Blade Runner Frequently Asked Questions

Copyright (C) 1993 Murray Chapman; Archive-Name: movies/bladerunner-faq; Version: 1.9 (October 1993)

Compiled by Murray Chapman (, from sources too numerous to mention. Thank-you one and all.


The movie Blade Runner is one of the Internet's most talked about movies. In an attempt to stop the same questions being asked and answered every few months or so, I present the Blade Runner FAQ.

This list will be posted monthly to: rec.arts.movies, rec.answers, and news.answers.

This, and MANY other FAQs are available for anonymous FTP wherever news.answers is archived, for example:
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Marcos Contreras M. is translating this file into Spanish. Stay tuned for details.
Kazushi Kimura is translating this file into Japanese. Contact him ( for details.

Suggestions welcome for all areas, especially those marked with []s.
This FAQ contains spoilers.


What is Blade Runner?

Blade Runner (BR) is a science-fiction film starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Daryl Hannah. Although it was a box-office failure, it has become perhaps the definitive cult movie, and is one of the few films which remain faithful to the ideals of 20th century science fiction literature.

Blade Runner was directed by Ridley Scott, and features music by Vangelis.

Plot Synopsis
Preamble from movie:

          Early in the 21st Century, THE TYRELL
        CORPORATION advanced Robot evolution
        into the NEXUS phase -- a being virtually
        identical to a human -- known as replicants.
          The NEXUS 6 Replicants were superior
        in strength and agility, and at least equal
        in intelligence, to the genetic engineers
        who created them.
          Replicants were used Off-world as
        slave labor, in the hazardous exploration and
        colonization of other planets.
          After a bloody mutiny by a NEXUS 6
        combat team in an Off-world colony,
        Replicants were declared illegal
        on earth -- under penalty of death.
          Special police squads -- BLADE RUNNER
        UNITS -- had orders to shoot to kill, upon
        detection, any trespassing Replicants.

          This was not called execution.
          It was called retirement.

                LOS ANGELES
               NOVEMBER, 2019

A number of replicants have made it to Earth, and ex-Blade Runner Deckard (Harrison Ford) is convinced to track them down.
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What book is it based on?

Blade Runner is LOOSELY based on a Philip K. Dick novella, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (DADoES). Dick also wrote the story that Total Recall was based on, We Can Remember It For You, Wholesale. A recurring theme in Dick's work is the question of personal and human identity. A question explored more in DADoES and Total Recall than in Blade Runner is "what is reality?"

At the most, one can say that the movie borrowed a concept and some characters from the book.

You are most likely to find DADoES in a second-hand bookstore. It has been re-released as: Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?).

The title comes from Alan E. Nourse, who wrote a story called The Bladerunner. William S. Burroughs took the book and wrote Bladerunner (A Movie) in 1979. Rights to the title only ("in perpetuity throughout the universe") were sold to Ridley Scott. Similarities between Nourse's The Bladerunner and Scott's BR are in name only. Nourse's title refers to people who deliver medical instruments to outlaw doctors who can't obtain them legally. [Source: Locus, September 1992 (p. 76)]

A great deal of the "visuals" were inspired from one of the issues in the "Wonders of the Universe" comic book series, drawn by Moebius (Jean Giraud). The original comic book title is L'homme est-il bon? (Is man good?). One story in this book (written by Dan O'Bannon, who co-wrote Aliens), is called "The Long Tomorrow". The back of the comic book says (translated from French):

        This comic-book also contains other famous stories,
         like "The Long Tomorrow", which originally was thought
         to be a parody, but ended up being more real, than what
         is was meant to be a parody of: the classic american
         detective-story. This story was later used as a visual
         reference for the movie "Blade Runner".
Jean Giraud did the costume design for the Walt Disney movie _Tron_, and Syd Mead did the mechanical design.
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Is the sound track available?

The original movie soundtrack has never been officially released, although the credits claim it is available on Polydor records.

There is an album called the "Blade Runner Soundtrack" (WEA 1982), but it is NOT the music from the movie, rather it is an orchestral arrangement. It contains the following tracks:

Vangelis released an album called "Themes", which contains:

"Memories of Green" was originally released on Vangelis' album "See You Later".

Vangelis' 1979 album "VANGELIS: Opera Sauvage" contains some tracks similar to those used in Blade Runner.

