The screenplay had been offered to (and been rejected by) virtually every big director in Hollywood before Paul Verhoeven got hold of it. He threw it away after reading the first pages, convinced it was just a dumb action movie. However, his wife read it all the way through and convinced him that the story was layered with many satirical and allegorical elements, after which Verhoeven finally decided to direct the film.
It was discovered that when in full RoboCop costume, Peter Weller could not fit properly into the police car as he was too bulky. That's why most shots of him show him exiting the car or preparing to get into it. For shots where he actually needed to be in the car, he only wore the top part of the costume and sat in his underwear. However, to maintain the illusion that RoboCop wears the entire suit while inside a car, most shots show his robotic feet exiting the car first.
Some 25 years later, an internet rumor began to get funding for a RoboCop statue to be placed in Detroit. Peter Weller himself created a public service announcement to support the proposal. Eventually, a Kickstarter campaign was created and proved successful, as the 12 foot statue is now in production.
In the attempted rape scene, writer Edward Neumeier originally had RoboCop shoot past the victim's cheek, hitting and killing the rapist. While getting ready to shoot the scene as scripted, Paul Verhoeven notice how Donna Keegan's (playing the rape victim) legs were spread apart, giving him the idea to have RoboCop shoot between her legs and shoot the rapist in the genitals. Neumeier loved the idea and that was how the scene was shot.
In Sacramento, California, a robbery suspect fled into a darkened movie theatre to escape pursuing police. He became so engrossed in the movie playing on screen (RoboCop), that he failed to notice that police had evacuated all other patrons from the theatre. When the lights flipped on, the stunned man was taken into custody.
Paul Verhoeven and Rob Bottin clashed repeatedly before and during production over the design and make-up of the RoboCop character. What they argued most about was the scene where Murphy takes off his helmet. Bottin wanted the scene to be filmed in a darkened area, fearing that harsh light would reveal too much of the make-up effects; Verhoeven wanted the scene to be filmed as brightly as possible, citing that director of photography Jost Vacano would be able to light it properly without revealing anything. Verhoeven got his way and Bottin refused to talk to him any further for the remainder of production. However, at the premiere, both men were so impressed with how the scene had turned out, that they instantly forgave each other. Bottin, who had even vowed to never again work with Verhoeven, happily accepted the offer to work on Verhoeven's next project, Total Recall (1990).
Realizing that the film was running behind schedule and over budget, director Paul Verhoeven and producer Jon Davison purposely did not film one crucial scene: Officer Murphy's death. When production wrapped, they went back to Los Angeles and grimly informed the execs that Murphy's death had not been filmed. So the execs gave them more money and they filmed the scene in a warehouse in Los Angeles.
Concerned that various police forces would object to the scene of the title character throwing Clarence Boddicker through glass while reading his rights, the producers had a preliminary screening for an audience of police officers. It turns out that they were delighted at the sight of the hero getting tough with a wanted murderer in a way that they could not.
The character Bob Morton was originally conceived as a stereotypical corporate executive, arrogant, unpleasant and unlikeable. However, when Miguel Ferrer signed on and gave his performance as an amiable and charismatic individual, Edward Neumeier and Paul Verhoeven realised that the audience would likely start sympathizing with the character, and Bob Morton was rewritten to become the more pleasant individual that he is in the movie.
Because the hands of the RoboCop suit were made of foam rubber, the car keys would bounce off of Peter Weller's hand every time he attempted to catch them. The production took up to 50 takes and an entire day's worth of filming before finally getting the shot right.
In the hostage scene, as RoboCop is walking toward the room where the former councilman is holding the mayor hostage, the infrared heat vision mode was actually executed using fluorescent body paint on the (nude) actors and a black light. Paul Verhoeven says that he thought this technique would be cheaper than getting an actual infrared spectrometer camera.
Peter Weller said one of his favorite memories of his film career was filming the drug bust sequence. While filming the sequence, Weller was listening to Peter Gabriel's song "Red Rain" on his Walkman inside the RoboCop helmet as he exchanged gunfire with various bad guys.
When in full RoboCop costume, Peter Weller would remain in character between takes, only responding to director Paul Verhoeven's instructions when properly addressed as "Robo". Verhoeven found this too funny to take seriously and dropped this after a couple of weeks.
