In the early twenty-first century, the Tyrell Corporation, during what was called the Nexus phase, developed robots, called "replicants", that were supposed to aid society, the replicants which looked and acted like humans. When the superhuman generation Nexus 6 replicants, used for dangerous off-Earth endeavors, began a mutiny on an off-Earth colony, replicants became illegal on Earth. Police units, called "blade runners", have the job of destroying - or in their parlance "retiring" - any replicant that makes its way back to or created on Earth, with anyone convicted of aiding or assisting a replicant being sentenced to death. It's now November, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Rick Deckard, a former blade runner, is called out of retirement when four known replicants, most combat models, have made their way back to Earth, with their leader being Roy Batty. One, Leon Kowalski, tried to infiltrate his way into the Tyrell Corporation as an employee, but has since been able to escape. ...Written by
Leon Kowalski's gun is a COP .357 Derringer. The double action COP (Compact Off-duty Police) was designed as a back-up weapon for off-duty Police and fired .357 Magnum rounds. The version seen in this movie has been altered slightly. The ratcheting striker has been modified to fire two cartridges at a time to create a bigger flash. See more »
(at around 1h 35 mins) When Deckard is being chased by Batty through the Bradbury building, there are two shadows visible on a wall; the shadows belong to director Ridley Scott and cinematographer Jordan Cronenweth (this has been corrected for the 2007 Final Cut; the shadows have been digitally removed). See more »
Female announcer over intercom:
Next subject: Kowalski, Leon. Engineer, waste disposal. File section: New employee, six days.
See more »
In the "happy ending" Theatrical/International cuts, the credits play over the gorgeous scenery. In later Director/Final cuts, they play over a normal black background. See more »
A 113 minute 70mm workprint was shown at the some sneak previews in Dallas and Denver in 1982. The film scored extremely poorly from the test audiences, and it was this poor reaction which led to the happy ending and the voice-over narration. In 1989, sound preservationist Michael Arick came across a 70mm print of Blade Runner in the TODD-AO vaults. Thinking it was the International Cut, Arick purchased the print for Warners, who loaned it out to the Los Angeles Cineplex-Odeon Fairfax Theatre in 1990 for a festival of 70mm prints. It was at this screening that people realized they were watching the Dallas/Denver Workprint. The film was subsequently screened at UCLA's Los Angeles Perspectives Multimedia Festival in 1991. A 35mm reduction of this version was later shown at the NuArt Theatre and the Art Deco Castro Theater in San Francisco in 1991. It was the success of these four screenings that prompted Warner Bros. to look into the possibility of releasing a Director's Cut of the film. The workprint briefly resurfaced again, by accident, for a one-week engagement (1/15 - 1/21) at the Seattle, WA Landmark Egyptian Theater in 1999. However, this print was the one-of-a-kind 70mm blow-up, directly from the Warner Bros. vault. In 2007, the workprint was made available to the public for the first time on disc 5 of the 5-disc Ultimate Collector's Edition DVD/HD-DVD/Blu-ray Disc of the film (which also contains the US theatrical cut, the European cut, the Director's Cut and the Final Cut). The differences between the workprint and the other versions include:
The logo for the Ladd Company is on a white background, not a black background.
The title screen for the film is different, with the words 'BLADE RUNNER' sliding onto the screen accompanied by the sound of knives.
New American Dictionary (2016) definition of a replicant is used in lieu of the opening credit crawl.
The opening shots do not include the close-up and subsequent pull-away from the eye seen in all other cuts, it simply cuts closer and closer to the Tyrell building. Additionally, the shot moving into towards the window is absent, as are two interior wide shots of Holden standing at the window. Throughout the scene, air-traffic control headings can be heard.
After Leon shoots Holden and he crashes through the wall, hitting the table, the shot stays on Holden as fan blades brush his hair and his back smokes from the gunfire.
Deckard's meal at "The White Dragon" can be seen being laid on the bar in front of him, rather than merely being heard. Additionally, the shot of Deckard rubbing his chopsticks together is longer. Also, as Gaff speaks to Deckard, the shot remains on Deckard rather than cutting to Gaff, showing Deckard having some difficulty eating his noodles.
As Deckard and Gaff are flying to the police station, in all versions of the film, you can see Gaff speaking to Deckard, but in the Workprint you can actually hear what he says.
