blade_runnerBased on the novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick
Written by: Hampton Fancher and David Webb Peoples
Directed by: Ridley Scott

Rick Deckard… Harrison Ford
Roy Batty… Rutger Hauer
Rachael… Sean Young
Gaff… Edward James Olmos
Bryant… M. Emmet Walsh
Pris… Daryl Hannah

GAFF: It’s too bad she won’t live! But then again, who does?

In 2019 (!), Los Angeles has become a dreadful, rain-soaked metropolis, seemingly covered in permanent night. Advanced robots, called replicants, have been created to replicate and learn from human behavior, to the point that one may never even notice a difference between them. A group of replicants was mining in what is referred to as the “off-world colony”, and have secretly returned to Earth. Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), the titular blade runner — a bounty hunter who “retires” replicants — is called in to take out the group, before anyone finds out they have returned.

Why It’s Must-See: An unforgettable masterpiece of science fiction, Blade Runner is an immersive experience, with multiple layers of meaning and understanding wrapped unto itself.

Romance Factor: Deckard dallies with the replicant Rachael, who spends the movie confused about her true nature. The horror and sadness in not knowing the truth is heartbreaking. You feel for her, and you understand her pain, even though you are not a robot (hopefully).

Box Office: US$28 million, on a US$33 million budget.

Critical Reception: Though initially confounding critics with its slow pacing and heady mix of metaphors, Blade Runner won the popularly-voted Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation in 1983, and was inducted into the United States National Film Registry in 1993–a signal honor. The film is also ubiquitous on lists of Best Science Fiction Films of All Time.

Influence: The look and feel of this film is meticulously crafted and simply outstanding. It may have been made in 1982, but everything holds up to this very day. Whether it is flying cars, oddly moving billboard advertisements, towering buildings, or the dark haze that envelopes everything – it just looks magnificently dark and dystopic. Scott set out to create a nightmare, and he brilliantly succeeds at every turn. Movies like Dark City and The Matrix would be nothing without the revelations given to us by Blade Runner.

Sequels: A long-promised sequel — produced but not directed by Ridley Scott — has been given an official release date of October 6, 2017, in which Harrison Ford will reprise his role.

Notable Merchandise: There are no less than seven versions of the film currently available on DVD and Blu-ray (three of which are only available in special collector’s sets), and none of them is truly definitive. You either get the unwatchably sappy happy ending and narration for dummies, or you get unicorns and an all too overstated idea that ruins the discovery about Deckard’s true nature (something that should have always stayed hinted at, and never revealed blatantly). And in between, you can get cleaned up visuals, more blood/violence, and alternate lines and scenes. Scott may claim “The Final Cut” is his definitive version, and that the production and post-production were marred with problems and studio interference, but the fact that each version is so radically different from the next says a lot for the film. Sadly, there is no flawless version.

On the Page: Philip K. Dick refused to write a novelization of the movie, insisting on a reprinting of his original story instead. A novelization of the movie, entitled Blade Runner: A Story of the Future, by one Les Martin, was released in 1982, as was a comic book adaptation, A Marvel Super Special: Blade Runner.

Did You Know? Deckard is a replicant. (Sorry. Spoiler Alert! At one point in time, much like the dream vs. reality debate that concludes Inception, it was up to the audience to decide on Deckard. But ever since the film became a critically-acclaimed masterpiece, years after it was panned and flopped out of theaters, Scott has made it his personal mission to ensure there is no debate on the topic whatsoever.)

About the author

DAVID BALDWIN

David Baldwin is the Film Columnist at Geek Speak Magazine. He was raised on an unhealthy amount of 80s and 90s cinema, and somehow equally admires bloody action sagas and seminal teenage coming-of-age dramadies. If he is not talking about movies or TV shows, he's probably sleeping. Talk to him about the latest Oscar drama or schlocky horror film you watched on Twitter at @davemabaldwin.