnessed by Leon. Deckard meets with Bryant shortly after and is told to add Rachael to his list of retirements, as she has disappeared from the Tyrell Corporation headquarters. Deckard spots Rachael in the crowd but is attacked by Leon. Rachael saves Deckard by killing Leon, and the two return to Deckard's apartment to recover and discuss her future as a fugitive; they share an intimate moment and Rachael abruptly attempts to flee, Deckard prevents Rachael from leaving and compels her to acknowledge their mutual attraction and they passionately kiss.

Roy arrives at Sebastian's apartment and tells Pris they are the only ones left. They gain Sebastian's help after explaining their plight. Roy discovers that Sebastian is suffering from a genetic disorder that accelerates his aging. Under the pretext of Sebastian informing Tyrell of a winning move in a game of correspondence chess that they are playing, Roy and Sebastian enter Tyrell's penthouse. Roy demands an extension to his lifespan from his maker. Tyrell explains that Tyrell Corporation never found a way to accomplish this. Roy asks absolution for his sins, confessing that he has done "questionable things." Tyrell dismisses Roy's guilt, praising Roy's advanced design and his accomplishments. He tells Roy to "revel in his time," to which Roy responds, "Nothing the god of biomechanics wouldn't let you into Heaven for." Roy then holds Tyrell's head in his hands, gives him a kiss, and kills him. Sebastian runs for the elevator, with Roy following. Roy rides the elevator down alone, and Sebastian is not seen again.

Deckard arrives at Sebastian's apartment and is ambushed by Pris. He kills her just as Roy returns. Roy punches through a wall, grabbing Deckard's right arm, and breaks two of his fingers in retaliation for retiring Zhora and Pris. Roy releases Deckard and gives him time to run before he begins hunting him through the Bradbury Building. The symptoms of Roy's limited lifespan worsen and his right hand begins failing; he jabs a nail through it to regain control. Roy forces Deckard to the roof. As Deckard attempts to escape Roy, he leaps across to another building but falls short and ends up hanging from a rain-slicked girder. As Deckard loses his grip, Roy, having made the same leap effortlessly, seizes his arm and hauls him onto the roof. As Roy's life ends, he delivers a soliloquy on his life: "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe: Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion; I've watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die."

Gaff arrives and shouts over to Deckard, "It's too bad she won't live; but then again, who does?" Deckard returns to his apartment to find Rachael alive sleeping in his bed. As they leave, Deckard finds an origami unicorn, a calling card left by Gaff. Depending on the version, the film ends with Deckard and Rachael either leaving the apartment block to an uncertain future or driving through an idyllic pastoral landscape.

Technology

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Police spinners flying above the city.

Spinner


Spinner is the generic term for the fictional flying cars used in the film. A Spinner can be driven as a ground-based vehicle, take off vertically, hover, and cruise using jet propulsion much like the Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft currently in use today. They are used extensively by the police to patrol and survey the population, and it is clear that despite restrictions wealthy people can acquire spinner licenses. The vehicle was conceived and designed by Syd Mead and has been "replicated" in subsequent films such as The Fifth Element and the Star Wars prequel trilogy. These films have the popular vision of flying cars, and people use spinners like traditional cars; in Blade Runner, the flying cars substitute for helicopters and very light jets.

Designer Mead has described the spinner as an aerodyne – a vehicle which directs air downward to create lift, though press kits for the film stated that the spinner was propelled by three engines: "conventional internal combustion, jet and anti-gravity".

A Spinner is on permanent exhibit at the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle, Washington.

Voight-Kampff machine


The Voight-Kampff machine or device is a fictional interrogation tool originating in the book where it is spelled Voigt-Kampff. The Voight-Kampff is a polygraph-like machine used by Blade Runner units to assist in the testing of an individual to see if he or she is a replicant. It measures bodily functions such as respiration, "blush response", heart rate, and eye movement in response to emotionally provocative questions. In the film two replicants take the test: Leon and Rachael. In Blade Runner, Deckard tells Tyrell that it usually takes 20 to 30 cross-referenced questions to distinguish a replicant. With Rachael it takes more than one hundred. This is in contrast with the book, where it is stated it only takes "six or seven" questions to make a determination.

Cast and characters

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With the exception of Harrison Ford, Blade Runner used a number of less well-known actors such as Daryl Hannah and Sean Young. The cast includes:

  • Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard. Coming off the success of Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Ford was looking for a role with dramatic depth. After Steven Spielberg praised Ford, he was hired for Blade Runner. In 1992, Ford revealed, "Blade Runner is not one of my favorite films. I tangled with Ridley." Apart from friction with the director, Ford also disliked the voiceovers: "When we started shooting it had been tacitly agreed that the version of the film that we had agreed upon was the version without voiceover narration. It was a f**king [sic] nightmare. I thought that the film had worked without the narration. But now I was stuck re-creating that narration. And I was obliged to do the voiceovers for people that did not represent the director's interests." "I went kicking and screaming to the studio to record it."


  • Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty, the violent yet thoughtful leader of replicants; regarded by Philip K. Dick as "the perfect Batty—cold, Aryan, flawless". Of the many films Hauer has done, Blade Runner is his favorite. As he explained in a live chat in 2001, "BLADE RUNNER needs no explanation. It just IZZ [sic]. All of the best. There is nothing like it. To be part of a real MASTERPIECE which changed the world's thinking. It's awesome."


  • Sean Young as Rachael, Tyrell's assistant. Rachael is a replicant with memories that belonged to Tyrell's niece.


  • Edward James Olmos as Gaff. Olmos used his diverse ethnic background, and some in-depth personal research, to help create the fictional "Cityspeak" language his character uses in the film. His initial addresses to Deckard at the noodle bar is partly in Hungarian, and means, "Horse dick! No way. You are the Blade ... Blade Runner."


  • Daryl Hannah as Pris, a "basic pleasure model". The development of her relationship with Roy Batty is shown as a symbol of the replicants' underlying humanity.


  • M. Emmet Walsh as Captain Bryant. Walsh lived up to his reputation as a great character actor with the role of a hard-drinking, sleazy and underhanded police veteran typical of the film noir genre.


  • Joe Turkel as Dr. Eldon Tyrell, a corporate mogul who has built an empire on genetically manipulated humanoid slaves.


  • William Sanderson as J. F. Sebastian, a quiet and lonely genius who provides a compassionate yet compliant portrait of humanity. J. F. is able to sympathize with the replicants' short lifespan because he has "Methuselah Syndrome" (possibly a form of progeria), a genetic disease that causes faster aging and a short lifespan.


  • Brion James as Leon Kowalski, a replicant masquerading as a waste disposal engineer; he shoots a Blade Runner to escape, establishing the physical threat the replicants pose to their would-be captors.


  • Joanna Cassidy as Zhora, a special-ops, undercover and assassin model. Cassidy portrays a strong female replicant who has seen the worst humanity has to offer.


  • Morgan Paull as Holden, the Blade Runner initially assigned to the case. He is shot by Leon while screening new Tyrell employees in an attempt to find the replicants, prompting his replacement with Deckard.


  • James Hong as Hannibal Chew, an elderly Asian geneticist specializing in synthetic eyes.


  • Hy Pyke as Taffey Lewis. Pyke conveyed Lewis's sleaziness with ease and in a single take, something almost unheard-of with Scott, whose drive for perfection resulted at times in double-digit takes.


Production

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Some of the costumes used in the movie, such as Zhora's raincoat and Sean Young's dark suit (Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, Seattle)

Interest in adapting Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? developed shortly after its 1968 publication. According to Dick, director Martin Scorsese was interested in filming the novel, but never optioned it. Producer Herb Jaffe optioned it in the early 1970s, but Dick wasn't impressed with the screenplay: "Robert Jaffe, who wrote the screenplay, flew down here to Orange County. I said to him then that it was so bad that I wanted to know if he wanted me to beat him up there at the airport or wait till we got to my apartment." The screenplay by Hampton Fancher was optioned in 1977.

Producer Michael Deeley became interested in Fancher's draft and convinced director Ridley Scott to use it to create his first American film. Scott had previously declined the project, but after leaving the slow production of Dune, wanted a faster-paced project to take his mind off his older brother's recent death. He joined the project on February 21, 1980, and managed to push up the promised financing from Filmways from $13 million to $15 million. Fancher's script focused more on environmental issues and less on issues of humanity and faith, which weighed heavily in the novel. Scott wanted changes. Fancher found a cinema treatment by William S. Burroughs for Alan E. Nourse's novel The Bladerunner (1974), entitled Blade Runner (a movie). Scott liked the name, so Deeley obtained the rights to the titles. Eventually he hired David Peoples to rewrite the script, and Fancher left the job on December 21, 1980, over the issue, although he later returned to contribute additional rewrites.

Having invested over $2.5 million in pre-production, as the date of commencement of principal photography neared, Filmways withdrew financial backing. In ten days, Deeley secured $21.5 million in financing through a three way deal between The Ladd Company (through Warner Bros.), the Hong Kong-based producer Sir Run Run Shaw, and Tandem Productions.