Vangelis also wrote the score for Antarctica, which includes tracks remarkably similar to those used in The Director's Cut (see below) of Blade Runner.

There are recurring but unsubstatiated rumors that a few albums of the real soundtrack were sold in Europe. (Cassette only, France only)

There is at least one "bootleg" copy of the soundtrack in circulation. Made by a sound engineer working in post-production, it not CD quality. [Don't bother asking me, I don't have it.]

Scott used the orchestrated version of "Memories of Green" in his film Someone to Watch Over Me.

The Japanese vocals associated with the Blimp are from:

The lyrics are part of a Japanese epic about the tragic and utter destruction of one clan by another.

Gail Laughton's "Harps of the Ancient Temples" is used as the bicyclists pass by Leon and Batty on their way to Chew's Eye World. This album is listed in old CD catalogs on the Laurel label, cat #111.

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What are replicants?

The following definitions appear in the BR script, the Marvel Comics adaptation of the film, but not the movie itself:

android       (an'droid) adj.  Possessing human features -n.  
                A synthetic man created from biological materials.
                Also called humanoid.  (Late Greek androeides,
                manlike:  ANDR(O) - OID.)

                                        THE AMERICAN HERITAGE
                                        DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH
                                        LANGUAGE (1976)

android       (an'droid) n, Gk.  humanoid automation.  more at
                robot./  1.  early version utilized for work too
                boring, dangerous or unpleasant for humans.
                2.  second generation bio-engineered.  Electronic
                relay units and positronic brains.  Used in space
                to explore inhospitable environments.  3.  third
                generation synthogenetic.  REPLICANT, constructed
                of skin/flesh culture.  Selected enogenic transfer
                conversion.  Capable of self perpetuating thought.
                Paraphysical abilities.  Developed for emigration

                                        WEBSTER'S DICTIONARY
                                        New International (2012)

Replicants are manufactured organisms designed to carry out work too boring, dangerous, or distasteful for humans.

The new "NEXUS 6" replicants are nearly indistinguishable from humans. (An early draft of the script contained an autopsy scene, in which the surgeons were unaware that the body they were examining was a replicant, until two hours into the procedure.)

Replicants differ from humans in one important factor: they are lacking in empathy. In BR, replicants' eyes glow, however Ridley Scott has stressed that this is merely a cinematic technique, and the glow can't be seen by the characters in the story, only by the audience.

A test, called the "Voight-Kampff Test" (VK) is administered to determine if the subject is a human by trying to elicit an empathetic response.

NEXUS 6 (and possibly all other) replicants are manufactured by the Tyrell Corporation, although there is evidence that third party manufacturers are utilized. (Chew's Eye World). Replicants can endure greater pain than humans, and are generally physically superior. NEXUS 6 replicants have a in-built fail-safe mechanism, namely a four year lifespan.

It was noticed that replicants had eccentricities because they were emotionally immature. Rachael was an prototype replicant with experimental memory implants, designed to provide a cushion for her emotions. Consequently, she was unaware that she was a replicant.

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What is so-and-so?

"BLADE RUNNER" GLOSSARY (from the 1982 Presskit)
BLADE RUNNER -- The nickname given to those police detectives who are specially trained in the use of the Voight-Kampff machine and whose specific function is to track down and eliminate any replicants that manage to escape into human society and attempt to pass as real human beings. The official name of the Blade Runner division is Rep- Detect.

REPLICANT -- A genetically engineered creature composed entirely of organic substance. Animal replicants (animoids) were developed first for use as pets and beasts of burden after most real animals became extinct. Later, humanoid replicants were created for military purposes and for the exploration and colonization of space. The Tyrell Corp. recently introduced the Nexus 6, the supreme replicant - - much stronger and faster than, and virtually indistinguishable from, real human beings. Earth law forbids replicants on the planet, except in the huge industrial complex where they are created. The law does not consider replicants human and therefore accords them no rights nor protection.

ESPER -- A high-density computer with a very powerful three- dimensional resolution capacity and a cryogenic cooling system. The police cars and Deckard's apartment contain small models which can be channeled into the large one at police headquarters. This big apparatus is a well-worn, retro-fitted part of the furniture. Among many functions, the Esper can analyze and enlarge photos, enabling investigators to search a room without being there.

