Blade Runner (1982)
Frequently Asked Questions
Blade Runner is loosely based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, a 1968 novel by American science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. The novel was adapted for the movie by American screenwriters Hampton Fancher and David Peoples. An adjunct to the story, Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner by Paul M. Sammon was released in 1996 as a reference to the movie.
The film opens displaying the words "Los Angeles November 2019".
In the film, the term "Blade Runner" is used to describe police detectives who specifically hunt Replicants. The term does not come from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, where Deckard is referred to simply as a bounty hunter. It was coined in the 1974 novel The Bladerunner by Alan Nourse, where a bladerunner is a person who sells illegal surgical instruments. In 1979, William S. Burroughs was commissioned to write a screenplay based on the Nourse book. The script was not picked up, but it was published as a novella entitled Blade Runner (a movie). Hampton Fancher, who wrote the first draft of the Blade Runner script, was familiar with Blade Runner (a movie), and suggested the title to director Ridley Scott who loved it and who purchased the rights to the phrase.
The storyboard indicates that it belongs to Holden (Morgan Paull). According to Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner, the actual eye belongs to EEG Optical Lineup man Richard Rippel, which is why the eye is not the same color as Holden's. However, Ridley Scott has commented that the eye is not supposed to belong to any one individual; I think I was intuitively going along with the root of the Orwellian idea. That the world is more of a controlled place now. It's really the eye of Big Brother. Or Tyrell. Tyrell, in fact, had he lived, would certainly have been Big Brother. The early intent [was for the eye to be Holden's]. But I later realized that linking that eye with any specific character was far too literal a maneuver and removed the particular emotion I was trying to induce. [Future Noir, 382 -1st edition; 488 - 2nd edition]
The following definition appears in the Blade Runner shooting script and the Marvel Comics adaptation of the film: android (an'droid) n, Gk. humanoid automation. more at robot./ 1. early version utilized for work too boring, dangerous or unpleasant for humans. 2. second generation bio-engineered. Electronic relay units and positronic brains. Used in space to explore inhospitable environments. 3. third generation synthogenetic. REPLICANT, constructed of skin/flesh culture. Selected enogenic transfer conversion. Capable of self-perpetuating thought. Paraphysical abilities. Developed for emigration program.
– Webster's Dictionary, New International (2012) A different definition can be found at the head of the Workprint, in lieu of the credit scroll from all other versions: REPLICANT\rep'~li~cant\n. See also ROBOT (antique): ANDROID (obsolete): NEXUS (generic): Synthetic human with Paraphysical capabilities, having skin/flesh culture. Also: Rep, skin job (slang): Off-world uses: Combat, high risk industrial, deep-space probe. On-world use prohibited. Specifications and quantities information classified.
– New American Dictionary (2016) The glossary for the film included in the 1982 press-kit defines a replicant as: A genetically engineered creature composed entirely of organic substance. Animal replicants (animoids) were developed first for use as pets and beasts of burden after most real animals became extinct. Later, humanoid replicants were created for military purposes and for the exploration and colonization of space. The Tyrell Corp. recently introduced the Nexus 6, the supreme replicant -- much stronger and faster than, and virtually indistinguishable from, real human beings. Earth law forbids replicants on the planet, except in the huge industrial complex where they are created. The law does not consider replicants human and therefore accords them no rights nor protection. The "Nexus 6" replicants are the most advanced kind yet built, and are nearly indistinguishable from humans (in one draft of the script, Bryant (M. Emmet Walsh) tells Deckard they did an autopsy on the Replicant that was killed trying to break into the Tyrell Corp, and didn't even know it was a Replicant until two hours into the procedure). Additionally, they are far stronger than, and can be just as intelligent as, their designers. Replicants differ from humans in one important factor: they lack empathy, which is how the Voight-Kampff machine is used to detect them (by measuring changes in air density and monitoring pupil dilation and blush response). Additionally, in Blade Runner, the Replicants' eyes glow (even those of an artificial owl), although Ridley Scott has stressed that this is merely a cinematic technique, and the glow cannot be seen by the characters in the story, only by the audience.
Due to their highly developed brains and the ability to reflect on their actions, Nexus 6 Replicants would—if given enough time—develop emotional responses (Roy and Pris are seen showing affection for one another, and Leon experiences feelings of nostalgia, causing him to collect photos). However, the manufacturers noticed that this also caused Replicants to suffer from emotional instability and eccentricities, because they were emotionally immature, with only a few years to experience a lifetime's worth of feelings. Therefore, a fail-safe mechanism was built into all the Nexus 6—a four-year lifespan.
"Skinjob" is Bryant's derogatory slang for "Replicant". In the theatrical cuts, Deckard's narration includes a comment that "In history books he's the kind of cop who used to call black men niggers."
This is far and away the most hotly debated topic concerning the film. In the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Deckard was not a replicant. He is even tested to make sure. Indeed, the idea that Deckard may be a replicant seems to go against Dick's intent; The purpose of this story as I saw it was that in his job of hunting and killing these replicants, Deckard becomes progressively dehumanized. At the same time, the replicants are being perceived as becoming more human. Finally, Deckard must question what he is doing, and really what is the essential difference between him and them? And, to take it one step further, who is he if there is no real difference? here[/link]] Thus the idea that Deckard is "becoming" a replicant is a metaphorical one, not something to be taken literally. Hampton Fancher agreed with Dick on this point and when asked this very question in an interview he stated unequivocally that Deckard was not a replicant. However, in a September 2007 interview with Wired magazine, the film's director, Ridley Scott, stated what he considers to be the official answer to the question; that Deckard is a replicant: Wired: It was never on paper that Deckard is a replicant.
Scott: It was, actually. That's the whole point of Gaff, the guy who makes origami and leaves little matchstick figures around. He doesn't like Deckard, and we don't really know why. If you take for granted for a moment that, let's say, Deckard is a Nexus 7, he probably has an unknown life span and therefore is starting to get awfully human. Gaff, at the very end, leaves an origami, which is a piece of silver paper you might find in a cigarette packet, and it's a unicorn. Now, the unicorn in Deckard's daydream tells me that Deckard wouldn't normally talk about such a thing to anyone. If Gaff knew about that, it's Gaff's message to say, "I've read your file, mate." That relates to Deckard's first speech to Rachael when he says, "That's not your imagination, that's Tyrell's niece's daydream." And he describes a little spider on a bush outside the window. The spider is an implanted piece of imagination. And therefore Deckard, too, has imagination and even history. Read the complete interview here.
Similarly, in Deck-A-Rep: The True Nature of Rick Deckard (2007), Scott comments, I want to see what's inside his head, so it better be something extraordinary. So he's a romantic, because he's thinking about this unicorn. So that at the end of the film, I can have something absolutely remarkable, which I can illustrate, which is the unicorn, and he goes like that, 'Boom.' How would anyone have known what was inside his head other than someone who knew what was in his file, that had been implanted in his brain? Can't be any clearer than that. If you don't get it, you're a moron.
Actor Harrison Ford however considers Deckard to be human. "That was the main area of contention between Ridley and myself at the time," Ford told interviewer Jonathan Ross during a BBC1 Hollywood Greats segment. I thought the audience deserved one human being on screen that they could establish an emotional relationship with. I thought I had won Ridley's agreement to that, but in fact I think he had a little reservation about that. I think he really wanted to have it both ways.
A number of the other filmmakers have also commented on this issue. Associate producer Ivor Powell: Ridley wanted Deckard to have an unusual daydream while he was sitting at his piano. Something like a very private thought. One that Gaff would later know without being told. Which was meant to suggest that Deckard was a replicant. Which in turn explains the significance of Gaff leaving a tinfoil unicorn for Deckard to find at the end of the picture. [Future Noir, 357] Producer Michael Deeley: I never thought Deckard was a replicant. That was just a bullshit, an extra layer Ridley put in. Also an obfuscation. Not only did I never believe Deckard was a replicant, I also thought it was futile to try and make him one. That was Ridley's theory, even if it didn't make any sense. Why would you do that? Deckard would be the first replicant you'd knock off if you were getting rid of them. Anyway, just because you say, 'Wouldn't it be funny if Deckard was a replicant?' doesn't necessarily make it so. [Future Noir, 362] Supervising editor Terry Rawlings: Ridley never wanted to bring out a troupe of dancing bears holding up neon signs reading, 'Deckard is a replicant!' Instead, he was going for something more ambiguous. Ridley himself may have definitely felt that Deckard was a replicant, but still, by the end of the picture, he intended to leave it up to the viewer to decide whether Deckard was one. [Future Noir, 363-364] Terry Rawlings: I often get asked if Deckard is a replicant, and I think that you've got to make up your own mind. That's what's intended with the film. It's your choice. ["Deck-A-Rep"] Future Noir author Paul Sammon: When people ask me, 'he is a replicant, isn't he?' to my way of thinking, the only correct and proper answer is "Maybe". ["Deck-A-Rep"]
Some of the standard arguments put forward suggesting that Deckard is indeed a replicant include:
• Gaff seems to follow Deckard everywhere - he is at the scene of Zhora and Roy's retirement almost immediately, and he is always with Bryant when Bryant is speaking to Deckard. The argument is that Gaff is the real blade runner, and that he is monitoring Deckard as he carries out his assignment. If Deckard is a Nexus 7, then Gaff could be observing Deckard as an experimental subject.
