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Blade Runner (1982) Poster

(1982)

Trivia

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Director Ridley Scott and director of photography Jordan Cronenweth achieved the famous "shining eyes" effect by using a technique invented by Fritz Lang known as the "Schüfftan Process": light is bounced into the actors' and actresses' eyes off of a piece of half mirrored glass mounted at a forty-five-degree angle to the camera.
Director Ridley Scott regards this movie as probably his most personal and complete movie.
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(at around 38 mins) After Pris (Daryl Hannah) first meets J.F. Sebastian (William Sanderson), she runs away from him, skidding into his car and smashing the window with her elbow. This was a genuine mistake caused by Hannah slipping on the wet ground. The glass wasn't breakaway glass, it was real glass, and Hannah chipped her elbow in eight places. She still has the scar from the accident, as can be seen in Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner (2007), the "making of" documentary of this movie.
According to Rutger Hauer's biography, the final confrontation between Rick Deckard and Roy Batty was to have been a fight in an old gym, using martial arts like kung-fu or something similar. Hauer disliked the idea, saying it was "too Bruce Lee" (he didn't know kung-fu anyway) and claims to have come up with the idea of Batty chasing Deckard.
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Rutger Hauer came up with many inventive ideas for his characterization, like the moment where he grabs and fondles a dove. He also improvised the now-iconic line "All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain". He later chose "All those moments" as the title of his autobiography.
The novel hints at the "Is Deckard a Replicant?" problem by having Deckard casually mention that one indicator of an android is a lack of sympathy for other androids. His interlocutor then points out that, given his job, this means that Deckard could be one too.
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The idea for Roy Batty to release a dove after he dies was Rutger Hauer's. The dove was supposed to release itself and fly away just after Batty's death. However, while filming the scene, the large amount of water used for the rain soaked the dove, rendering it unable to fly. Instead, it simply hopped out of Batty's hand and walked away.
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The final scene was shot hours before the producers were due to take creative control away from Ridley Scott.
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Director Ridley Scott cast Rutger Hauer in the role of Roy Batty without meeting him. He had watched his performances in Turkish Delight (1973), Katie Tippel (1975), and Soldier of Orange (1977), and was so impressed, he cast him immediately. However, for their first meeting, Hauer decided to play a joke on Scott and he turned up wearing huge green sunglasses, pink satin pants, and a white sweater with an image of a fox on the front. According to Production Executive Katherine Haber, when Scott saw Hauer, he literally turned white.
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Joanna Cassidy (Zhora) was at ease with the snake around her neck because it was her pet, a Burmese python named "Darling".
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In Philip K. Dick's original novel, animals were virtually extinct, something that this movie only addresses in very subtle ways. The most obvious reference to this animal extinction is when Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) asks Zhora (Joanna Cassidy) if her snake is real, and she replies, "Do you think I'd be working in a place like this if I could afford one?" Another reference occurs in the scene where Rick Deckard first visits Dr. Elden Tyrell (Joe Turkel), and he asks Rachael (Sean Young) if their owl is replicated. She responds with "Of course it is". In Dick's novel, the owls were the first creatures to die out.
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At some point of this movie, each replicant has a red brightness in his or her eyes. It is most prominently seen in the replicant owl at Dr. Elden Tyrell's office. Leon Kowalski has the red glow during his Voight-Kampff test, like Rachael during her test; Rachael also has the glow in Rick Deckard's home; Pris in J.F. Sebastian's. Zhora has the glow while in the club; Roy Batty has the glow several times, most prominently while killing Tyrell. Deckard also has the shining in his eyes while talking to Rachael in his house. In July 2000, Director Ridley Scott confirmed that Deckard is, in fact, a replicant. Harrison Ford takes issue with this, however. "We had agreed that he definitely was not a replicant", Ford said. In his autobiography, Rutger Hauer expressed some disappointment with Scott's revelation, because he felt that it reduced the final clash between Deckard and Batty from a symbolic "man vs. machine" battle to two replicants fighting.
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(at around 47 mins) The "snake scale" seen under the electron microscope was actually a marijuana bud.
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The term "replicants" is used nowhere in Philip K. Dick's writing. The creatures in the source novel are called "androids" or "andies". The movie abandoned these terms, fearing they would sound comical spoken on-screen. "Replicants" came from screenwriter David Webb Peoples' daughter, Risa, who was studying microbiology and biochemistry. She introduced her father to the theory of replication - the process whereby cells are duplicated for cloning purposes.
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Although Philip K. Dick saw only the opening 20 minutes of footage prior to his death on March 2, 1982, he was extremely impressed, and has been quoted by Paul Sammon as saying, "It was my own interior world. They caught it perfectly." However, neither director Ridley Scott nor screenwriter David Webb Peoples actually read Dick's novel.
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Philip K. Dick personally approved of Rutger Hauer, describing him as, "the perfect Batty-cold, Aryan, flawless".
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After Philip K. Dick saw Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard on-set, Dick declared: "He has been more Deckard than I had imagined. It has been incredible. Deckard exists!"
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Originally, Roy Batty was to have a lengthy monologue just prior to his death, as written by David Webb Peoples. Rutger Hauer felt the text was much too technical, and referred to locations with which the audience would be unfamiliar. This didn't help in creating any dramatic impact in the scene, so he removed much, keeping the pieces he liked, and then added the last two lines, "All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die."
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This was Rutger Hauer's favorite of his own movies.
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Philip K. Dick first came up with the idea for his novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" in 1962, when researching "The Man in the High Castle", which deals with the Nazis conquering the planet in the 1940s. Dick had been granted access to archived World War II Gestapo documents in the University of California at Berkley, and had come across diaries written by S.S. men stationed in Poland, which he found almost unreadable in their casual cruelty and lack of human empathy. One sentence in particular troubled him: "We are kept awake at night by the cries of starving children." Dick was so horrified by this sentence that he reasoned there was obviously something wrong with the man who wrote it. This led him to hypothesize that Nazism in general was a defective group mind, a mind so emotionally flawed that the word human could not be applied to them. Their lack of empathy was so pronounced that Dick reasoned they couldn't be referred to as human beings, even though their outward appearance seemed to indicate that they were human. The novel sprang from this. And, interestingly enough, it is now thought that some people are "Occupational Psychopaths" due to low-functioning amygdala, the fear centers of the brain's limbic system.
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(at around 1h 11 mins) When Deckard stops Rachael from leaving his apartment, he pushes her away from him. The expression of pain and shock on her face was real. Sean Young said that Harrison Ford had difficulties playing the scene with her, and had pushed her too hard. However, when he saw how angry she was with him, he affectionately "mooned" her to break the ice.
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The ending title sequence in the theatrical cut of this movie contains un-used footage from "The Shining (1980)." These were extra shots of the main title sequence, although none of the shots contain the road that was seen in "The Shining" (1980).
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The studio wasn't happy with the original final ending where Rick Deckard is looking at the piece of origami, and leaves his building with Rachael. The ending of the U.S. theatrical cut, with Deckard's voice-over about Rachael, used left-over helicopter footage from the opening scene of The Shining (1980). Stanley Kubrick was contacted for this, and being a fan of Ridley Scott's previous movie, Alien (1979), he happily gifted it on the condition that only shots were used that had not been used in The Shining (1980). Since there was copious footage (something for which Kubrick was notorious), this wasn't a problem.
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This movie suffered at the box office because it opened at the same time as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). The Thing (1982) suffered a similar fate due to the same reason. Although there was praise for the visual style, word of mouth about this movie's slow pace and bleak themes quickly caused a decrease in attendance ratings. Both movies later reached cult status and received critical praise.
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(at around 1h 23 mins) Roy Batty's odd meld of "father" and "fucker" after he says to Tyrell, "I want more life" is deliberate. Rutger Hauer was instructed to pronounce it in such a way that it could be both; "fucker" was to be used in the theatrical cut, and "father" in all versions of this movie for television.
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This is Ridley Scott's favorite movie of his own. The Final Cut released in 2007 is his favorite version of this movie.
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Ridley Scott's first cut ran four hours. Most of the crew, including the writers and director, admitted that while it looked beautiful, it was mostly incomprehensible, necessitating additional editing and an explanatory voice-over.
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Director of photography Jordan Cronenweth was just starting to really suffer from the Parkinson's disease that would ultimately kill him, and was often quite weak during the long days and nights of filming. By the end of the production, he was in a wheelchair, but according to director Ridley Scott, Cronenweth was a real trooper who did his work throughout the difficult shoot until the end.
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Syd Mead was originally hired to design vehicles and props. However, in his sketches, he included backgrounds for contextualization (such as streets and Rick Deckard's apartment). Director Ridley Scott was so impressed with Mead's work that he asked him to work on designing the environment of this movie, as well as painting some of the mattes. Mead, who was originally supposed to be hired for only a few days, stayed on the production for several weeks for a fee of $1,500 per day. This was one of the factors that caused this movie to go over budget.
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Although for many years, Harrison Ford refused to talk about this movie, he did contribute to the 2007 DVD documentary "Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner (2007)," claiming he has reconciled with Ridley Scott and made his peace with this movie. In fact, Ford says the thing he remembers most is not the gruelling shoot or the arguments with Scott, but being forced to record the voice-over which executive producers Jerry Perenchio and Bud Yorkin insisted be in this movie. Ford doesn't actually mention any names, but in discussing the voice-over which was used in the theatrical cut, he says it was written by "clowns". In actual fact, Darryl Ponicsan was initially hired to write it, but his version was tossed out. Then Roland Kibbee was hired, and his version is the one that was used. According to screenwriters David Webb Peoples and Hampton Fancher, who had become close friends, when they first saw this movie, they each thought the other had written it, and despite the fact that they both hated it, they told one another they loved it for fear of insulting the other's feelings.
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The Voight-Kampff Test comes from Cambridge Mathematician Alan Turing's 1951 paper, in which he proposed a test called "The Imitation Game" that might finally settle the issue of machine intelligence. His story was told in The Imitation Game (2014).
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To ensure that he didn't have to wear a hat in this movie (having just come off Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)), Harrison Ford went out and got a contemporary haircut, for which director Ridley Scott didn't care, but with which was essentially stuck.
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A female gymnast was hired as a stunt double for Daryl Hannah in the scene where Pris attacks Rick Deckard, but Director Ridley Scott rehearsed the scene so many times, that when they were ready to shoot the scene, she was too exhausted to do anything. The scene was filmed with a male gymnast that they had been able to track down during the lunch break.
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(At around twenty-seven minutes) Outside of the eye scientist's lab, on the left hand side of the door is some graffiti in Japanese/Chinese characters that reads: "Chinese good, Americans bad."
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(at around 57 mins) The scene where Zhora (Joanna Cassidy) crashes through the sheets of glass was shot near the end of production. The budget and time were running out, so the scene had to be done quite hastily. This caused some continuity problems, since it clearly wasn't Cassidy doing the scene; it's actually stuntwoman Lee Pulford wearing a bad wig that someone just happened to bring to the set. For the Final Cut of this movie, one day of entirely new shooting took place - which has become known as the "Greenscreen Shoot". New footage of Cassidy was shot and face replacement technology was used to digitally replace Pulford's face with Cassidy's. Not only was Cassidy thrilled that Zhora's costume still fit her, but the crew working on the shot were amazed at how easily Cassidy was able to exactly mimic her actions from 25 years before.
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Some computer displays within the vehicles were used on the Nostromo and the lifeboat in Alien (1979). Some sounds from that movie can be heard too.
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Originally, the novel, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", was set in 1992, although later editions brought the date forward to 2021. The filmmakers initially identified the date as 2020, but settled on 2019 because 2020 sounded too much like the common term for perfect vision, 20/20.
