Blade Runner (1981) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Scoopy Jr

There are movies that we can't view analytically or objectively. Like a fondly remembered lover, they cannot be cleared from our hearts. I love Blade Runner, what can I say? More than any other movie. So much that I don't even know if it is any good, because I'm blind to such questions. All such objectivity has been lost, "like tears in the rain." I love the way it looks. I love the offbeat supporting characters like Gaff, the cop, and J. F. Sebastien, the genetic engineer. I love the noble, troubled villain and his poetic dialogue. I think it works just fine with or without the voice-over. The director's cut is great, but I also love the original theatrical cut, for reasons similar to the ones voiced below by Scoopy Jr.

The story takes place in Los Angeles in 2019. The sun no longer creates daylight because some kind of haze surrounds the city. The sun is still seen as a circular orange ball in the sky, but it only serves to provide the same type of light as moonlight, casting an orange hue over everything. Many humans have left earth to live in colonies on other worlds. The people left on earth are split into two classes of people. The penthouse dwellers live in elegant isolation and never venture into the streets. The streets look like a combination of Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Times Square in the 1980s.

Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), one of the few Caucasians on the streets, is trying to enjoy a simple street meal when he is placed under arrest and summoned to police headquarters. It turns out that he's an ex-cop of a very special type - a blade runner - a man whose job is to kill replicants. Replicants are sophisticated androids created to replace humans in certain situations. According to their manufacturer, they are more human than humans. In fact, some replicants are so real that they don't even know that they are replicants because of sophisticated memory implants. Every once in a while they go crazy and turn against humans. Specialists like Deckerd are required to retire them.

Deckerd has been called to the police department not as a criminal, but as a forcibly drafted blade runner. He's needed to retire four particularly dangerous replicants who escaped from an off-world colony and, uncharacteristically, returned to earth. The reason for their return? Their leader, Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), the most sophisticated replicant ever created, has found out that his predetermined shelf life is nearing the expiration date, and he simply wants more life. The only way he might be able to accomplish that is to return to earth and meet with Tyrell, the genius who created him.

Deckard doesn't want the job of retiring the renegade replicants, but he has no choice, so the hunt is on.

The dialogue is some of the most poetic in screen history:

Batty: Morphology? Longevity? Incept dates?
Hannnibal Chu: Don't know, I don't know such stuff. I just do eyes, j-j-just eyes... just genetic design, just eyes. You Nexus, huh? I design your eyes.
Batty: If only you could see, old man, what I have seen with your eyes

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 the rain. (NOTE: This beautiful monologue was at least partially improvised by Rutger Hauer.)

Tyrell: The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long - and you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy.

Gaff (upon seeing Deckard flee Los Angeles with a replicant lover who has an unknown incept date): It's too bad she won't live! But then again, who does?

Deckard: All they'd wanted were the same answers the rest of us wanted. Where have I come from? Where am I going? How long have I got?

Batty: Fiery the angels fell. Deep thunder roll'd around their shores, burning with the fires of Orc. (NOTE: this one, of course, is real poetry. It is Batty's twist on William Blake's "America: A Prophesy." The original line is, "Fiery the angels rose, and as they rose deep thunder roll'd around their shores: indignant burning with the fires of Orc.")

Of the many debates which stimulate Blade Runner geeks, one of the most interesting involves the possibility that Deckerd himself, the ultimate killer of replicants, could be a replicant. In Phil Dick's story ("Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?") Deckerd explicitly considered the possibility. If Rachel could be a replicant and not know it, then couldn't any replicant from the same series also be convinced of his own humanity? Deckerd had himself tested by another Blade Runner, and the "Voight-Kampff" test certified his humanity. Director Ridley Scott did not want any such certainty in the film version. He has stated that he wanted to keep the matter ambiguous and, as far as he is concerned, Deckerd probably is a replicant. I fully support Scott's decision to keep it ambiguous. There was nothing in the plot that required a commitment either way, and good art should provoke debate and discussion, as this film has certainly done, if the FAQ at IMDb is any indication.


See "five disc set" notes below for details


Previous versions: Joanna Cassidy is topless in a dressing room scene.

Deleted scenes: Cassidy is also seen from the rear in see-through panties, and Sean Young is topless in a sex scene with Harrison Ford.

Blu-Ray, 5 Discs DVD, 5 Discs HD-DVD, 5 Discs DVD, two discs

Scoopy Junior's notes

Director's Cut vs. Original Theatrical Cut. This is an old debate so I won't go on too much, but I LIKE the original theatrical release with Harrison Ford doing the voice-over. In my mind, it's kinda the element that makes the movie work. It's the closer. The voice-over is what completes the homage to the classic 1940's style of low-rent detective film noir, which is basically what Blade Runner is structurally.

It has been reported that Ford hated the voice-over, and as a result purposely read the lines as poorly as possible thinking that if he did it badly enough, it wouldn't be used. Yet, if you look at the Deckard character, the unkempt, uncaring washout that drinks himself to sleep on the couch ... Ford's contempt for the lines, and "poor" delivery are perfect for the character! Do you think Deckard's inner monologue would be dramatic and expressive? Of course not. It would be a dull monotone. This was a character who was sick of everything, including himself.