• In the scene in his bathroom, when Rachael asks Deckard if he would follow her if she left, he says he wouldn't and then leaves the room, but he stops, puts his hand on her shoulder and says, "But someone would." When he says this, Deckard's eyes have a red glow, the same effect seen in the other replicants' eyes and in Tyrell's owl. In relation to this scene, Ridley Scott maintains that that effect was purposely set up and executed on the set, but Harrison Ford denies this, saying it was unintended. In an interview with Paul Sammon in 2007, Ford comments simply, "I might have strayed into her light" (Future Noir, 565 - 2nd Edition).
• Although Deckard appears weak in comparison to Roy and Leon, he survives his beatings remarkably well. After being thrown around by Leon and slammed through a car windscreen; the only injury he seems to have is some blood in his mouth, his upper torso is unmarked. The argument here is that although Deckard doesn't have the superior strength of most replicants, he does have their ability to endure punishment.
• Replicants have a penchant for photographs, because it gives them a tie to their non-existent past (we see this in relation to both Leon and Rachael). Deckard's flat is packed with photos, and none of them are recent or in color.
• Some fans argue that when Roy reaches out and grabs Deckard, you can hear him say "kinship." Rutger Hauer has rubbished this suggestion, however.
• Gaff tells Deckard "You've done a man's job, sir!" Early drafts of the script have him then add: "But are you sure you are a man? It's hard to be sure who's who around here."
• A tentative claim which argues that Deckard is not a replicant is that all the replicants are called by their first names (Zhora, Pris, Roy, Leon and Rachael), but all the humans are called by their surnames (Holden, Bryant, Gaff, Chew, Tyrell, Sebastian). Deckard is also called by his surname throughout the film.
In Future Noir, actor Brion James suggests that perhaps the files on which replicants had escaped to earth had not arrived at the police station by the time Holden was conducting his tests (p. 120). On their DVD commentary track, screenwriters Fancher and Peoples confirm this theory.
It is a COP .357 Derringer. The double action COP (Compact Off-duty Police) was designed as a backup weapon for off-duty police and fired .357 magnum rounds. The version seen in the film has been altered slightly; the ratcheting striker has been modified to fire two cartridges at a time to create a bigger flash. See here for more information on the Derringer and here for more information on the weaponry used throughout the film.
The 110-story New York World Trade Center that made headlines when it was bombed in February 1993 and again when it was hit by two hijacked planes in 2001 housed roughly 50,000 workers, with around 200,000 people per day passing through as visitors. According to Future Noir, the Tyrell pyramid is 700-900 stories high, reaching over a mile into the sky (p. 236). Since the top of the pyramid is apparently several times larger than the footprint of the WTC, the base is considerably larger. Additionally, it is surrounded by four buttresses, each of which must be greater in volume than the WTC. From this, we can speculate that Tyrell's pyramid must be larger than the WTC by a factor of 100 or more, and as such, it could house somewhere in the region of 5-10 million people. It would be easy to get lost in a crowd that size; after Leon shoots Holden, he would only need to mingle amongst the masses to reach the exit as finding him in this throng would an impossible task. As for how he got the weapon into the building in the first place, we know that the Tyrell Corp. security is not perfect because, (1) Bryant tells Deckard two replicants got fried on an electrical fence or other type of barrier trying to break in but the others got away, and (2) Roy gets in and kills Tyrell (Joe Turkel) with relative ease, using Sebastian's security clearance. Taking all of this together, it would not have been impossible for Leon to smuggle a weapon into the building, shoot Holden, and escape.
Workprint: A new life awaits you in the Off-World colonies. The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure [...] A new life awaits you in the Off-World colonies. The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure. New climate, recreational facilities, easy advancement, great pay. Plus, a loyal trouble free-companion, given to you on arrival, absolutely free. Use your new friend as a personal body servant, or a tireless field hand. [...] Let's go to the colonies. This announcement has been brought to you by the Shimago/Dominguez Corporation; helping America into the NEW world. Theatrical Cut: A new life awaits you in the Off-World colonies. The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure. New climate, recreational facilities [...] Use your new friend as a personal body servant or a tireless field hand. The custom tailored genetically engineered humanoid replicant, designed especially for your needs. So come on America, let's put our team up there. Director's Cut: A new life awaits you in the Off-World colonies. The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure. Let's go to the colonies! This announcement has been brought to you by the Shimago-Domínguez corporation, helping America into the new world. [...] Use your new friend as a personal body servant or a tireless field hand. The custom tailored genetically engineered humanoid replicant, designed especially for your needs. So come on America, let's put our team up there. Final Cut: A new life awaits you in the Off-World colonies. The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure [...] The custom-tailored, genetically engineered humanoid replicant, designed especially for your needs. So come on America, let's put our team up there.
While the film never states one way or the other, it can be inferred that the four-year lifespan was a new development, specific to the Nexus-6 model. Otherwise, it would make no sense that Deckard, an experienced Blade Runner, would have to be told this fact by Bryant. Since we know that Deckard had been retired from the job for an undisclosed amount of time, he might not be familiar with the newer model Replicants and required a catch-up briefing.
In the shooting script (dated February 3, 1981), when Deckard asks Rachael if the bird is artificial, she says, "Of course not." This is how the scene was shot, with actress Sean Young saying, "Of course not." However, in the finished film, we hear her say, "Of course it is." According to producer Michael Deeley, "Sean's line was changed in order to add credibility to the idea that Tyrell could manufacture perfect imitations of living things" (Future Noir, 126). However, in the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Rachel lies to Deckard telling him it is indeed a real owl. The owl however, is fake. Owls were one of the first species to die out after the world war that devastated the planet years earlier. The Tyrell corporation would then create fake animals so that people can buy them and pass them off as real animals in order to heighten their social status. In the book, live animals are highly-priced possessions, and the rarer the better. It is also considered a moral crime not to take care of and protect an animal. If you cannot afford a live animal, or the live animal you want is extinct, then a fake one is a good alternative.
The gun that Deckard uses is an Austrian Steyr-Mannlicher .222 Model SL bolt-action rifle, with the stock and barrel removed, leaving just the receiver. A Charter Arms .44 Special Police Bulldog was attached underneath, and a translucent pistol grip was added to the Bulldog for effect. Two LED lights were also added, as was a cockable hammer, and the entire weapon was painted flat matte black. The twin trigger seen on the gun is actually a feature of the real Steyr rifle, which has a distinctive bolt-handle and trigger-guard. See here for more information on the Steyr-Mannlicher and here for more information on the weaponry used throughout the film.
Roy Batty. In the Workprint, Deckard says: "Hello, Roy." For the shooting of the photo, however, Rutger Hauer was unavailable, and a stand-in was used (see Future Noir, 259).
According to Future Noir, it is supposed to be a worm that was floating in his drink (151). Indeed, if you watch the scene in the film, worms are visible in the liquid when Deckard is first handed the drink.
Deckard kills Zhora in the midst of a crowded street, whereas Leon picked a deserted alley to attack. Obviously, the nearby police were unaware of what was transpiring in the alley. The Los Angeles depicted in the film is quite obviously an overcrowded metropolis and such incidents would easily go unnoticed.