During the briefing, the shot of Bryant getting a bottle and pouring two drinks is absent. Also missing is Bryant's line "I need the old Blade Runner, I need your magic."
Bryant says "two" replicants were fried running through an electric field instead of one."
When looking at the incept tapes, Bryant comments on Leon's ability to work all day and night.
As Gaff and Deckard approach the Tyrell building, there is more air traffic control heard.
When Rachael asks Deckard if she can ask him a personal question, Deckard responds "Sure. What is it?" In all other versions of the film, he simply says "Sure."
When Deckard and Gaff inspect Leon's address and the attendant opens the room for them, he mutters "Kowalski".
After Chew tells Roy that J.F. Sebastian will take him to Tyrell, the shot where Roy leans forward and says, "Now, where will we find this J.F. Sebastian?" is missing.
After Rachael has left Deckard's apartment, and he walks out onto the balcony, there is the sound of a police siren, which is absent in all other cuts.
When Deckard plays the piano in a depressed stupor: a) there is no unicorn vision, b) there is no background music, and c) we hear one or two notes Harrison Ford actually played on the set.
A whirring sound comes from the Esper that is absent in all other versions.
After zooming in on the shot of Roy in the photo, Deckard can be heard to say "Hello Roy." Then, after printing the hard copy, he says "Zhora or Pris?"
When Deckard gives the snake scale to the Cambodian lady, she says "It will take a moment."
Deckard's search for Abdul Hassan lasts longer: we see more of Animoid Row and the back streets of the sector. As Deckard moves away from the Cambodian lady, there is an eighteen second crane shot showing Deckard disappearing into the crowd.
The dialogue heard during the scene with Hassan matches perfectly with the lip movements.
As Deckard nears Taffey Lewis' club, there is a twelve second crane shot showing the geography of the street.
There is a shot of two dancers in hockey masks outside Taffey's bar.
There is a shot of Deckard asking for directions to Taffey Lewis' from a uniformed policeman.
The audio-only introduction of 'Miss Salome' is slightly different.
There is a close-up shot of Deckard examining a sequin from Zhora's costume.
After Zhora attacks Deckard and flees, we see Deckard loosen his tie from his throat.
"If I Didn't Care" by the Ink Spots, is in the background when Deckard purchases a bottle of Tsingtao, instead of "One More Kiss, Dear."
After Rachael shoots Leon, the shot of him falling forward onto Deckard is absent, as is the shot of Rachael lowering the gun and stepping forward.
In Deckard's apartment, there is no "Love Theme"; the initial music track merely continues on longer. Also, Rachel plays a different selection on the piano when testing herself, and the shot of her undoing her hair and letting it fall to her shoulders is missing.
Roy says to Tyrell, "I want more life, father".
When Roy kills Tyrell, the footage is the same as in the International version, showing Roy's thumbs going into Tyrell's eyes and blood spurting out. Additionally, when Roy turns to Sebastian, he says "I'm sorry, Sebastian. Come. Come", as he walks towards him. As Sebastian turns to run, he can be heard whimpering.
Bryant's info to Deckard over the CB about Tyrell's and Sebastian's deaths are heard as we see Deckard driving through the tunnel. When Deckard is parked in his sedan on the street, he is merely preparing to call J.F.'s apartment before the police spinner interrogates him. Also, when the spinner arrives, we hear police sirens.
During the fight between Pris and Deckard, we see Pris lift him up by the nostrils.
When Deckard shoots Pris, he shoots 3 times instead of 2.
There is the sound of a thunderclap as Roy examines Pris' body.
We actually see Roy break Deckard's fingers, in a split second close up, with a prop-hand. Also, the shot when Deckard pops his fingers back in is taken from a different angle, and Deckard's scream is much quieter than in all other versions of the film.
There are more shots of Roy running through the Bradbury.
When Roy pushes his head through the wall, there is an extra line; "You're not in pain are you? Are you in pain?"
There are more shots of Deckard as he climbs to the roof, and also more shots of him as he hangs on to the neighboring building.
Different, farther-away shots of Roy as Deckard watches him die. Additionally, there is an alternate narration (the only narration in this version): "I watched him die all night. It was a long, slow thing and he fought it all the way. He never whimpered and he never quit. He took all the time he had as though he loved life very much. Every second of it...even the pain. Then, he was dead."