Philip K. Dick became concerned that no one had informed him about the film's production, which added to his distrust of Hollywood. After Dick criticized an early version of Hampton Fancher's script in an article written for the Los Angeles Select TV Guide, the studio sent Dick the David Peoples rewrite. Although Dick died shortly before the film's release, he was pleased with the rewritten script, and with a twenty-minute special effects test reel that was screened for him when he was invited to the studio. Dick enthused after the screening to Ridley Scott that the world created for the film looked exactly as he had imagined it. The motion picture was dedicated to Dick.



Blade Runner has numerous and deep similarities to Fritz Lang's Metropolis, including a built up urban environment, in which the wealthy literally live above the workers, dominated by a huge building—the Stadtkrone Tower in Metropolis and the Tyrell Building in Blade Runner. Special effects supervisor David Dryer used stills from Metropolis when lining up Blade Runner's miniature building shots.

Ridley Scott credits Edward Hopper's painting Nighthawks and the French science fiction comic magazine Métal Hurlant (Heavy Metal), to which the artist Moebius contributed, as stylistic mood sources. He also drew on the landscape of "Hong Kong on a very bad day" and the industrial landscape of his one-time home in the North East of England. Scott hired as his conceptual artist Syd Mead, who, like Scott, was influenced by Métal Hurlant. Moebius was offered the opportunity to assist in the pre-production of Blade Runner, but he declined so that he could work on René Laloux's animated film Les Maîtres du temps, a decision he later regretted. Lawrence G. Paull (production designer) and David Snyder (art director) realized Scott's and Mead's sketches. Douglas Trumbull and Richard Yuricich supervised the special effects for the film. Principal photography of Blade Runner began on March 9, 1981, and ended four months later.

Casting

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Casting the film proved troublesome, particularly for the lead role of Deckard. Screenwriter Hampton Fancher envisioned Robert Mitchum as Deckard, and wrote the character's dialogue with Mitchum in mind. Director Ridley Scott and the film's producers "spent months" meeting and discussing the role with Dustin Hoffman, who eventually departed over differences in vision. Harrison Ford was ultimately chosen for several reasons, including his performance in the Star Wars films, Ford's interest in the story of Blade Runner, and discussions with Steven Spielberg, who was finishing Raiders of the Lost Ark at the time and strongly praised Ford's work in the film. According to production documents, a long list of actors were considered for the role, including, but not limited to, Gene Hackman, Sean Connery, Jack Nicholson, Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Al Pacino, and Burt Reynolds.

Casting the roles of Rachael and Pris was also challenging; a lengthy series of screen tests were filmed with numerous actresses auditioning for the roles. Morgan Paull, who played the role of Deckard during the screen tests with actresses auditioning for the role of Rachael and Pris, was cast as Deckard's fellow bounty hunter Holden based on his performances in the tests. Among the actresses tested for the role of Rachael was blonde Nina Axelrod, who was Paull's recommendation.Stacey Nelkin tried out for Pris, but was instead given another role in the film, which was ultimately cut before filming. Both Axelrod's and Nelkin's screen tests are featured in the 2007 documentary Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner.

One role that was not difficult to cast was Roy Batty: Ridley Scott cast Rutger Hauer without having met him, based solely on Hauer's performances in other films Scott had seen.Joe Pantoliano, who later played the role of Cypher in The Matrix, was considered for the role of Sebastian.

In 2006, Ridley Scott was asked "Who's the biggest pain in the arse you've ever worked with?" He replied: "It's got to be Harrison ... he'll forgive me because now I get on with him. Now he's become charming. But he knows a lot, that's the problem. When we worked together it was my first film up and I was the new kid on the block. But we made a good movie." Ford said of Scott in 2000: "I admire his work. We had a bad patch there, and I'm over it." More recently in 2006, Ford reflected on the production of the film saying: "What I remember more than anything else when I see Blade Runner is not the 50 nights of shooting in the rain, but the voiceover ... I was still obliged to work for these clowns that came in writing one bad voiceover after another." Ridley Scott confirmed in the summer 2007 issue of Total Film that Harrison Ford contributed to the Blade Runner Special Edition DVD, having already done his interviews. "Harrison's fully on board", said Scott.

Interpretation

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Dr. Tyrell polarizing his office window to control the Sun implies the god-like powers of the Tyrell Corporation.

Although Blade Runner is ostensibly an action film, it operates on multiple dramatic and narrative levels; it is indebted to film noir conventions: the femme fatale, protagonist-narration (removed in later versions), dark and shadowy cinematography, and the questionable moral outlook of the hero—in this case, extended to include reflections upon the nature of his own humanity. It is a literate science fiction film, thematically enfolding the philosophy of religion and moral implications of human mastery of genetic engineering in the context of classical Greek drama and hubris, and draws on Biblical images, such as Noah's flood, and literary sources, such as Frankenstein. Linguistically, the theme of mortality is subtly reiterated in the chess game between Roy and Tyrell based on the famous Immortal game of 1851, though Scott has said that was coincidental.