It has long been rumored that the chess game between Tyrell and Sebastian (William Sanderson) uses the conclusion of a game played between Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky in London in 1851. It is considered one of the most brilliant games ever played, largely due to Anderssen boldly sacrificing his Queen to secure checkmate (which is also how Sebastian beats Tyrell). The game is universally known as "The Immortal Game". If the filmmakers did indeed use the Immortal Game as inspiration, the concept of immortality has obvious associations in the ensuing confrontation between Tyrell and Roy. On one level, the chess games represents the struggle of the Replicants against the humans: the humans consider the Replicants pawns, to be removed one by one. The individual Replicants (pawns) are attempting to become immortal (a queen). At another level, the game between Tyrell and Sebastian represents Roy stalking Tyrell. Tyrell makes a fatal mistake in the chess game, and another fatal mistake trying to reason with Roy. However, that the Immortal Game was specifically used in the film is open to doubt. Firstly, the chess boards in the film are not arranged exactly as they would be in the Immortal Game. Secondly, Sebastian's board does not match Tyrell's. Thirdly, in an interview published in Future Noir, Ridley Scott dismisses the rumor as incorrect, saying any similarity between the Immortal Game and the Sebastian/Tyrell game was purely coincidental (p. 384 - 1st edition; p. 490 - 2nd edition).
The novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? offers an explanation. Some animals are considerably rarer than others, and apparently, while there are no owls left, pigeons remained plentiful.
After Roy kills Tyrell, Sebastian is not seen again. However, what happened to him is explained clearly by the film; as Deckard gets a radio call while in his vehicle, we hear that two bodies have been found at the Tyrell Corp. building, one of which is that of J.F. Sebastian. Also, just after Roy kills Tyrell he approaches Sebastian, who looks very upset and scared. We can also hear, at least in the Final Cut edition of the film, Roy saying "I'm sorry, Sebastian." Roy likely killed Sebastian out of his fury with Tyrell but also so there wouldn't be a living witness to his murder of Tyrell.
There are several theories on this subject, but it is most likely simply a technical error in the film. One such theory is suggested by some of the different versions of the script, which have Deckard as a well-known Blade Runner. Another theory is that Leon was within earshot when Deckard showed his ID to a policeman after killing Zhora, and Leon tells Roy Deckard's name before his confrontation with Deckard. Another possibility is that Deckard may have left paperwork in Tyrell's office with his name on it, and after killing Tyrell, Roy could have gone through his papers and found Deckard's name.
The problem with all of these theories however is that no concrete evidence for any of them is supplied by the film itself. A less speculative explanation, however, insofar as it is found in Hampton Fancher's script dated 7 January 1980, is that Bryant reveals the replicants may have tapped into the ESPER computer that it will take about a day to secure the system. Later, at Sebastian's apartment, Batty tells Pris and (a replicant dropped from the film very late in the scripting stage) Mary that Leon and Zhora are dead and that the police have discovered he has been tapping into computer, hence they can no longer monitor what the police doing. This is what prompts Pris to say, "Then we're stupid and die," and why the replicants are expecting Deckard to come for them.
On a practical level, Roy is dying, and as a result, his hand was seizing up. This is demonstrated by his clenched fist, and his inability to unclench it. He drives a nail through his palm to release the tendons holding his fist clenched, so he can regain the use of his hand. There is also an element of Christian symbolism here, specifically drawing parallels with Christ being nailed through the hands onto a cross.
They are not tattoos. As Ridley Scott explains, That was a half-developed idea that we never really cracked. You see, I've always liked what Jean Giraud, the French artist and illustrator, does. His characters almost seem to be built up from various plastic parts, with odd divisions in their flesh. I couldn't do that to Rutger though; the daily makeup process would have been impossible. So we experimented with some tattooing that was supposed to suggest something like demarcations in an engine. The idea really was that they indicated an alignment to certain socket points. I'd thought that when Roy was in battle in outer space, he'd probably put on a war suit and attach plugs to that suit at those markings. But it kind of dropped away, the whole idea, and never really worked. [Future Noir, 188]
There is much disagreement amongst both fans and filmmakers as to exactly why Roy saves Deckard's life at the end of the film. For example, according to Ridley Scott, It was an endorsement in a way, that the character is almost more human than human, in that he can demonstrate a very human quality at a time when the roles are reversed and Deckard may have been delighted to blow his head off. But Roy takes the humane route. But also, in a way, because Roy wants a kind of death watch, where he knows he is going, dying. So in a sense, he is saving Deckard for something, to pass on the information that what the makers are doing is wrong - either the answer is not to make them at all, or deal with them as human beings. [Future Noir, 193] According to Rutger Hauer, however, there is an altogether more mundane reason behind Roy's actions; Ridley insisted that one thing Batty had to have was absolutely no sense of hesitation. He doesn't reflect, he reacts. He's faster than anybody. A characteristic of the Nexus 6. So, if you follow that thought, you reach a point where you realize that if somebody falls, Batty grabs. It has nothing to do with how he feels about Deckard, it's just a reactive moment. That's what Roy's built for. In fact, while we were shooting this moment, we had a problem with the rain machines and had to wait around for them to be fixed. And I actually asked, "Ridley, what do you think? Why does Roy save this fucker?" And Ridley looked at me and said, "It's purely a reflex. Other than that, I don't know." This response might bother some people, because so many folks have read a lot of meaning into Batty saving Deckard's life. But actions always come first. Then we think about them. Roy doesn't know why he saves Deckard or grabs a dove. He just does it. [Future Noir, 194] Of course, it is very well possible that the actual grasping and saving are two separate actions by Roy. Throughout the film, Roy has shown that he has no problem with killing. Even if Roy grasped Deckard in a reflex, if he really wanted him dead, he could just have released him and let him fall to his death. Holding on to Deckard and even hoisting him up to safety therefore feels like a deliberate act, and Roy may even be conflicted about his reasons for doing it himself.
In the theatrical cut, the scene is followed by a narrative voiceover by Deckard: I don't know why he saved my life. Maybe in those last moments he loved life more than he ever had before. Not just his life—anybody's life; my life. All he'd wanted were the same answers the rest of us want. Where did I come from? Where am I going? How long have I got? All I could do was sit there and watch him die.
Given the fact that Earth has off-world colonies in Blade Runner, and the typical functions of devices incorporating the word "gate" in science fiction, fans of the film have suggested that the Tannhauser Gate may be a stargate or similar construct. They speculate that as a stargate, it would provide faster-than-light travel between star systems. Given its name, it would perhaps be located near or in orbit of a colony named Tannhauser.
In the 1998 film Soldier (1998), which is an unofficial "sidequel" of Blade Runner, Sgt. Todd (played by Kurt Russell) is a veteran of the Battle at the Tannhauser Gate. This fact is based on the text displayed momentarily on a computer screen near the beginning of the film. The screen displays a list of battles that the character has fought in, and the awards that he has earned in these battles. Tannhauser Gate is also tattooed on Todd's arm, along with the other battles of which he was a veteran. Later in the film, when Sandra (Connie Nielsen) notices the names tattooed on his arm, Mace (Sean Pertwee) explains that "Tannhauser Gate was a battle." The original script was to have the film actually depict the battle. However, this idea was cut for budgetary reasons.
The film opens with "Los Angeles November 2019".This is offered, as some films do, to establish a starting point to the story. It does not mean that all of the events in the story take place in November 2019, only that this is where the story begins. As there is no clearly demarcated time-frame in the film, there is no sure way of knowing how much time passes between the beginning and the end. Roy's incept date is "January 8th, 2016". His "four year lifespan" would thus have him expiring on January 8th, 2020. If the film begins in November 2019, for it to end on January 8th, 2020, it would have to take place over a period of 40 to 69 days. As this is not an unreasonable amount of time for the story's events to happen, perhaps Roy dies exactly when he is supposed to.
Accounts in both the book Future Noir and the Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner (2007) (2007) documentary on the Final Cut DVD indicate that the dove was an idea improvised by Rutger Hauer on the day of shooting. Hauer confirms it in his own autobiography All Those Moments, saying it served as a replacement for a page-long piece of monologue they had intended for him. For Hauer, the dove flying away symbolized Batty's death, with his soul escaping and flying into freedom: There's a lot of symbolism there. And I don't mean Christian ones. The dove could represent Batty's soul, freedom, wings, a liberation from a certain lifestyle, all that. There's a lot of interesting connections to birds in mythologies and religions other than Christianity. [Future Noir, 192]
Possibly. Another hypothesis is that Deckard sits on the roof for a considerable amount of time. In the Workprint, Deckard says he watched Batty die all night and that it was a slow, painful thing. In this case, Gaff would have had plenty of time to make his way to the Bradbury building and find the gun.