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According to Paul Sammon, who toured the set in 1981, the level of detail on everything (what Ridley Scott refers to as "layering") was amazing, even though much of it would never be seen on-screen. For example, written on the door of a bus was "Driver is Armed; Carries No Cash", while written in tiny print on the parking meters was "WARNING - DANGER! You Can Be Killed By Internal Electrical System If This Meter Is Tampered With". Also written on the parking meters was the rate - 1 minute parking cost $3. On a magazine rack were magazines with mocked-up covers; these magazines included "Krotch", "Zord", "Bash", "Creative Emotion", and "Droid". A skin magazine called "Horn" had headlines reading "The Cosmic Orgasm", "Hot Lust in Space", "Tit Job Review", and "Scratch and Sniff Centerspread".Crime magazine "Kill" had covers reading "Multiple Murders - Readers' Own Photos", "98 Dead in Spinner Dive", "Death Penalty Snuffs 12 Jurors in Freak Accident." Another magazine, "Moni", had headlines "Earthlings: Pay Big $ to See Future" by M. Deeley, "Higher Tech" by L.G. Paull, and "Illegal Aliens" by R. Scott.
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At first, Ridley Scott's original cut, without the voice-over, amongst other things, was thought to be non-existent. It was in 1989 that Michael Arick, a sound preservationist and Director of Assent Management at Warner Brothers, stumbled upon a 70mm print of this movie while looking for footage from Gypsy (1962). Several months later, the Cineplex Odeon Fairfax theater was having a classic-film festival featuring 70mm prints. The print discovered by Arick was set to be screened in May. However, no one had actually watched the print and everyone thought it was the International Cut, leading to a great deal of surprise when people discovered it was another version entirely. More screenings of this version resulted in sell-outs, and Warner Brothers proposed releasing it as a Director's Cut. Ridley Scott, however, said it was not a Director's Cut, and said that several changes would need to be made for him to approve it. Ultimately, Scott and Arick were not given enough time to complete the project to Scott's satisfaction, and the resulting Director's Cut was still not Scott's preferred version of this movie. In 2007, Scott was finally able to release what he considered to be the definitive cut of this movie, which is labelled "The Final Cut".
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When author William Gibson went to see this movie, he was preparing to begin his first novel, "Neuromancer". However, 20 minutes into this movie, he got up and walked out of the theater because he was so shocked by the similarities between this movie and his as yet unwritten novel.
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For many aerial shot of the city, all kinds of materials were used to simulate buildings in the city landscape, such as miniature spaceships from other science fiction movies. An upright model of the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) can be seen (with some difficulty) to the left of the Police building as Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) and Gaff's (Edward James Olmos) spinner is making its descent. When the Asian billboard is showing for the first time, a kitchen sink can be seen masquerading as a building in the far background of the shot. Because some of the miniatures were so high, there was often not enough room between models and ceiling to move the camera over the miniatures. The special effects crew solved this by tilting the sets at an angle.
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Due to an imminent strike amongst the actors and actresses near the end of photography, the shooting schedule became extremely long and rushed in order to complete this movie. Two stunt doubles for Rutger Hauer had been injured while making Roy Batty's jump during this movie's climax, so Hauer asked for the gap to be tightened a bit, and then successfully performed the jump. When filming his death scene after 25 hours shooting, Hauer was so exhausted that he excused himself, went back to his hotel and collapsed. When he returned to the set the next day after a decent sleep, the strike had been averted. Hauer was able to finish his scenes properly, and even came up with his famous death monologue.
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(at around 1h 40 mins) For Rick Deckard's jump during the climax, stunt coordinator Gary Combs doubled for Harrison Ford and wore an identical coat. For continuity reasons, he had to look wet from all of the rain, so Director Ridley Scott told the crew to keep soaking him with water. The coat absorbed most of it, so when it was time to do the stunt, the coat had become so heavy that he was barely able to make it. He badly hurt his arm on the protruding beam, and was just able to hold on to the ledge. This was the shot that appears in the movie.
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Harrison Ford cites this movie as one of the most frustrating movies he's ever made, partly because the shoot was so gruelling, and the changes in post-production that were meant to help this movie's chances at the box office didn't.
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The Hades landscape in the opening shot was filmed using forced perspective. The miniature was only 13 feet deep and 18 feet wide. Smoke was used extensively to create a sense of depth. To keep the level of smoke consistent during shooting, a smoke detector was connected to a smoke generator, and would signal it when it had to produce more smoke. Almost 7 miles of fiber optics and over 2,000 lights were needed to illuminate the landscape. In order to film the entire sequence, the same piece of film was exposed multiple times, each time filming a different element in the shot (such as structures, light, fire, and vehicles). In order for all takes to match up, the exact camera movement had to be repeated with a motion-controlled camera up to seventeen times. This put so much stress on the film that the special effects team would often find that the camera had ripped the film to shreds.
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There are a total of three origami creatures made by Gaff (Edward James Olmos). The first is a chicken, which he makes from plain paper, while Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is trying to "chicken out". The second is a man, which he makes of a used and discarded paper match (a burning man, as it were) while Deckard is searching Leon Kowalski's (Brion James') apartment. The third is a silver unicorn, which he makes outside Deckard's apartment while deciding whether to kill Rachael (Sean Young). Later, when arriving on the rooftop after Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) dies, Gaff says to Deckard that it is over, inferring that all five replicants (including Rachael) were dead. Instead of killing her, Gaff decides to let Deckard pursue his dream, symbolized by the third origami creation - a unicorn made not from paper, but from silver foil. The dream is both allegorical and real, as Deckard actually does dream of a unicorn. An unanswered question in this movie is that of whether Deckard is human or otherwise. (Rachael asks him if he'd ever taken the Voight-Kampff test and his lack of response might be taken as a no.) It should also be noted that at one point, Deckard describes two dreams that were taken from Dr. Elden Tyrell's (Joe Turkel's) niece and that in Deckard's own dream there was a unicorn, which poses the question: Was Gaff's choice of a unicorn simply symbolic of a quest for something both beautiful and impossible, or was it taken from Deckard's own dream, which would then point to Deckard being a replicant? Another clue would have been heard at the end, after Gaff says, "You have done a man's job, sir"; an unused part of the shot had Gaff continue by saying "But are you sure you ARE a man?" The humanity of Deckard was left up to the audience to decide.
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Rick Deckard does not say one word to Roy Batty during their confrontation at the end of this movie.
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Ridley Scott was dismayed to discover that American crews operated very differently from British ones (this was Scott's first American movie). In his native U.K., Scott was primarily a camera operator and would always step behind the camera to see through the viewfinder. This wasn't common practice in America and led to much tension between Scott and crew. Scott also frustrated cast and crew by continuously making changes to sets and story. Screenwriter David Webb Peoples, who was asked to re-write the screenplay throughout the shoot, often found that his re-writes were already obsolete by the time he handed them in.
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An early script idea that survived several re-writes involved Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) killing Dr. Elden Tyrell (Joe Turkel), and then finding out that this Tyrell is merely an android. Batty then learns that the real Tyrell had been dead for four years, his body being preserved in a Mayan-like sarcophagus; the corporation maintained the illusion that Tyrell was still alive in order to keep the company's stocks from devaluating. Much of the scene was storyboarded, but just before filming, it was scrapped and decided that Batty would be killing the real Tyrell instead.
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The inception dates of the different replicants are: Roy Batty (January 8, 2016). Leon Kowalski (April 10, 2017). Zhora (June 12, 2016). Pris (February 14, 2016).
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Ridley Scott and Michael Deeley were briefly fired from the production shortly after principal photography wrapped. Because this movie had gone over budget, executive producers Jerry Perenchio and Bud Yorkin of Tandem Productions had stepped in, firing Scott and Deeley, and taken over editing of this movie. And although they did rehire Scott and Deeley (mainly due to the intervention of Alan Ladd, Jr.), they retained artistic control. After two disastrous preview screenings of the workprint, which the audience claimed was difficult to understand, Yorkin and Perenchio decided to record an explanatory voice-over and add a happy ending. Ridley Scott had also acknowledged the movie's problems, and was not averse to the idea of a voice-over (as is often claimed), but he had wanted a voice-over with Deckard musing more philosophically on the implications of his actions. Yorkin and Perenchio, however, wanted a voice-over where Deckard literally explained aspects of this movie to the audience.
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Blade Runner was made on a very tense set. Due to American union rules, director Ridley Scott could not bring his own British crew, and felt hampered by strict codes that would not allow him to operate a camera. He was also constantly frustrated by crew members, financers, and producers who kept questioning him about his artistic choices. Conversely, the majority of the American crew didn't enjoy working on this movie, or working with Scott, who they considered to be cold and distant, and whose perfectionism caused shooting days that often lasted around thirteen hours. According to insiders on the set, crew members were leaving or being fired all the time, and the call-sheets were the only sure way to see who was still working on the production. Towards the end of principal photography, an incident occurred which has become known as "the t-shirt war". In an article in the British press, Scott had casually commented that he preferred working with English crews because when he asked for something they would say, "Yes gov'nor" and go get it, but things weren't that simple with American crews. Make-up supervisor Marvin G. Westmore saw the article and was disgusted. In retaliation, he had t-shirts printed with "Yes gov'nor my ass!" on the front, and either "Will Rogers never met Ridley Scott" or "You soar with eagles when you fly with turkeys" on the back. A mildly amused Scott and several of his closer collaborators had t-shirts made with "Xenophobia sucks" on them, and Scott would wear a cap that said "Guv". Scott later said it was meant as a joke, and to defuse the situation; he simply hoped that people would be confused by the word "xenophobia" and had to ask what it meant. Apparently, the strategy worked, and it broke the ice for a while.
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There were much more ideas for the depiction of future Los Angeles, California. Concept art by Syd Mead also included enormous freeways and more monumental buildings. However, budgetary constraints prevented these from being realized. Instead, existing buildings on the studio's backlot were modified to give them a bleak futuristic appearance. Since much of the enhancements were made from cheap materials that could be easily discerned on camera, director Ridley Scott employed copious use of darkness, rain, and smoke to successfully sell the illusion.
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Rick Deckard's apartment, drawn by set designer Charles William Breen and built on-stage at Warner Brothers, was inspired by the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Ennis-Brown House in Los Angeles, California. Breen had plaster casts taken from the textile blocks of the Wright-designed house and used them for the walls in the stage set.
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The release of the official soundtrack recording was delayed for over a decade. There are two official releases of the music from this movie. In light of the lack of a release of an album, the New American Orchestra recorded an orchestral adaptation in 1982 which bore little resemblance to the original. Some of the movie tracks would, in 1989, surface in the compilation Vangelis: Themes, but not until the 1992 release of the Director's Cut version would a substantial amount of the score see commercial release.
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Joe Turkel (Dr. Elden Tyrell) had great difficulties in remembering his long and often technical dialogue, so to help him, the crew held up text banners from which he could read his lines. It was still very difficult for him since he could barely see through the huge, thick glasses that he had to wear as Tyrell.
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In an infamous incident, author Philip K. Dick publicly denounced this movie after reading an early Hampton Fancher script. In the February 15, 1981 edition of "Select TV Guide", Dick mocked the script (calling it "Phillip Marlowe meets The Stepford Wives (1975)") and Ridley Scott's previous movie, Alien (1979). He then mailed a copy of the article to the "Blade Runner" production offices. Ultimately, Dick would change his opinion about the project, largely due to the involvement of Jeffrey Walker, a publicist for the Ladd Company, who convinced "Warner Brothers" that Dick needed to be involved in the project (the original production company, "Filmways, Inc.," had basically ignored Dick and kept him out of the loop). Walker kept Dick abreast of all major developments behind the scenes, and Dick eventually became a supporter of this movie, even though Ridley Scott and he did not meet until after principal photography had wrapped.
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One of David Webb Peoples' early screenplays opened the movie on an off-world termination dump, where three dead replicants were to be disposed of. Peoples re-used this idea of discarding dead servants on an off-world colony dump in his screenplay for Soldier (1998), which he considered a "side-quel" to this movie (an unrelated movie taking place in the same fictional universe).
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William Sanderson researched his character by looking into real-life cases of progeria, the advanced aging disease from which J.F. Sebastian suffers.
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Ridley Scott initially toyed with the idea of setting this movie in the fictional city of San Angeles. As if San Francisco and Los Angeles had become one massive population center. This idea was used in Demolition Man (1993), as a combination of Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Barbara.
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While this movie is loosely based on Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", the title comes from a book by Alan Nourse called "The Bladerunner". William S. Burroughs wrote a screenplay based on the Nourse book and a novella titled "Blade Runner: A Movie". Ridley Scott bought the rights to the title but not the screenplay nor the book. The Burroughs composition defines a blade runner as "a person who sells illegal surgical instruments."