One unused idea for a scene was to have RoboCop going to his old house where his family would still live. He meets his son, but the boy does not recognize him; the only one who does is his old dog (similar to The Odyssey, where Odysseus returns home and isn't recognized by anyone except his dog). The producers liked the idea but Paul Verhoeven decided not to shoot the scene for being a bit too sentimental. The scene would later be used in the 2014 remake. This idea was also used in RoboCop 2, as he passes in front of the house in a police car and his former wife recognizes him.
The repeated line "I'd buy that for a dollar!" comes from Cyril M. Kornbluth's short story "The Marching Morons", which presents a similarly cynical view of an over-commercialized future that's desensitized to violence and war. A radio game show in that short story uses the line "I'd buy that for a quarter." as its signature phrase.
When the RoboCop suit arrived on set, Peter Weller discovered that his movements had become very restrictive in the suit after Paul Verhoeven began watching the raw dailies. He and Moni Yakim had envisioned RoboCop moving in a snake like fashion but the suit would not allow it. Moni then informed him that it would be best to slow down his movements so that he could gain the ability to move in the costume. Production was then halted for three days in order for Yakin, Verhoeven, and Weller to discuss the new approach. Tempers flew and arguments started over this decision, but in the end, Verhoeven thought Weller deserved the right to express his opinions and go forth with this decision. Verhoeven was happy with the end results.
The Desert Eagle Magnum that is in the OCP Board Room was originally intended to be RoboCop's gun. There is even existing behind-the-scene photos and footage of Peter Weller practicing with the Desert Eagle; however, when they gave Weller the gun, they noticed that even the bulky Desert Eagle was too small in the hands of RoboCop, so the film's armory supervisor, Randy E. Moore, brought in a Berretta Automatic Pistol to which a compensator and decorative dressing was added to increase the size of the gun.
Nancy Allen first arrived on set when Paul Verhoeven was shooting the deliberately cheesy sitcom "It's Not My Problem" which appears on television screens throughout the film. Allen was initially horrified to think that she had signed on to make a film with an incompetent director.
Edward Neumeier came up with the idea for RoboCop after he had helped out on the set of Blade Runner (1982), which was about cops hunting robots that looked like humans in the future. Intrigued, Neumeier turned the scenario around into a future where a cop looking like a robot would be hunting human criminals.
The RoboCop suit was designed by Rob Bottin and his team. The production team wasn't satisfied with the initial design, and kept changing it and putting additions to it for months. Ultimately, nothing seemed to work and they went back to what was pretty much Bottin's original design. This caused considerable delays, and by the time the suit was completed, it was three weeks late and arrived at the studio on the day that the first RoboCop scene was scheduled to be shot. It took 11 hours for Bottin's people to fit Peter Weller into the suit, and when it was done Weller found that all his mime exercises were now useless because he needed time to get used to the suit and to perform as a robot in it. Production was halted so that Weller and his mime coach, Moni Yakim, could learn how to move in the suit.
Kurtwood Smith claims in the 20th Anniversary DVD release that the scene where he is taken into the precinct was the first scene he had shot, and proposed the spitting of the blood and swearing to give the scene more punch. Paul Verhoeven, intrigued, decided to give it a shot. Smith mused that this may have simply been due to Verhoeven's love of bloodletting.
Kurtwood Smith originally auditioned for the role of Dick Jones, and when he first learned he had been cast, he thought that was the role he had gotten. Not until later did he find out he would be playing Clarence Boddicker. Later still, he discovered the reason: being Dutch, director Paul Verhoeven had grown up near the Holocaust, and thought that, when wearing glasses, Smith resembled Heinrich Himmler. Smith apparently agreed with the idea, stating that a bigger, more menacing villain would come across as someone who could merely be outsmarted, while his character's glasses made him look smarter and therefore more of a threat.
The shootout at the cocaine factory was not originally intended to be so fast-paced. The automatic guns used in the scene kept malfunctioning during filming. Most camera shots did not provide more than three seconds of usable footage, because most guns were usually jammed by that time. This necessitated quick cuts during editing, which proved to be advantageous for the scene.
Writers and producers were concerned that cops would be offended by their portrayal in the movie. On the contrary, they loved it. They especially enjoyed the scene where RoboCop throws Boddicker through three planes of glass window while concurrently reading Boddicker an abbreviated rendition of his Miranda rights.
