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Blade Runner (1982) - Illustrated Reference

Updated on May 30, 2016
Poster art by John Alvin
Poster art by John Alvin
Ridley Scott with Philip K. Dick
Ridley Scott with Philip K. Dick
Harrison Ford with Ridley Scott
Harrison Ford with Ridley Scott

Blade Runner was directed by Ridley Scott and premiered on the 25th of June 1982. Starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah, William Sanderson, Brion James, Joe Turkel and Joanna Cassidy. Screenplay by Hampton Fancher and David Webb Peoples, based on the novel “Do Andoids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick. Music by Vangelis. 117 mins.

Los Angeles 2019. Rick Deckard is a Blade Runner, police operatives that hunt down and terminate replicants, basically androids that had been declared illegal after a violent mutiny on an off-world colony. Deckard’s job is to find and ‘retire’ four dangerous replicants that have arrived on Earth.

After the success of Alien (1979), Ridley Scott was planning to make two films out of Frank Herbert’s epic novel Dune, but after several months working on the project he dropped out when he realised that it would take years to finish. He needed a faster-paced project and when producer Michael Deeley approached him with Blade Runner he quickly took the job.

Scott hired David Peoples to rewrite Hampton Fancher’s script and he wanted a title for the film, he didn’t think “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” was the best title for a sci-fi movie. The names “Android” and “Dangerous Days” were considered before he finally settled on “Blade Runner” after seeing the title of Alan E. Nourse’s sci-fi novel The Bladerunner (1974).

Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford
Rutger Hauer
Rutger Hauer
Sean Young
Sean Young
Harrison Ford with Sean Young
Harrison Ford with Sean Young
Edward James Olmos
Edward James Olmos
M. Emmet Walsh
M. Emmet Walsh
Daryl Hannah
Daryl Hannah
William Sanderson
William Sanderson
Brion James
Brion James
Joe Turkel
Joe Turkel
Joanna Cassidy
Joanna Cassidy
James Hong
James Hong
Morgan Paull
Morgan Paull

Deckard: They don't advertise for killers in the newspaper. That was my profession. Ex-cop. Ex-blade runner. Ex-killer.

Harrison Ford (1942-) / Rick Deckard, Blade Runner LAPD.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Harrison Ford has been one of the most popular movie stars of the past four decades, he was Oscar nominated Best Actor for the film Witness (1985) and was nominated Best Actor at the Golden Globes for Witness (1985), The Mosquito Coast (1986), The Fugitive (1993) and Sabrina (1995).

Other films include – Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Return of the Jedi (1983), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), Patriot Games (1992), Clear and Present Danger (1994), Air Force One (1997), What Lies Beneath (2000), K-19: The Widowmaker (2002) and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).

Batty: I've done... questionable things.
Tyrell: Also extraordinary things; revel in your time.
Batty: Nothing the God of biomechanics wouldn't let you into heaven for.

Rutger Hauer (1944-) / Roy Batty, Nexus-6 replicant.

Born in Breukelen, Netherlands, Rutger Hauer was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor for Blade Runner.

Hauer's films include – Soldier of Orange (1977), Nighthawks (1981), The Osterman Weekend (1983), Ladyhawke (1985), Flesh + Blood (1985), The Hitcher (1986), Blind Fury (1989), Sin City (2005), Batman Begins (2005) and Hobo with a Shotgun (2011).

Sean Young (1959-) / Rachael, replicant working for Tyrell Corp.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Sean Young’s films include – Stripes (1981), Young Doctors in Love (1982), Dune (1984), No Way Out (1987), Wall Street (1987), A Kiss Before Dying (1991), Fatal Instinct (1993) and Ace Ventura Pet Detective (1994).

Gaff: It's too bad she won't live! But then again, who does?

Edward James Olmos (1947-) / Gaff, Los Angeles Police.

Born in Los Angeles, California, Edward James Olmos was Oscar Nominated Best Actor for Stand and Deliver (1988), his films include – Wolfen (1981), Triumph of the Spirit (1989), American Me (1992), Gossip (2000) and The Green Hornet (2011).

Olmos has been popular on TV in Miami Vice (1984-1990) and as Admiral Adama in Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009).

Bryant: I need ya, Decks. This is a bad one, the worst yet. I need the old blade runner, I need your magic.

M. Emmet Walsh (1935-) / Harry Bryant, Police Chief, LA Rep-Detect Department.

Born in Ogdensburg, New York, M. Emmet Walsh’s films include – Airport 77 (1977), The Jerk (1979), Brubaker (1980), Silkwood (1983), Blood Simple (1984), Fletch (1985), Narrow Margin (1990), A Time to Kill (1996) and Wild Wild West (1999)

Daryl Hannah (1960-) / Pris, Nexus-6 replicant.

