Blade Runner (1982)

R | 114, 117 or 124 mins | Science fiction | 25 June 1982

Director:

Ridley Scott

Producer:

Michael Deeley

Cinematographer:

Jordan Cronenweth

Production Designer:

Lawrence G. Paull

Production Companies:

The Ladd Company, Sir Run Run Shaw
Full page view
HISTORY

The film begins with the following prologue: “Early in the 21st Century, the Tyrell Corporation advanced Robot evolution into the Nexus phase – a being virtually identical to a human – known as a Replicant. The Nexus 6 Replicants were superior in strength and agility, and at least equal in intelligence, to the genetic engineers who created them. Replicants were used Off-world as slave labor, in the hazardous exploration and colonization of other planets. After a bloody mutiny by a Nexus 6 combat team in an Off-world colony, Replicants were declared illegal on earth – under penalty of death. Special police squads – Blade Runner Units – had orders to shoot to kill, upon detection, any trespassing Replicant. This was not called execution. It was called retirement.” A title card follows which reads: “Los Angeles, November, 2019.”
       End credits contain a “thanks” to William S. Burroughs and Alan E. Nourse “for the use of the title Blade Runner .” Credits conclude with the following: “This film is dedicated to the memory of Philip K. Dick.” Dick passed away on 2 Mar 1982, roughly three months prior to the film’s release.
       A 6 Jan 1975 DV news item announced that Herb Jaffe would produce a feature film based on Philip K. Dick’s novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? An 11 Jul 1980 DV report later announced that Ridley Scott was attached to direct Blade Runner, which would be based on the same novel, but Jaffe was not mentioned. At the time, Filmways&sortType=sortByExactMatch'>Filmways was attached to produce and Scott was set to receive a percentage of the film’s gross. According to ... More Less