VOIGHT-KAMPFF MACHINE -- A very advanced form of lie detector that measures contractions of the iris muscle and the presence of invisible airborne particles emitted from the body. The bellows were designed for the latter function and give the machine the menacing air of a sinister insect. The V-K is used primarily by blade runners to determine if a suspect is truly human by measuring the degree of his empathic response through carefully worded questions and statements.

SPINNER -- The generic term for all flying cars in use around the year 2020. Only specially authorized people and police are licensed to operate these remarkable vehicles, which are capable of street driving, vertical lift-off, hovering and high-speed cruising. The Spinner is powered by three engines -- conventional internal combustion, jet and anti-gravity.

Behind the Scenes

RIDLEY SCOTT: Director. A veteran television commercial maker, Scott consistently makes quality movies. His feature-film credits include: The Duellists, Alien, Blade Runner, Someone to Watch Over Me, Legend, Black Rain, Thelma and Louise, 1492. Ridley Scott also directed the first ever Macintosh television advertisment (the "hammer thrower"), which aired once only, during the Superbowl in January 1984. Ridley's brother Tony is also a director, and his film credits include Top Gun, Days of Thunder, and The Last Boy Scout.

MICHAEL DEELEY: Producer. Acadamy Award winner for producing "The Deer Hunter"

SYD MEAD: Visual Futurist: Syd Mead suggested using the term "visual futurist" for his credit in the Blade Runner movie. (As he is not a union/guild member, he could not use credits such as "creative designer".)

He has been co-sponsoring an International Student Design Competition with Sony since 1989.

Some of his works are:

LAWRENCE G. PAULL: Production Designer. Holds degrees in Architecture and City Planning, his feature-film credits include: Blue Collar, Which Was Is Up?, and The Star Spangled Girl.

DAVID SNYDER: Art director.

VANGELIS (Evangelos Papathanassiou): Greek Composer. He has written numerous movie scores, perhaps the most famous being for "Chariots of Fire". Also wrote some of the music for the TV series "Cosmos". Prior to writing movie scores, Vangelis was the keyboard player of the band "Aphrodite's Child".

Vangelis wrote the score for Scott's 1992 film: 1492.

HAMPTON FANCHER, DAVID PEOPLES: Screenplay writers. Peoples wrote Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven, and Stephen Frear's Hero.

JORDAN CRONENWETH: Cinematographer. (Altered States, Stop Making Sense)

DOUGLAS TRUMBULL: Special Effects (2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Brainstorm (also directed))

On Screen

DECKARD (Harrison Ford): (Ex) Blade Runner.

DR ELDON TYRELL (Joe Turkel): Owner/Chairman of the Tyrell Corp, manufacturers of replicants. Extremely intelligent, designed the NEXUS 6 brain

RACHAEL (Sean Young): Prototype post-NEXUS 6 replicant. Works for Tyrell.

ROY BATTY (Rutger Hauer): Leader of the renegade replicants.
INCEPT DATE: 8 Jan, 2016
FUNCTION: Combat, Colonization Defense Prog

PRIS (Daryl Hannah): Replicant, (Bryant: "Yer standard pleasure model") INCEPT DATE: 14 Feb, 2016
FUNCTION: Military/leisure

ZHORA (Joanna Cassidy): Replicant.
INCEPT DATE: 12 June, 2016
FUNCTION: Retrained (9 Feb, 2018) Polit. Homicide

LEON KOWALSKI (Brion James): Replicant.
INCEPT DATE: 10 April, 2017
FUNC: Combat/loader (Nuc. Fiss.)

J F SEBASTIAN (William Sanderson): Genetic designer for the Tyrell Corporation. Still on Earth because of a premature geriatricism (Methuselah's Syndrome). Has defeated Tyrell once in chess.

H BRYANT (M Emmett Walsh): Inspector of the Police force, Deckard's former boss.

GAFF (Edward James Olmos): A member of the Police Force. Makes origami.

HOLDEN (Morgan Paull): Blade Runner, shot by Leon

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I don't like the voice-overs/endings.

Ridley Scott made BR in a style called "film noir". Film noir is the "hardboiled detective" style of story-telling, perhaps the most famous example is the Humphrey Bogart movie "The Maltese Falcon" (directed by John Huston). A characteristic of film noir is the voice-overs by the detective, explaining what he is thinking/doing at the time.