For the theatrical trailer, Orion used the music from their film The Terminator (1984) which is also a movie about a cyborg (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger). Schwarzenegger was briefly considered for the role of RoboCop, but those involved with the film were concerned he would be too bulky in the suit and end up looking like the Michelin Man. Also, the background music was very misleading to some people, who believed the film to be a sequel to The Terminator. Explaining humanity's dependence on technology, and the rise of Skynet.
During the news footage when RoboCop throws the disgruntled city hall worker out the window during the hostage crisis, the dummy's legs fly up into the air in a comedic fashion as it hits the ground. This was a happy accident and the creators decided to keep it in the film.
Seven RoboCop suits were used throughout the movie. Out of the seven, one of them had special safeguards and fireproof fiberglass to help the stuntman perform the gas station scene. Another two were used exclusively during the third act of the movie where Robocop gets damaged from the ED-209 and the Detroit Police Department. There was no 'one suit' as most people would think, but actually more than one, each fragile and easily destroyed during filming.
Writer Edward Neumeier was an executive at Universal and hated his job so he jacked it in to pursue his dream of writing a screenplay about a robot that became a cop. Coincidentally fellow scribe Michael Miner was working on a script about a human cop who becomes a robot. It was a natural progression for the two to join forces.
The hostage scene where a former city council member holds the mayor and his staff hostage was based on a real-life crisis where former San Francisco supervisor Dan White wanted his old job back. The character is also seen eating Babe Ruth bars - as homage to White's 1979 conviction of involuntary manslaughter where diminished capacity was used, known in legal terms as the Twinkie Defense.
Enforcement Droid 209's voice is that of producer Jon Davison, its growls are of a jaguar, and its squeals are of a pig. ED-209's body was based on the design of a Bell helicopter and the overall appearance is reminiscent of a line of toys named Robotech (1985) which were based on a 1980s Japanese anime series.
Stephanie Zimbalist was originally cast as Lewis but had to give up the role when she was called back to film more episodes of Remington Steele (1982). Nancy Allen was then cast and Paul Verhoeven had her cut her hair shorter and shorter several times until it was short enough, as Verhoeven wanted to desexualize the character.
The steel mill scenes at the end of the movie became the more boring part of the shoot. Ray Wise and Kurtwood Smith along with the rest of the cast would regularly steal golf carts belonging to the crew and race around with them. The crew became very angry and told them they were not happy with their actions.
This movie along with Basic Instinct (1992), Starship Troopers (1997), and Hollow Man (2000) is one of four separate movie franchises in which the first movie of their respected series (directed by Paul Verhoeven) were successful, but their respective sequels (not directed by Verhoeven) all either bombed at the box office or were released 'Direct-to-VHS/DVD'.
On the 20th anniversary disc, Peter Weller stated that the scariest moment came when he had to film the scene where he walked down the stairs in the dance club. This consisted of him only wearing the upper portion of the costume but having to walk down the stairs without being allowed to look where he was stepping. He said the situation became very dangerous as loud music was being played and smoke was everywhere. He ended up doing this sequence three times.
On the DVD Ray Wise explains that he and Kurtwood Smith ended up being too close to an explosion which caused pieces of glass to be embedded into Ray's face. He received an additional stunt pay for this mishap as per the studio. Ray then jokingly states that he devised ways where he would be as close to the explosions as possible to gain extra money.
In addition to Iron Man (1966), the comic book "ROM" is also seen in the mom-and-pop store, the story-line of which involves a hero sacrificing his human body and having his mind placed into a robot in order to save his people. In the scene where Murphy's son Jimmy watches TJ Lazer on TV in a flashback, issue 41 of ROM can be seen on the floor at his feet.
After Peter Weller complained about the costume during the first few days of filming, the role of RoboCop was offered to Lance Henriksen, who turned down because of time conflicts - Henriksen was also considered for the title role in The Terminator (1984) (before the cyborg was decided for to be large and bulky and Arnold Schwarzenegger was brought on), and finally got to play a robot in Aliens (1986) (see also trivia for The Terminator (1984)).
RoboCop's spike, which emerges from his knuckles, and gun holster were actually two stand alone separate pieces that were never integrated into the costume. The spiked hand was controlled by someone who just held up a fake arm towards the camera while he was off camera, and the gun holster was operated off screen since it was a stand alone piece.
RoboCop's three Prime Directives ("Serve the public trust; Protect the innocent; Uphold the law") are reminiscent of the Three Laws of Robotics as devised by sci-fi author Isaac Asimov and first published in his short story "Runaround".