The film begins with the following prologue: “Early in the 21st Century, the Tyrell Corporation advanced Robot evolution into the Nexus phase – a being virtually identical to a human – known as a Replicant. The Nexus 6 Replicants were superior in strength and agility, and at least equal in intelligence, to the genetic engineers who created them. Replicants were used Off-world as slave labor, in the hazardous exploration and colonization of other planets. After a bloody mutiny by a Nexus 6 combat team in an Off-world colony, Replicants were declared illegal on earth – under penalty of death. Special police squads – Blade Runner Units – had orders to shoot to kill, upon detection, any trespassing Replicant. This was not called execution. It was called retirement.” A title card follows which reads: “Los Angeles, November, 2019.”
       End credits contain a “thanks” to William S. Burroughs and Alan E. Nourse “for the use of the title Blade Runner .” Credits conclude with the following: “This film is dedicated to the memory of Philip K. Dick.” Dick passed away on 2 Mar 1982, roughly three months prior to the film’s release.
       A 6 Jan 1975 DV news item announced that Herb Jaffe would produce a feature film based on Philip K. Dick’s novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? An 11 Jul 1980 DV report later announced that Ridley Scott was attached to direct Blade Runner, which would be based on the same novel, but Jaffe was not mentioned. At the time, Filmways&sortType=sortByExactMatch'>Filmways was attached to produce and Scott was set to receive a percentage of the film’s gross. According to a 26 Dec 1980 HR brief, Dustin Hoffman was considering the lead role as a bounty hunter, and the story was reportedly set in 1999, though the year eventually changed to 2019.
       In an interview published in the Feb 2007 issue of Los Angeles magazine, Scott stated that he and Hampton Fancher wrote the screenplay for Blade Runner in eight months. Working titles included Dangerous Days and Mechanismo . Fancher eventually thought of the William S. Burroughs book, Blade Runner: A Movie, and producer Michael Deeley decided Blade Runner was the best title for the project. While Scott was initially interested in Hoffman for the role of “Deckard,” Fancher imagined Robert Mitchum while writing the character, and stated that he wanted “an over-the-hill…alcoholic guy.” Actor Harrison Ford was cast as “Deckard,” after Deeley became frustrated with Hoffman’s creative input.
       According to the 26 Dec 1980 HR brief and a 19 Jul 1981 LAT article, the budget for the film was $22 million. However, Var later reported the budget as $30 million in a 16 Jun 1982 review.
       The film was shot at The Burbank Studios lot, where an old New York set was re-dressed as an “unnamed, Asian-dominated metropolis of the not-so-distant future,” as stated in the 19 Jul 1981 LAT article. $1.5 million was spent on set design, and Syd Mead was brought in to design futuristic cars. Mead also drew backgrounds which intrigued Scott and production designer Lawrence G. Paull. Mead commented that his designs for Blade Runner were based on the “social theory” that inhabitants of the film’s futuristic world would detest the look of the rundown city so much that they would travel in tank-like vehicles, and windows would be boarded up or replaced with television screens showing footage of exotic locations. Some Los Angeles, CA, locations were used, including The Bradbury Building downtown, the location for J. F. Sebastian's apartment, as stated in the 16 Jun 1982 Var review. An 11 Sep 1992 Washington Post review of a theatrical reissue also noted that Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House, located in Los Angeles’ Los Feliz neighborhood, served as the location for Tyrell’s home as well as Deckard's apartment building.
