Blade Runner (1982)

Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos
Deckard, a blade runner, has to track down and terminate 4 replicants who hijacked a ship in space and have returned to Earth seeking their maker.
Misunderstood when it first hit theaters, the influence of Ridley Scott's mysterious, neo-noir Blade Runner has deepened with time. A visually remarkable, achingly human sci-fi masterpiece.
  • Warner Bros. Pictures Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 25 Jun 1982 Released:
  • 27 Aug 1997 DVD Release:
  • $1.2M Box office:
  • Hampton Fancher, David Webb Peoples Writer:
  • Ridley Scott Director:
  • N/A Website:

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Intriguingly Philosophical5/10

Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott and based on Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, is a Sci-fi slash Noir film about a cop named Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) in a decrepit 2019 Los Angeles whose job it is to "retire" four genetically engineered syborgues, known as "Replicants". The four fugitives, Pris (Daryl Hannah), Zhora (Joanna Cassidy), Leon (Brion James), and their leader, Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), have escaped from an off-world colony in order to find their creator and bully him into expanding their pre-determined four year life span. This film originally flopped when it came out in 1982, but since has become a widely acclaimed cult classic with a director's cut to boot. A large part of the success that this movie has received can be attributed to its ability to operate on many different levels.

Ridley Scott's hauntingly possible depiction of what might become of Los Angeles down the line is absolutely brilliant. It captures elements of Noir with its urban atmosphere of decadence, lighting, and characters neither clearly defined as good nor evil. Corruption is everywhere. The garbage-littered streets and permanence of dark and rain give us the sense that we've seriously screwed up the atmosphere, and the impression that all respectable human beings have fled to the off-world colonies, leaving only the scum of the earth behind.

There is a hint of style from the 40's, especially with respect to cars, costumes, and music. Rachael's entire outfit, including her hair, screams the 40's.

The soundtrack, arranged by Vangelis (who won an Oscar for his Chariots of Fire score), consisted mainly of Jazz and Blues. This functioned to represent a dark, moody world of uncertainty and pessimism.

The special effects were exceptional. Much of the set was pulled off using models. In my opinion, sets made by hand require leagues more of skill and are much more impressive and realistic than those computer generated. These guys really knew what they were doing. I was especially fond of the pyramidesque Tyrell Corporation building, which hinted at the god-like presence of Eldon Tyrell (Joe Turkell), the creator.

The script (Hampton Fancher, David Peoples, and of course Phil Dick) worked for me, as well as the actors who gave voice to it. Harrison Ford was well...Harrison Ford. I thought he did a tremendous job down-playing the role. His voice-over narration helped you along, and was yet another feature conducive to Film Noir (apparently this was taken out of the Director's Cut). Rutger Hauer's performance was intense. His lines at the end were intriguingly philosophical. Daryl Hannah's chilling robotic expressions were quite impressive. Joanna Cassidy was just plain hot.

There is more to this film than just pulp. It works on so many remarkable levels. The movie itself is a detective noir quest for the meaning of life in a science fiction environment, but the story is a commentary on what it means to be human and the questions each one of us have about life, like: How long have I to live? Why do I have to die? What happens when I die? Doesn't my maker care? Is this all merely an illusion? At the end of the film we are left to wonder if these Replicants are human, and if Deckard himself is in fact a Replicant. Scott raises more questions here than he answers, and as a result, critics are still debating the mysteries of this film today. In a sense, the ambiguity of Blade Runner is the culprit of its success.

A glorious, timeless nightmare10/10
Dark, deep, uncertain, unsettling – imagine the most beautiful nightmare you've ever had – this is Blade Runner (1982).

Ridley Scott's Blade Runner is a brilliantly crafted science fiction film that not only touches upon, but bravely plunges into deep philosophical questions, making it simply ten times more important than any film of its genre. I love it not only for the initial feeling it gives, but because of its perseverance – none of the visuals, themes or technology feel dated but as deep, gripping and current as ever. It is timeless beauty with huge doses of emotion.

Set in 2019 Los Angeles, Blade Runner zooms in on the eerily-lit, urban streets of the city and follows Richard Deckard – superbly played by Harrison Ford who brings an exquisite moral ambiguity to his character – a special policeman who tracks down and terminates artificially-created humans called replicants, who have escaped from an Off-World colony and made their way to earth and need to be stopped. The things Deckard encounters on his detective journey raise many philosophical questions like: Who is really a replicant? Are replicants really bad? If replicants are bad, when why did we go to such lengths with our technology to create them? Are replicants really humans? Is Deckard a hero? This truly is a film that demands subsequent discussion and its ambiguous ending leave a haunting and eerie feeling.

In spite of a rich glaze of science fiction and futurism coating this adventure, there are distinct film noir elements present – primarily in the bluish haze that the film is seen through and its gritty urban atmosphere. Whoever thought of this combination is a genius. Since it is all about technology, it fits then that Blade Runner features a ridiculous amount of product placement, especially from Atari. In any other film, this would have felt out-of-place but here it is simply perfect. The score by Vangelis is strangely gripping when combined with the striking cinematography of the film.

Blade Runner deserves credit, celebration and remembrance for it is simply an excellent film.

10 out of 10 (and I don't just throw this grade out like SOME people)
A compelling, thematically-deep SF film10/10

This is truly one of the greatest science fiction films ever made, one that requires a thinking viewer in order to understand and appreciate it. The director's cut is the recommended one to see as it omits a somewhat distracting narration and avoids an unnecessary Hollywood-style ending that is at odds with the rest of the film's tone.