Blade Runner delves into the implications of technology for the environment and society by reaching to the past, using literature, religious symbolism, classical dramatic themes, and film noir. This tension between past, present, and future is mirrored in the retrofitted future of Blade Runner, which is high-tech and gleaming in places but decayed and old elsewhere. Interviewing Ridley Scott in 2002, reporter Lynn Barber in The Observer described the film as: "extremely dark, both literally and metaphorically, with an oddly masochistic feel". Director Scott said he "liked the idea of exploring pain" in the wake of his brother's skin cancer death. "When he was ill, I used to go and visit him in London, and that was really traumatic for me."

An aura of paranoia suffuses the film. Corporate power looms large, the police seem omnipresent, vehicle and warning lights probe into buildings, and the consequences of huge biomedical power over the individual are explored—especially the consequences for replicants of their implanted memories. Control over the environment is depicted as taking place on a vast scale, hand in hand with the absence of any natural life, with artificial animals substituting for their extinct templates. This oppressive backdrop explains the frequently referenced migration of humans to extra-terrestrial ("off-world") colonies. The dystopian themes explored in Blade Runner are an early example of cyberpunk concepts expanding into film. Eyes are a recurring motif, as are manipulated images, calling into question reality and our ability to accurately perceive and remember it.

These thematic elements provide 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 its questions focused on the treatment of animals—it seems to be an essential indicator of someone's "humanity". The replicants are juxtaposed with human characters who lack empathy, while the replicants appear to show compassion and concern for one another at the same time as the mass of humanity on the streets is cold and impersonal. The film goes so far as to put in doubt whether Deckard is a human, and forces the audience to reevaluate what it means to be human.

The question of whether Deckard is intended to be a human or a replicant has been an ongoing controversy since the film's release. Both Michael Deeley and Harrison Ford wanted Deckard to be human while Hampton Fancher preferred ambiguity. Ridley Scott has confirmed that in his vision Deckard is a replicant. Deckard's unicorn dream sequence inserted into the Director's Cut coinciding with Gaff's parting gift of an origami unicorn is seen by many as showing Deckard is a replicant as Gaff could have access to Deckard's implanted memories. The interpretation that Deckard is a replicant is challenged by others who believe unicorn imagery shows that the characters, whether human or replicant, share the same dreams and recognise their affinity, or that the absence of a decisive answer is crucial to the film's main theme. The inherent ambiguity and uncertainty of the film, as well as its textual richness, have permitted viewers to see it from their own perspectives.

Adapting the novel

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Philip K. Dick refused an offer of $400,000 to write a novelization of the Blade Runner screenplay, saying: "[I was] told the cheapo novelization would have to appeal to the twelve-year-old audience" and "[it] would have probably been disastrous to me artistically." He added, "That insistence on my part of bringing out the original novel and not doing the novelization—they were just furious. They finally recognized that there was a legitimate reason for reissuing the novel, even though it cost them money. It was a victory not just of contractual obligations but of theoretical principles." In the end, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was reprinted as a tie-in, with the film poster as a cover and the original title in parentheses below the Blade Runner title.

The producers of the film arranged for a screening of some special effects rough cuts for Philip K. Dick shortly before he died in early 1982. Despite his well known skepticism of Hollywood in principle, he became quite enthusiastic about the film. He said, "I saw a segment of Douglas Trumbull's special effects for Blade Runner on the KNBC-TV news. I recognized it immediately. It was my own interior world. They caught it perfectly." He also approved of the film's script, saying, "After I finished reading the screenplay, I got the novel out and looked through it. The two reinforce each other, so that someone who started with the novel would enjoy the movie and someone who started with the movie would enjoy the novel."

Reception

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Blade Runner was released in 1,290 theaters on June 25, 1982. That date was chosen by producer Alan Ladd, Jr. because his previous highest-grossing films (Star Wars and Alien) had a similar opening date (May 25) in 1977 and 1979, making the date his "lucky day". The gross for the opening weekend was a disappointing $6.15 million. A significant factor in the film's rather poor box office performance was that its release coincided with other science fiction film releases, including The Thing, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and, most significantly, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which dominated box office revenues that summer.

Film critics were polarized as some felt the story had taken a back seat to special effects and that it was not the action/adventure the studio had advertised. Others acclaimed its complexity and predicted it would stand the test of time.