       In an interview two days before the 25 Jun 1982 release, Harrison Ford defended his voice-over narration in the film, saying it had always been planned; however, several sources “close to the production” claimed it was a last-minute addition to make the plot more cohesive, as stated in a 23 Jun 1982 LAT item. When a reporter asked Ford whether he liked the film, he responded, “That’s not a fair question.”
       Critical reception was mixed. Praise was reserved for the film’s performances and technical aspects, while the screenplay was criticized as confused and messy. In a 25 Jun 1982 NYT review, Janet Maslin called the film “muddled yet mesmerizing,” and described the special effects as “superb.” Also on 25 Jun 1982, Sheila Benson of LAT described the script as “frail and unhelpful” but “drenched in atmosphere.” The 15 Jun 1982 Var review lauded director of photography Jordan Cronenweth and composer Vangelis, and claimed that, despite its narrative flaws, the film was “nevertheless a major entry in the futuristic genre.”
       Blade Runner was nominated for two Academy Awards: “Best Art Direction” and “Best Visual Effects.” The film won three British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards for best “Costume Design,” “Production Design,” and “Cinematography.”
       According to a 13 Feb 1992 HR article, a “70mm version of the director’s cut of Blade Runner ” was scheduled to be released in the fall of 1992. Warner Bros. planned to distribute 100 prints, encouraged by the success of “two record-breaking engagements” in Oct 1991 when the film took in $184,000 in box-office receipts at a San Francisco, CA, theater over two weeks, and $230,059 at a Los Angeles, CA, theater in twenty-seven days. A subsequent release was announced on 26 May 2006 in DV , when Warner Bros. stated that a new “Director’s Cut,” which Scott began working on in 2000 and promised to be the final version, would appear in theaters in 2007. Scott was reportedly disappointed by the 1992 version, although it had been praised by critics as an improvement on the original motion picture. A home video version was set for a Sep 2006 release and would sell for only four months before being “placed on moratorium.” Following the planned 2007 theatrical release of the new director’s cut, a special edition DVD would be released, featuring the three versions of the film in addition to an “expanded international theatrical cut” and bonus materials.
       A 22 Jun 1995 HR brief reported that Bantam Books planned to release a sequel to Blade Runner in the form of a novel, titled Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human, written by K.W. Jeter. A web series tied to the film was later announced in a 4 Jun 2009 NYT news item. The series, titled Purefold, would be produced by Scott’s RSA Films, with a story set in 2019. Because the producers had not obtained rights to Dick’s novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the series would refrain from direct references to certain characters and situations from Blade Runner but would address similar themes, exploring, as in the film, “what it means to be human and understanding the notion of empathy.”
       A 19 Aug 2011 HR news item announced that Alcon Entertainment was producing an as-yet untitled “follow-up” to Blade Runner, with Scott attached to direct. Though it was unclear whether the project would be a prequel or a sequel, Alcon’s co-founder, Andrew Kosove, asserted that the film would definitely not be a remake. Alcon partnered with producer Bud Yorkin to produce the follow-up in addition to “TV and interactive productions based on” Blade Runner .
       Blade Runner was ranked 97th on AFI's 2007 100 Years…100 Movies--10th Anniversary Edition list of the greatest American films.


