|Directed By||Ridley Scott|
|Produced By||Michael Deeley|
|Distributed By||Warner Bros.|
|Release Date(s)||June 25, 1982|
|Language(s)||English, Spanish, German, Cantonese, Japanese, Hungarian|
|Gross Revenue||$32,768,670 Million|
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 loosely 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 beings called replicants—visually indistinguishable from adult humans—are manufactured by the all-powerful Tyrell Corporation. As a result of a violent replicant uprising, their use on Earth is banned, and replicants are exclusively used for dangerous or menial work on Earth's "off-world colonies". Any replicants who defy the ban and return to Earth are hunted down and "retired" by police assassins known as "blade runners". The plot focuses on a brutal and cunning group of recently escaped replicants hiding in Los Angeles and the semi-retired blade runner, Rick Deckard, who reluctantly agrees to take on one more assignment.
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. Blade Runner has been hailed for its production design, depicting a "retrofitted" future. 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". In 2007, the American Film Institute named it the 97th greatest American film of all time in the 10th-anniversary edition of its 100 years ... 100 Movies list.
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 on DVD/HD DVD/Blu-ray, the 25th anniversary digitally remastered definitive Final Cut by Scott.
In Los Angeles, November 2019, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) a retired police officer, is apparently arrested at a noodle bar by another officer, Gaff (Edward James Olmos). At the police station his former supervisor, Bryant (M. Emmet Walsh), tells him that several "replicants", sophisticated biologically engineered humanoid beings that serve as soldiers and slaves in colonies on other planets, have escaped and come to Earth, in violation of law. As a "blade runner" while active, Deckard's job was to track down replicants who had come to Earth and "retire" them.
Bryant shows him video of another blade runner (Morgan Paull), administering a Voight-Kampff test, which distinguishes humans from replicants by the presence or lack of an empathic reponse to questions. The subject of the test, Leon (Brion James), shoots the tester when it is likely he will be exposed as a replicant.
Deckard agrees to help track down Leon and three other replicants—Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), Zhora (Joanna Cassidy) and Pris (Daryl Hannah)—only after Bryant threatens him. These replicants—Tyrell Corporation Nexus-6 models—have a four-year lifespan as a failsafe 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 then 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) young assistant Rachael (Sean Young) is an experimental replicant who believes she is a human; Rachael's consciousness has been enhanced with implanted childhood memories from Tyrell's niece. As a result, it requires a more extensive Voight-Kampff test conducted by Deckard to identify her as a replicant. During this tense situation Rachael suggests that Deckard himself undergo the same test.
Roy and Leon enter the eye manufactory of Chew (James Hong); under interrogation, Chew directs them to J.F. Sebastian (William Sanderson) as their best chance of meeting Tyrell. Later, 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. Meanwhile, Pris meets J.F. Sebastian and he invites her into his apartment in the Bradbury Building where he lives with his manufactured companions. Deckard uses a computer scanner to find an image of Zhora in Leon's photos.
Deckard goes to an area of the city where genetically engineered artificial animals are sold to analyze a scale found in Leon's bathroom. He learns that it came from a snake made by Abdul Ben Hassan (Ben Astar). After a rough interrogation, the snake dealer directs Deckard to a strip club where Zhora works. After a struggle in Zhora's changing room and a chase through the crowded streets, Deckard "retires" Zhora, whose death takes place in slow motion as she struggles to flee. 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 and follows her but is grabbed and brutally beaten by Leon. Rachael saves Deckard by shooting and killing Leon, and the two head back to Deckard's apartment, where Deckard roughly initiates sex.
Back at Sebastian's apartment Roy arrives, kisses Pris deeply and tells her they are the only ones left. They gain Sebastian's help by explaining their plight in a subtly threatening manner. Roy discovers that Sebastian, though human, is suffering from a genetic disorder that accelerates his aging; he sympathizes with Sebastian because of their common fate. Under the pretext of Sebastian informing Tyrell of a move for a game of correspondence chess that the two are playing, Roy and Sebastian enter Tyrell's penthouse. Roy demands an extension to his lifespan from his maker. Tyrell explains that Tyrell Corporation had tried many approaches, but had never found a way to accomplish this. Roy then asks absolution of his sins, confessing that he has done "questionable things". Tyrell arrogantly dismisses this, praising Roy's advanced design and his amazing accomplishments. He tells Roy to "revel in his time", to which Roy comments "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, watching in horror, begins to run 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 retires her just as Roy returns. Angrily, Roy manages to punch through a wall and grab Deckard's right arm, and proceeds to break two of his fingers in retaliation for killing Zhora and Pris. Roy releases Deckard and gives him a little time to run before he begins to hunt him through the dilapidated Bradbury Building. However, not too long into the hunt, the symptoms of Roy's limited lifespan worsen and his right hand begins to fail, so he jabs a nail through it to regain control. Able again, albeit temporarily, Roy eventually 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.
Roy, holding a white dove, easily vaults the same distance and is left standing above his struggling opponent. As Deckard loses his grip, Roy seizes his arm and easily hauls him onto the roof, saving Deckard. As Roy's life fades away, he sits and delivers a brief soliloquy about the experiences of 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." He then dies, and the white dove flies away from him. From a distance, Gaff shouts over to Deckard, "It's too bad she won't live; but then again, who does?" A worried Deckard returns to his apartment and is relieved to find Rachael alive. 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.
Cast & Characters Edit
The Humans Edit
- Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard - Deckard is a "blade runner," a special member of the Los Angeles police department who is employed to hunt and "retire" artificial manufactured humanoids, called "replicants".
- Edward James Olmos as Gaff - He aids Deckard in the hunt for the replicants, a mysterious figure who is questionable to the audience.
- Joe Turkel as Dr. Eldon Tyrell - A corporate tycoonist
The Replicants Edit
- Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty - A renegade replicant who is a violent but thoughtful leader of the pack.
- Daryl Hannah as Pris - The other renegade replicant who follows Roy. She was created to be a "pleasure model" but soon turned against humanity and now is hunted down by Deckard.
- Brion James as Leon Kowalski - Another renegade replicant who is under disguised as a waste disposal engineer
- Sean Young as Racheal - A replicant who is using the memories of Tyrell's neice.
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". However, 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
- Main article: Blade Runner (score)
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 UK 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 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.
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.
- 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 5-disc Ultimate Edition in 2007.
- San Diego Sneak Preview shown only once in May 1982, which was almost identical to the Domestic Cut with three extra scenes.
- 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.
- 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".
- U.S. broadcast version (1986, 114 minutes), the U.S. theatrical version edited for violence, profanity and nudity by CBS to meet broadcast restrictions.
- Director's Cut (1992, 116 minutes) was prompted by the unauthorized 1990 – One workprint theatrical release 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 Brothers through film preservationist Michael Arick who was put in charge of creating the Director's Cut.
- 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 in December 2007 (U.K. December 3; U.S. December 18). This is the only version over which Ridley Scott had complete artistic control as the Director's Cut was rushed and he was not directly in charge. 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.
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, entitled 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.
“We don’t take any of the canon or copyrighted assets from the movie,” said David Bausola, founding partner of Ag8, who said he hoped the series would debut later this summer and that the first episodes would depict events about two years into the future. “It’s actually based on the same themes as ‘Blade Runner.’ It’s the search for what it means to be human and understanding the notion of empathy. We are inspired by ‘Blade Runner.’”
External Links Edit
- Blade Runner at Internet Movie Database