Having said that, it is interesting to note that Ridley Scott originally made BR without the voice-overs, but due to it's poor reception when sneak previewed, the studio insisted that the voice-overs be added. Ridley Scott has said in an interview on American television that in film noir, voice-overs sometimes work, and sometimes don't, and they didn't work in BR.

"(A)n extensive voice-over was added to help people relate to Harrison Ford's character and make following the plot easier. (A)fter a draft by novelist- screenwriter Darryl Ponicsan was discarded, a TV veteran named Roland Kibbee got the job. As finally written, the voice-over met with universal scorn from the filmmakers, mostly for what Scott characterized as its 'Irving the Explainer' quality.... It sounded so tinny and ersatz that, in a curious bit of film folklore, many members of the team believe to this day that Harrison Ford, consciously or not, did an uninspired reading of it in the hopes it wouldn't be used. And when co-writers Fancher and Peoples, now friends, saw it together, they were so afraid the other had written it that they refrained from any negative comments until months later."
[Source: Los Angeles Times Magazine, September 13, 1992]

The ending of the film was also changed by the studio. Scott wanted to end the film with Deckard and Rachael getting into the elevator, but the studio decided that the film needed a happier, less ambiguous ending. The aerial landscape photography used in the theatrical release was outtakes from Stanley Kubrik's The Shining (which, coincidentally, starred Joe Turkel).

In 1992, Ridley Scott released a "Director's Cut" of Blade Runner (BRDC), which eliminates the voice-overs and the happy ending. This version is discussed in more detail below.

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What different versions of Blade Runner are there?

Ridley Scott re-released the sneak preview at select movie festivals in 1991. There were rumours that THIS version was the director's cut, but that did not appear until 1992.

Hampton Fancher did eight drafts of the screenplay. These drafts concluded with Deckard taking Rachael out of the city, letting her see nature for the first time, and then, because she has only a few days to live, shooting her in the snow. David Peoples was brought in to polish the script, and Ridley Scott asked him to make the plot include more clues. Peoples worked on the humanity of Deckard's adversaries, and in fact his daughter mentioned the biological term "replicate", which led to "replicant". Peoples also told Scott that the screenplay was virtually perfect before he worked on it.
[Source: Los Angeles Times Magazine, September 13, 1992 (p. 20).]

Theatrical vs Sneak preview:

LD vs Theatrical: added footage:
The 10th Anniversary Video edition is identical to the LD release.

BRDC vs Theatrical:

Soundtrack completely redone digitally for BRDC and is more prominent.

Cable TV
When BR first appeared on American cable TV, there was an additional line of dialog when Bryant gives Deckard the description, names, and addresses of Tyrell and Sebastian over the radio. In the cable TV version, Bryant adds "...and check 'em out" after he says "I want you to go down there."

All video tapes up to 19th May 1993 are the "Not Rated" version with the extra violence that was removed from the 117 minute American theatrical release.

Warner has subsequently released BRDC on tape: WideScreen VHS HiFi: Suggested Retail Price $US39.98, Released: May 19, 1993.

US residents contact Ted Swanson ( for mail-order information.

In the NTSC markets (M/NTSC 3.58 525/60: US and Japan), there have been up to seven versions of Blade Runner continuously available on laserdisc for the last several years.

1992 Director's Cut:

1982 European (U.S. home video) Cut: The Embassy LD is also available as an identical NTSC VHS release, and both are inferior to the Criterion discs. There are no NTSC LDs of either the 1982 U.S. theatrical release or the 1982 workprint/sneak preview.



        Script City
        8033 Sunset Blvd.
        PO Box 1500
        Hollywood, CA 90046
        US Phone:    213-871-0707    (inquiries)
                   1-800-676-2522    (orders only)
If you order three or all four items, the total postage is $10.50.
        Cinema City
        P.O. Box 1012
        Muskegon, MI 49443
        US Phone:    616-722-7760
        Blade Runner script ($55.00 + postage)
Matt Walsh ( has the complete Script City set, and is willing to sell copies for $US35 + shipping.

Retrofitting Blade Runner: Issues in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner and Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Judith B. Kerman, editor, 1991, 291 pages
Bowling Green State University Press, Bowling Green, Ohio 43403

The Blade Runner Sketchbook
Blue Dolphin Enterprises, Inc., 1982, ISBN #0-943128-01-3.