In the United States, a general criticism was its slow pacing that detracts from other strengths; Sheila Benson from the Los Angeles Times called it "Blade crawler", while Pat Berman in State and Columbia Record described it as "science fiction pornography".Roger Ebert praised both the original and the Director's cut version of Blade Runner's visuals and recommended it for that reason; however, he found the human story clichéd and a little thin. In 2007, upon release of The Final Cut, Roger Ebert somewhat revised his original opinion of the film and added it to his list of Great Movies, while noting, "I have been assured that my problems in the past with Blade Runner represent a failure of my own taste and imagination, but if the film was perfect, why has Sir Ridley continued to tinker with it?"

Accolades
Blade Runner has won and been nominated for the following awards:

YearAwardCategoryNomineeResult
1982British Society of CinematographersBest Cinematography AwardJordan CronenwethNominated
1982Los Angeles Film Critics Association AwardBest CinematographyJordan CronenwethWon
1983BAFTA Film AwardBest CinematographyJordan CronenwethWon
Best Costume DesignCharles Knode & Michael KaplanWon
Best Production Design/Art DirectionLawrence G. PaullWon
Best Film EditingTerry RawlingsNominated
Best Make Up ArtistMarvin WestmoreNominated
Best ScoreVangelisNominated
Best SoundPeter Pennell, Bud Alper, Graham V. Hartstone, Gerry HumphreysNominated
Best Special Visual EffectsDouglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich, David DryerNominated
1983Hugo AwardBest Dramatic PresentationBlade RunnerWon
1983London Critics Circle Film AwardsSpecial Achievement AwardLawrence G. Paull, Douglas Trumbull, Syd MeadWon
1983Golden GlobesBest Original Score - Motion PictureVangelisNominated
1983Academy AwardsBest Art Direction - Set DecorationLawrence G. Paull, David L. Snyder, Linda DeScennaNominated
Best Effects, Visual EffectsDouglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich, David DryerNominated
1983Saturn AwardBest Science Fiction FilmBlade RunnerNominated
Best DirectorRidley ScottNominated
Best Special EffectsDouglas Trumbull, Richard YuricichNominated
Best Supporting ActorRutger HauerNominated
1983FantasportoInternational Fantasy Film AwardBest Film – Ridley ScottNominated
1993FantasportoInternational Fantasy Film AwardBest Film – Ridley Scott (Director's cut)Nominated
1994Saturn AwardBest Genre Video ReleaseBlade Runner (Director's cut)Nominated
2008Saturn AwardBest DVD Special Edition ReleaseBlade Runner (5 Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition)Won


Lists of the best films
Recognitions for Blade Runner include:

YearPresenterTitleRankNotes
2010IGNTop 25 Sci-Fi Movies of All Time1
Total Film100 Greatest Movies Of All TimeNone
2008New ScientistAll-time favorite science fiction film (readers and staff)1
EmpireThe 500 Greatest Movies of All Time20
American Film Institute (AFI)Top 10 Sci-fi Films of All Time6
2007AFI's 100 Years…100 Movies97
2005Total Film's Editors100 Greatest Movies of All Time47
Time Magazine's Critics"All-TIME" 100 Best MoviesNone
2004The Guardian, ScientistsTop 10 Sci-fi Films of All Time1
2003Entertainment WeeklyThe Top 50 Cult Movies9
1001 Movies You Must See Before You DieNone
200250 Klassiker, Film
Online Film Critics Society (OFCS)Top 100 Sci-fi Films of the Past 100 Years2
Channel 4Greatest films of all time8
2001The Village Voice100 Best Films of the 20th Century94


Cultural influence

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A police spinner flying beside huge advertising-laden skyscrapers. These special effects are benchmarks that have influenced many subsequent science-fiction films.

While not initially a success with North American audiences, the film was popular internationally and became a cult film. The film's dark style and futuristic design have served as a benchmark and its influence can be seen in many subsequent science fiction films, anime, video games, and television programs. For example, Ronald D. Moore and David Eick, the producers of the re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica, have both cited Blade Runner as one of the major influences for the show. 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.Blade Runner is also cited as an important influence to both the style and story of the Ghost in the Shell film series, which itself has been highly influential to the future-noir genre.

The film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 1993 and is frequently used in university courses. In 2007, it was named the 2nd most visually influential film of all time by the Visual Effects Society.

Blade Runner is one of the most musically sampled films of the 20th century, and inspired the Grammy nominated song "More Human than Human" by White Zombie. The 2009 album, I, Human, by Singaporean band Deus Ex Machina makes numerous references to the genetic engineering and cloning themes from the film, and even features a track entitled "Replicant".