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Conflicts on-set arose almost immediately upon commencement of filming. The first scenes to be shot where those which take place in Dr. Eldon Tyrell's (Joe Turkel's) office. Despite careful pre-production, director Ridley Scott was very dismayed to find that the columns of the office had been built upside down; rearranging them took several hours. After two weeks of shooting, he decided he didn't like the lighting for the scenes, and ordered everything to be re-shot from scratch. This not only put this movie two weeks behind schedule only two weeks into the shoot, but also created a major conflict between Scott and the camera crew, headed by director of photography Jordan Cronenweth. Scott's perfectionism throughout production would often cause considerable delays when he decided to change lighting and sets on the spot. He also had many unused takes printed at considerable cost, causing the budget to inflate rather quickly. This also put a strain on his relation with the producers, but Scott stood his ground, and maintained that his background in commercials and keen eye for detail were exactly the reasons they had hired him.
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Rick Deckard's gun was based upon a real-life gun, but not a pistol. It was, rather, a double-trigger bolt-action rifle smithed by the Austrian company Steyr-Mannlicher. The propmakers cut the barrel and the stock off the gun, added a curved pistol grip and some L.E.D.s, and a legend was born. The only problem, of course, was that the gun weighed so much, nearly twice what a normal pistol weighed, and that it was chambered for 5.56 millimeter ammunition, which required the use of special blanks when it was fired on the set.
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Daryl Hannah's make-up was inspired by the title character in Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979).
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Just prior to this movie's release, Philip K. Dick turned down a $400,000 offer to write the novelization of this movie. Instead, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" was re-released under the name "Blade Runner" and with the movie poster as the cover.
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Titles considered for this movie include "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", "Android", "Mechanismo", "Dangerous Days", and finally, "Blade Runner". After this movie had changed its name from "Dangerous Days" to "Blade Runner", Ridley Scott decided he didn't like the new name, and tried to call this movie "Gotham City", but Bob Kane (comic book creator of Batman) wouldn't sell the rights to the name, so it returned to being called "Blade Runner". Conversely, writer and director Christopher Nolan admitted that "Blade Runner" was a huge influence on his Batman Begins (2005). The title "Dangerous Days" was used in Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner (2007), the making-of documentary of this movie.
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At Rick Deckard's apartment, Rachael shows him several photos to prove she's a human being. Deckard claims that the photos are faked, and that her memories aren't hers, but of Dr. Elden Tyrell's niece, although in the movie, Tyrell never talks about his niece. It's better explained in the book, where the real niece of Eldon Rossen (Tyrell in the movie) has died some decades ago, and he creates Rachael as a physical copy of his deceased niece, down to her exact memories, making Rachael believe to be Eldon Rossen's niece.
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There are only ninety visual effects shots in the entire movie in every version. Most were done with elaborate miniatures, or matte paintings. The latter technique involved the used of detailed paintings that were carefully composited into already filmed live-action shots, in order to add buildings or cityscapes. The combined shot would then have to be filmed again to get the desired effect, but during the exposure of the film, the colors would often change a bit. The matte painters therefore had the difficult task of taking this color shift into account while making the paintings.
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Ridley Scott had decided to cast Frank McRae as Leon Kowalski until he saw Brion James' audition. After the audition, Scott's secretary told him that James frightened her, and upon hearing that, Scott offered James the role.
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The Bradbury Building, J.F. Sebastian's (William Sanderson's) home and location of the final chase sequence, is a Los Angeles, California landmark used in many Hollywood movies including: D.O.A. (1949), M (1951), I, the Jury (1953), Indestructible Man (1956), Good Neighbor Sam (1964), Marlowe (1969), The Night Strangler (1973), Chinatown (1974), Avenging Angel (1985), Murphy's Law (1986), Wolf (1994), Disclosure (1994), Lethal Weapon 4 (1998), Pay It Forward (2000), 500 Days of Summer (2009), and The Artist (2011). The Bradbury has also been used in countless television series. By the time that this movie was filmed, it was actually in relatively poor condition, which was just right for production. The crew was allowed to shoot there as long as they left the building in the state in which they found it. To simulate the dusty interior, the crew spread ground cork over the floor which looked exactly right on-camera. It also had the advantage that it absorbed all of the water that was used to simulate leakage. At the end of shooting, they only had to mop up the soaked cork to clean up.
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(at around 24 mins) For the scene in the bathroom where Rick Deckard finds the snake scale, Deckard is played by Harrison Ford's double Vic Armstrong, as the scene was shot in England as a pick-up, and Ford was unavailable at the time. At the time, Armstrong bore such a resemblance to Ford that he doubled for Ford in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984).
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(at around 34 mins) The story of the spider being eaten alive by an army of baby spiders was a memory of Barbara Hershey, who told it to Hampton Fancher while he was composing the script.
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Rutger Hauer bought a yacht with part of the salary he made on this movie. He christened his ship "The Bladerunner".
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Dr. Elden Tyrell's bedchamber was modelled on that of the Pope's in Vatican City.
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(at around 1h 12 mins) In the strange Japanese advertisement shown on the side of a blimp, in which a Geisha-like woman is swallowing a pill, the loud speakers play a line from a Japanese Noh play, saying "Iri Hi Katamuku", literally "the setting sun sinks down." According to special photographics effects supervisor David Dryer, the pills being swallowed are birth control pills.
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In 1969, Martin Scorsese and Jay Cocks met Philip K. Dick to discuss the possibility of adapting the novel into a movie, but they never optioned the novel, and the project fell through.
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Cityspeak was Edward James Olmos' idea. He has since been amazed at how prescient it was vis-a-vis the increasing multicultural influence Los Angeles, California has experienced in the intervening years.
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According to Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner (2007), an actors' strike gave the art department plenty of extra time to develop the design of this movie. Pre-production lasted nine and a half months. More than 400 carpenters, painters, and plasterers worked on the sets 18 hours per day, seven days a week, during five and a half months.
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Amongst the folklore that has built up around this movie over the years is the infamous "Blade Runner Curse", which is the belief that this movie was a curse to the companies whose logos were displayed prominently as product placements. While they were market leaders at the time, many of them experienced disastrous setbacks over the next decade and hardly exist anymore. RCA, for example which at one time was the leading consumer electronics and communications conglomerate, was bought out by one time parent GE in 1985, and dismantled. Atari, which dominated the home video game market when this movie 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 later years is an entirely different firm, using the former company's name. Cuisinart similarly went bankrupt in 1989, though it lives on under new ownership. The Bell System monopoly was broken up that same year, 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. Pan Am suffered the terrorist bombing and destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 and went bankrupt in 1991, after a decade of mounting losses. The Coca-Cola Company, although still tremendously popular, suffered losses during its failed introduction of New Coke in 1985. The KOSS Corporation - whose logo is repeatedly seen in the opening scenes where Rick Deckard is waiting to eat - survived a serious setback. The family owned, pioneer Hi-Fi headphone company suffered a major loss when it was discovered in 2010 that an employee, the C.F.O., had embezzled 34 million dollars.
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Although Philip K. Dick died before this movie's release, he had read David Webb Peoples' re-write of the screenplay and thoroughly approved of it.
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Ridley Scott got the inspiration for the opening futurescape shots of Los Angeles, California from the industrial landscape of Teesside, England, while driving to his hometown of Stockton-on-Tees. The two skylines look very similar.
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(at around 26 mins) The scene where Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) is introduced has a close-up of his face before he exits a phone booth. This was actually a re-used, mirrored shot from later in the movie where he talks to Dr. Elden Tyrell (Joe Turkel): the hand seen on his shoulder in both the theatrical and Director's cut belongs to Turkel. In the Final Cut, the hand has been digitally erased, and the background has been changed to match with the phone booth.
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Hampton Fancher had written a love scene between Rick Deckard and Rachael, which Director Ridley Scott and the producers thought was "too romantic". It was re-written and even shot as a much more erotic scene, but in the movie, a more subdued version without nudity was used.
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The hero blaster being used by Harrison Ford was believed to have been lost after production wrap. However, it was displayed at a convention celebrating the 25th anniversary of this movie. For 25 years, it was kept in the dark by a private collector, Jeff Walker. Later it was sold to another private collector for $270,000 in 2009.
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(at around 10 mins) As Gaff (Edward James Olmos) takes Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) to see Bryant (M. Emmet Walsh) in his flying police car, a brief shot of a monitor appears which displays an "Environmental CTR Purge" screen. The same screen was used in Alien (1979) as Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) starts up and launches the shuttle (the "Narcissus"). The graphic also has a line art animation of the Narcissus being lowered immediately before launching.
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Zorah's snake dance was originally supposed to be in this movie. The scene was storyboarded as an elaborate show that would even contain clay animation, but it was ultimately scrapped due to time and budget constraints.
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A lot of the hats that the passers-by wear in the streets were actually baskets purchased from Pier One.
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This was one of the first major movies re-issued years later in a "Director's Cut" in which the director was allowed to restore edited footage or otherwise make changes more closely reflecting his or her original vision. Today, such later "revisions" of movies is commonplace. The first director's version of this movie was released in 1992 on the 10th anniversary of the original release. The second release was in 2007, on the 25th anniversary.
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Rick Deckard is only called by his surname. He is not called by his first name throughout this movie.
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(at around 1h 21 mins) It is often claimed by fans that the moves Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) plays to checkmate Dr. Elden Tyrell (Joe Turkel) are from a famous game played in 1851 between Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky, known as "The Immortal Game". In the real game, Anderssen did actually sacrifice his Queen in order to force a checkmate in the next move. However, Ridley Scott has stated that any similarities to the real game in the movie game were purely coincidental. In any case, the position of the pieces on Sebastian's board do not correspond with the positions on Tyrell's board.
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It took three hours to glue all of the sequins onto Joanna Cassidy.
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Ridley Scott, a big fan of Strange Behavior (1981), insisted on giving Sean Young a hairdo similar to the one Fiona Lewis sported in that movie.
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Rick Deckard's red Spinner (flying police car) is on permanent display at the American Police Hall of Fame Museum in Titusville, Florida.
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In an essay titled "Notes on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", written the same year the novel was published (1968), Philip K. Dick speculated about a possible movie adaptation of the novel. His casting choices were Gregory Peck for Rick Deckard, Dean Stockwell as Isidore (J.F. Sebastian), and Grace Slick as Rachael. Dick suggested that the novel's subplot about Deckard being brought to a phony police station run by androids could be eliminated, and proposed a new scene which would show Deckard making love to Rachael inter-cut with Isidore trying to do the same with Pris and comically failing. He further suggested that Deckard's estrangement from Rachael following their lovemaking could be shown to aid him in his mission to kill Pris (who, in the novel, looks identical to Rachael).
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The scene with Hannibal Chew (James Hong) was shot in a freezer and was ice cold, so the cast really was shivering.
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One of the Spinners from this movie (the levitating car) is on permanent exhibit at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, Washington.
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Ridley Scott actually turned down directorial duties on the project, as he was about to begin work on another science fiction adaptation, Dune (1984), and was also prepping a version of "Tristan & Isolde". Michael Apted, Bruce Beresford, and Adrian Lyne also turned down the script. Eventually, Robert Mulligan was hired to direct this movie, and he and Hampton Fancher set about re-writing the screenplay. However, they disagreed about the direction of the project, and Mulligan left after three months. When Scott was presented with a revised version of the script, after he had left Dune (1984) due to a lack of progress, he decided to make it to take his mind off his brother Frank's recent death. It is generally believed that Scott's feelings about his brother's death have strongly influenced the movie's dark atmosphere.
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The police offices constructed in Union Station, Los Angeles, California for filming still stand today, in use as station offices. The crew was able to get a little bit of a discount if Union Station officials agreed to keep the set for practical use after filming was over.
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In the narrative of the ending and the "Happy Ending": Gaff was sent by Bryant to Rick Deckard's apartment to kill Rachael because Deckard had disobeyed Bryant's direct order to kill her. Gaff did not kill Rachael, presuming that she has a four-year lifespan and that she would soon die (although her lifespan is not actually revealed). Deckard decided to leave Los Angeles, California with Rachael and decided to take her somewhere safe where they could be together and so Bryant, Gaff, and other Blade Runners could not find them.