When Deckard leaves his apartment with Rachael at the end of the film, she knocks over an origami unicorn. The unicorn is the last in a series of origami figures that Gaff uses to taunt Deckard. In Bryant's office when Deckard insists he's retired, Gaff folds a chicken (implying that Deckard is afraid to hunt the replicants). Later he makes a man with an erection (implying that Deckard is getting excited about being a Blade Runner again). Finally, he makes the unicorn (implying that Deckard is dreaming about running away with Rachael when he knows she won't live; this reiterates what he said to Deckard on the rooftop, which is why his rooftop line occurs here as voiceover). Looking at the unicorn in this sense, it is simply a message to Deckard to say "I know you've got Rachael, I'll let her live because she's going to die soon anyway." In terms of metaphorical significance, unicorns were doomed not to survive the Flood, and Gaff may think the same of Rachael, as she too has a predetermined lifespan.
The unicorn may also symbolize: (1) Rachael is (and always will be) a replicant among humans, and will be different, like a unicorn among horses. (2) Rachael leaving and knocking over the unicorn symbolizes her escape from the Tyrell corporation, which only looked upon her as a replicant. Deckard fell in love with her as a human, and by doing so, she became human. (3) ... The silver unicorn [...] is a made thing, a piece of human handiwork, beautiful and fragile and glittering, yet perceived as waste, thrown down and trodden upon, easily destroyed. Also, it is in the form of an animal, albeit a mythical one, and in the BR future, the beasts of the earth and fowls of the air are all but extinct, except in replicant form. (Rebecca Warner, Retrofitting Blade Runner)
The Director's Cut and Final Cut, however, complicate the issue of the unicorn, as both include a scene not in the original release or the Workprint. As Deckard sits at his piano, we see a shot of a unicorn running through a forest (in the Director's Cut, it is implied that Deckard is dozing and dreaming, but in the Final Cut it is clear that he is wide awake and simply thinking to himself). Taking this into account, the standard argument is that Gaff knew that Deckard had visions of a unicorn. If Gaff knew what Deckard was thinking, then we can assume that Deckard is a replicant, and Gaff knew he would be thinking of a unicorn just the way Deckard knew about the spider outside Rachael's window (as Deckard had seen Rachael's files, so too had Gaff seen Deckard's). Ridley Scott had intended the unicorn scene to be in the 1982 theatrical release, but the producers vetoed the idea as "too arty."
In the November, 1982 edition of Starburst magazine (no. 51), in an article entitled "The Blade Cuts" (p. 29), Ridley Scott mentions this scene:Ridley Scott: Did you see the version [of the script] with the unicorn?
Alan McKenzie: No.
S: I think the idea of the unicorn was a terrific idea.
M: The obvious inference is that Deckard is a replicant himself.
S: Sure. To me it's entirely logical, particularly when you are doing a film noir, you may as well go right through with that theme, and the central character could in fact be what he is chasing.
M: Did you actually shoot the sequence in the glade with the unicorn?
S: Absolutely. It was cut into the picture, and I think it worked wonderfully. Deckard was sitting, playing the piano rather badly because he was drunk, and there's a moment where he gets absorbed and goes off a little at a tangent and we went into the shot of the unicorn plunging out of the forest. It's not subliminal, but it's a brief shot. Cut back to Deckard and there's absolutely no reaction to that, and he just carries on with the scene. That's where the whole idea of the character of Gaff with his origami figures—the chicken and the little stick-figure man, so the origami figure of the unicorn tells you that Gaff has been there. One of the layers of the film has been talking about private thoughts and memories, so how would Gaff have known that a private thought of Deckard was of a unicorn? That's why Deckard shook his head like that [referring to Deckard nodding his head after picking up the paper unicorn].
Eye symbolism is prevalent throughout the film. For example, the all-seeing Orwellian eye in the opening sequence; the motif of replicants' glowing eyes; the owl's large eyes; Tyrell has huge trifocal glasses that emphasize that feature of his face; eyes are important in the VK test; Rachael: "I wanted to see you"; Rachael: "He wouldn't see me"; Chew's Eye World, with a mockup of an eye above the door; Chew: "Eyes, eyes...I do only eyes"; Roy: "If only you could see what I've seen with your eyes!"; Roy: "Not an easy man to see, I guess"; Leon tries to stick his fingers in Deckard's eyes; Roy plays with the glass-encased eyes in Sebastian's apartment; Roy sticks his thumbs in Tyrell's eyes; Pris rolls her eyes back in her head to show only the whites; Roy: "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe." The movie ends in 2020; an allusion to 20/20 vision (and perhaps hindsight). As to the significance of this proliferation, in literature, art and esotericism, the human eye is often considered the window to one's soul, thus the use of the eye-symbol in Blade Runner could be interpreted as a key to the question of whether or not replicants have souls.
The replicants are often seen as fallen angels (fallen from the heavens/outer space), with Roy as Lucifer. When Roy and Leon enter Chew's, Roy says, Fiery the angels fell, Deep thunder roll'd around their shores, Burning with the fires of Orc. This is a paraphrase of William Blake's epic poem from America: A Prophesy, where the real line reads, Fiery the angels rose, and as they rose deep thunder roll'd/Around their shores: indignant burning with the fires of Orc. The change of the first line from "rose" to "fell" is obviously important; the replicants are the fiery angels who have fallen. Tyrell is their creator, hence their god. However, he purposely creates imperfect beings, giving them only a four year lifespan. Roy resents the in-built imperfection (since the creator had no reason apart from fear to inhibit his creations), and he returns to the creator to fix him. He uses an elevator to get to Tyrell's level as if he is ascending towards heaven to meet his maker. The journey to find God is a common motif in many religions, not just Christianity; as Roy says "It's not an easy thing to meet one's maker." However when the creator cannot fix him, he kills the creator (i.e. he kills his god). This has connotations beyond the film, alluding to the notion of what a person would do/say if he/she could actually speak to God. If Roy can condemn his creator for determining his life span to be only four years, can not we also condemn our Creator for placing us under a death sentence at birth? Can we sit in judgment of God as Roy sits in judgment of Tyrell?
Other interesting religious references are to be found in the fact that Tyrell lives in a giant pyramid (like a Pharaoh), which looks like a cathedral inside and his huge pedestaled and canopied bed, is modeled after the bed of Pope John Paul II. There is also the scene where Roy puts a nail through his palm, a symbol of Christian crucifixion, and releases the dove, a symbol for the freeing of his soul, as explained above. Of course, this posits Roy as both Lucifer (the leader of the fallen angels) and Christ (the nail through his palm). On a theological level, the felix culpa, or "fortunate fall" through which one is redeemed, is occasioned by Satan. In the film, Deckard's "fortunate fall" is occasioned by Roy, who saves him from plummeting to his death and imparts a new outlook on life in his dying moments. Finally, some fans argue that Roy is based upon the title character of the Epic of Gilgamesh, who is ¾ God, ¼ man. Both Roy and Gilgamesh kill innocent people; both have an unintelligent but extremely dangerous lieutenant who dies half way through the story; both quest for more life; both meet their creator; both fail in their quest for more life; both are redeemed in the moment of their deaths.
Ridley Scott made Blade Runner in a style called "film noir." Film noir is a "hardboiled detective" style of story-telling, perhaps the most famous example of which is the John Huston movie The Maltese Falcon (1941) starring Humphrey Bogart. A trademark of the film noir genre is a voiceover by the protagonist, explaining what he is thinking/doing at any given time.
It is often claimed that Ridley Scott never wanted the film to have any kind of voiceover whatsoever, but this is inaccurate. As he himself explains on his DVD commentary track, he was quite open to the idea of a voiceover (there is a brief voiceover towards the end of the Workprint). Indeed, according to Hampton Fancher, the idea of a voiceover first originated with Scott himself: Ridley was the one who initially pushed the voice-over idea. That's why it's in so many of my drafts. Scott was after the feel of a forties' detective thriller, so he liked the idea of using this film noir device [Future Noir, 292] Scott himself confirms this in Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner (2007): It wasn't [Perenchio and Yorkin's] idea, it was our idea. I'm not stupid; I looked at the results and I saw this ain't working. I agree with [them]. "What can we do; how about voiceover"? Harrison Ford, however, was dead set against a voiceover from the very start of the film.