Blade Runner has influenced adventure games, such as Rise of the Dragon,Snatcher,Beneath a Steel Sky,Flashback: The Quest for Identity, the anime series Bubblegum Crisis, the role-playing game Shadowrun, the first-person shooter Perfect Dark, and the Syndicate series of video games. The film is also cited as a major influence on Warren Spector, designer of the computer-game Deus Ex, which both in its visual rendering and plot displays evidence of the film's influence. The look of the film (darkness, neon lights and opacity of vision) is easier to render than complicated backdrops, making it a popular choice for game designers.

Blade Runner has also been the subject of parody, such as the comics Blade Bummer by Crazy comics,Bad Rubber by Steve Gallacci, and the Red Dwarf special episodes, "Back To Earth".

Blade Runner curse
Among the folklore that has developed around the film over the years has been the belief that the film was a curse to the companies whose logos were displayed prominently as product placements in some scenes. While they were market leaders at the time, more than half experienced disastrous setbacks during the next decade. RCA, which at one time was the United States' leading consumer electronics and communications conglomerate, was bought out by one-time parent General Electric in 1985, and dismantled. Atari, which dominated the home video game market when the film came out, never recovered from the next year's downturn in the industry, and by the 1990s had ceased to represent anything more than a brand, a back catalogue of games and some legacy computers. Atari today is an entirely different firm, using the former company's name. Cuisinart similarly went bankrupt in 1989, though it lives on under new ownership. The Bell System monopoly was broken up that same year, and most of the resulting Regional Bell operating companies have since changed their names and merged back with each other and other companies to form the new AT&T. Pan Am suffered from the terrorist bombing/destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 and after a decade of mounting losses, finally went bankrupt in 1991 with the falloff in overseas travel caused by the Gulf War. The Coca-Cola Company suffered losses during its failed introduction of New Coke in 1985, but soon afterward regained its market share.

Future Noir


Before the film's principal photography began, Cinefantastique magazine commissioned Paul M. Sammon to write an article about Blade Runner's production, which became the book Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner (referred to as the "Blade Runner Bible" by many of the film's fans). The book chronicles the evolution of Blade Runner as a film, and focuses on film-set politics, especially the British director's experiences with his first American film crew, of which producer Alan Ladd, Jr. has said, "Harrison wouldn't speak to Ridley and Ridley wouldn't speak to Harrison. By the end of the shoot Ford was 'ready to kill Ridley', said one colleague. He really would have taken him on if he hadn't been talked out of it."Future Noir has short cast biographies and quotations about their experiences in making Blade Runner, as well as many photographs of the film's production, and preliminary sketches. The cast chapter was deleted from the first edition; it is available online. A second edition of Future Noir was published in 2007.

Soundtrack

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The Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis is a dark melodic combination of classic composition and futuristic synthesizers which mirrors the film-noir retro-future envisioned by Ridley Scott. Vangelis, fresh from his Academy Award winning score for Chariots of Fire, composed and performed the music on his synthesizers. He also made use of various chimes and the vocals of collaborator Demis Roussos. Another memorable sound is the haunting tenor sax solo "Love Theme" by British saxophonist Dick Morrissey, who appeared on many of Vangelis' albums. 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).

Along with Vangelis' compositions and ambient textures, the film's sound scape also features a track by the Japanese Ensemble Nipponia ('Ogi No Mato' or 'The Folding Fan as a Target' from the Nonesuch Records release "Traditional Vocal And Instrumental Music") and a track by harpist Gail Laughton ("Harps of the Ancient Temples" from Laurel Records).

Despite being well received by fans and critically acclaimed and nominated in 1983 for a BAFTA and Golden Globe as best original score, and the promise of a soundtrack album from Polydor Records in the end titles of the film, the release of the official 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 Vangelis: Themes, but not until the 1992 release of the Director's Cut version would a substantial amount of the film's score see commercial release.

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 set with three CDs of Blade Runner-related Vangelis music was released on December 10, 2007. Titled Blade Runner Trilogy, the first CD contains the same tracks as the 1994 official soundtrack release, the second CD contains previously unreleased music from the movie, and the third CD is all newly composed music from Vangelis, inspired by, and in the spirit of the movie.

Versions

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Seven different versions of Blade Runner have been shown:

  • Original workprint version (1982, 113 minutes) shown to audience test previews in Denver and Dallas in March 1982. It was also seen in 1990 and 1991 in Los Angeles and San Francisco as a Director's Cut without Scott's approval. Negative responses to the test previews led to the modifications resulting in the U.S. theatrical version, while positive response to the showings in 1990 and 1991 pushed the studio to approve work on an official director's cut. It was re-released with the 5-disc Ultimate Edition in 2007.