Born in Chicago, Illinois. Daryl Hannah won two Saturn Awards - Best Actress for Splash (1984) and Best Supporting Actress for Kill Bill Vol.2 (2004).

Hannah's films include – Clan of the Cave Bear (1986), Legal Eagles (1986), Roxanne (1987), Wall Street (1987), Steel Magnolias (1989), Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992) and Kill Bill Vol.1 (2003).

Pris: Must get lonely here, J.F.
J.F. Sebastian: Not really. I make friends. They're toys. My friends are toys. I make them. It's a hobby. I'm a genetic designer.

William Sanderson (1944-) / J.F. Sebastian, Genetic Designer.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, William Sanderson’s films include – The Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980), City Heat (1984), Black Moon Rising (1986),The Rocketeer (1991) and Last Man Standing. TV series True Blood (2008-2010).

Leon: How old am I?
Deckard: I dunno.
Leon: My birthday's April 10, 2017. How long do I live?
Deckard: Four years.
Leon: More than you! Painful to live in fear, isn't it?

Brion James (1945-1999) / Leon Kowalski, Nexus-6 replicant.

Born in Redlands, California, Brion James films include – 48Hrs (1982), Flesh + Blood (1985), Enemy Mine (1985), Red Heat (1988), Tango & Cash (1989), Another 48Hrs (1990), The Player (1992) and The Fifth Element (1997).

Joe Turkel (1927-) / Dr. Eldon Tyrell, founder of Tyrell Corporation

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Joe Turkel’s movies include – Paths of Glory (1957), The Bonnie Parker Story (1958), King Rat (1965), The Sand Pebbles (1966), The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1967), The Hindenburg (1975) and The Shining (1980).

Joanna Cassidy (1945-) / Zhora, Nexus-6 replicant.

Born in Haddonfield, New Jersey, Joanna Cassidy was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Saturn Award for her role in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), her films include – Under Fire (1983), The Fourth Protocol (1987), The Package (1989), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995) and Chain Reaction (1996).

Batty: Questions... Morphology? Longevity? Incept dates?
Chew: Don't know, I don't know such stuff. I just do eyes, just eyes, just genetic design, just eyes. You Nexus, huh? I design your eyes.
Batty: If only you could see what I've seen with your eyes!

James Hong (1929-) / Hannibal Chew, Genetic Engineer.

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, James Hong has hundreds of TV and movie credits to his name dating back to 1955, his movies include – Blood Alley (1955), The Satan Bug (1965), The Sand Pebbles (1966), Colossus -The Forbin Project (1970), Chinatown (1974), Big Trouble in Little China (1986), The Golden Child (1986), The Shadow (1994) and Balls of Fury (2007).

Morgan Paull (1944-) / Holden, Blade Runner, LAPD.

Born somewhere in the United States, Morgan Paull’s films include – Patton (1970), Cahill US Marshall (1971), The Last Hard Men (1976), Twilight’s Last Gleaming (1977), The Swarm (1978), Norma Rae (1979) and Fade to Black (1980).

Announcer: A new life awaits you in the Off-world colonies! A chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

Philip K. Dick’s novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” was first published in 1968 and the story was set in 1992 which was changed to 2021 in later editions.

The term “Replicant” is never used in the novel, the Replicants are called “Andies” or “Androids” in the story.

The Voight-Kampff test was taken from the book, people suspected of being replicants have to be questioned and tested on the machine to measure ‘blush-response’, eye movement, heart rate etc.

It seems that replicants have no sympathy for animal life and their delayed response when animals are mentioned usually gives them away.

Philip K, Dick never saw the finished film, he died in March 2, 1982, three months before the film was released in theaters. He did see 20 minutes of footage and liked what he saw. He was very pleased with the casting of Rutger Hauer, “the perfect Batty, cold, Aryan, flawless”.

Other actors were considered for Rick Deckard before Harrison Ford took the role, they included – Burt Reynolds, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman, Jack Nicholson, Sean Connery, Scott Glenn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Nolte and Tommy Lee Jones.

Screenwriter Hampton Fancher had Robert Mitchum in mind for Deckard while writing the screenplay

Unused footage from the opening scenes of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980) was used for the ending of the theatrical version of Blade Runner which had Rick and Rachael driving out of the city in daylight.

The snake wrapped around Joanna Cassidy’s neck is not only real it’s owned by the actress, they used her pet python for the scene.

Originally Rick Deckard was to have worn a hat while out investigating but Ridley Scott nixed the idea after noticing Ford wore a hat in his previous film, Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The astonishing visual effects by Douglas Trumbull are among the most memorable aspects of the film, Trumbull had worked on Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Harrison Ford and Ridley Scott didn’t get along during filming and there was friction on the set, they refused to even speak to each other at times.