Before Peter Weller was cast, Rutger Hauer was another actor in line to play RoboCop. However, it was decided that he was too large to fit into the costume. Weller won the role because of his slender frame and the expressiveness of his lower face.
Just for the record (some viewers have asked about this very obvious point), loading the "demo" ED-209 with live ammo was no "mistake" or "character error", even though it was a ridiculous and catastrophic oversight in responsible behavior. The idea is that Dick Jones and his henchmen are such deranged, arrogant, confident people that they will actually risk lives merely to demonstrate/flaunt their preposterous juggernaut.
Two scenes were storyboarded, but never filmed. The drawings are shown on the DVD. The first was a scene where RoboCop visits his grave. The second was a long car chase, an alternate scene that got them to the old steel mill (where Murphy died). This car chase was to be set after RoboCop removed his helmet and had RoboCop and Lewis break up a riot, followed by a shootout with Joe and Emil with the Cobra Assault Cannons. Eventually, they retreated to their cars then the car chase to the old steel mill began. There was also an alternate opening scene, showing Clarence Boddicker wounding the officer who is announced dead later in the movie, but this scene was scrapped as being unnecessary.
The police cars were modified Ford Tauruses. One of the main competitors of the Taurus at the time was the Pontiac 6000. The car the villains use is the 6000 SUX, a not-so-subtle jab at the Pontiac 6000. Ford did manufacture the Taurus as a police vehicle between 1989 to 1995 - the 1989-91 models had a modified front grille with eight openings which was not available on the civilian models including the Taurus SHO. The 2013 model year officially reintroduces the Taurus (sold to law enforcement agencies as a Police Interceptor sedan and not badged as a Taurus along with a utility variant sharing the same D4 platform with the 2011-present Ford Explorer (also sold as a Police Interceptor Utility - both D4 platform vehicles have standard all wheel drive) as the replacement for the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, which was phased out in 2011.
The entrance to the OCP building in the movie is actually the front entrance of Dallas City Hall with extensive matte work (by Rocco Gioffre) above to make the building appear to be a giant skyscraper.
In a 2013 interview, Edward Neumeier reflected on how the film's script is starting to play into reality: "We are now living in the world that I was proposing in RoboCop (1987)...how big corporations will 'take care of us' and...how they won't."
For a while, Michael Ironside was attached to the role of RoboCop, but they had to give up on the idea when they realized that the actor would have to have a much smaller frame to fit into the costume envisaged.
David Cronenberg was one of many directors offered the position and who subsequently turned it down. Ironically, Peter Weller played the lead in Cronenberg's Naked Lunch (1991), in which Weller appeared in lieu of reprising his role in RoboCop 3 (1993).
The "Cobra Assault Cannons" are working Barrett M82A1s, long-range anti-material .50 caliber sniper rifles with some plastic molding added to the frame and scopes originally meant to have CGI incorporated with them. That idea was scrapped due to budgetary constraints.
RoboCop's gun, referred to in the script as an Auto-9, was a modified Beretta M93R: The barrel was extended and modified to resemble a casket. The weapon has a selectable fire mode switch, semi-automatic and three-round burst. The basic design of the Beretta 93R machine pistol is based on the famous Beretta 92 pistol. However, the trigger mechanism is somewhat different from Beretta 92, as it is a single action only, with non-ambidextrous frame mounted safety and additional fire mode selector.
While filming in Dallas, Paul Verhoeven especially liked the look of one particular building when it was lit up by external lights at night. Unfortunately, that building was being renovated during the shooting and the lights were shut off. As they were finished in Dallas and were leaving, they literally saw the lights come on through the plane's window.
Although both Edward Neumeier and Paul Verhoeven have declared themselves staunchly on the political left, Neumeier recalls on the audio commentary to Starship Troopers (1997) that many of his liberal friends perceived this as a fascist movie. On the 20th Anniversary DVD, producer Jon Davison referred to the film's message as "fascism for liberals" - a politically liberal film done in the most violent way possible.
The scientist who introduces ED-209 in the beginning has a name tag of McNamara, a nod to Robert McNamara, the Secretary of Defense during the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson Administrations. Production designer William Sandell based the ED-209 design on the BELL UH-1H-HUEY chopper used during the Vietnam War.
In 1988, brake and muffler shop Meineke used a RoboCop-like customer in a commercial. For legal reasons, the armor was completely orange in color, whereas everything else - even the voice - was similar.