The Blade Runner Portfolio
Blue Dolphin Enterprises, Inc., 1982.

The Illustrated Blade Runner
Blue Dolphin Enterprises, Inc., 1982.
Prepared late in post-production, "shooting version" of the script.

"The Blade Cuts", Starburst (UK) no. 51, November 1982. Phil Edwards.

"Back To The Future", Empire (UK) issue 42 (December 1992).

"L'homme est-il bon?", from the "Wonders of the Universe" comic book series. Illustrated by Moebius (Jean Giraud). France.

Showcase of Syd Mead's work. Includes pre-production artwork for Blade Runner.

American Cinematographer, July 1982. "Blade Special".

Marshall Deutelbaum, "Memory/Visual Design: The Remembered Sights of BR", Literature/Film Quarterly, 17 (1989), no.1, p.66.

J.P. Telotte, "Human Artifice and the Science Fiction Film", Film Quarterly, 13.3 (1983), p.44.

David Desser, "BR: Science Fiction and Transcendence", Literature/Film Quarterly, 13 (1985), p.171.

Giuliana Bruno, "Ramble City: Postmodernism and BR", October, no.41 (1987), p.61.

Fischer, Norman. "BLADE RUNNER and _Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?_: An Ecological Critique of Human-Centered Value Systems." _Canadian Journal of Social and Political Theory_, vol. 13, no. 3 (1989), pp. 102-113.

Don Shay, "Cinefex," No. 9 (July 1982), pp. 6-7

Scharf, David. "Magnifications : photography with the scanning electron microscope" Schocken Books, 1977. ISBN 080523670-8

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Memorable quotes.


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What is the significance of the unicorn?

When Deckard leaves his apartment with Rachael at the end of the film, she knocks over an origami unicorn, probably left there by Gaff.

The voiceover speculates that the unicorn was simply a message to Deckard to say "I know you've got Rachael, but I'll let her live."

The unicorn is the last of a series of origami figures that Gaff uses to taunt Deckard. In Bryant's office when Deckard insists he's retired, Gaff folds a chicken: "You're afraid to do it". Later he makes a man with an erection: "You've got the hots for her". And finally, the unicorn: "You're dreaming, you can run away with her, but she won't live" (he says basically the same thing to Deckard on the rooftop).

A unicorn has long been the symbol of virginity and purity (being white), which ties in with Rachel's status. Legend states that only a virgin could capture a unicorn. Unicorns are extinct, and Gaff may think the same of Rachael, as she definitely has a limited lifespan.

A unicorn was used in Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie" to symbolize that the girl was "different to other horses". The horn on this unicorn represented her physical handicap, which prevented her from meeting people. When she finally did meet a man, they danced and knocked over the unicorn, breaking its horn off. "It's just like all the other horses now.", she said, which symbolizes that she has overcome her shyness/lost her virginity.

The unicorn may symbolize one of the following:

BRDC includes a scene not in the original release. It is a dream sequence, showing Deckard's dream of a white unicorn. Given this, one can argue that Gaff left the unicorn outside Deckard's apartment because he knew that Deckard dreamt of a unicorn. If Gaff knew what Deckard was dreaming, then we can assume that Deckard was a replicant himself, and Gaff knew he would be dreaming of a unicorn.

Quoted without permission from "The Blade Cuts", Starburst (UK) no. 51, Nov 82.

Scott: ...did you see the version [of the script] with the unicorn?

McKenzie: No...

S: I think the idea of the unicorn was a terrific idea...

M: The obvious inference is that Deckard is a replicant himself.

S: Sure. To me it's entirely logical, particularly when you are doing a film noire, you may as well go right through with that theme, and the central character could in fact be what he is chasing...

M: Did you actually shoot the sequence in the glade with the unicorn?

S: Absolutely. It was cut into the picture, and I think it worked wonderfully. Deckard was sitting, playing the piano rather badly because he was drunk, and there's a moment where he gets absorbed and goes off a little at a tangent and we went into the shot of the unicorn plunging out of the forest. It's not subliminal, but it's a brief shot. Cut back to Deckard and there's absolutely no reaction to that, and he just carries on with the scene. That's where the whole idea of the character of Gaff with his origami figures -- the chicken and the little stick-figure man, so the origami figure of the unicorn tells you that Gaff has been there. One of the layers of the film has been talking about private thoughts and memories, so how would Gaff have known that a private thought of Deckard was of a unicorn? That's why Deckard shook his head like that [referring to Deckard nodding his head after picking up the paper unicorn]."