Deckard's movement through his apartment as he searches for Rachael is different, with a wide shot of him scanning the room. The overall scene is approximately 20 seconds shorter than in all other versions
The shot of Deckard telling Rachael to wait before leaving the apartment is missing.
There is no happy ending, the film ends when the elevator doors slam.
There are no end credits, merely exit music for about a minute: the same cue heard as when Gaff takes Deckard to see Bryant at the start of the movie.
I spent a weekend with the new DVD set of Blade Runner. Watched all four versions pretty much back to back (minus the work print version) starting with the US theatrical and finishing with the Final Cut. And across those eight hours I spent with the film, I did not get tired of watching – just watching – that futuristic film-noir vibe: deep dark shadows and majestic use of light and color used to make a run-down polluted cityscape look so beautiful. In fact, when I got to the Final Cut, which had been cleaned up, restored, and remixed, the picture and sound quite literally took my breath away.
Blade Runner is easily one of the best looking films ever made.
In some ways, many ways, Blade Runner strikes me as silly. Particularly in its more climactic moments where the protagonist faces off against a replicant. Pris's acrobatic means of attacking Deckard? When Roy Batty chases Deckard in his shorts (when a few moments before he was fully clothed?) The film goes over-the-top to the point where I find myself asking, "why in the world would the characters do that?!" But here's what's interesting: as silly as Blade Runner may get it never betrays its own world. Everything that happens, in some queer way, feels natural to this strange futuristic world.
I like the movie in its action scenes, but I simply adore it during the quieter moments – the parts where not a whole hell of a lot is happening, and you can simply watch and absorb Jordan Cronenweth's marvelous cinematography. My favorite scene comes when Rachel has saved Deckard's life. An emotional wreck of killing another replicant on top of the revelation that she, herself, is a replicant – she stands by a window where light floods in, so much light that the whole screen goes white, and then it recedes again and we see the characters again. Later in that same scene, she sits at the piano, plays for a bit, and then lets her hair down. Hearing Deckard stumbling in the other room, she looks out of the corner of her eye and shot after shot after shot through this entire sequence demonstrates absolute mastery over the frame.
Plus some of the other quiet moments resonate with a truer low-key science-fiction feel such as the scene in Tyrell corporation where Deckard applies the Voight-Kampff test to Rachel. More or less a mundane questionaire/interview with a typical sci-fi gadget sitting on the table, but Ridley Scott and Terry Rawlings compacts the lengthy endeavor into a few short moments using a stunningly simple montage.
Later on, Deckard sits in front of a voice-activated screen analyzing a photograph. The task is presented as a dull monotonous job (made especially evident in Harrison Ford's delivery), yet the scene, itself, never bores. The voice-activation not only serves as a staple sci-fi device, but cleverly allows Deckard to take the audience's hand and guide them through this investigative process. And perhaps what I like most about the scene: the audience, and even Deckard himself, doesn't even really know what he's found. Things don't magically fall into place with a Scooby-Doo moment of revelation. He finds another clue that might lead somewhere (albeit, since it's a movie it's a good guess the clue does lead somewhere.) In my mind at least moments such as the Voight-Kampff scenes, Deckard's briefing, the photograph analysis, both of Rachel's scenes in Deckard's apartment gives the world of Blade Runner a solid grounding so later on it can get away with the absurd.
Which brings me to the replicants. Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) in particular, whose strangely sympathetic in that his murderous tendencies spawn directly from his fear of dying. This is a man who possesses a strong conviction that he deserves life perhaps because he looks around on earth and sees people squandering their existence while he knows he only has a few short moments. Why should a shmuck like Deckard live for 50+ years when Roy in his 4 short years has seen attack ships burning off the shoulder of Orion and seen C-beams glitter in the dark "If only you could see what I've seen with your eyes," he proudly and warmly tells one of the scientists who helped create him.
As for which cut of the film, I don't think any single one is perfect (and I'd honestly watch any of them in a heartbeat.) I prefer the "Final Cut" over the others and admire Ridley Scott's restraint in his definitive DVD release. Most of the modifications are fine-tuning tweaks the casual viewer won't even notice unless watching two version back to back, and most of said fine-tuning improve the film (although, admittingly, Roy's beckoning of Sebastian could've been left out.) But hell, all versions of Blade Runner are included, so people don't have much room to complain about the changes. And no matter what version you go with, it's still a beautiful film to just watch.
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