Another problem with the RoboCop suit was that it reflected too much light when lit like an actor normally is. This caused some unusable shots. Eventually, the problem was solved by lighting it like a car.
The thief who robs the liquor store walks by a rack of comic books and picks up an issue of Iron Man. Like RoboCop, Iron Man is about a man who wears a metal robotic suit due to injuries. Cast member Miguel Ferrer later appeared in Iron Man Three (2013).
While Murphy mentions his son Jimmy by name when twirling his gun in front of Lewis, the name of Murphy's wife is never mentioned in the film. The closing credits refer to them only as "Murphy's Wife" and "Murphy's Son". In the closing credits of the sequel RoboCop 2 (1990), their names are officially revealed as Ellen Murphy and Jimmy Murphy.
For the commercial about a nuclear war game, they replaced Parker Brothers with Butler Brothers. Coincidentally, in Dallas, Texas, where RoboCop was filmed, there was an actual company named Butler Brothers.
Director Paul Verhoeven credits James Cameron's The Terminator (1984) with the success of RoboCop. Orion Pictures, the production company of RoboCop, was initially founded with the purpose of making quality movies instead of profitable blockbusters. Shortage of money forced them to produce The Terminator, which they saw as a low-budget production that might make some quick profit, but since this was not the type of movie they liked to be associated with, the studio did very little marketing for the film. When Terminator became an unexpected hit, the studio was convinced that science-fiction could be profitable, so RoboCop was quickly green-lit and appropriately marketed. Verhoeven also adopted the fast editing pace from that movie.
The song "Show Me Your Spine" by PTP is playing in the club when RoboCop arrests Leon. This song, which features vocals by Kevin 'ohGr' Ogilvie of Skinny Puppy, was unavailable in any format until October 2004, when it was included on the CD "Ministry: Side Trax" released by Rykodisc.
Although Peter Weller is solely credited as playing RoboCop, he did in fact have a stunt double for certain scenes. During the making of the crack house scene, Peter Weller, Paul Verhoeven, and the stunt double can be seen discussing RoboCop's movements.
Prominent Dallas landmarks seen in the film include Dallas City Hall (the exterior of the OCP headquarters), the Plaza of the Americas (where the glass elevator that RoboCop rides in are located), the Fountain Place building (the chisel-shaped skyscraper seen in the background of the OCP boardroom scenes) and the Reunion Tower (the tall tower in the background while Murphy and Lewis are chasing the van in the beginning of the movie on Victory Avenue (which is now the location of the Victory Park District (now the location of American Airlines Center) since 2001). The underground parking garage where RoboCop is shooting out with the police is the Crescent Building parking garage. Another garage used was the Dallas Public Library's, across the street from City Hall.
Paul Verhoeven admitted that while reading the screenplay for the first time, he had difficulties with the American slang (as he is Dutch). For instance, he did not understand why the Afro-American gang members would call the Caucasian members "brother", even though they weren't related.
Paul Verhoeven wanted his American debut to have an appropriately American pacing. He worked again with cinematographer Jost Vacano (with whom he had filmed several of his Dutch movies), as Vacano had become famous for his groundbreaking tracking shots in Das Boot (1981). Verhoeven wanted the camera to be nearly always moving, to prevent the pace from slowing down; for that reason, even dialog scenes were filmed with a steady cam.
On the Criterion Edition DVD commentary track, executive producer Jon Davison and writer Edward Neumeier both relate the film to the decay of American industry from the 1970s through the early 1980s, with the abandoned "Rust Belt style" factories that RoboCop and Clarence Boddicker's gang use as hideouts reflecting this concern.
When Robocop first "loads up", you seen some IBM compatible computer commands displayed on the screen in a list. The commands are: Command.com, Load Bios, Memory Set, System Status, and OK. When he does a more extensive reboot, the commands are (some obviously related to only Robocop): Command.com, Load Bios, Bios System Check, RAM Check, Config.SYS, Bio.Com Interface, To Rom I/O, Controller, Compspec.EXE, Memory.DAT, Robo Utils, System Buffer, Parameters, Parity Set, Memory Set, System Status, and OK.
The paramedics attempting to resuscitate Murphy after he is shot up with holes were played by a real trauma team. They were allowed to improvise their lines, and on the DVD commentary the writers mention how it turned out better than what they ever could have thought up.