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The trash seen throughout J.F. Sebastian's apartment building is referred to in Philip K. Dick's novel as "kipple" - defined as a massing of small, useless, discarded items such as gum wrappers and matchbooks. In the novel, Sebastian gives Pris a prolonged lecture on the nature of kipple and how it seems to self-multiply, and how he can't rid his world of it.
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Hampton Fancher may have written as many as ten different drafts of his screenplay while he was trying to include many of the ideas of Director Ridley Scott. Although Scott and the producers loved Fancher's writing, there were concerns that his screenplay was too "cerebral" and would not translate well to the screen. David Webb Peoples was brought in, and although he thought Fancher's screenplay was already perfect, he was asked to ground it more into reality, and add "movement" to the story. Although Fancher was initially upset about the re-write, he later praised Peoples' changes.
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Although in the movie it's established that any replicant lives just four years, only one of them lived until his fourth birthday. Roy Batty (four years). Leon Kowalski (roughly two years and seven months). Zhora (roughly three years and five months). Pris (roughly three years and nine months).
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The dialogue in all releases of the movie prior to the Final Cut alludes to another replicant who dies before Rick Deckard's final battles with Pris and Roy Batty. The conflicting dialogue occurs in the first conversation between Deckard and Bryant. Bryant initially tells Deckard there are four "skin jobs" on the loose, but a few minutes later, he says six escaped, and one was killed by the "electronic gate", which should leave five. The explanation is that the script originally contained an additional replicant named "Mary", but time and budgetary constraints resulted in her being written out. The role was removed at such a late stage, that it had already been cast. Mary was to be played by Stacey Nelkin. Nelkin had auditioned for the role of Pris, but after her audition, she was offered Mary instead. M. Emmet Walsh (Bryant) reports that new dialogue was recorded to change the number of replicants in this scene, but Scott inexplicably only used half of the new dialogue, resulting in the inconsistency. This inconsistency is corrected in the Final Cut version of this movie, although interestingly, in the Workprint, Byrant does indeed say "two" replicants were killed. There are lengthy debates amongst the movie's fandom on whether Deckard is a replicant, the sixth replicant is believed by some to be Deckard.
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Syd Mead's conceptual drawings for the spinner were transformed into 25 working vehicles by automobile customizer Gene Winfield.
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Ridley Scott has considered directing a sequel to this movie at various times. Some sequel scripts were published as novels. While working on the Final Cut DVD in 2007, Scott again considered a follow-up detailing the lives of Rachael and Rick Deckard after the events of this movie. Sean Young expressed great interest in reprising her character. At the 2007 Comic-Con, Scott again announced that he was considering a sequel to this movie, and by September 2008, Travis Wright was writing the screenplay, working in conjunction with John Glenn. According to Glenn, the script would have explored the nature of the Off-World colonies, and examined what happened to the Tyrell Corporation in the wake of its founder's death. As of March 2011, Broderick Johnson and Andrew A. Kosove of Alcon Entertainment were negotiating for the movie, television, and ancillary franchise rights from Producer and Director Bud Yorkin. Johnson and Kosove were serving as producers to a sequel and/or prequel. The sequel, called Blade Runner 2049 (2017) was finally scheduled for an October 6, 2017 release, with Denis Villeneuve directing and Scott staying on as one of the producers. The screenplay was written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green.
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As well as using Edward Hopper's painting "Nighthawks" for visual inspiration during the making of this movie, director Ridley Scott also used the French comic strip "Métal hurlant", especially the artwork of Jean 'Moebius' Giraud (a.k.a. Moebius) in the story, "The Long Tomorrow". In fact, Moebius was asked if he would like to work on this movie, but he turned down the opportunity to work instead on Time Masters (1982), a decision he always regretted.
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(at around 1h 24 mins) As Roy Batty and Dr. Elden Tyrell talk about how to prolong replicant lifespans, Rpy suggests a process involving "E.M.S.". Tyrell responds by saying that "Ethyl methanesulfonate" was tried unsuccessfully. Ethyl methanesulfonate is an actual organic compound with mutagenic and teratogenic qualities, used in genetics.
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Ridley Scott told National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" that he originally wanted Rick Deckard to wear a 1940s-style hat throughout this movie, considering that Deckard was to be a hard-boiled detective type not unlike many 1940s' film noirs. However, Scott decided against that once he saw Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones costume (including the brown fedora) for Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), which was shot directly before this movie.
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Harrison Ford became a spokesman for Japanese electronics throughout the 1980s following his role in this movie.
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This movie is dedicated in memory of Ridley Scott's brother Frank, who died in 1980 before this movie was made.
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The video game Blade Runner (1997) was produced as a "sidequel" to this movie (that is, a story set during the time frame of this movie which crossed over with the main action), reuniting actress and actors Sean Young, James Hong, William Sanderson, Joe Turkel, and Brion James, all of whom reprised their roles. The game also makes mention of Deckard, Holden, Gaff, and Bryant.
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The photo analysis technology allows Rick Deckard to see around corners, as if the photo had multiple layers of images from multiple angles. This presages the "bullet time" multiple still camera technique developed by the Wachowskis for The Matrix film franchise that enable them to seemingly dolly the camera while the image is frozen in time. It should be noted that a recent development in photography is for a camera (ranging from an iPhone 6 Plus to a specialty camera such as the Lytro Illum) to take multiple photos simultaneously with a range of focus settings. The advantage is that after the image is captured, the editor can select various regions of the image and dial in the focus and depth of field as desired. This is simulated in the way that Deckard can choose a camera angle and focus from a seemingly 2-D photograph.
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(at around 28 mins) Roy Batty paraphrases William Blake's poem "America - a Prophecy" when he appears in Hannibal Chew's laboratory. The original phrasing from the poem is "Fiery the Angels rose, and as they rose deep thunder roll'd around their shores: indignant burning with the fires of Orc."
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The Director's Cut (released in 1991) is actually a bit of a misnomer as Ridley Scott didn't personally work on it. He was too busy working on 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992) at the time, so the team working on it attempted to get it as close to Scott's vision as possible. However, time constraints prevented them from including all of Scott's wishes. It wasn't until the Final Cut (released in 2007) that Scott supervised a new version that he could genuinely call his "Director's Cut".
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This movie takes place in November 2019.
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(At around fifty-nine minutes) Rick Deckard buys a bottle of Tsingtao from a street vendor. Tsingtao is a real Chinese beer, created in 1903, and still being produced. It is one of China's most successful beers and has also appeared in other movies such as Gran Torino (2008) and The Crow (1994).
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Hy Pyke filmed his scene in a single take, something almost unheard-of with Ridley Scott, whose drive for perfection resulted at times in double-digit takes.
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Rutger Hauer's first day of filming was the scene where Roy Batty murders Dr. Elden Tyrell (Joe Turkel). The crew had created a fake head of Turkel at the cost of 20,000 dollars, but Hauer had a hard time working with it, so he asked if he could do the scene with Turkel instead. Tubes were put behind Turkel's glasses and ears from which fake blood would come as Hauer performed the scene.
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When the movie was green-lit, the screenplay was still being re-written, and due to ideas being added to it, more money was necessary. Several parties were hastily approached, and different agreements regarding distribution rights and creative control had to be made to secure the budget on time, as the date of principal photography was approaching. This complicated rights issue is one of the reasons why there are several different versions of this movie, and why it took 25 years before Ridley Scott was able to make his "Final Cut".
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Ridley Scott has always maintained that this movie is a piece of entertainment, nothing more. In fact, when he met Philip K. Dick during post-production, he specifically told Dick that he was uninterested in "making an esoteric film."
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(at around 31 mins) When Rick Deckard is seen by first time driving his sedan, it's raining, but the windshield wipers are not switched on. This was because the wipers on the stage prop were not working.
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Rutger Hauer was chosen for the role of Roy Batty because of his Teutonic, non-identifiable American looks. It was also decided to bleach his hair with peroxide, which was a painful process that he had to endure every two to three weeks.
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All of the replicants have a visual or thematic relation to an animal: Leon Kowalski - Tortoise (via Dave Holden's question), Rachael - Owl (in Dr. Elden Tyrell's pyramid), Zhora - Snake (as part of her act), Pris - Raccoon (her "punk" make-up), Roy Batty - Wolf (howling during the final scenes). In keeping with this idea, Rick Deckard's unicorn dream would have double significance, as it associates him not just with an animal, but a mythical, unnatural one, making him a unique replicant.
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(at around 9 mins) Translation of the entire noodle-bar scene: Upon a seat becoming free at the counter, the Sushi Master (Bob Okazaki) shouts to Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), "Akimashita, akimashita! Irasshai, irasshai". In Japanese, "Akimashita" is the past tense of "aku", which means 'to become free'; "Irasshai" means "Welcome". So the Sushi Master is pointing at the seat and saying "It's free, it's free. Welcome, welcome". When Deckard approaches the bar, the Master says "Sa dozo", meaning "Come, please", followed by "Nan ni shimasho ka?", meaning, "What'll it be?" When Deckard asks for four, the master replies, "Futatsu de jubun desu yo", meaning "Two is enough" (he repeats this twice). When Gaff (Edward James Olmos) and a uniformed Policeman approach Deckard, at first the Policeman says, "Hey, idi-wa", Korean for: "Hey, come here". Gaff then says "Monsieur, azonnal kövessen engem bitte". "Monsieur" is French for Sir; "azonnal" is Hungarian for "immediately"; "kövessen" is the Hungarian imperative "to follow"; "engem" means "me"; "bitte" is German for "please". So a translation is "Sir, follow me immediately please". When Deckard tells Gaff that he's got the wrong person, Gaff says "Lófaszt, nehogy már. Te vagy a Blade ... Blade Runner". In Hungarian, "Lófaszt" is a rude expression. "Lo" means "horse" and "fasz" means "prick" or "dick". (The "t" is added at the end because of the rules of Hungarian grammar.) This expression is basically the equivalent of saying "Bullshit" in English. "Nehogy már" means "no way" in English. "Te vagy" means "you are", and "a" means "the". As such, a close literal translation is "Bullshit, no way, you're the Blade...Blade Runner". Gaff then says, "Captain Bryant toka. Me ni omae yo". This is based on Japanese, but is not strictly Japanese in structure. "Captain Bryant toka" is probably a version of "Captain Bryanto ga", meaning, "Captain Bryant is the subject of this sentence". "Me ni mae" means "to meet someone"; "omae" is the informal way of saying "you", and "yo" is simply an exclamation. As such, the translation would be "Captain Bryant. He wants to see you!"
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Dustin Hoffman was the original choice to play Rick Deckard, although he wondered why he was asked to play a "macho character". According to Ridley Scott, Hoffman was interested, but wanted to make it a whole different kind of character. According to Paul Sammon, apart from Hoffman, other actors considered for the role included Tommy Lee Jones, Gene Hackman, Sir Sean Connery, Jack Nicholson, Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Al Pacino, Burt Reynolds, William Devane, Raul Julia, Scott Glenn, Frederic Forrest, Robert Duvall, Judd Hirsch, Cliff Gorman, Peter Falk, Nick Nolte, and Christopher Walken. Martin Sheen was offered the role, but he turned it down, as he was exhausted, having come off Apocalypse Now (1979).
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Gaff (Edward James Olmos) can be seen wearing blue contact lenses in a few shots. These were a suggestion by Rutger Hauer. Olmos paid for them.
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(at around 1h 14 mins) J.F. Sebastian says he has Methuselah syndrome, which causes him to look old and age prematurely, as he says he's 25 years old. In real-life, William Sanderson who played J.F. Sebastian, was 34 at the point.
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The model of Tyrell's pyramid was nine feet square at the base and two and a half feet high, a ratio of 1:750. It was made out of Plexiglas and then painted black. The paint was scratched out where there were supposed to be windows. A powerful light was placed inside to show those windows being lit. Because the light was very hot and filming the model took a lot of time, it ultimately caught fire and melted. Fortunately, this happened near the end of the shoot when the necessary shots had been completed. Parts of the model are on exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, New York City.
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Director Ridley Scott and casting director Jane Feinberg disagreed over the casting of Sean Young as Rachael. Scott preferred Young, while Feinberg and Morgan Paull, who screentested with the auditioning actresses, preferred Nina Axelrod, fearing that Young, a more inexperienced performer, would not be up to the role as she had deviated from direction in screentests. Scott insisted on Young, who he saw as a Vivien Leigh-type.