The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and note were written by participant Austin Hodaie, a student at Oregon State University, with Jon Lewis as academic advisor.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
20 Jan 1975.
---
Daily Variety
6 Jan 1975.
---
Daily Variety
11 Jul 1980.
---
Daily Variety
14 Jun 1982
p. 3.
Daily Variety
26 May 2006
p. 5, 23.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Dec 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jun 1982
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Feb 1992
p. 3, 18.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jun 1995.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Aug 2011.
---
Los Angeles
Feb 2007.
---
Los Angeles Times
19 Jul 1981.
---
Los Angeles Times
23 Jun 1982.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Jun 1982
Section VI, p. 1.
New York Times
25 Jun 1982
Section C, p. 10.
New York Times
4 Jun 2009
Section B, p. 4.
New Yorker
12 Jul 1982
pp. 82-85.
Newsweek
28 Jun 1982
p. 72.
Rolling Stone
6 Aug 1972
pp. 33-34.
Time
12 Jul 1982
p. 68.
Variety
25 Jan 1975.
---
Variety
16 Jun 1982
p. 15.
Village Voice
6 Jul 1982
p. 47.
Washington Post
11 Sep 1992.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Michael Deeley - Ridley Scott production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Pres
Exec prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Addl photog
Addl photog
Cam op
Cam op
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Lighting gaffer
Key grip
Still photog
Electron microscope photographs
Copyright © 1977
ART DIRECTORS
Visual futurist
Art dir
Prod illustrator
Prod illustrator
Prod illustrator
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Supv ed
Asst ed
1st asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Prop master
Asst prop
Asst prop
Construction coord
Painting coord
Standby painter
Action prop supv
Action prop consultant
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost des
Men`s cost
Men`s cost
Ladies cost
Ladies cost
MUSIC
Mus comp, arr, performed and prod
SOUND
Sd mixer
Cableman
Dial ed
Asst sd ed
Asst dial ed
Chief dubbing mixer
Pinewood Studios
Chief dubbing mixer
Twickenham Studios
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff supv
Spec photog eff supv
Spec photog eff supv
Spec floor eff supv
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec photog eff by
Dir of photog, EEG
Opt photog supv, EEG
Cam, EEG
Cam, EEG
Cam, EEG
Cam, EEG
Cam, EEG
Matte artist, EEG
Matte photog, EEG
Matte photog, EEG
Spec cam tech, EEG
Opt line up, EEG
Opt line up, EEG
Anim and graphics, EEG
Eff illustrator, EEG
Miniature technician, EEG
Asst eff ed, EEG
Chief model maker, EEG
Key grip, EEG
Gaffer, EEG
Film coord, EEG
Cinetechnician, EEG
Still lab, EEG
Electronic and mechanical des, EEG
Electronic engineering, EEG
Computer engineering, EEG
Spec engineering consultant, EEG
Spec engineering consultant, EEG
Prod office mgr, EEG
Visual displays by
Esper seq by
Esper seq by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec in charge of prod
Prod exec
Casting
Casting
Prod controller
Prod coord
Transportation capt
Craft service
DGA trainee
STAND INS
Stunt coord
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick (Garden City, NY, 1968).
MUSIC
"Harps of the Ancient Temples," composed and performed by Gail Laughton, courtesy of Laurel Records.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Dangerous Days
Mechanismo
Release Date:
25 June 1982
Premiere Information:
New York and Los Angeles openings: 25 June 1982
Copyright Claimant:
The Blade Runner Partnership
Copyright Date:
25 June 1982
Copyright Number:
PA157612
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo® in selected theaters
Color
Color by Technicolor®
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
114, 117 or 124
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26573
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 2019 Los Angeles, California, police squads called Blade Runner Units seek out Replicants, advanced robots created by the Tyrell Corporation that are nearly identical to humans. Because Replicants were being used as slaves in “Off-world” colonies on other planets, they led a bloody revolt against humans and are no longer welcome on Earth. Blade Runners are responsible for disabling, or “terminating,” them. Holden, a Blade Runner, interrogates Leon Kowalksi, a new employee of the Tyrell Corporation suspected of being a Replicant. When Holden asks him to describe his mother, Kowalski shoots the agent. Later, ex-Blade Runner Deckard orders from an Asian food stand and remembers that his ex-wife used to call him “Sushi,” implying that he was a cold fish. A policeman named Gaff appears and informs Deckard in another language that he is under arrest. As Deckard rides in Gaff’s flying police vehicle, he guesses that Gaff is from the streets due to his use of “city speak,” a newfangled language combining Japanese, Spanish, and German. Deckard is escorted to an office where Bryant, his former boss, orders him to find four Replicants who killed the passengers and crew of an off-world shuttle and later landed on Earth. Deckard refuses, telling Bryant to employ Holden in the task, but Bryant informs him that Holden was critically injured by Kowalski. When Deckard tries to walk out, Bryant reminds him that he has no choice but to cooperate. Later, Bryant and Deckard watch video footage of Kowalski, and Bryant explains that the suspected Replicants recently escaped from an off-world colony – three male and three female. Two have since died in an attempt to infiltrate the Tyrell Corporation, but ... +