Conflict arose, however, in relation to the content of the voiceover. Scott felt a voiceover musing philosophically on the events unfolding could work, but he was totally against the idea of an expositionary voiceover which explained things to the audience as the film progressed. After the disastrous Workprint preview screenings, where an overriding complaint was that the film was difficult to follow, executive producers Jerry Perenchio and Bud Yorkin decided they needed clear up the confusion. As such, they were primarily responsible for the inclusion of the original voiceover heard in the 1982 theatrical release, which was exactly the type of voiceover that Scott had wanted to avoid. This version of the voiceover was recorded without the presence or approval of Scott, which is where the notion comes from that he was forced to add it against his will.
The LA Times further clarifies the situation: (A)n extensive voice-over was added to help people relate to Harrison Ford's character and make following the plot easier. [A]fter a draft by novelist-screenwriter Darryl Ponicsan was discarded, a TV veteran named Roland Kibbee got the job. As finally written, the voice-over met with universal scorn from the filmmakers, mostly for what Scott characterized as its 'Irving the Explainer' quality [...] It sounded so tinny and ersatz that, in a curious bit of film folklore, many members of the team believe to this day that Harrison Ford, consciously or not, did an uninspired reading of it in the hopes it wouldn't be used. And when co-writers Fancher and Peoples, now friends, saw it together, they were so afraid the other had written it that they refrained from any negative comments until months later. [Los Angeles Times, 13 September, 1992] Regarding the happy ending of the original theatrical release, this too was included at the behest of Perenchio and Yorkin. Again, however, there is a great deal of inaccurate information about Ridley Scott's resistance to the idea. The common assumption is that Scott wanted the film to end with Deckard and Rachael getting into the elevator, but the studio (Tandem Productions) decided that the film needed a happier, less ambiguous ending. This is not entirely accurate. Initially, during preproduction, Ridley Scott had proposed a similar ending himself, to be shot near the end of the schedule. However, he changed his mind during production and the scene was scrapped. After the disastrous Denver/Dallas sneak previews, where people said they disliked the abruptness of the ending, Scott quite willingly added the much maligned happy ending—he was not forced to do it by Tandem. And although his preferred ending was the elevator doors slamming, he had no problem adding the additional material. Ivor Powell, Michael Deeley and Scott himself all attest to this in Future Noir (p300-p302). Additionally, in the Dangerous Days DVD documentary, Scott comments, I did it because I figured it might actually affect what I thought the outcome of the movie would be negative [sic], so I better deal with it. After the San Diego sneak (which included the voiceover and happy ending) scored higher than the Denver/Dallas sneak (which did not), Scott became convinced that the voiceover and ending had been necessary all along. Ironically, when the film was released theatrically, the two aspects most derided by critics would be the voiceover and the happy ending. In September 1992, Warner Bros. released "The Director's Cut" of Blade Runner, which eliminated the voiceovers and the happy ending. For the December 2007 Final Cut, these omissions remained.
There are many differences between the film and the book. Some of the more significant ones include: (1) the book takes place in San Francisco in 1992; the film takes place in Los Angeles in 2019; (2) in the book, Deckard is not retired at the commencement of the story, (3) in the book, Deckard is married; (4) Deckard is definitely not a Replicant in the book; (5) the character of Sebastian (William Sanderson) is not in the novel; instead there is a character called J.R. Isidore, who has a bigger role in the plot than Sebastian does in the film; (6) a major subplot in the novel involves a "fake" police force who arrest Deckard and try to convince him that they are the legitimate law enforcement agency in the city; (7) Deckard owns a real goat in the novel; (8) the term "Blade Runner" is never used in the novel; it was created for the film; (9) in the book, the replicants are referred to as "androids" or "andies"; the term "replicants" was created for the film.
Philip K. Dick died a few weeks before Blade Runner was completed, but he did see rushes and visited the set, with which he was said to be extremely impressed. At a screening of the rushes, Dick turned to one of the crew and said, "This is what I had in mind when I was writing it."
The old Los Angeles Union Station can be seen as the interior of the police headquarters. The station is located at 800 North Alameda Street. Actors Rutger Hauer, Brion James, and James Hong worked for two days amid icicles at US Growers Cold Storage, located at 3141 East 44th Street. The front of the Ennis House is seen in the film as the entrance to Deckard's apartment building. The House, located at 2655 Glendower Avenue, was designed in 1924 by Frank Lloyd Wright in a Mayan block motif. The Bradbury Building is seen in the film as J. F. Sebastian's residence. Built in 1893, the Bradbury is located at 304 South Broadway. The Million Dollar Theater can be seen in the scene where Pris runs away from Sebastian and breaks his car window, and when Deckard slowly enters the Bradbury near the end of the film. It is located at 307 South Broadway. The tunnel that Deckard drives through twice is the 2nd street tunnel, between Hill Street and Figueroa Street in downtown LA.
Simply that a number of the companies whose logos appear in the film had financial difficulties after the film was released, despite being market leaders in 1981 or '82. The Bell System monopoly, for example, was broken up in late 1982, and all of the resulting Regional Bell operating companies have since changed their names and merged back with each other and other companies to form the new AT&T. RCA, which at one time was the leading consumer electronics and communications conglomerate in the world, was bought out by one time parent GE in 1985, and dismantled (only to be remembered for RCA connectors). Also in 1985, Coca-Cola released their "new formula," resulting in losses of millions of dollars. Atari, which had 70% of the home video game market when the film came out, never recovered from the next year's downturn in the industry, and by the 1990s had ceased to exist as anything more than a brand. The Atari of today is an entirely different firm, using the former company's name. Cuisinart filed for bankruptcy in July 1989. Pan Am suffered the terrorist bombing/destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 in December of 1988 and went bankrupt in 1991, after a decade of mounting losses.
Although 5 versions of the film have been made available to the general public on the 5-Disc Ultimate Collectors' Edition DVD, there are actually 6 official versions (excluding ancillary versions, such as TV edits) of the film. These 6 versions are (1) The Denver/Dallas Sneak Preview (aka the Workprint); (2) the little known San Diego Sneak Preview; (3) the US Theatrical Release; (4) the International Theatrical Release; (5) the Director's Cut; (6) the Final Cut.
The Denver/Dallas Sneak (March 5th, Continental Theatre, Denver; March 6th, Northpark Theatre, Dallas, 1982): This is the version of the film commonly known as The Workprint, and which is available on Disc 5 of the 5-DVD Ultimate Collectors' Edition. It includes all the violence from the International Version, no unicorn dream, no happy ending, and only one piece of voice-over near the end of the film when Roy dies. Additionally, Bryant says two replicants died in the attempted break in at the Tyrell building and Roy says "I want more life, father." This is the version of the film which was shown at the Fairfax Theater in 1990 and UCLA's Los Angeles Perspectives multimedia festival in 1991, and later at the NuArt Theatre in LA and the Castro theatre in San Francisco, the success of which prompted Warner to release the 1992 Director's Cut.
The San Diego Sneak (May 8th, Cinema 21 Theatre, San Diego): After the Denver/Dallas sneak received poor scores from the test audiences, the film returned to postproduction and a number of changes were made. The version screened in San Diego was identical to the theatrical release except for three small differences: (1) A full length shot of Roy in the Vidphone booth; (2) A shot of Deckard trying to reload after Roy has broken his fingers; (3) A high altitude shot of Deckard's car driving through the countryside. This version of the film had the theatrical voice-over, the theatrical happy ending and the removal of some of the more graphic violence.
The US Theatrical Cut: Identical to the San Diego sneak except for the three shots noted above.
The International Cut: Identical to the US theatrical cut except for four additional shots: (1) There is a close up of Roy inserting his thumbs into Tyrell's eyes and blood spurting out; (2) During the fight between Pris and Deckard, Pris lifts Deckard up by his nostrils; (3) Deckard shoots Pris three times instead of two; (4) When Roy pushes the nail through his hand, there is a close up of it coming out on the other side.
The Director's Cut: Similar to the theatrical cut except: (1) there is no voice-over whatsoever; (2) there is a short shot of a unicorn when Deckard is sitting by the piano; (3) there is no happy ending, the film ends as the elevator doors slam shut.
The Final Cut: Ridley Scott's definitive version of the film, with numerous aesthetic alterations, new shots and remixed sound. Quite similar to the Workprint.
See here for specific information about the various different versions of the film.
Yes, although as of April 2009, there have been over 40 different manifestations. Paul M. Sammon gives an exhaustive overview of the various albums in Appendix E of Future Noir (419-425 - 1st edition; 525-531 & 572-576 - 2nd edition), and whilst there is little point in reproducing his research in specific detail, a brief history of the soundtrack may prove interesting.