When interviewed by the BBC a few years ago Ridley Scott was asked “Who’s the biggest pain in the arse you’ve ever worked with?” he answered "It's got to be Harrison ... he'll forgive me because now I get on with him. Now he's become charming. When we worked together I was the new kid on the block. But we made a good movie.”

Batty: I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I 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.

Was Deckard a replicant too? According to Philip K. Dick’s novel no he wasn’t but Ridley Scott decided that it would be a cool idea if Deckard was a replicant too and didn't realise it. In the director’s cut he added a brief dream sequence featuring a unicorn, an implanted memory? At the end of the film Deckard finds an origami unicorn left by Gaff, signifying perhaps that he knows Deckard is a replicant and left him a clue (or a parting gift).

Harrison Ford interviewed in one of the documentaries on the film confessed to not liking the idea that his character was a replicant and that it was news to him. He says that he didn’t play him as a replicant.

Rutger Hauer was disappointed with this revelation too saying the ending of the movie was no longer a symbolic human vs machine battle turning instead into replicant vs replicant.

In early script drafts Dr. Eldon Tyrell turns out to be a replicant too, after Roy Batty kills him he demands to know where the real Tyrell is. J.F. Sebastian tells him Tyrell died a year ago and his cloned replicant took over. Batty than kills Sebastian.

The first previews of the film were disastrous, people found it difficult to follow, a voice-over by Harrison Ford was added later to explain what was happening. Ford hated having to do the voice-over, Ridley Scott wasn’t a fan either.

A Director’s Cut of Blade Runner was released in a few theaters and on video in 1992 removing the voice-over, adding a unicorn dream and the happy ending outside the city was also removed..

The recent Final Cut has a few more changes including more violence and Roy Batty’s line “I want more life, f*cker!” has been changed to “I want more life, father.”

Visible wires lifting up Deckard’s police spinner near the start of the film have been digitally erased for the Final Cut.

The five-disc Ultimate Collectors Edition DVD and Blu-Ray contains 5 versions of the film – The Workprint, Theatrical Version, International Version, Director’s Cut and Final Cut.

Blade Runner was nominated for 2 Oscars – Best Art Direction and Best Visual Effects.

It was nominated for 8 British Academy Awards – Best Film Editing, Best Sound, Best Make Up, Best Score, Best Visual Effects and won for Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design and Best Production Design.

Vangelis excellent electro-symphonic score was nominated for a Golden Globe. Vangelis had won an Oscar the previous year for his score to Chariots of Fire.

Blade Runner ranked #97 in the American Film Institute’s 100 Greatest Films List, and #6 in the AFI’s 10 Greatest SF films list.

Blade Runner originally budgeted at $15m ended up costing $28m. The film was not a success grossing about $33m in the US, the film got lost among all the other sci-fi- fantasy films released that summer – The Thing, Star Trek II, Tron, Firefox, The Dark Crystal, Mad Max 2, Conan the Barbarian and especially E.T. The Extraterrestrial which broke box office records and stayed in the charts for months.

The film instead became a cult favourite and over the years its reputation grew, it has generated more discussion than the movies that eclipsed it in 1982. In 2007 readers of Empire Magazine voted Blade Runner the greatest science fiction film of all time. It has even been labelled the Citizen Kane of science fiction. Not bad for a film critics sniffed at and few people liked on it’s release

The Critics Wrote –

“Gloomy futuristic thriller, looking like a firework display seen through thick fog, and for all the tiring tricks and expense adding up to little more than an updated Philip Marlowe case.” (Halliwell)

"Harrison Ford is, for a movie so darkly fanciful, rather a colorless hero; he fades too easily into the bleak background. And he is often upstaged by Rutger Hauer, who in this film and in ''Night Hawks'' appears to be specializing in fiendish roles.

Mr. Hauer is properly cold-blooded here, but there is something almost humorous behind his nastiness. In any case, he is by far the most animated performer in a film intentionally populated by automatons." (Janet Maslin, New York Times)

"Ridley Scott's picture is a stylistically dazzling film noir set in November 2019 in a brilliantly imagined Los Angeles marked by both technological wonders and horrendous squalor.

Dramatically, film is virtually taken over at the midway point by top replicant Rutger Hauer. After destroying his creator, the massive, albino-looking Hauer takes off after Ford, and the villain here is so intriguing and charismatic that one almost comes to prefer him to the more stolid hero." (Variety)

"A richly detailed and visually overwhelming trip... which sticks with you like a recurrent dream." (Sunday Times)

“A stunningly interesting visual achievement, but a failure as a story.” (Roger Ebert)

“It hasn't been thought out in human terms. If anybody comes around with a test to detect humanoids, maybe Ridley Scott and his associates should hide.” (Pauline Kael)

Poster art by Drew Struzan
Poster art by Drew Struzan

Highest Rated Sci-Fi Films of the 1980s


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