In 2019 Los Angeles, California, police squads called Blade Runner Units seek out Replicants, advanced robots created by the Tyrell Corporation that are nearly identical to humans. Because Replicants were being used as slaves in “Off-world” colonies on other planets, they led a bloody revolt against humans and are no longer welcome on Earth. Blade Runners are responsible for disabling, or “terminating,” them. Holden, a Blade Runner, interrogates Leon Kowalksi, a new employee of the Tyrell Corporation suspected of being a Replicant. When Holden asks him to describe his mother, Kowalski shoots the agent. Later, ex-Blade Runner Deckard orders from an Asian food stand and remembers that his ex-wife used to call him “Sushi,” implying that he was a cold fish. A policeman named Gaff appears and informs Deckard in another language that he is under arrest. As Deckard rides in Gaff’s flying police vehicle, he guesses that Gaff is from the streets due to his use of “city speak,” a newfangled language combining Japanese, Spanish, and German. Deckard is escorted to an office where Bryant, his former boss, orders him to find four Replicants who killed the passengers and crew of an off-world shuttle and later landed on Earth. Deckard refuses, telling Bryant to employ Holden in the task, but Bryant informs him that Holden was critically injured by Kowalski. When Deckard tries to walk out, Bryant reminds him that he has no choice but to cooperate. Later, Bryant and Deckard watch video footage of Kowalski, and Bryant explains that the suspected Replicants recently escaped from an off-world colony – three male and three female. Two have since died in an attempt to infiltrate the Tyrell Corporation, but Kowalski and possibly others have successfully penetrated the company as new employees. Footage of Roy Batty, an optimum-efficiency combat Replicant, appears on the screen, and Bryant suggests that Batty is leading the group. Deckard then sees images of the two other suspects: Zhora, a female combat Replicant, and Pris, a beautiful “pleasure model.” Deckard learns that these Replicants are “Nexus 6” versions, built to have a four-year lifespan in order to prevent the development of human emotions over time. Deckard visits Dr. Eldon Tyrell’s headquarters, where he meets Rachael. Tyrell orders Deckard to perform an emotional response test on Rachael to prove how a human reacts to the questioning. At a table, Deckard aims a camera at Rachael’s eye and monitors the movement of her pupils as she answers roughly one hundred questions. Toward the end of the interrogation, Tyrell sends Rachael away and Deckard states that she is a Replicant, though it took more than the usual twenty or thirty questions to confirm. Tyrell informs him that is partly because Rachael believes she is human. He says she is an experiment, and a result of his efforts to create more human robots by instilling them with memories of a life they never lived. Later, Deckard and Gaff examine the hotel room where Kowalski is registered as a guest, finding what appears to be a reptilian-like scale in the bathroom and family photos. Deckard insists that Replicants have neither scales nor family photos, so the findings are particularly strange. In search of Tyrell, Batty and Kowalski threaten Chew, a scientist who creates eyeballs for Replicants. Frightened, Chew tells Batty that J. F. Sebastian, a Tyrell operative, will lead them to their target. Rachael surprises Deckard at his apartment, and he convinces her that she is a Replicant by citing her implanted memories. Having upset Rachael with the news, Deckard offers her a drink, but she disappears. Roaming the streets alone in the rain, Pris runs into J. F. Sebastian and convinces him to invite her inside. At his apartment, Sebastian introduces her to his friends, two robotic toys he has invented. Pris tells Sebastian she has lost her own friends, but plans to find them soon. At home, Deckard examines a photograph taken from Kowalski’s apartment and blows it up to find an image of a woman. He prints the image, then visits a woman in town who examines the scale from Kowalski’s apartment and informs Deckard that it is a snake scale. Deckard questions an Egyptian street vendor who makes artificial snakes, forcing him to reveal that club owner Taffey Lewis purchased the artificial snake made from the same scales Deckard found at Kowalski’s hotel room. At a nightclub, Deckard questions Lewis, asking if he knows the girl in the picture he was examining earlier. After the Replicant, Zhora, performs with a snake on Lewis’s stage, Deckard approaches her dressing room disguised as a union representative. Zhora showers off her makeup then attempts to strangle Deckard but runs away after they are interrupted. Deckard pursues her through the busy streets and shoots her down. Bryant arrives and says Deckard has four more Replicants to retire, including Rachael. As Deckard walks home, Kowalski ambushes him in the streets and beats him, but Rachael saves Deckard by shooting the Replicant in the head. They regroup at Deckard’s apartment, and Rachael asks if Deckard would come after her if she ran away to the North. He promises no, but says that somebody would. As Deckard drifts to sleep, Rachael plays the piano. He wakes to the music and they kiss. At Sebastian’s apartment, Batty arrives, kisses Pris, and tells her that Zhora and Kowalski have been retired. Learning that Pris and Batty are Nexus 6 Replicants, Sebastian asks them to show him something, so Pris grabs an egg out of boiling water without flinching. Batty convinces Sebastian that he needs to speak to Tyrell directly, and they go along with Pris to Tyrell’s headquarters. In his bedroom, Tyrell meets Batty, who demands that his lifespan be elongated. Tyrell tells Batty it is not possible; in turn, Batty kills him with his bare hands. In search of Sebastian, Deckard goes to his apartment where he finds Pris and kills her after she attacks him. Batty arrives and finds Pris’s dead body. After Deckard attempts to shoot him, Batty breaks two of his fingers then allows him time to run away. In pursuit of Deckard, Batty senses his energy dwindling and recognizes that he has reached the end of his lifespan. To revive himself, Batty stabs his own hand and follows Deckard to the roof. There, Deckard jumps onto a nearby building, catching himself on a strut protruding from its roof. Leaping to the adjacent roof, Batty taunts Deckard before pulling him up from the strut. Batty tells Deckard he’s seen incredible things in space, but all the moments will be lost with his death. He then slumps his head forward and terminates. Deckard wonders why Batty saved him, imagining that perhaps he came to love life more than he had before in his final waking moments. Soon after, Gaff finds Deckard on the roof, throws his gun back to him, and tells him it’s unfortunate that Rachael will not live. Deckard later looks for Rachael at his apartment and finds her asleep in bed. He asks if she loves and trusts him, and she responds that she does. Deckard realizes that Gaff spared her life, thinking she would terminate in four years like the other Replicants. However, Tyrell informed Deckard that Rachael has no termination date. Some time later, in a remote landscape, Deckard and Rachael drive through the wilderness together. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.