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Ridley Scott initially wanted a more action-packed opening scene that would have set-up Rick Deckard's ruthless character. It would have taken place in a house on the countryside where Deckard is silently sitting and waiting, while a pot of soup is boiling on a fire. Suddenly a man comes in wearing a protection suit and gas mask. He notices Deckard but ignores him, instead going to take some soup. He then addresses Deckard, but Deckard simply shoots him without saying a word, and then proceeds by removing the man's artificial lower jaw, proving that the victim is a replicant. The idea was abandoned in later drafts, but this scene was later adapted and a version filmed as the opening scene for Blade Runner 2049 (2017).
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Christopher Nolan cites this as one of his major influences as a filmmaker. Other great admirers of this movie include Guillermo del Toro, Frank Darabont, and Tony Scott. Although del Toro preferred the theatrical cut for its effective use of voice-overs, Darabont stated he hates them, and prefers the later cuts without them.
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Although replicants are supposed to be androids pretending to be human beings, replicants' bodies are never seen from the inside, so no inner mechanisms and circuits are ever shown. The only clue about their artificiality can be seen when Roy Batty and Lron Kowalski meet Hannibal Chew in the shop where artificial eyes for replicants are created. Since these eyes look organic rather than mechanical, and because replicants seem to have reddish blood, it has therefore been proposed that the replicants consist (largely) of artificially created organic material, rather than inorganic or mechanical components, like most robots depicted in movies. This would make sense in the context of this movie, because if replicants consisted of inorganic material, they could probably be identified by simple body scans rather than emotional responses. Blade Runner 2049 (2017) lends more credibility to this theory, as it is revealed that replicant bones show no microscopic differences from human ones except from serial numbers embedded in them.
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Rutger Hauer was offered a driver to get him to the set and back each day, but he was okay with driving himself to cut down on costs. He rented the Cadillac of Maximilian Schell for six months for this purpose.
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Only a few days away from the beginning of principal photography, production company Filmways, Inc., who had promised to provide $15 million for the production, withdrew from the project, investing the money in Blow Out (1981) instead. In only a matter of a few days, producer Michael Deeley was able to broker a $22 million three-way deal with Tandem Pictures, the Ladd Company (through Warner Brothers) and Hong Kong producer Sir Run Run Shaw (Twentieth Century Fox, United Artists, and Universal Pictures all turned the project down). The Ladd Company provided $7.5 million and took domestic distribution rights. Sir Run Run Shaw also provided $7.5 million and took international distribution rights. Tandem Pictures provided $7 million and took ancillary distribution rights (television, home video, et cetera). Tandem also provided the completion guarantee on the proviso that if this movie went over its $22 million budget by 10% or more, they would pay for it, but they could assume complete artistic control of the project. Ultimately, this movie cost $28 million, and executive producers Jerry Perenchio and Bud Yorkin took over the project.
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Exasperated crews often referred to this movie as "Blood Runner".
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According to Douglas Trumbull, the refinery flame bursts in the opening shot were footage of large-scale explosions he had originally filmed for Zabriskie Point (1970).
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(at around 13 mins) When Gaff brings Rick Deckard to Blade Runner Headquarters before Bryant, Gaff is seen making a little origami figure of a chicken. The chicken origami suggests that Gaff is calling Deckard a coward because of his refusal to come out of retirement and hunt down Roy Batty and the other replicants.
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The first screenplay based on "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" was not written by Hampton Fancher as is often claimed, but by Robert Jaffe, whose company, Herb Jaffe Associates, had purchased the rights to the novel. According to author Philip K. Dick, Jaffe turned the novel into a comedy spoof, which Dick absolutely detested. Herb Jaffe Associates' option ran out in 1977, which is when Fancher became involved. Fancher had wanted to do an adaptation of William S. Burroughs' "Naked Lunch", but the deal fell through, and he turned to "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"
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Originally, Tandem Productions didn't want to have a written credit sequence at the start of the movie. They wanted rain effects on a black screen, with the credits narrated by Harrison Ford.
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Philip K. Dick's ideal choice for Rachael was Victoria Principal. Although almost 100 actresses auditioned for the role, only 3 were seriously considered: Sean Young, Nina Axelrod, and Barbara Hershey. For the auditions, the role of Rick Deckard was played by Morgan Paull, who ultimately went on to play Holden in this movie.
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Ridley Scott declared in an interview that Rick Deckard is a replicant (something disputed by Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer). If so, Deckard hunted down and retired his own kind. Interestingly enough, this has become relatively normal in Blade Runner 2049 (2017), which takes place 30 years later.
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(at around 36 mins) When Rick Deckard is scanning the replicants' photos, a man can be seen posing as the statue "The Thinker" by Rodin, and a woman lying on a bed. These are supposed to be Batty and Zorah, but they are not played by Rutger Hauer and Joanna Cassidy. Hauer was not on the set the day the picture was taken, and Cassidy had already finished filming, so stand-ins were used.
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The famous skyscrapers, which shoot flames from their summits in the opening shot of the movie, are found in oil refineries. Called "flare stacks", they are used to burn excess gases typically during process upsets. The large pulses of flame are unusual and would indicate a significant problem in the process.
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According to Hampton Fancher, he originally wrote the role of Rick Deckard for Robert Mitchum, and the role of Tyrell with Sterling Hayden in mind. Mitchum was a logical choice due to his many detective roles in film noirs, of which this movie was supposed to be a modern update.
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Model Maker Mark Stetson built the Voight-Kampff machine seen in this movie over a single weekend.
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The set that was used during the climax of this movie was used in the music video for the song "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" by Genesis in 1986.
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Ridley Scott initially considered shooting in Hong Kong.
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In 2000, Moviemail voted this movie the 4th best movie of all time. Also in 2000, BBC viewers voted it the 2nd best movie ever made. In 2001, Empire Magazine voted it the 16th best movie of all time. In 2002, it was voted the 8th best movie of all time in Channel 4's 100 Greatest Films poll. The same year, the Online Film Critics Society voted it the 2nd best science fiction movie ever, while also in 2002, Wired Magazine voted it the best science fiction movie of all time. Also in 2002, Sight & Sound voted it the 7th best movie of the last 25 years. In 2004, in a poll amongst sixty prominent scientists, The Guardian also voted it the best science fiction movie ever. In 2007, the American Film Institute (which is notoriously reticent to allow science fiction movies into their top 100) listed it as the 97th greatest movie of all time, and Empire Magazine voted it the Best Science Fiction Film Ever Made in 2007. Also in 2007, it was named the second most visually influential movie of all time by the Visual Effects Society. In 2008, it was voted the 6th best science fiction movie ever made as part of the AFI's 10 Top 10 lists. Also in 2008, New Scientist readers voted it the best science fiction movie ever made. It is currently ranked the 3rd best movie of all time by The Screen Directory and the best science fiction movie of all time at Futurist Movies.
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In the original theatrical cut, Bryant says that "one of (the replicants got fried)." This has been changed to "two" for the Final Cut. The confusion has caused much discussion as to who the fifth replicant was. The most likely answer is Mary, a character whose scenes were written out and was supposedly cast with Stacey Nelkin (who also read for Pris) in the role. However, others have speculated that Rick Deckard is the fifth replicant with his memories altered by either the Police or Dr. Elden Tyrell.
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(at around 4 mins) The iconic blue eye seen at the beginning of the movie, where Los Angeles, California is reflected, belongs to Morgan Paull (Holden).
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The question of whether or not Rick Deckard is a replicant has a curious past. In the source novel, it is clear (or as clear as possible in a Philip K. Dick novel) that Deckard is human. At one point, he even takes the Voight-Kampff test and passes. Dick's theme is that it takes the androids to show Deckard the meaning of empathy and being "human". In a sense, they are "more human than human." In Hampton Fancher's final full draft (dated December 1980) Deckard muses in a voice-over about who "designed" him, a philosophical theme Fancher meant to be metaphorical. David Webb Peoples's draft re-worded this as Deckard being a "combat" model, but later claimed that this, too, was meant to be a metaphor, and that he was surprised that Ridley Scott took it literally. Harrison Ford was opposed to the idea, and Fancher felt that Scott made it too obvious. Whatever Scott's intentions, the question did not come up until the Director's Cut was released in 1992.
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Daryl Hannah still has the blonde wig she wore playing Pris.
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Regarding whether or not Rick Deckard is a replicant, Director Ridley Scott is okay with either interpretation, but he believes the answer to be yes. He says the expression on Deckard's face after noticing the origami unicorn outside his apartment door is confirmation. Gaff was there, the unicorn is from Deckard's dreams, and Gaff would have had access to Deckard's file which would probably include mention of the unicorn dream implant.
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Some of the Lord of Darkness' palace interiors from Legend (1985) (most notably, the huge, spiralling columns) were featured in this movie.
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Make-up Designer Michael Westmore credits Sean Young with having the most perfect lips.
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Deborah Harry was reportedly the original choice to play Pris.
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Rick Deckard's whiskey glasses and bottle, trenchcoat and even the tiles in his apartment have been made into real (albeit insanely expensive) products. Even the neon light umbrellas are available from Thinkgeek.
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In real-life, Rutger Hauer (Roy Batty) died the same year as his character (2019), though in a different month (July instead of November). This is only a coincidence in the year of death if this movie completely takes place in November, and not over a couple of months.
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After retirement, Rick Deckard keeps bees, similar to Sherlock Homes after his retirement to Sussex in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short story "His Last Bow".
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Joanna Cassidy felt very self-conscious about basically parading around naked for most of her scenes.
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Ridley Scott has recently said that this movie shares a universe with the "Alien" film franchise, to which is alluded in the Weyland Files TED talk with Peter Weyland from Prometheus (2012). There are now plans for two sequels to Prometheus to connect the movie more closely with Alien (1979), the first of which being Alien: Covenant (2017). Beyond that, in the unofficial canon, the "Alien" and "Predator" film franchises share a universe as shown in the "Alien vs Predator" movies. And finally, Firefly (2002) alludes to the Weyland-Yutani company of the Alien film franchise in the first episode (Firefly and Alien: Resurrection (1997) being projects involving Joss Whedon). In total, this means that five different film franchises (Blade Runner (two movies), Alien (six movies and one planned sequels), Predator (four movies), Alien vs Predator (two movies), and Firefly (one television series and one movie) could share a universe.
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In the follow up book to this movie stated that "Replicants who stayed away from Earth had normal human lifespan." The Tyrell Corporation made sure when they got to their four-year mark to have them "retired" by bringing them towards our solar system to die.
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For the nearly 20 minutes of screentime, from the time he enters the Bradbury building, throughout his confrontations with Pris and Roy Batty, and until Gaff arrives, Harrison Ford does not have a single word of dialogue in the Final Cut.
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The Blade Runner Definitive Cut project (which ultimately became the Final Cut) was initially announced in 2000, with Producer Charles de Lauzirika placed in-charge in 2001 working towards a late 2002 release of a Special Edition DVD. Lauzirika worked on the project for seven months, assembling a rough cut of what became the Final Cut. However, rights issues between Warner Brothers and The Blade Runner Partnership (which owns this movie) became a problem, and the proposed DVD was scrapped. Lauzirika continued to compile and develop supplemental content for the project on his own in the interim. However, in May 2006, all outstanding legal issues were resolved, and Lauzirika once more began work on a new cut of this movie, which was released theatrically in October 2007, and on a Special Edition DVD in December 2007.