Scott goes on to talk about how he decided to make the photograph of the little girl with her mother come alive for a second, then later in the interview we have:

M: Are you disappointed that the references to Deckard being a replicant are no longer there?

S: The innuendo is still there. The French get it immediately! I think it's interesting that he could be.

The unicorn scene itself was lifted from footage from Scott's 1985 film Legend. Scott intended the unicorn scene to be in the 1982 theatrical release, but the producers vetoed the idea as "too arty".
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What is the significance of the chess game?

Sebastian's chess pieces are birds (he makes animals), Tyrell's are people (he makes "people").

The chess game between Tyrell and Sebastian uses the conclusion of a game played between Anderssen and Kieseritzky, in London in 1851. This is one of the most famous and brilliant games ever played, and is universally known as "The Immortal Game".

The concept of immortality has obvious associations in the ensuing confrontation between Tyrell and Batty.

The Immortal Game, in algebraic notation, is as follows:

Anderssen - Kieseritzky
London 1851
1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Bc4 Qh4+ 4 Kf1 b5 5 Bxb5 Nf6 6 Nf3 Qh6 7 d3 Nh5 8 Nh4 Qg5 9 Nf5 c6 10 Rg1 cxb5 11 g4 Nf6 12 h4 Qg6 13 h5 Qg5 14 Qf3 Ng8 15 Bxf4 Qf6 16 Nc3 Bc5 17 Nd5 Qxb2 18 Bd6 Qxa1+ 19 Ke2 Bxg1 20 e5 Na6 21 Nxg7+ Kd8 22 Qf6+ Nxf6 23 Be7 Checkmate.

Note that the chess boards in the film are not arranged as they would be if they were following the Immortal Game, and that Sebastian's board does not match Tyrell's.

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Problems in Blade Runner


Why did Holden need to VK Leon, if the police already knew what he looked like?

Bryant first tells Deckard that there were six replicants, three male, three female. Obviously, Roy and Leon are two of the males, and Pris and Zhora are two of the females. Bryant also says that "one of them got fried trying to get into the Tyrell building", but doesn't specify the sex. That leaves one replicant, either male or female.

It has been hypothesized that Deckard was the sixth replicant, but there is ample evidence that this is not the case:

Some versions of the script include "Mary" as the sixth replicant, which means that the one that got fried was male, and Deckard can't be the sixth replicant.

Why is it so difficult to tell a replicant from a human, when replicants can put their hands in boiling/freezing liquids without damage? Surely a tissue sample would suffice?

How did word of Rachael's escape get out so quickly, and how could Tyrell tell that she had gone for good? Remember that Deckard called Rachael at home while he was still at the nightclub. It could not have been more than a couple hours before he gave chase to Zhora. (How long could she "take the pleasure from the serpent"?) Was that enough time for Rachael to run away, be gone long enough for Tyrell to call the police about a missing replicant, and have them tell Bryant to put Deckard onto it?

How did Roy get into Tyrell's office so easily? Did Tyrell trust Sebastian enough to give him the option of bringing anyone/anything up in the lift?

Supposedly an earlier version of the script had the Tyrell we see as a replicant, and Roy picking up on this because of the lift letting him in. (Supposedly the lift was programmed to accept only people that it knew... meaning that it couldn't detect Roy. This, however leads to a problem in that the lift would be a better replicant identifier than the VK test.) In that version, the real Tyrell was dead in a "cryocrypt", for sketches of which see "The Blade Runner Sketchbook". Supposedly (after Roy kills Sebastian) he finds the crypt and kills Tyrell; this would also allude to "UBIK".


Norwegian subtitles translate "Sushi... my ex-wife used to call me that... cold fish" into "Sushi, my wife, used to call me a cold fish."

Swedish subtitles spell Roy's name "Beatty", translate Deckard's license number from 260354 to 26354, "C-beams" to "seabeams".

The theatrical version dubbed into German translates "hardcopy" (from the Esper machine) into "solid copy", but in BRDC, it is "printout".