In June 1982, just weeks before the film was to be released, an album began circulating in LA entitled Blade Runner: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. Running 60 minutes, this was a bootleg, with no company listed anywhere on the packaging or inlay card. At the time, the common wisdom was that an unknown disgruntled sound engineer working on the film recorded a dupe of the soundtrack prior to the final mix, and made copies. With rumors spreading that Vangelis' score may never be released, the bootleg sold in great numbers despite having poor sound quality. It has since gone on to be a rare collector's item.
Three weeks after the bootleg was released, Warner Brothers Records Inc. released an album entitled Blade Runner: Orchestral Adaptation of Music Composed for the Motion Picture by Vangelis. This is not the actual movie soundtrack, rather it is an orchestral arrangement of the soundtrack performed by the New American Orchestra. Running only 33 minutes, the album received extremely poor reviews upon its release, with Warner Brothers Records taking a lot of criticism for basically duping people into believing it was the official soundtrack. Additionally, reviews stated that the sound quality was extremely poor, and the actual performances of the music dull and heartless. According to Paul Sammon, "This dismal, homogenized, rushed-into-production anomaly can only be recommended as Muzak for androids" (420 - 1st edition; 526 - 2nd edition). This album is still readily available today. The track listing is as follows: (1) "Love Theme", (2) "Main Title" (3) "One More Kiss, Dear", (4) "Memories Of Green", (5) "End Title", (6) "Blade Runner Blues", (7) "Farewell", (8) "End Title Reprise".
In September 1989, Vangelis released an album entitled Vangelis: Themes. Essentially a collection of samples of his soundtrack work over the last few years, the album contained the following music from Blade Runner: "End Titles", "Love Theme", and "Memories of Green".
Incidentally, "Memories of Green" had originally been released on the 1980 album See You Later, with Ridley Scott using the orchestrated version in the film. The Japanese vocals associated with the Blimp Advertisement were taken from the 1976 album Japan: Traditional Vocal And Instrumental Music. The specific track is called "Ogi no Mato" ("The Folding Fan as a Target") and is performed by Ensemble Nipponia. "Ogi no Mato" is part of a song cycle/epic somewhat reminiscent of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and the William Tell legend (as "Ogi no Mato" features young people from opposing clans and a crucial moment of archery). Reportedly, the lyrics tell of the tragic and utter destruction of one Japanese clan by another. The music is produced with a Biwa - a traditional Japanese instrument.
In December 1993, a second bootleg album was released, this time by Off World Music Ltd, under the name Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Blade Runner. Running 73 minutes, according to Sammon, this album has much better sound quality and is more extensive than the 1994 official soundtrack.
In July 1994, Warner Music released the official Blade Runner soundtrack, entitled Blade Runner: Vangelis. Running 56 minutes, Vangelis' notes accompanying the album state: Most of the music contained in this album originates from recordings I made in London in 1982, whilst working on the score for the film Blade Runner. Finding myself unable to release these recordings at the time, it is with great pleasure that I am able to do so now. Some of the pieces contained will be known to you from the Original Soundtrack of the film, whilst others are appearing here for the first time. Looking back at Ridley Scott's powerful and evocative pictures left me as stimulated as before, and made the recompiling of this music, today, an enjoyable experience. The track listing is as follows: (1) "Main Titles", (2) "Blush Response", (3) "Wait for Me" (4) "Rachel's Song", (5) "Love Theme", (6) "One More Kiss, Dear", (7) "Blade Runner Blues", (8) "Memories of Green", (9) "Tales of the Future", (10) "Damask Rose", (11) "Blade Runner (End Titles) ", and (12) "Tears in Rain".
In 1995, a third bootleg CD went on the market, this time from Gongo Music. According to Sammon, like the 1993 Off-World Music CD, the Gongo Music album has excellent sound and a comprehensive track listing. Note that the liner notes and track titles are written in Romanian.
Between 1996 and 2007, at least 28 distinct bootleg versions of the soundtrack were released. Of this plethora of albums (which is summarized in the 2nd edition of Future Noir, 573-576), it is perhaps worth noting the following versions:
1. Blade Runner: Special Edition, Deck Music, 1999. According to Sammon, this Japanese album has some of the best sound quality of all the bootlegs, and also features some cues not featured on any other album (including the 1994 official soundtrack). Only 100 copies were pressed however, making it ultra rare.
2. Blade Runner: Definitive Edition, Off-World Music, 2000. A 3-CD set with good sound quality, it features every single piece of music from the film.
3. Blade Runner: Deck Definitive Edition, Deck Art, 2001. A Japanese release, this is worth noting as it features an ultra rare alternate remix of "Tears in Rain", composed by John Williams.
4. Blade Runner: Esper Edition, Esper Productions, 2002. Sammon says that this bootleg also has exceptionally good sound quality, and is extensive in its coverage of the music. According to Sammon, either this or the Special Edition by Deck Music are the best available bootlegs.
5. Blade Runner: Los Angeles, November 2019, Esper Productions, 2003. Features a combination of music from the film and the 1997 Westwood game.
6. Blade Runner, Cliffhanger and Radio Plays, No Company, 2003. The strangest of all the bootlegs, this CD features 13 cues from Blade Runner, the opening theme from Cliffhanger (1993) (which was scored by Trevor Jones), and 2 radio plays that bear absolutely no relationship whatsoever to the film or the music!
7. Blade Runner: Esper Edition MK III, No Company, 2005. Nothing to do with the original Esper Edition, this CD is worth noting simply because it is a 4-CD set. Sammon however, says the sound quality is poor, and there is nothing on any of the CDs that cant be found elsewhere.
In December 2007, in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the film and the DVD release of Ridley Scotts definitive "Final Cut", Vangelis released a 3-CD album called Blade Runner Trilogy: 25th Anniversary. The track listing is as follows:
Disc 1 [this is the same as the 1994 Official Blade Runner Soundtrack]: (1) "Main Titles", (2) "Blush Response", (3) "Wait for Me", (4) "Rachel's Song", (5) "Love Theme", (6) "One More Kiss, Dear", (7) "Blade Runner Blues", (8) "Memories of Green", (9) "Tales of the Future", (10) "Damask Rose", (11) "Blade Runner (End Titles) ", and (12) "Tears in Rain". Disc 2 [contains previously unreleased cues and samples from the Workprint]: (1) "Longing", (2) "Unveiled Twinkling Space", (3) "Dr. Tyrell's Owl", (4) "At Mr. Chew's", (5) "Leo's Room", (6) "One Alone", (7) "Deckard and Roy's Duel", (8) "Dr. Tyrell's Death", (9) "Desolation Path", (10) "Empty Streets", (11) "Mechanical Dolls", and (12) "Fading Away" (3:32) Disc 3 [contains spoken word tracks from filmmakers, critics, musicians and public figures talking about the film]: (1) "Launch Approval", (2) "Up and Running" (3) "Mail From India", (4) "BR Downtown" (2:27 - Oliver Stone, Akiko Ebi, Cherry Vanilla), (5) "Dimitri's Bar", (6) "Sweet Solitude", (7) "No Expectation Boulevard", (8) "Vadavarot", (9) "Perfume Exotico", (10) "Spotkanie Z Matka", (11) "Piano in an Empty Room", and (12) "Keep Asking".
Both editions (1996 & 2007) of Paul M. Sammon's Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner contain an excellent bibliography of both printed material (Appendix G) and online material (Appendix D - although most of the links Sammon gives here are no longer active). The 2nd Edition also contains additional online material (571).
Retrofitting Blade Runner: Issues in Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" and Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", edited by Judith B. Kerman and published by Bowling Green State University Popular Press in 1991, contains an extensive annotated bibliography by Blade Runner expert William M. Kolb. This is generally considered the most exhaustive bibliography ever compiled on Blade Runner (and is only a shortened version of Kolb's massive unpublished 150,000 word bibliography). Retrofitting Blade Runner was republished in a 2nd Edition in 1997, and a number of new entries were added to the existing bibliography.
The following may also prove to be of interest:
2019: Off-World (; 1996-2005; archived essays still available)
American Cinematographer, 63:7 (July, 1982); Blade Runner Special Edition [this issue occasionally turns up for sale on ebay].