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The first draft of the script was written by Hampton Fancher in 1978 under the same title as the novel. In this initial script, the story focused less on human issues than it did on environmental issues and larger questions of God and mortality. It refers to replicants as "androids" and makes it clear that Rick Deckard is human. The Voight-Kampff test can spot androids after five or six questions (not the 30 questions required in later drafts); Rachael is detected after 13 questions, not 100. The sixth android, Mary, is present in this draft. Instead of finding Dr. Elden Tyrell at the Tyrell building, Roy Batty goes to Tyrell's mansion, and he kills Tyrell, along with his bodyguard, a maid, and his entire family. He later kills J.F. Sebastian. The androids in this script have no obvious reason to be on Earth. There is nothing about them wanting to live longer, they are simply on Earth killing people for no apparent reason. At the end of the script, Rachael kills herself, as she knows if she doesn't do it, Deckard will have to. The script ends with Deckard wandering into the desert with the intention of dying, but upon seeing a tortoise struggling to turn itself over, he decides to live on. Fancher produced his second major draft on July 24, 1980. Several scenes in this script made it into the final movie - the opening scene is almost identical, as is the briefing scene with Bryant, Deckard searching Leon Kowalski's hotel room, and Deckard using the Voight-Kampff machine on Rachael under the supervision of Tyrell. Differences included a smaller role for Gaff, and a larger role for the E.S.P.E.R., which is a talking computer. The script ends with Deckard bringing Rachael out to the countryside so she can see snow for the first time, and shooting her. The last scene sees him driving back to the city musing about how the ability to choose is what makes us human. This version of the script also included Mary as the sixth replicant (still called androids at this stage). The third major draft of the script was written by David Webb Peoples, dated December 15, 1980. The movie opens in an "off-world termination dump", a dumping ground for dead androids (by now called "replicants"). Two work men are shovelling bodies into a pit, when one of the bodies comes to life (Roy Batty). He pulls Mary and Leon from the pile and they kill the workmen. This version introduced the snake scale storyline, but does not have the chess game featured in the final movie. Other differences include: a new replicant called Roger, who attacks Deckard in Leon's hotel room; a scene where Hannibal Chew's frozen body is discovered and knocked over; in this draft, Tyrell turns out to be another replicant, after Roy kills him, Roy demands that Sebastian take him to the real Tyrell, and Sebastian reveals that Tyrell had an unnamed disease and was placed into a hibernation unit to await a cure. Roy demands that Sebastian wake Tyrell up, but Sebastian reveals that Tyrell died a year ago during a power outage, at which point, Roy kills Sebastian. After Tyrell's death, the entire replicant line is put on hold. There is also a scene where Deckard forces Gaff to take the Voight-Kampff test and subsequently kills him. This draft also ended with Deckard killing Rachael, but the scene now takes place on a beach. The final scene sees Deckard waiting in his apartment for the Police raid due to his murder of Gaff.
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Rachael's lifespan remains a matter of debate. Rick Deckard initially states that he did not look at it, but at the end of the Theatrical Version, he mentions that Rachael was special, and Dr. Elden Tyrell made her without a termination date. This scene was deleted from most other versions of this movie, including Ridley Scott's Final Cut of this movie, leaving the matter open. As stated in the opening narration, and in Bryant's explanation, a replicant's age limit is something that is added to their creation process, and not stated to be a baseline hallmark of all replicants. This movie even implies that the four-year lifespan is a relatively new safety attribute, possibly unique to Nexus-6 models. As Rachael is described as a replica of Tyrell's niece, it is likely that he would have wanted her to live longer than four years. Blade Runner 2049 (2017) sheds some more light on the issue, by revealing that in the wake of Tyrell's death, his company went on to produce Nexus-7 and -8 models, some of whom have clearly lived for several decades. This opens the possibility that Rachael was one of the first Nexus-7 models, with implanted memories and possibly an open-ended lifespan, although neither movie gives any closure on the subject.
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The miniature from Dark Star (1974) can be seen in the background near the Police station.
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While Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is reading a paper and waiting for his food in the beginning, he is sitting in front of a large neon sign, which can later be seen again in front of a subway entrance. The sign shows a Japanese character ("kanji") that Illustrator Tom Southwell used because it reminded him of a landmass. He later learned that the character actually means "origin", which was appropriate, as the replicants are coming to Earth to find their original maker.
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(at around 34 mins) Those are real tears running down Sean Young's cheeks in the scene where Rick Deckard tells Rachael that she is a replicant.
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The brand of cigarettes smoked by the characters Rachael, Holden, and Pris are Boyard, French cigarettes.
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There is much disagreement amongst fans and filmmakers as to exactly why Roy Batty saves Rick Deckard's life at the end of this movie. 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 this movie, 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. In the theatrical cut, the scene is followed by a narrative voice-over 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."
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The tortoise story is the last remnant of an environmental theme present in the source novel and Hampton Fancher's early drafts of the screenplay. The novel features an epigram of a (real) wire service story about the death of a 200 years old sea turtle revered as an honorary chief by the people of Tonga, and the extinction of animals is a recurring theme. In an early draft by Fancher, a distraught Rick Deckard walks through the desert and finds a dying turtle on its back and saves it by turning it over.
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Joe Pantoliano was considered for the role of J.F. Sebastian.
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Pete Townshend was asked to compose the music for this movie. He declined due to his experiences on Tommy (1975).
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In the Spanish release, the prologue at the beginning where the history about the replicants is explained was narrated by Constantino Romero, who also played the dubbed voice over Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer). It establishes the concept that Roy Batty tales the origin about himself and the replicants.
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Ridley Scott wanted horizontal lights shining in through the windows during the scene where J.F. Sebastian (William Sanderson) and Pris (Daryl Hannah) head up to his apartment, and when asked why he gave the following response. "Do you want me to be logical about it? Because we have air traffic in the city and because we have tall buildings, very tall buildings, and there's some kind of governor governing systems that, let's say, don't allow a car to crash. All the buildings have beacons on them, and they spin onto the building opposite." He says it's annoying having to describe and justify things when he knows "on film it's going to be beautiful, and I'm going to put a sound on it. A sound for light. They say 'a sound for light?' and I say yes, I want a sound for light."
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Even though Roger Ebert gave this movie a mixed-to-negative review on its initial release, he later included it on his "Great Movies" list.
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The rooftop chase climax was a combination of live-action shots of Harrison Ford combined with a matte painting.
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About two-thirds of the neon signs seen in the streets were re-purposed from One from the Heart (1981), most noticeably the kicking cowgirl sign.
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Rachael's hairstyles and elaborate wardrobe were inspired by Joan Crawford.
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It was Ridley Scott's choice to have the opening credits be simply text against a black screen. "I knew my opening shot would be so spectacular", he says, "that I didn't want the titles to upstage them in any form."
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(at around 1h 45 mins) Ridley Scott points out a detail during the end sequence with Rick Deckard hanging from the building, just as Deckard loses his grip, he spits at Roy Batty in a final act of bravado, and it's that action, that refusal to beg for his life, that leads Roy to save his life.
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When David Webb Peoples was hired to re-write Hampton Fancher's script, Fancher quit the production. He returned to do additional re-writes, and predicted that he probably would not get along with Peoples, but the two men unexpectedly became good friends.
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Ralph Bakshi was asked to direct (possibly making an animated adaptation of the book), but he declined.
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(at around 41 mins) J.F. Sebastian's robots say "Home again, home again, jiggety-jig" which is from "To Market" by "Old Mother Goose".
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M. Emmet Walsh said of his entire movie career, he gets asked more about this movie than anything else. Walsh said after this movie's cast and crew screening, he and the rest of that audience were silent, not having known what to make of this movie, save for Ridley Scott.
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Ridley Scott asked M. Emmet Walsh if he could smoke for his character, something Walsh doesn't do in real-life, but agreed. After shooting several takes and Walsh started getting sick from the cigarettes, Walsh cracked, "Ridley should be hung by his balls off the ceiling." At the time, Twentieth Century Fox President and Producer Alan Ladd, Jr. witnessed it, was offended, and had Walsh removed from another movie on which he was about to work, with Michael Keaton.
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On the September 26, 2019 episode of the podcast "Harmontown", Edward Neumeier recounted the story of how he was starting out as a proofreader in Hollywood when a huge movie was shooting nearby. According to Neumeier, the set was so large and the crew so populated that crew members didn't know who else on set was a crew member and who was a sightseer. Neumeier eventually started unofficially working in the Art Department, where he asked what the movie was actually about. Someone told him the movie, which would eventually be called Blade Runner (1982), was about "a robot in a tutu." This gave Neumeier the inspiration to write RoboCop (1987).
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Over the course of a year, Producer Michael Deeley turned down the project eight times before finally agreeing to get involved.
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For the role of Pris, Ridley Scott had initially wanted to cast Dutch actress Monique van de Ven after being impressed with her performance in Turkish Delight (1973) (in which she formed a couple with Rutger Hauer (Roy Batty)). However, according to the book "Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner", Scott wanted her for the part of Rachael instead.
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Ridley Scott also used "Memories of Green" from the Vangelis album "See You Later" in this movie. He later used an orchestral version in Someone to Watch Over Me (1987).
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Grace Jones was considered to play Rachael.
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(at around 15 mins) The inception (birth) date of Pris (Daryl Hannah), a "basic pleasure model", is Valentine's Day, February 14, 2016.
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(at around 27 mins) On the right side of the door to the eye specialist is the sign, "l a Eyeworks", which is a reference to a trendy eyeglass store in Los Angeles, California. The type-style is the same as the store.
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For the production design of J.F. Sebastian's apartment, Ridley Scott suggested a feel similar to Miss Havisham's room in Great Expectations (1946). Their reply to him was "Who the hell is Miss Havisham?"
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The traffic lights say "PROSIGA" in Spanish, then they say "WALK".
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(at around 26 mins) Roy Batty's first spoken line, as his hand is cramping up, is "Time enough", a line said by Hamm, a character in Samuel Beckett's play, "Endgame".
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The idea was tossed around to call the laborer replicants part of the "T.A.B.I.T.H.A." series (Transforming Artificial Being Intended For Hazardous Assignments), but was scrapped because the name was considered too feminine.
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This movie was released fourteen years after the publication of the source novel, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Philip K. Dick.
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A poster of this movie can seen in Superman III (1983) in the scene in which Evil Superman fights Clark Kent in the junkyard.
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Costume Designer Charles Knode found a trove of Greta Garbo's coats and brought them to Director Ridley Scott for Rachael's (Sean Young's) use.
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(at around 24 mins) The bathroom scene where Rick Deckard finds the scale was a pick-up shot filmed back at the studio on a stage previously used for Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), and its inclusion was for a specific purpose. "The complaint, if there was a formal complaint, was that we didn't see Deckard do much detective work." Ridley Scott doesn't agree with the complaint, but there you go. Harrison Ford wasn't available for the re-shoot, so Scott had Vic Armstrong double Ford for the scene. "Harrison's never said anything to this day", he says, laughing. Immediately following the scene above is a sequence where Deckard and Gaff (Edward James Olmos) look through a bedroom. It was originally supposed to feature a Murphy bed folded up into the wall that when pulled down revealed a replicant hiding within who busts out to start a "massive punch-up." It was axed for budgetary reasons.
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(at around 16 mins) The reason Dr. Elden Tyrell can't afford a real owl in the shooting script (dated February 3, 1981), when Rick Deckard asks Rachael if the bird is artificial, she says, "Of course not." This is how the scene was shot, with Sean Young saying, "Of course not." However, in the finished movie, it can be hear her saying, "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?", Rachael 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 statuses. 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.
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DIRECTOR TRADEMARK (Ridley Scott): (Mothers): (at around 7 mins) Leon Kowalski (Brion James) shoots his interviewer just as he is asked a question about his mother.
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Much of the climax was shot on-location, with set pieces constructed onto existing buildings. When the movie went over budget and rumors started to grow that the financiers were going to shut down production, set decorators literally sawed off parts from the set pieces in the hope that they could re-create the set in a studio, which was a cheaper alternative.
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The outtakes link between this movie and The Shining (1980) was not the only element that connected the two. Joe Turkel (Dr. Eldon Tyrell) also played Lloyd (the bartender who serves Jack) in The Shining (1980). Outtakes aside, Turkel is the only other common cast or crew link between both movies.
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(at around 51 mins) The phone call Rick Deckard makes to Rachael in Taffy Lewis' night club has a length of 28 seconds and a charge of 1.25 dollars. This implies that the cost of a single phone call is approximately 4 cents per second (2.40 dollars per minute and 144 dollars per hour).
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Included amongst the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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Ranked number nine in Entertainment Weekly's "Top 50 Cult Films of All-Time."
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According to former BBC Graphic Designer Bernard Lodge in a November 2013 interview for "Radio Times", he spent about a week directing the sequence where Rick Deckard uses a machine to get into and analyze a photograph, for which he does not receive a credit. Lodge knew Ridley Scott, as they had both studied at the Royal College of Art and worked at the BBC.