After writing the second draft of the screenplay, writers Edward Neumeier and 'Michael Miner (I)' had two months to rewrite the screenplay with director 'Paul Verhoeven''s input. Verhoeven initially wanted to give the story more realism, and also suggested that Murphy should have an extramarital affair with Ann Lewis. When Miner became sick, Neumeier reluctantly started to work on the alterations, but not before he gave Verhoeven a stack of American comics, so that the director could get a taste of the comic book atmosphere that Neumeier and Miner had been aiming for. Fortunately, Verhoeven enjoyed the comics, and after reading the third draft of the screenplay, he agreed that the second draft (with a few slight modifications) was superior.
Kenneth L. Johnson said that he was offered the chance to direct, but turned down when he was not allowed to change aspects of the script that he considered to be "mean-spirited, ugly and ultra-violent".
The original gun for RoboCop was a Desert Eagle, but this was deemed too small. A Beretta 93R was heavily modified by Ray Williams of Freshour Machine, Texas City, Texas, who extended the gun barrel to make it look bigger and more proportional to RoboCop's hand. The gun holster itself was a standalone piece that was not integrated into the suit. Off-screen technicians would operate the device on cue by pulling cables that would force the holster to open up and allow the gun to be placed inside
When told cigarettes will kill him, Emil (Paul McCrane) replies "You wanna live forever?" This line was also used in Starship Troopers (1997), also directed by Paul Verhoeven. Paul McCrane also previously appeared in Fame (1980), the title song of which featured the line "I'm gonna live forever."
Kevin Page (the actor seen as Kinney - who is killed by the ED-209) has a still of the scene with himself and Ronny Cox which became his self-portrait - in real life an oil painting of this scene (done with a modern take on pointillism) is seen inside Page's art gallery in Dallas, Texas, which opened up in 2012 (at the same time when appearing on the television series Dallas (2012) in a recurring role - he and Brenda Strong (who was in Starship Troopers (1997)) were the only Verhoeven alumni to have appeared in the Dallas continuation series for three seasons). Page has been a professional artist/photographer in the DFW Metroplex since the early 2000s.
In the scene where Murphy is in the locker room and Frederickson's locker is being emptied, Murphy is seen placing his wedding ring on the top shelf of his locker. Shortly after when he is told to be front and centre by Reed, you can clearly see his wedding ring is back on as he loads his gun and closes his locker.
In the scene where Murphy is practicing his gun twirling while Lewis is getting the coffee, if you look in the background of the side shot (where both are in the scene) the low brown building behind them with the antennae tower is the TV station KDFW Channel 4, the Dallas/Fort Worth affiliate of the FOX Network (at the time it was the CBS affiliate). Also of an interesting note, the parking lot behind Murphy in the shots facing him is no longer there. It is now a city bus terminal.
Michael Gregory as the SWAT team leader when the city councilman takes hostages. He previously appeared in Beverly Hills Cop (1984) as the hotel manager who checks in Axel Foley. Both movies have "cop" in the title.
The script for Robocop was rejected by just about every major movie studio since it was conceived in the early 1980's. Orion films took the chance and Robocops success continued on with 2 follow up sequels to the movie, two cartoon series, a television show, several comic book series, and a made for TV series of 4 movie length episodes as well as a fan made parody film. It has also spawned over a billion dollars in children and adult toy lines and collector statues which are still being released to date.
Plans for a Terminator vs Robocop film have been on and off in the works since 1990. Although no movie has yet to be made with the crossover, several video games and comic books have been released based on the idea, making the project one of the most anticipated crossovers of all time.
The Twinkie as a defense for murder refered to in an earlier piece of trivia was mentioned in a cover of I Fought The Law by the 80's punk band the Dead Kennedys, it is also notable that the defense actually worked.
Edward Neumeier: The writer is briefly seen on a photo on the "Wanted" bulletin in the police department, hanging on a non-transparent glass when RoboCop walks behind it. Close inspection of the original prop reveals that the bulletin bears his name as well and that the fictionalized version of Edward Neumeier is charged with fraud and flight to avoid prosecution. Originally, the man catching the LAR Grizzly gun that RoboCop beats out of Leon's hand in the disco was supposed to be his cameo, but he wasn't available at the time of filming.