Italian-dubbed versions translate "C-Beams" to "B-Beams". The translation of Batty's line "I thought you were supposed to be the good man" uses "bravo" for "good". This word means "adept" more than "good", which hints more at Deckard being a replicant. "Skin-jobs" translates to "leatherworks".

In the very first shot of Batty, we see his hand clenching up. If you look carefully as he turns his hand just before the shot changes, you can see the nail sticking through the back of his hand. He doesn't actually insert that nail until later in the film (The nail is easily spotted on the Criterion CAV laserdisc: frames C-07 37124 and 37125).

Also, in the same scene, though Roy is supposedly alone (in a phone booth) you see someone's hand on his shoulder. This is actually a later scene with Tyrell, shown in mirror image.

During the VK test, Leon says "My mother... let me tell you about my mother", but when Deckard runs over this on his way to his apartment, Leon's voice says "I'll tell you about my mother!". This may just be Scott trifling with the audience's memory, they way that Tyrell may be trifling with Deckard's.

The snake tattoo on Zhora only appears after the Esper machine has stopped zooming, and when it produces a hard copy, Zhora's face is at a different angle to that on the screen. This scene was filmed twice. [Source: "Cinefex" No 9, 1982]

When the Cambodian woman puts the snake scale into the electron microscope, she doesn't take it out of the plastic bag. We should be looking at a picture of a plastic bag. The serial number that she gives Deckard is not the same as the one in the image. Additionally, the image is not a snake scale, but a female marijuana leaf.

When Deckard goes to Ben Hassan's (the snake dealer), their lip movements do not match the dialog. This scene remains the same in BRDC, which means that Scott intended it to be there, or it was one of the sacrifices he was forced to make in meeting the BRDC deadline.

When Zhora goes crashing through those plate-glass windows, the stunt double looks nothing like the actress, her wounds disappear and appear several times, and she is wearing flat-heeled boots rather than the high-heeled ones she put on in her dressing room. The sounds of the bullets hitting her body doesn't correspond to when she is visibly hit. Also, you can see her holding the trigger-ball and tube for the bloodbags she is carrying.

When Leon throws Deckard into the car window, the window was already broken. Not necessarily a goof, but could be.

In all versions of the film, events occur in this sequence: Deckard kills Zhora, and then buys a bottle of Tsing Tao. Gaff grabs him, and takes him to Bryant. Deckard then chases Rachael, but gets beaten up by Leon.

When the film included Mary, the story ran as follows: Deckard killed Zhora, and then saw Rachael. He chased Rachael, only to be beaten up by Leon. After Rachael killed Leon, Deckard THEN bought his bottle of Tsing Tao, and met with Bryant, who told him that there were "four to go" (Roy, Pris, Mary, and Rachael).

When they cut Mary from the film, they had a problem: Bryant should say that there were "three to go" (Roy, Pris, and Rachael). Instead of reshooting this scene, they moved it (and the scene of Deckard buying Tsing Tao, because Gaff walks up to him and says "Bryant") to before Leon's death, so that the "four to go" would be Roy, Pris, LEON (not Mary), and Rachael. They nearly got away with this, but are now a few problems:

This error is also evident when Bryant tells Deckard at the beginning: "I've got four skin jobs walking the streets", and then proceeds to tell him that SIX replicants came to earth, and ONE had been fried (leaving five, not four).

The song Rachael plays on the piano does not match the music she is looking at.

When Pris steps out of Sebastian's elevator, her hair is dry, but when she is in the apartment proper, it's wet again.

Support cables are visible whenever you see a closeup of a spinner floating above a city street. The cable is really visible when Gaff takes-off with Deckard in the beginning of the movie. There is a close-up left profile shot (front of spinner on left side of the screen) of a spinner rising through the rain, and the line is very visible. Later when a cop floats down to Deckard sitting in his car and asks his business, you can see the cable if you look closely.

Sebastian's and Tyrell's chess boards don't match.

Pris' raccoon makeup changes slightly three times.

Pris' gunshot wounds are visible before she is shot.

In the Deckard/Batty confrontation, after Deckard has been given his gun back and stalks off, you can see (in letterboxed/widescreen versions) the shadows of the cameraman, gaffer, and the camera on the wall.

When Batty is holding onto Deckard's arm, Deckard's shirt is untucked. When he is thrown down, the shirt is tucked in.