A true science fiction story or film is about ideas, not spaceship battles, futuristic gadgets, or weird creatures. "Blade Runner" fully qualifies as this in its examination of the impact of technology on human society, existence, and the very nature of humanity itself. These themes are set in a fairly basic detective story that moves slowly but gradually builds power as the viewer is immersed in a dystopian futuristic Los Angeles.

Harrison Ford fans accustomed to the normally dynamic roles that he plays may be dissatisfied with the seemingly lifeless lead character that he portrays here as the replicant-hunting detective known as a "blade runner". They should be, for this dissatisfaction is part of the film experience, part of the dehumanized existence in the story's setting. However, as the story unfolds, we see Ford's character, Rick Deckard, slowly come alive again and recover some humanity while pursing four escaped replicants.

The replicants, genetically-engineered human cyborgs, that Deckard must hunt down and kill are in many ways more alive than Deckard himself initially. Their escape from an off-world colony has an explicit self-directed purpose, whereas Deckard's life appears to have none other than his job, one that he has tried to give up. By some standards, Deckard and the replicants have thin character development. However, this is a deeply thematic and philosophical film, and as such the characters are the tools of the story's themes. Each character reflects some aspect of humanity or human existence, but they lack others, for each is broken in ways that reflect the broken society in which they live and were conceived/created.

There are several dramatic moments involving life-and-death struggles, but most of these are more subdued than in a normal detective story plot. The film's power is chiefly derived through its stunning visual imagery of a dark futuristic cityscape and its philosophical themes.

Among the themes explored are the following: - The dehumanization of people through a society shaped by technological and capitalistic excess. - The roles of creator and creation, their mutual enslavement, and their role reversal, i.e., the creation's triumph over its creator. - The nature of humanity itself: emotions, memory, purpose, desire, cruelty, technological mastery of environment and universe, mortality, death, and more. - Personal identity and self-awareness. - The meaning of existence.

If you are not someone who naturally enjoys contemplating such themes, the film's brilliance may be lost on you. The climax involves a soliloquy that brings many of the themes together in a simple yet wonderfully poetic way. Anyone who "gets" the film should be moved by this; others will sadly miss the point and may prefer watching some mindless action flick instead.

"Blade Runner" is a masterpiece that deserves recognition and long remembrance in film history.
Still outshines the others 17 years later9/10

Blade Runner belongs on a list of 2 or 3 movies that had me walking out of the theater in a stupor as though hit by a sledgehammer, the first time I saw it. It fulfills one of my requirements of great films in that I walked out of the theater a different person than when I entered. And it fulfilled another requirement in that it improved with repeated viewings.

There is so much to take in visually, intellectually, and emotionally that my mind was overwhelmed at the first viewing trying to sort it all out. Unlike the so-called "entertainment" we get today at the movies, this film didn't spoonfeed its meaning to you. It left the ending ambiguous so your imagination has to supply it.

The film demands discussion. There are so many topics to debate. Is Deckard a replicant? Do Deckard and Rachel live happily ever after? Why is there a unicorn in the director's cut? Is Deckard a hero? Or are the replicants really the good guys? Every time I watch it, my answers change.

I may be one of the few that really likes the original. Probably because I've seen that version a couple dozen times since 1982 before the director's cut came out. This may contradict what I said earlier about being spoonfed, but I liked the narration because it explained what was going on in Deckard's mind. And I didn't mind the "happy ending" because it still implied that their troubles may not be over. "I don't know how long we had together. Who does?" But with that version memorized, I now appreciate the directors cut. It probably has the better ending. (At least I think so until I view it again!)

It's also fun watching actors before they became more famous later like Sean Young, Daryl Hannah, M. Emmet Walsh, William Sanderson, and Edward James Olmos. I think they all did a great job. And Vangelis did a beautiful, moving score.

After "Blade Runner", most of the big blockbuster science fiction movies boil down to good guys vs. bad guys with lots of loud explosions and in-your-face effects. Very simplistic messages, if any. That's why I still contend that an "oldie" like Blade Runner still outshines them all. It has incredible special effects, but never at the expense of the story. The cityscapes do more than dazzle you, they involve you.

The more I think of it, the more I realize that "Blade Runner" is not only my favorite science fiction movie, but one of my favorite films in any genre. I wish Ridley Scott would return to science fiction, but then again today's Hollywood would never release a movie like "Blade Runner."
What can be said about this film that hasn't already been covered in preceding decennia? Blade Runner (either version) stands the test of time as an epic story which transcends a disparity of genres, as well as the seminal "dark" sci-fi film which has been mimicked so frequently (to varying degrees of success) since its original release. The interplay of film noir, sci-fi, and what is one of the most philosophically symbolic and academically analyzed narratives of the modern era holds its ground on both visual and cerebral levels even in the face of today's CGI laden blockbusters. The new director's cut, contrary to many cinematic re-hashings, actually serves to clarify many of the more nebulous aspects of the plot and makes a great film even better, arguably allowing it to be modernized and polished for a new generation of viewers who are more picky and yet simultaneously less idealistic. All while sustaining the feeling and flavor of the original. Call it restorative work if you will. The tinny and meandering score by Vangelis is pure 1980s at its most brooding and fits the texture and mood of the film beautifully. Indeed, for many reasons, finding this film in someone's DVD collection makes a true statement about their discriminating and refined taste in movies, and equally their appreciation of film as an artistic medium. I would suggest picking up a reader by someone like Nietzsche, Foucualt, Descartes, Kierkegaard, or any of the great existentialist philosophers after viewing this film in order to appreciate the story & its concepts at a whole new level, regardless if you're watching it for either the 1st, or the 100th time. An enduring classic and an intrepid piece of film-making with rich & often haunting visuals designed to entertain and promote introspection amongst its viewers. 9/10.