Paul Verhoeven: [in-movie fake commercials] Several fake advertisements are featured throughout the movie: The Family Heart Center (a medical center specializing in artificial heart transplants), Nukem (a futuristic Battleship-like board game), and the 6000 SUX - the primary vehicle that Clarence Boddicker and his gang use.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The climactic "Melting Man" scene with Emil (Paul McCrane) melting after being soaked in acid was heavily objected by the MPAA and they demanded to have it removed. However, they eventually backed down when they found out that in most test screenings, the scene elicited the most positive reaction from the test audience such that it was eventually passed without any cuts.
While filming Bob Morton's death scene, Miguel Ferrer and Kurtwood Smith began cracking up because while directing the scene, Paul Verhoeven referred to all the actors in-character. This meant he addressed the actresses playing the prostitutes as "bitches".
The scene where Boddicker's gang tortures and finally murders Murphy was heavily edited in order to avoid an X rating. In the theatrical version, it is clear that Boddicker has blown apart Murphy's right hand with a shotgun blast, and Emil then blows off his right arm at the shoulder with another shotgun blast, but the explicit gore is limited in those instances. There is also reduced gore when Boddicker blows Murphy's brains out with a handgun. The scene with all of the original dismemberment is included in the DVD.
When Lewis fires the Cobra Assault Cannon at the end of the final shootout at the foundry, the muzzle flash knocks the Lexan screen protecting the film crew and equipment off its mounting and into the shot.
According to Paul Verhoeven's commentary on the Criterion Edition DVD, an additional Media Break was filmed and completed for the film. Most notably, it featured footage of Lewis hospitalized and recovering, assuring the audience that she did not die nor would become "Bride of RoboCop", as many speculated.
Originally, Clarence Boddicker was the lone villain in the movie, but the filmmakers decided to capitalize on the political commentary by making Dick Jones (as played by Ronny Cox) the arch villain pulling the strings. As a result, the two central storylines (RoboCop hunting Boddicker/the politics of OCP) converge into the finale.
Director Paul Verhoeven originally wanted RoboCop to kill Clarence Boddicker by stabbing him through the eyeball. Realizing that the censors would balk, he changed his mind and envisioned Clarence having the interface spike shoved through his chin, mouth, and upper jaw. Again, for the sake of placating the censors, he settled on the filmed version, which was also altered slightly (see the "Alternate Versions" section for more information).
One scene that was scripted, but not featured in the film is a fourth Media Break sequence in which Brixby Snyder, a parody of Benny Hill whose running line is "I'd buy that for a dollar!", is forcibly arrested on allegations of receiving sexual favors from underaged co-stars. The scene would have taken place after RoboCop's reply to the Old Man's question, but the decision was made to instead end the film after Murphy's reply, because Director Paul Verhoeven felt the scripted ending was "more of a punch-line than a climax". As a result, there is no dialog mentioning the names of Brixby Snyder or his program "It's Not My Problem" in the film.
The 'Melting Man' sequence was conceived by special make-up effects designer Rob Bottin as a two-stage effect, with increasing amounts of flesh melting off from Emil's (Paul McCrane) bones in each stage. About three-quarters of McCrane's head and chest were covered in make-up appliances. For the shot where Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) runs over Emil with his car, a life-size dummy was created with the stage two make-up. The dummy was jointed to give the correct effect of buckling while being hit. The head was always supposed to come off, but the fact that it rolled neatly over the car's windshield was pure luck. For the shot from inside the car that showed Emil's guts splattering over the windshield, the cast and crew had gathered several days' worth of catering leftovers in a pot. This had become a disgusting liquid mess that was subsequently thrown at the windshield to get the desired effect.
Paul Verhoeven: [religious imagery] RoboCop is seen walking on water near the end of the film. Verhoeven has stated that he sees the character as a futuristic version of Christ. Additional references include the gunshot blast to Murphy's hand as Jesus' hands being nailed to the cross, the bullet to Murphy's head seen as the Crown of Thorns, and Boddicker's blood at the climax of the film turning the water red, like wine.
Paul Verhoeven initially did not like the screenplay, but was finally won over when he noticed that underneath all the science fiction, there was a universal story about a man who finally finds his lost identity. When he saw the finished film with an audience for the first time, Verhoeven was touched to learn that he had succeeded in getting that quest to the screen; during the final shot, they already started to yell "Murphy!" before RoboCop got the chance to say it.
Joe P. Cox was originally supposed to have a much more gruesome death. In the original script during the climax, he got knocked off a scaffold and was impaled on a pole when he fell, and would then be eaten alive by dogs.