I think it would be a heck of a DVD if BOTH versions were available, with commentary from Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford comparing the two. Especially since Ford and Scott have both been quoted as having different views on the issue of whether Deckard, foremost Blade Runner and the most ferocious killer of replicants, is a replicant himself.

Scoop revisits the 5-disk set

Disc One
Restored and remastered with added & extended scenes, added lines, new and cleaner special effects and all new 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio. Also includes:

  • Commentary by Ridley Scott
  • Commentary by executive producer/co-screenwriter Hampton Fancher and co-screenwriter David Peoples; producer Michael Deely and production executive Katherine Haber
  • Commentary by visual futurist Syd Mead; production designer Lawrence G. Paull, art director David L. Snyder and special photographic effects supervisors Douglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich and David Dryer

Disc Two
A feature-length authoritative documentary revealing all the elements that shaped this hugely influential cinema landmark. Cast, crew, critics and colleagues give a behind-the-scenes, in-depth look at the film -- from its literary roots and inception through casting, production, visuals and special effects to its controversial legacy and place in Hollywood history.

Disc Three
This is the version that introduced U.S. movie-going audiences to a revolutionary film with a new and excitingly provocative vision of the near-future. It contains Deckard/Harrison Ford's character narration and has Deckard and Rachel's (Sean Young) "happy ending" escape scene.

Also used on U.S. home video, laserdisc and cable releases up to 1992. This version is not rated, and contains some extended action scenes in contrast to the Theatrical Version.

The Director's Cut omits Deckard's voiceover narration and removes the "happy ending" finale. It adds the famously-controversial "unicorn" sequence, a vision that Deckard has which suggests that he, too, may be a replicant.

Disc Four
BONUS DISC - "Enhancement Archive": 90 minutes of deleted footage and rare or never-before-seen items in featurettes and galleries that cover the film's amazing history, production teams, special effects, impact on society, promotional trailers, TV spots, and much more.

  • Featurette "The Electric Dreamer: Remembering Philip K. Dick"
  • Featurette "Sacrificial Sheep: The Novel vs. The Film"
  • Philip K. Dick: The Blade Runner Interviews (audio)
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep Cover Gallery (images)
  • The Art of Blade Runner (image galleries)
  • Featurette "Signs of the Times: Graphic Design"
  • Featurette "Fashion Forward: Wardrobe & Styling"
  • Screen Tests: Rachel & Pris
  • Featurette "The Light That Burns: Remembering Jordan Cronenweth"
  • Unit photography gallery
  • Deleted and alternate scenes
  • 1982 promotional featurettes
  • Trailers and TV spots
  • Featurette "Promoting Dystopia: Rendering the Poster Art"
  • Marketing and merchandise gallery (images)
  • Featurette "Deck-A-Rep: The True Nature of Rick Deckard"
  • Featurette "--Nexus Generation: Fans & Filmmakers"

Disc Five
This rare version of the film is considered by some to be the most radically different of all the Blade Runner cuts. It includes an altered opening scene, no Deckard narration until the final scenes, no "unicorn" sequence, no Deckard/Rachel "happy ending," altered lines between Batty (Rutger Hauer) and his creator Tyrell (Joe Turkell), alternate music and much more. Also includes:

  • Commentary by Paul M. Sammon, author of Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner
  • Featurette "All Our Variant Futures: From Workprint to Final Cut"

 Three more words: Sean Young topless.

Yeah, you read that right.

There are three items I found of special interest in those deleted scenes:

 (1) Deckerd has two long conversations with fellow blade runner Holden, who is kept alive in some kind of iron lung after his encounter with Leon.
 (2) There are a couple of seconds of Joanna Cassidy's butt, almost seen through panties which are nearly diaphanous.
 (3) There is a sex scene between Rachel and Deckerd. It is one of the more romantic sex scenes I've ever seen, performed beautifully by both of them to convery the desperate longing of the characters, with the additional kicker of Sean Young's bare breasts. I wish this had been finished off properly and left in the film, but I'm thrilled to see it in any format, even if it is raw and unrestored footage.

I've been waiting 25 years to see Rachel the replicant do a nude scene. Thanks, Ridley Scott

The Critics Vote

  • General USA consensus: three and a half stars. Ebert 3/4,  BBC 5/5, 5/5.

  • The film was nominated for two Oscars: special visual effects, and art direction.

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 8.3/10, placing it in the top 100 of all time.
  • It was a failure at the box office. Despite significant advance publicity and a $28 million dollar budget, Blade Runner grossed only $28 million domestically.

Miscellaneous ...


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this film is an A. Pretty much universally acclaimed. A gorgeously rendered and imaginative future world, the dialogue of an epic poem, sadness, redemption, intellectual mystery, complex morality, nudity, humor, action, a memorable Vangelis score, and Roy Batty, one of the most complex villains ever brought to the screen. Despite some irritating lapses in logic, it's deserving of its place in the IMDb pantheon.

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