Blade Runner Insight: An In-depth Analytical Perspective of Blade Runner (; 2002–present)
Official Blade Runner Souvenir Magazine: Official Collectors Edition (New York: Ira Friedman Inc., 1982)
Bladezone (; 1996–present)
BRmovie (; 2000–present)
BROOKER, Will (ed.) The Blade Runner Experience: The Legacy of a Science Fiction Classic (London: Wallflower Press, 2006)
BRUNO, Giuliana. "Ramble City: Postmodernism and Blade Runner", in Alien Zone: Cultural Theory and Contemporary Science Fiction Cinema, Annette Kuhn (ed.) (London: Verso, 1990), 183-195 [this article originally appeared in October, 41:2 (Summer, 1987), 61-74]
BUKATMAN, Scott. BFI Modern Classics: Blade Runner (London: BFI Publishing, 1997)
BURROUGHS, William S. Blade Runner: (A Movie) (California: Blue Wind Press, 1979)
Cinefex, 9 (July, 1982); Blade Runner Special Edition [this entire issue was reprinted in 2003 by Titan Books (London) as Blade Runner: The Inside Story, written by Douglas Shay
DESSER, David. "Blade Runner: Science Fiction and Transcendence", Literature/Film Quarterly 13:3 (Fall, 1985), 172-179 [this issue can be purchased here]
DEUTELBAUM, Marshall. "Visual Memory/Visual Design: The Remembered Sights of Blade Runner", Literature/Film Quarterly 17:1 (Spring, 1989), 66-72 [this issue can be purchased here]
DICK, Ann R. The Search for Philip K. Dick, 1928-1982: A Memoir and Biography of the Science Fiction Writer (New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1995)
Empire (August, 2007); Blade Runner Special
The Blade Runner Enhanced Script Presentation: The Blade Runner script is presented with over 500 screenshots and various soundtrack clips.
FISCHER, Norman. "Blade Runner and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?: An Ecological Critique of Human-Centered Value Systems", Canadian Journal of Social and Political Theory, 13:3 (March, 1989), 102-113
GOODWIN, Archie. Blade Runner: The Official Comics Adaptation (New York: Marvel Comics Group, 1982) ginally released as Marvel Super Special, 1:22 (September 1982)]
HAUER, Ruger. All Those Moments: Stories of Heroes, Villains, Replicants and Blade Runners (New York: Harper-Collins, 2007)
JETER, K.W. Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human (London: Orion Media, 1995)
JETER, K.W. Blade Runner 3: Replicant Night (London: Orion Media, 1996)
JETER, K.W. Blade Runner 4: Eye and Talon (London: Orion Media, 2000)
Los Angeles, 2019 (; 1999–present)
MCKEE, Gabriel. Pink Beams of Light from the God in the Gutter: The Science Fictional Religion of Philip K. Dick (Maryland: University Press of America, 2004)
Kipple Zone (; 2005–present)
MEAD, Syd. Oblagon: Concepts of Syd Mead (London: Oblagon, 1996)
MOEBIUS. "The Long Tomorrow" from the Wonders of the Universe comic book series; written by Dan O'Bannon, illustrated by Jean Giraud. Also appears as a two-part story in Heavy Metal magazine (July and August 1977) [available in Moebius 4: "The Long Tomorrow" and Other Science Fiction Stories (New York: Marvel Books, 1988)]
MORRISON, Rachela. "Casablanca meets Star Wars: The Blakeian Dialectics of Blade Runner", Literature/Film Quarterly 18:1 (Spring, 1990), 2-10 [this issue can be purchased here]
New Berlin Replicants (; 2000–present)
NEUMANN, Dietrich. Film Architecture: Set Design From Metropolis to Blade Runner (Pennsylvania: Brown University Press, 1995)
NOURSE, Alan E. The Bladerunner (New York: Ballantine Books, 1975)
Last snapshot of of the Philip K. Dick official site (https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.philipkdick.com/, 2003-2012)
SCHARF, David. Magnifications: Photography with the Scanning Electron Microscope (Berlin: Schocken Books, 1977)
SHAPIRO, Michael J. "Manning the Frontiers: The Politics of (Human) Nature in Blade Runner", in In the Nature of Things: Language, Politics and the Environment, Jane Bennett and William Chaloupka (eds.) (Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press 1993), 65-84
SLADE, Joseph W. "Romanticizing Cybernetics in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner", Literature/Film Quarterly 18:1 (Spring, 1990), 11-18 [this issue can be purchased here]
SUTIN. Lawrence. Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick (Pennsylvania: Harmony Press, 1989)
SUTIN, Lawrence (ed.) The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick (New York: Vintage, 2006)
WOOD, Robin. Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan...and Beyond, Revised and Expanded Ed. (Columbia: Columbia University Press, 2003) [first published in 1983]
ANACO, Atari, Atriton, Bell, Budweiser, Bulova, Citizen, Coca-Cola, Cuisine Art, Dentyne, Hilton, Jovan, JVC, Koss, l.a. Eyeworks, Lark, Marlboro, Million Dollar Discount, Mon Hart, Pan Am, Polaroid, RCA, Remy, Schiltz, Shakey's, Toshiba, Star Jewelers, TDK, The Million Dollar Movie, TWA, Wakamoto.
The R1 US 5-disc Ultimate Collector's Edition DVD released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment in 2007 contains the following special features:
Disc 1: Ridley Scott's definitive cut of the film, called "The Final Cut," it features enhanced special effects, newly remastered 5.1 Dolby Digital Sound and newly scanned visuals from the original 35mm negative, an introduction to the film by director Ridley Scott, a feature length audio commentary with Ridley Scott, a feature length audio commentary with executive producer/screenwriter Hampton Fancher, screenwriter David Webb Peoples, producer Michael Deeley and production executive Kathy Haber, and a feature length audio commentary with production designer Lawrence G. Paull, art director David L. Snyder, visual futurist Syd Mead and special photographic effects supervisors Douglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich and David Dryer.
Disc 2: Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner (2007); a 214-minute making of documentary made exclusively for this DVD.
Disc 3: The 1982 US Theatrical Cut of the film, the 1982 International Cut of the film, and the 1992 Director's Cut of the film. All three cuts contain an introduction by Ridley Scott; all three cuts have digitally remastered picture and sound.
Disc 4: The Electric Dreamer: Remembering Philip K. Dick (2007), a 14-minute featurette looking at the life of Philip K. Dick; Sacrificial Sheep: The Novel vs. the Film (2007), a 15-minute featurette looking at the differences between the film Blade Runner and the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?; 14 short audio-only interviews between Paul M. Sammon and Philip K. Dick, recorded between 1980 and 1982 (25 minutes in total); Signs of the Times: Graphic Design (2007), a 14-minute featurette presented by production illustrator Tom Southwell, who takes us through some of the design work he did for the film; Fashion Forward: Wardrobe and Styling (2007), a 21-minute featurette looking at the costumes made for the film; Screen Tests: Rachael and Pris (2007), a 9-minute featurette, introduced by casting director Mike Fenton, looking at the auditions of Nina Axelrod for Rachael and Stacey Nelkin for Pris (includes 2007 interviews with both Axelrod and Nelkin); The Light That Burns: Remembering Jordan Cronenweth (2007), a 20-minute featurette looking at the career of cinematographer Jordan Cronenweth; Blade Runner: Deleted and Alternate Scenes (2007), 24 deleted and alternate scenes (see below for more information); "On the Set", a 14-minute featurette from 1982 looking at the making of the film, narrated by Morgan Paull (includes interviews with Ridley Scott, Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer and Sean Young); "Convention Reel," a 13-minute featurette from 1982 which was sent out to science fiction conventions in the weeks leading up to the theatrical release of the film, featuring behind-the-scene footage and details about the milieu of the film (includes interviews with Ridley Scott, Syd Mead and Douglas Trumbull); a 9-minute visual-only clip of random behind-the-scenes footage; 1981 Theatrical Teaser; 1982 Theatrical Trailer; 1982 TV Spot; 1992 Directors Cut Trailer; 2007 Dangerous Days Trailer; 2007 Final Cut Trailer; Promoting Dystopia: Rendering the Poster Art (2007), a 10-minute featurette looking at the posters used to advertise and promote the film both for the original release in 1982 and the release of the Final Cut in 2007; Deck-A-Rep: The True Nature of Rick Deckard (2007), a 10-minute featurette looking at the question of whether or not Deckard is a replicant; and Nexus Generation: Fans & Filmmakers (2007), a 22-minute featurette looking at the continuing popularity and influence of the film.