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Ridley Scott sees a fairly linear path towards artificial intelligence and sums it up thusly. "If you feed enough information into a computer, then the romantic notion is at what moment does a computer start to have his own feelings? It's a bit like saying to play chess, you gotta have intuition, right, now computers don't have intuition, but if you packed in all of the conceivable moves the computer can make, haven't you also built in inadvertently by cross-collateralization and accident, intuition? If you have intuition, then that means you have feelings, so that means the computer might get angry."
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Eye symbolism is prevalent throughout this movie. For example, the all-seeing Orwellian eye in the opening sequence; the motif of replicants' glowing eyes; the owl's large eyes; Dr. Elden Tyrell has huge trifocal glasses that emphasize that feature of his face; eyes are important in the Voight-Kampff test; Rachael: "I wanted to see you"; Rachael: "He wouldn't see me"; Hannibal Chew's Eye World, with a mock-up of an eye above the door; Chew: "Eyes, eyes...I do only eyes"; Roy Batty: "If only you could see what I've seen with your eyes."; Roy: "Not an easy man to see, I guess"; Leon Kowalski tries to stick his fingers in Rick Deckard's eyes; Roy plays with the glass-encased eyes in J.F. Sebastian's apartment; Roy sticks his thumbs in Dr. 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 this movie could be interpreted as a key to the question of whether or not replicants have souls.
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(at around 22 mins) Joe Turkel played a World War I soldier put on trial for cowardice in Paths of Glory (1957). In that movie, the prosecuting attorney asked him how many meters he'd advanced before retreating. When Turkel equivocated, the prosecuting attorney forcefully replied, "HOW, many meters?" In this movie, Joe Turkel played Dr. Elden Tyrell. When he asked Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) how many questions it usually took to spot a replicant, and Deckard equivocated, Turkel responded with, "HOW, many questions?" in the same tone of voice that the prosecuting attorney used on him in Paths of Glory (1957).
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(at around 41 mins) One of J.F. Sebastian's friends in his apartment, the teddy bear in a Napoleonic uniform, was used on a Michael Whelan cover for the collection Hoka! by Gordon R. Dickson and Poul Anderson, from their short story, "The Napoleon Crime".
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The title actually came from Alan Nourse's novel "The Bladerunner". They were traffickers of surgical tools (for example scalpels). That's why it's so oddly related with this movie.
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(at around 20 mins) (final cut only) During Rick Deckard's interview of Rachael, there is some strange extra dialogue: After Deckard says "He likes it so much he hangs it on your bedroom wall", you can barely hear him say "bush outside your window". Then after Rachael says "I wouldn't let him", Deckard says "orange body, green legs". Then Rachael says "Why not?" You can barely hear this extra dialogue, but when you turn subtitles on, this dialogue is displayed. Something in overlapping video editing perhaps, but it is an oddity and it makes you wonder what it could have meant if this part if the interview had been fully included. In Philip K. Dick's text there was no apparent similar dialogue, and the rest of the interview sticks pretty close to what's in the movie.
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About the reason Rick Deckard doesn't know about the replicants' four-year lifespan. While this movie 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.
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M. Emmet Walsh said that this movie required many looping sessions due to his character's dialogue with Rick Deckard, and there were some changes being made. Walsh, after recording his latest session, quipped to Producer Bud Yorkin that he'd likely be back again for more looping. Yorkin claimed that this was it when Walsh bet him ten dollars that he'd be back for more. A couple of months later, a puzzled Ridley Scott called Walsh and demanded to know what was going on with him and Bud Yorkin, as Yorkin said Walsh couldn't do it. When Walsh came in for another looping session, he found a ten dollar bill waiting for him. Walsh said the little bet was holding up a multi-million dollar movie.
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The Rick Deckard and Rachael make-out session is this movie's least successful scene per Ridley Scott, and he holds himself responsible. There wasn't enough dialogue to flesh out the scene, and "he was being a stern master until finally she gets it and says 'put your hands on me' which is the invitation to the waltz." He recalls Harrison Ford and Sean Young feeling uneasy about it, and he respects that, as he thinks "love scenes are totally superfluous. They're not justified." The biggest takeaway here is that Ridley Scott refers to sex as "the waltz".
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Roy Batty's inception date is January 2016, so he should have lived until January 2020. Why does he die in November 2019? This movie opens with "Los Angeles, November 2019". This is offered, as some movies 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 this movie, there is no sure way of knowing how much time passes between the beginning and the end. Roy's inception date is "January 8, 2016". His "four year lifespan" would thus have him expiring on January 8, 2020. If this movie begins in November 2019, for it to end on January 8, 2020, it would have to take place over a period of forty to sixty-nine 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.
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This movie was budgeted at around 20 million dollars, "marginally expensive", but a bargain compared to some other movies made at the time that cost closer to 40 million dollars. Granted, later in the commentary, Ridley Scott references the budget as 25 million dollars.
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Ridley Scott is no fan of filming on studio backlots, although he acknowledges the convenience of having access to anything you might need. "The scale never seems to be quite right", he says, "they all seem to look a little bit small, or a little bit dinky, or not tall enough." He was ultimately given an ultimatum to "do it there or don't do it at all" and credits Syd Mead's design help with making it work. The same "street" was used for multiple scenes throughout this movie.
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Looking towards future tech, Ridley Scott feels pretty confident that video communication won't involve holograms. "It's silly." he stated.
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The name "Rachael" is Hebrew for "ewe" (a female sheep).
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"Anyone saying that I was forced to do voice-over (in the theatrical cut), that's rubbish, I wasn't", Ridley Scott stated, before pointing out that the inclusion of Rick Deckard's (Harrison Ford's) voice-over was something he initiated in order to clear up any confusion for viewers. Apparently, Ford was equally unhappy with the voice-over, and Scott thinks it's clear in his line delivery. He's obviously pleased that it's been removed from this cut.
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Ridley Scott is a "realist" and hates when a horror or science fiction movie goes too far past a believable point. "Eh, too much magic", he says.
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It has long been rumored that the chess game between Dr. Elden Tyrell (Joe Turkel) and J.F. 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 a checkmate (which is also how Sebastian beats Tyrell). The game is universally known as "The Immortal Game". If the filmmakers did use "The Immortal Game" as inspiration, the concept of immortality has obvious associations in the ensuing confrontation between Tyrell and Roy Batty. 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 Batty stalking Tyrell. Tyrell makes a fatal mistake in the chess game, and another fatal mistake trying to reason with Batty. However, that "The Immortal Game" was specifically used in this movie is open to doubt. Firstly, the chess boards in this movie 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 dismissed the rumor as incorrect, saying any similarity between "The Immortal Game" and the Sebastian/Tyrell game was purely coincidental.
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The dialogue from the opening scene between Dave Holden and Leon Kowalski is repeated on two other occasions in this movie: when Bryant is briefing Rick Deckard on the replicants he must track down, and when Deckard is driving through a tunnel. On both subsequent plays, the pauses and deliveries of the dialogue are slightly different, suggesting this is audio from a least two different takes of that opening scene. For example, in the original scene, Holden interrupts Kowalski before he can complete his sentence, "I don't think I've ever taken one of these." but in Bryant's office, Leon is allowed to finish the sentence before Holden says, "Now reaction time is a factor." Deliveries of dialogue regarding Leon's address at the hotel are slightly different as well.
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In the narrative as to why did Dave Holden needed to give Leon Kowalski the Voight-Kampff test if the Police already knew what he looked like and what his name was. In Future Noir, 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 (page 120). On their DVD commentary track, Screenwriters Hampton Fancher and David Webb Peoples confirmed this theory.
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About the significance of the nail which Roy Batty drives through his hand. 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 Jesus being nailed through the hands onto a cross.
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The Tannhauser Gate, given the fact that Earth has off-world colonies in this movie, and the typical functions of devices incorporating the word "gate" in science fiction, fans of this movie 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 Soldier (1998), which is an unofficial "sidequel" of this movie, Sergeant Todd (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 movie. The screen displays a list of battles in which he has fought, 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 movie, 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 movie actually depict the battle. However, this idea was cut for budgetary reasons.
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(at around 12 mins) In the narration from the original theatrical cut, Rick Deckard says "'Skin jobs'. That's what Bryant called replicants. In history books, he's the kind of cop who used to call black men 'n***ers.'" Upon hearing this, M. Emmet Walsh was surprised, as he didn't think it was meant to be a racist term.
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Rachael's initial hairstyle is reminiscent of that from Anna Karenina (1935).
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According to the Tuesday, June 22, 2010 edition of "The Guardian" newspaper, this movie was the eleventh highest grossing movie in the U.K. for the previous week. This was because of an independent screening in London, of eight showings over six days. "The premium-priced, experience-oriented presentation of Blade Runner sold 7,000 tickets, generating gross revenues of around £136,000, according to organisers."
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In the narrative as to how Roy Batty knew Rick Deckard's name, there are several theories on this subject, but it is most likely simply a technical error in this movie. 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 Kowalski was within earshot when Deckard showed his identification 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 Dr. Elden 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 this movie. A less speculative explanation, however, insofar as it is found in Hampton Fancher's script dated January 7, 1980, is that Bryant reveals the replicants may have tapped into the E.S.P.E.R. computer that it will take about a day to secure the system. Later, at J.F. Sebastian's apartment, Batty tells Pris and Mary (a replicant dropped from this movie late in the scripting stage) 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 are 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.
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The photo that Rick Deckard scans into his computer and then explores in 3-D is still in Ridley Scott's possession. He has it framed.
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Ridley Scott is no fan of night shoots. "Everyone gets exhausted after lunch, which is one o'clock in the morning, and I think after one o'clock in the morning, I don't care who it is, you get forty percent. Everyone is going down."
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Ridley Scott wonders if it's melodramatic to have Rick Deckard be a replicant. "At the time it's like, you know it's okay if he is and it's okay if he isn't", he says. "I was figured in the back of my mind that the natural choice would be that he's a replicant, particularly if there was going to be a sequel, the sequel will never be." Ironically, a sequel, Blade Runner 2049 (2017), was released on October 6, 2017.
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Production Designer Lawrence G. Paull died on November 10, 2019, the same month in which this movie starts.
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Included amongst the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
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Roy Batty shares a "birthday" (January 8) with two rock and roll icons: Elvis Presley and David Bowie. By a sad coincidence, Bowie died on January 10, 2016 - two days after Roy's inception date. Coincidentally, both Bowie and Presley are related to Blade Runner 2049 (2017). Bowie was the original choice to play Niander Wallace before his death, and Presley was featured when K (Ryan Gosling) and Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) are in the casino.
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The music video for the 1997 song "Forest Ranger" by Plexi used imagery inspired by this movie.
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Brion James played a cyborg in Nemesis (1992).
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The tattoos seen on Roy Batty towards the end of this movie 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 'Moebius' 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 make-up 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."
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In the narrative as to how Leon Kowalski smuggled his gun into the Voight-Kampff test, and how he escaped from the building, given that the whole incident was on videotape, and occurred on an upper floor, The 110 story New York City World Trade Center that made headlines when it was bombed in February 1993, and again when it was hit by two hijacked planes on September 11, 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 to 900 stories high, reaching over a mile into the sky (page 236). Since the top of the pyramid is apparently several times larger than the footprint of the World Trade Center, the base is considerably larger. Additionally, it is surrounded by four buttresses, each of which must be greater in volume than the World Trade Center. From this, it can be speculated that Dr. Elden Tyrell's pyramid must be larger than the World Trade Center by a factor of 100 or more, and as such, it could house somewhere in the region of 5 to 10 million people. It would be easy to get lost in a crowd that size. After Leon shoots Dave 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 Corporation security is not perfect because, (1) Bryant tells Rick 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 Batty gets in and kills Dr. Tyrell (Joe Turkel) with relative ease, using J.F. 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.
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(At around 1h 35 mins) At the end of the movie, Roy Batty is making wolf howls when he chases Rick Deckard at Bradbury's Building. Rutger Hauer starred in Ladyhawke (1985) as Navarre, a man who becomes a wolf.
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(at around 12 mins) Bryant's line (spoken off-camera), "I got four skin jobs walking the streets", sounds utterly different in tone and clarity to the lines he utters both before and after, suggesting this audio was added subsequent to the filming of the original scene, for whatever reason.