  • A San Diego Sneak Preview shown only once in May 1982, which was almost identical to the Domestic Cut with three extra scenes.


  • The U.S. theatrical version (1982, 116 minutes), known as the original version or Domestic Cut, released on Betamax and VHS in 1983 and laserdisc in 1987.


  • The International Cut (1982, 117 minutes) also known as the "Criterion Edition" or uncut version, included more violent action scenes than the U.S. theatrical version. Although initially unavailable in the U.S. and distributed in Europe and Asia via theatrical and local Warner Home Video laserdisc releases, it was later released on VHS and Criterion Collection laserdisc in North America, and re-released in 1992 as a "10th Anniversary Edition".


  • The U.S. broadcast version (1986, 114 minutes), the U.S. theatrical version edited for violence, profanity and nudity by CBS to meet broadcast restrictions.


  • The Ridley Scott-approved (1991, 116 minutes) Director's Cut; prompted by the unauthorized 1990 – 1 workprint theatrical release; screened at the Los Angeles NuArt Theater and the San Francisco Castro Theater in September and October 1991, and made available on VHS and laserdisc in 1993, and on DVD in 1997. Significant changes from the theatrical version include removal of Deckard's voice-over, re-insertion of a unicorn sequence and removal of the studio-imposed happy ending. Ridley did provide extensive notes and consultation to Warner Bros. through film preservationist Michael Arick who was put in charge of creating the Director's Cut.


  • Ridley Scott's Final Cut (2007, 117 minutes), or the "25th Anniversary Edition", released by Warner Bros. theatrically on October 5, 2007, and subsequently released on DVD, HD DVD, and Blu-ray Disc in December 2007. This is the only version over which Ridley Scott had complete artistic control as he was not directly in charge of the Director's Cut. In conjunction with the Final Cut, extensive documentary and other materials were produced for the home video releases culminating in a five-disc "Ultimate Collector's Edition" release by Charles de Lauzirika. A single disc Blu-ray and DVD of the final cut were released in 2010.


Derivative works

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Documentaries
On the Edge of Blade Runner (2000, 55 minutes) was produced by Nobles Gate Ltd. (for Channel 4), was directed by Andrew Abbott and hosted/written by Mark Kermode. Interviews with production staff, including Scott, give details of the creative process and the turmoil during preproduction. Stories from Paul M. Sammon and Hampton Fancher provide insight into Philip K. Dick and the origins of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Interwoven are cast interviews (with the notable exceptions of Harrison Ford and Sean Young), which convey some of the difficulties of making the film (including an exacting director and humid, smoggy weather). There is also a tour of some locations, most notably the Bradbury Building and the Warner Bros. backlot that became the LA 2019 streets, which look very different from Scott's dark vision. The documentary then details the test screenings and the resulting changes (the voice over, the happy ending, and the deleted Holden hospital scene), the special effects, the soundtrack by Vangelis, and the unhappy relationship between the filmmakers and the investors which culminated in Deeley and Scott being fired but still working on the film. The question of whether or not Deckard is a replicant surfaces.

Future Shocks (2003, 27 minutes) is a more recent documentary from 2003 by TVOntario (part of their Film 101 series using footage compiled over the years for Saturday Night at the Movies). It includes interviews with executive producer Bud Yorkin, Syd Mead, and the cast, this time with Sean Young, but still without Harrison Ford. There is extensive commentary by science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer and from film critics, as the documentary focuses on the themes, visual impact and influence of the film. Edward James Olmos describes Ford's participation, and personal experiences during filming are related by Young, Walsh, Cassidy and Sanderson. They also relate a story about crew members creating T-shirts that took pot shots at Scott. The different versions of the film are critiqued and the accuracy of its predictions of the future are discussed.

Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner (2007, 183 minutes) is an approximately three and a half hour long documentary directed and produced by Charles de Lauzirika for the 2007 Final Cut version of the film. It appears with every edition of The Final Cut on DVD, HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc, except for the 2010 single-disc DVD and Blu-Ray editions. (It is a DVD format disc, even in the HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc editions). It was culled from over 80 interviews, including Harrison Ford, Sean Young, Rutger Hauer, Edward James Olmos, Jerry Perenchio, Bud Yorkin and Ridley Scott, and also contains several alternate and deleted shots within the context of the documentary itself. The documentary consists of eight chapters, each covering a portion of the film-making—or in the case of the final chapter, the film's controversial legacy.