Disc 5: The 1982 Workprint cut of the film, with an introduction by Ridley Scott, a feature length audio commentary with Paul M. Sammon, author of Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner; and All Our Variant Futures (2007), a 28-minute featurette looking at the creation of the Final Cut.
The box, which is a replica of Rick Deckard's briefcase, also contains a 16-page booklet, a lenticular motion film clip, a letter from Ridley Scott, an art folio containing storyboards, production illustrations and concept drawings, a mini spinner, and a paper origami unicorn.
The R2 UK 5-disc Ultimate Collector's Edition DVD released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (UK) in 2007 contains identical special features, but it comes in a DVD size steel case, and the spinner and origami piece are absent. Additionally, the motion clip, the letter and the art folio are much smaller in the UK box set. The US-only 4-disc Collector's Edition contains the first four discs of the 5-disc set. The 2-disc Special Edition (both US and UK) contains the first two disks of the 5-disc set.
Although they are viewable as a series of 24 separate deleted/alternate scenes, the Blade Runner DVD also presents the deleted scenes as a single 47-minute block of scenes, which have been edited together to form a "mini" version of the film itself, complete with never-before-heard voiceover narration by Harrison Ford. The scenes which comprise this short version of the film are:
Tears in the Rain (Alternate Opening Titles): An alternate title sequence featuring huge water drops splashing onto the ground in slow motion, in time with the Vangelis music.
I'm Deckard: An alternate introduction to Deckard, featuring different angles of the blimp, the noodlebar and the scene where Gaff arrives. There is also a new voiceover here, with Deckard talking about his wife leaving him for a rich prospector on one of the colonies.
A Real Dandy: An alternate version of the scene where Gaff and Deckard arrive at the police station, revealing more of Union Station. In the new voiceover, Deckard explains that Gaff is new to the job and hungry for promotion.
Bryant's Point of View: A truncated version of the scene where Deckard and Bryant watch the incept tapes. The voiceover here talks about how Bryant knows something about everyone.
Visiting Holden: Deckard visits Holden in hospital. Holden tells Deckard how life like the new Nexus 6 model is, and they speculate as to whether the Voight-Kampff will work on them.
Rep Detect File: As Deckard and Gaff approach the Tyrell building, Deckard flips through a file on the four replicants and the voiceover explains the background of each one.
Zero-Zero-Zero: A alternate version of Rachael's Voight-Kampff test. The voiceover talks about how difficult it was to determine that she was a replicant, and expresses disgust at what Tyrell is doing.
1187 Hunterwasser: An alternate version of Deckard and Gaff searching Leon's hotel room. More of the geography of the room is seen, and additionally, at the end of the scene, Leon is revealed to have been hiding somewhere in the bathroom the entire time the two policemen were present.
Chew's Specialty: An alternate introduction to Roy, who is shown in full profile standing in the phone booth. A voiceover explains who Chew is.
Heading Home: An alternate version of the scene where Deckard arrives at his apartment block, showing him getting out of his car and running to escape the rain. The voiceover talks about how poorly the case is going.
An Oddball Genius: An alternate version of the meeting between Pris and Sebastian, showing a high angle shot from overhead as Pris approaches the Bradbury. The voiceover talks about how difficult being a Blade Runner is, and why the replicants wanted to see Sebastian.
Memories: A different version of the scene where Deckard uses the Esper. In this version, the graphics seen on the Esper screen look completely different to all other versions of the film. Additionally, when Deckard asks for a hardcopy, the print out matches the image on-screen. The voiceover here talks about how demoralizing the job is, and there is some more information on Deckard's ex-wife, who we see in a photograph.
Food for Thought: A scene of Deckard sitting at the noodle bar eating. The man beside him gets fish, and Deckard suddenly realizes that maybe the scale he found belongs to a fish. The voiceover here basically just summarizes what is shown.
The Street of Bad Dreams: More footage of Deckard approaching Taffy Lewis' club, which reveals a lot more of the street. Also, an alternate take of the conversation between Deckard and Taffy. The voiceover discusses how unreliable Taffy is.
Backstage Pass: A barman tells Deckard that Taffy won't know anything about the scale, but the performers might, and he tells him to go backstage to find out. The voiceover here talks about how he suspects Zhora is a replicant, but isn't 100% sure.
Looks Like Blood: An alternate version of the scene after Deckard has killed Zhora. The voiceover here talks about the moral ambiguities of the work.
Washing Up: An alternate version of the scene where Deckard washes up and goes to sleep, with more footage of Rachael simply watching him.
I Want You: A longer version of the sex scene, which shows both Deckard and Rachael undressing one another.
Metaphysics: Deckard again visits Holden, who thinks Deckard had slept with Zhora and mocks him for it. Holden then tells Deckard that the replicants are looking for God. Bryant and Gaff are shown to be spying on the scene, discussing whether or not Deckard knows where Rachael is.
Tyrell Security Protocol: Different versions of Roy and Sebastian approaching the Tyrell suite, and of Roy leaving. Both scenes involve a security pass that has to be input into a slot on the elevator within a certain time or the elevator will be locked down. Additionally, as Roy leaves, he is clearly upset, almost frantic.
Closing In: A different version of the scene where Deckard calls Sebastian's. In this version, the conversation with the Spinner cop is longer, and the cop is actually seen on a small TV in Deckard's car. The real difference, however, is the voiceover. At this stage, Deckard doesn't know that Tyrell is dead. However, Rachael has guessed that the replicants want more life, which means they need to see Tyrell. Deckard explains that only 6 people have access to Tyrell, so he is calling each of them. Sebastian is the last one he calls.
Every Second Of It: An alternate version of Roy's final monologue. Different angles are used throughout, and the shot of the pigeon flying away is at nighttime. Additionally, when he arrives on the roof, Gaff points out to Deckard that he can't be sure if he is in fact human. The voiceover here is the same as that used in the Workprint.
Old Richter Route (Alternate Ending): An alternate version of the theatrical cut's happy ending. The voiceover muses about how much in love Deckard and Rachael are.
Made for Each Other (Alternate Ending): Another alternate version of the theatrical cut's happy ending, with Deckard and Rachael discussing Deckard's ex-wife and their own relationship. Rachael tells Deckard that it is the happiest day of her life. Interestingly, Rachael then says, "You and I were made for one another," to which Deckard responds strangely, looking at her rather bemusedly (this line has been suggested to be another hint that Deckard is a replicant).
Yes it is. In the US, the Five-Disc Edition is available in two formats; the Collector's Edition and the Ultimate Collector's Edition. Both editions contain the same special features as the 5-disc DVD, but the Ultimate Edition comes in a replica of Rick Deckard's briefcase, and contains a 16-page booklet, a lenticular motion film clip, a letter from Ridley Scott, an art folio containing storyboards, production illustrations and concept drawings, a mini spinner, and a paper origami unicorn. These additional extras are absent in the standard Blu-ray Collector's Edition. The film is also available in a two disc version in both the US and the UK, which contains the Final Cut, plus the three commentaries and the Dangerous Days documentary.
Also available in both the US and the UK is the 30th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition, released in 2012. The US edition is a four disc set, the UK edition a three disc set. Both contain everything from the 5-disc Ultimate Collector's Edition DVD and 5-disc Collector's Edition Blu-ray, but all of the special features are now in HD (except Dangerous Days). Additionally, both come with a UV copy of the film and a 72-page The Art Of Blade Runner book. The reason the US set is a four disk set and the UK a three disk set is because the US set contains a DVD copy of the Final Cut. However, the UK set contains a small Spinner replica car not found in the US set.
Essentially the different versions of Blade Runner differ in 5 ways: 1) Ford's voiceover narration, 2) the forced happy ending, 3) the unicorn dream, 4) the additional violence (Tyrell's eyes being gouged out, the nail coming out the other side of Batty's hand, etc.), and 5) the enhanced special effects (improved sound effects of Deckard's gun, synchronized flames at the beginning, etc.) and minor aesthetic changes. The original 1982 workprint does not include any of the 5 changes indicated above. The theatrical cut of the film does include 1 and 2 but not 3, 4 and 5. The international cut includes 1, 2 and 4 but not 3 and 5. The 1992 directors cut (which was approved by Scott but not edited by Scott) only includes 3. The 2007 final cut (which was approved and edited by Scott) includes 3, 4 and 5 but not 1 and 2. Story wise the final cut and the directors cut are identical.