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The point of Harrison Ford's narration in this movie was because it was a futuristic film-noir, and Ford's narration was there to explain the world of this movie and about the characters, and it was being told from Rick Deckard's point-of-view.
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J.F. Sebastian tells Roy Batty that he has only beaten Dr. Elden Tyrell once in chess. Batty is able to analyze the board and instructs Sebastian to make two moves to checkmate Dr. Tyrell. Developed chess players should be able to block a checkmate that is only two moves away. However, this is a partial reenactment of the endgame when Adolf Anderssen beat Lionel Kieseritzky on June 21, 1851, known as "The Immortal Game".
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Hampton Fancher's screenplay was optioned in 1977.
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"This film was honestly resurrected by the advent of MTV", Ridley Scott says. He began noticing numerous videos inspired by this movie's look and "an evolution that started to happen with filmmakers and rock and roll bands."
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An early version of the scene where Roy Batty kills Dr. Elden Tyrell featured him crushing the man's head, only to realize the gooey contents weren't human. The real Tyrell was in the interior of the pyramid-shaped headquarters, ensconced in a gigantic sarcophagus in cryogenic stasis.
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DIRECTOR TRADEMARK (Ridley Scott): (ceiling fan): There is a large ceiling fan in the scene with Leon Kowalski and Dave Holden.
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(at around 8 mins) The voice from the blimp says:

-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".
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Ridley Scott is pretty confident that this movie was the first of its kind, stating that he looked at "all of the other" urban-set science fiction movies and they just weren't very good. "They either suffered from a lack of budget, or a lack of imagination, or a lack of reality."
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Harrison Ford wanted Rick Deckard to order a Tsingtao beer after killing Zhora, but Ridley Scott had never heard of the brand. He drinks it now though. Ford also suggested the bit where he takes a drink after his fight with Leon Kowalski (Brion James) and blood drips back into the shot glass. This is a fun anecdote, but the best part of it is hearing Scott do a Ford impression. Finally, Ford also suggested the bit where he sits up from the couch and barely catches the liquor bottle before it spills.
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Ridley Scott first noticed Joe Turkel in The Shining (1980) and thought that Turkel's face displayed "a waxen quality to his skin, almost like polished ivory." with Scott explaining the barroom scene in The Shining (1980) by saying "I guess they were ghosts of a bygone era."
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Rick Deckard's Police badge number as a Blade Runner is 26354, and the number of his apartment is 9732.
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About the significance of the dove Roy Batty releases after his death. Accounts in the book "Future Noir" and the Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner (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, and all that. There's a lot of interesting connections to birds in mythologies and religions other than Christianity.
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Arnold Schwarzenegger was considered to play Rick Deckard, which went to Harrison Ford. Arnold starred in The Terminator (1984) by James Cameron, who wrote and directed Aliens (1986), the sequel to Alien (1979), which was directed by Ridley Scott. Arnold worked with Ford on The Expendables 3 (2014).
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The eye at the start of the movie, storyboards indicates that it belongs to Dave Holden (Morgan Paull). According to "Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner", the actual eye belonged 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."
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People attempted to dissuade Ridley Scott from shooting at the Bradbury Building as it had become a "cliche" after being used in numerous television shows, but he was having none of that.
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Zhora's (Joanna Cassidy's) introduction at the dance club originally featured "a very exotic mud dance, where it was going to be like mud animation, so it was really truly sinister, and would evolve into a female and then a snake entwined with a female, and it would be pretty organic, um, and then revealing that it was all one big act. We couldn't do that, so instead it was meeting her around the back near the dressing rooms, but I think it works very well." Ridley Scott explained.
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(at around 1h 45 mins) Gaff telling Rick Deckard that Rachael won't live at the end of the movie foreshadows the plot of Blade Runner 2049 (2017), in which Officer "K" discovers a buried 30 years old skeleton, only to discover that the skeleton is a female replicant, and that the skeleton is Rachael. It's assumed Rachael died sometime after this movie's ending.
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"Skinjob" is the bigoted word for replicant.
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M. Emmet Walsh played a character named Willard Tyrell Bass in A Time to Kill (1996).
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Rachael's phone number is 555-7583.
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Ridley Scott scoffed at attempts to shoehorn this movie into a metaphor for ideas like Apartheid. "It's silly. This is science fiction. This is a futuristic fiction which could be possible."
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Sean Young and Rutger Hauer appeared in In the Shadow of the Cobra (2004).
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Included among the American Film Institute's 2001 list of the top 100 Most Heart-Pounding American Movies.
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Rutger Hauer (who plays Roy Batty) died the year this movie takes place: 2019.
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Rick Deckard pretends to be a representative of "The Confidential Committee on Moral Abuses". By interesting coincidence, Scientologists have an organization called the "Citizen's Commission on Human Rights", which is a similar-looking acronym meaning almost the same thing.
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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.
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Rutger Hauer and Brion James appeared in Flesh+Blood (1985).
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Rutger Hauer and Daryl Hannah appeared in 2047: Sights of Death (2014), which also took place in the future.
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(at around 5 mins) At a point of the first conversation of the movie, Dave Holden comments that Leon Kowalski's address in Los Angeles, California is a hotel at 1187 Hundertwasser.
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Ridley Scott called Douglas Trumbull to invite him onto the project, but the Effects Supervisor initially declined as he was busy with his own directorial effort (Brainstorm (1983)).
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At the end of this movie, Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) confronts his creator, calls him "father" and crushes his head with his hands. At the end of Marv's story in Sin City (2005), he meets a similar fate: Marvin crushes Hauer's character's head, who is also technically a "father" (Priest).
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Ridley Scott asked Stanley Kubrick if he had any unused helicopter footage from "The Shining" (1980) that he could use. The very next day, over a dozen reels arrived at his office. These are used during the closing credits.
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Ridley Scott used many of the same sound effects he had used in his film "Alien" (1979). Several are devices which were (and still are) used with electric guitars. For example, an MXR "Flanger" is used in several scenes in both films.
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5 of the main actors appeared at least once in the TV Show "Starsky and Hutch" from 1975-1979 : Edward James Olmos (Gaff), M. Emmet Walsh (Bryant), Joanna Cassidy (Zhora), James Hong (Hannibal Chew) and Wiliam Sanderson (J.F. Sebastian). Mr. Walsh appeared twice.
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Zhora (Joanna Cassidy) has a dual personality, she can be sexy or a lethal killer ("Talk about Beauty and the Beast - she's both")...In 1978 she played Monique / Harry in the "Starsky and Hutch" TV series, this is another dual personality character that can be sexy or a lethal killer.
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The original VHS version that Warner Home Video (U.K. and Ireland) released was a 4:3 pan-and-scan of the original (film noir voice-over) Theatrical Version. By the time of the 1990s DVD version releases, the first VHS version was removed from circulation. However, the first version may still be found on old VHS tapes, both official releases and off-air domestic broadcast recordings.
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Director Trademark 

Ridley Scott: [opening scroll] The movie opens with a scroll about the replicants and the Blade Runners.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Director Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford had disagreements about the script almost from the start. Ford hated the voice-over, which was in early script versions, suggesting that it was better to show most of the things that the voice-over was explaining, in order to give Rick Deckard some actual detective work to do. Ford also found working with Scott quite frustrating; having recently worked with Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola, Ford was used to directors giving him valuable input about his character, whereas Scott was primarily concerned with the sets and pictures (Scott maintained that Ford was a professional actor who didn't need his input). Lastly, Ford was against the idea that Deckard may be a replicant, feeling it undercut the human story of Deckard discovering his lost humanity (Rutger Hauer agreed completely with Ford on this point). According to Ford, Ridley Scott and he agreed prior to shooting, that Deckard was not a replicant, but then Scott went and shot it to imply he could be, which disappointed Ford and Hauer.
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Rick Deckard only kills replicant women (Pris and Zhora). Leon Kowalski was killed by Rachael, and Roy Batty dies due to his inner termination date.
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Many changes were made to Philip K. Dick's original novel: Originally, the action happens in San Francisco in 1992, while in the movie takes place in Los Angeles in 2019. In the book, the action happens a few decades after a Terminal World War that depleted Earth, leaving the planet almost empty of population. In the movie, all references about the Terminal World War are omitted, and Los Angeles appears simply overpopulated and polluted. In the book, the artificial humans are simply called "androids". In the movie they are named replicants or "skinjobs". In the original novel, the company that makes the replicants is the Rossen Association. In the movie, is the Tyrell Corporation. The original owner of the company who created replicants is Eldon Rossen. In the movie, he is Dr. Eldon Tyrell. In the novel, is explained that almost all of mankind has emigrated to Mars in order to escape the toxic radiation on Earth. In the movie, Mars is changed to the "off-world colonies", to give the idea that human race has colonized several planets in outer space. In the book, the biggest symbol of status is to have a live animal as pet, since most of them have gone extinct. In the movie, this has been omitted, but it is implied that real animals are so scarce and expensive that replicated animals have become standard. In the novel, Rick Deckard is married to a woman called Iran and their pet is a mechanical sheep, being their dream to have a real sheep. In the movie, his civil status is divorced and all references to the sheep were left out. The special Police unit that prosecutes the replicants is called Rep Detect in the book, short for "Replicants Detection". In the movie, they are simply known as "Blade Runners". In the book, there is a subplot about a replicants' secret organization which helps them to hide from the humans, and escape to Alaska to get away from the radiation. The organization is discovered after an encounter between Deckard and an opera singer called Luba Luft (revealed by Deckard as a replicant). In the movie, it's explained that all replicants are outlawed on Earth after a massacre in an off-world colony. The character of Luba Luft was completely omitted. In the novel, the Voight-Kampff's test was recently created by doctors Johann Voight and Lurie Kampff to measure the emotional responses of the humans to distinguish them from replicants. In the movie, the names of the creators are omitted and it's established that the test has been part of the job for a long time. In the book, all people share a telepathic religion called Mercerism, created and led by Wilbur Mercer. The Mercerers use "Empathy Boxes" to connect with other members of the order to share their emotions, bringing the ability to elect that emotion they want to feel. In the movie, all references to Mercerism were completely omitted. At the end of the book, Deckard finally unites his mind with Wilbur Mercer, becoming only one being and causing Deckard to be the new leader of the Mercerism. In the original film ending, Deckard and Rachael flee Los Angeles to live together in the north (in later re-editions, the movie ends a scene before, when Deckard finds Rachael sleeping in his apartment and they walk into an elevator, heading into an unknown future, later revealed in Blade Runner 2049 (2017)).
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Body count: eight (Dave Holden, an unnamed replicant mentioned in a conversation between Bryant and Rick Deckard, Zhora, Leon Kowalski, Dr. Elden Tyrell, J.F. Sebastian, Pris, and Roy Batty. Nine counting Hannibal Chew, although his death is unconfirmed). In the Final Cut, two replicants are mentioned to have died in the conversation, making a body count of nine instead of eight (ten if Chew is included).
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As revealed in Blade Runner 2049 (2017), Rachel's serial number is N7FAA52318.
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The main plot can be seen as a moral reflection about God and humanity marked inside of a Sci-Fi context. In the movie replicants (Roy, Pris, Leon and Zhora) are looking for Eldon Tyrell as their own personal god, hoping to know their origins for living longer, as well as in the Holy Bible ancient humans attempted to reach God to disclose his true nature and purpose on Earth. Very interesting, the own Roy ends turned in a variant of God, capable to be a cruel death bringer (killing his own creator) but too to be a pious life bringer (saving Deckad's life when he was about to die). It would be confirmed in the only one scene where is seen the night sky, when Roy is in the Tyrell Corp.'s outside elevator after he killed Tyrell at the rooftop, with Roy looking the stars through the crystal with a silent expression of surprise and confusion, which can be seen a figuration of Greek god Zeus, who after to spend his young days as a human being on Earth he ascended to the mount Olympus to kill his father Chronos and replace him as new god (Roy ascends to the Tyrell Corp. rooftop to kill Eldon Tyrell, "God of Bio-Mechanic" as Roy calls him, downing from the "stars" turned a god reborn, being conscious of his condition as new god in the outside elevator).
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