All Our Variant Futures: From Workprint to Final Cut (2007, 29 minutes), produced by Paul Prischman, appears on Disc 5 of the Blade Runner Ultimate Collector's Edition and provides an overview of the film's multiple versions and their origins, as well as detailing the seven year-long restoration, enhancement and remastering process behind The Final Cut. Included are interviews with director Ridley Scott, restoration producer Charles de Lauzirika, restoration consultant Kurt P. Galvao, restoration VFX supervisor John Scheele and Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner author Paul M. Sammon. Behind-the-scenes footage documenting the restoration—from archival work done in 2001 through the 2007 filming of Joanna Cassidy and Benjamin Ford for The Final Cut's digital fixes—are seen throughout. A variety of other supplemental featurettes produced and directed by Charles de Lauzirika are included both the four- and five-disc collector's editions of Blade Runner released by Warner Home Video in 2007.

Sequels
K. W. Jeter, a friend of Philip K. Dick, has written three official, authorized Blade Runner novels that continue Deckard's story, attempting to resolve many differences between Blade Runner and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

  • Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human (1995)
  • Blade Runner 3: Replicant Night (1996)
  • Blade Runner 4: Eye and Talon (2000)


Ridley Scott apparently toyed with the idea of a sequel film, which would have been titled Metropolis. The project was ultimately shelved due to rights issues. A script was also written for a proposed sequel titled Blade Runner Down, which would have been based on Jeter's first sequel novel. At the 2007 Comic-Con, Scott again announced that he was considering a sequel to the film.Eagle Eye co-writer Travis Wright worked with producer Bud Yorke for a few years on the project. His colleague John Glenn, who left the film by 2008, stated the script explores the nature of the off-world colonies as well as what happens to the Tyrell Corporation in the wake of its founder's death.

Blade Runner co-author David Peoples wrote the 1998 action film Soldier, which was referred to by him as a "sidequel"/spiritual successor to the original film.

Prequel
In June 2009, The New York Times reported that Ridley Scott, together with his brother Tony Scott, was working on a prequel to Blade Runner. The prequel, Purefold, will be a series of 5–10 minute shorts, aimed first at the web and then perhaps television, and will be set at a point in time before 2019. Due to rights issues, the series will not be linked too closely to the characters or events of the 1982 film.

On March 4, 2011, io9 reported that Bud Yorkin, the producer of Blade Runner, is now developing a sequel/prequel to the film. It was not announced whether this is connected to Ridley Scott or any of the other original filmmakers, though it is reported that Christopher Nolan, who has worked with Warner Bros. many times in the past, is wanted at the helm of any eventual prequel or sequel.

Comics
Archie Goodwin scripted the comic book adaptation, 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".

In 2009, BOOM! Studios published a 24-issue miniseries comic book adaptation of the Blade Runner source novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? In April 2010, Boom! Studios announced a follow up comic was in production. Dust To Dust will be a four issue miniseries starting on May 26, 2010 and will be written by Chris Robertson and drawn by Robert Adler.

Video games


There are two video games based on the film, one for Commodore 64, Sinclair ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC (1985) by CRL Group PLC based on the music by Vangelis (due to licensing issues), and another action adventure PC game (1997) by Westwood Studios. The Westwood PC game featured new characters and branching storylines based on the Blade Runner world. Eldon Tyrell, Gaff, Leon, Rachael, Chew, and J.F. Sebastian are seen, and their voice files were recorded by the original actors. DNA Row, the Eye Works, the Police Headquarters, Howie Lee's, the Tyrell Corporation building, and J.F. Sebastian's hotel are faithfully replicated. The events portrayed in the 1997 game occur not after, but in parallel to those in the film. The player assumes the role of McCoy, another replicant-hunter working at the same time as Deckard. Although Deckard is seen in photo evidence and referred to in dialogue, Deckard and McCoy never meet, preserving the canon of the film and the independence of the game plot.

The PC game featured a non-linear plot, non-player characters that each ran in their own independent AI, and an unusual pseudo-3D engine (which eschewed polygonal solids in favor of voxel elements) that did not require the use of a 3D accelerator card to play the game.

Television series


Though not an official sequel to Blade Runner, Total Recall 2070 was initially planned as a spin-off of the movie Total Recall but transformed into a hybrid of that movie and Blade Runner. The Total Recall film had, like Blade Runner, been based on a Philip K. Dick short story: "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale". There are many similarities between the television series and the Blade Runner universe. The series takes place in a dark, crowded, industrial, and cosmopolitan setting. David Hume is a senior detective for the Citizens Protection Bureau (CPB) who is partnered with Ian Farve, an Alpha Class android. The series focused on questions such as the nature of humanity and the rights of androids.

Some of the content on this page has been provided by the following page on Wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blade_Runner


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