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Trivia / What makes Blade Runner popular/special?


The following characters smoke cigarettes:
Holden, Bryant, Rachael, Pris, lady on video screen.

Deckard kills only women.

Pris' incept date is Valentine's Day.

"Deckard" is similar in pronunciation and spelling to "(Rene) Descartes", a famous 17th century French philosopher. Descartes (like Deckard) was fascinated by the question "What does it mean to be human". Descartes was the man who said "cogito ergo sum" (I think, therefore I am): exactly what Pris tells Sebastian when he asks what she can do.

Some people claim that Holden's eyes glow after explaining to Leon that the questions were written down for him. We never see Leon's eyes glow. All major characters have either green or blue eyes.

Gaff's origami taunts Deckard: when Deckard tries to leave Bryant's office without taking the job, Gaff makes a chicken. Gaff makes a man with a huge erection to tease Deckard about either being attracted to Rachael, or getting so involved/excited by the job (when he didn't want it in the first place). Gaff might have felt that Deckard searching Leon's room was just "jacking off".

The origami evolves: Chicken --> Man --> Unicorn (replicant?)

Eye symbolism is rampant:

The Japanese woman taking pills on the giant screen might be a homage to Philip K Dick's book "UBIK".

Rachael's picture comes to life momentarily, and the soundtrack has the sound of children playing.

Rachael's hairstyle: as a replicant, it is perfect, rigid, machine like, and cold. As a human, it's soft, curly, and messed up.

Multiples of four:

The term "Blade Runner" suggests running along a thin edge (blade) one side being human, the other replicant; it's a fine line between being human and a replicant.

Roy Batty's soliloquy was ad-libbed by Rutger Hauer.

Blade Runner won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in 1983 (beating out E.T.). In a poll of members of the 1992 World Science Fiction Convention, Blade Runner was named as the third most favorite SF film of all time (behind Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey).

Blade Runner was released the same month as _ET: The Extra Terrestrial_, which might account for it's poor reception.

From BLADE RUNNER Production Notes (from the 1982 Presskit)

Actors Rutger Hauer, Brion James and James Hong worked for two days amid icicles at U.S. Growers Cold Storage, Inc.

The "Blade Runner" company also filmed at two of L.A.'s most beautiful architectural landmarks. The front of the Ennis Brown house in the Los Feliz area was designed in 1924 by Frank Lloyd Wright in a Mayan block motif. The building, the most monumental of Wright's western experimental work, is seen in the film as the entrance to Harrison Ford's apartment building, a huge condominium complex, hundreds of stories high.

The Bradbury Building, built in 1893 and recently threatened with architectural corruption by municipal safety modifications, was preserved on film by "Blade Runner." In one scene, Ford traces Hauer to the ornate edifice for the final showdown. In another, industrial designer J. F. Sebastian (William J. Sanderson) discovers street waif Pris (Daryl Hannah) and takes her into his apartment.

Other locations included the downtown Pan Am Building, where Deckard and Gaff search Leon's hotel room for clues.

Deckard drives through a tunnel, which is the [?] tunnel in Los Angeles.

Sebastian's apartment is full of bastardised creatures, part man, part machine, and part animal.

There is a stuffed unicorn on Sebastian's work table (screen right, as the mice scurry over scattered paraphernalia while Sebastian sleeps).

Each character is associated with an animal:

"Ethyl methanesulfonate as an alkylating agent" is a mutagen, and the subsequent debate between Batty and Tyrell correctly explores the problems associated with changing a cell's DNA.

When Gaff picks up Deckard, the launch sequence on the computer is exactly the same as in Scott's _Alien_, when the escape pod seperates from the Mother ship. When Deckard enters his apartment at the end, the background hum is the same distinctive hum as in parts of _Alien_.

Notice that both _Alien_ and BR have "artificial persons", and there is ambiguity as to who is/was a real human. _Alien_ and BR are perfectly compatible, the only problem being that Ash should have been a replicant, as opposed to a robot.

E. T. A. Hoffman, a 19th century German writer, wrote _The Automata_, which featured a man who fell in love with a female piano-playing automaton. When he discovers that she is an automaton, he commits suicide by jumping from the top of a building. Before he jumps, he shouts "nice eyes", as it was the automaton's eyes that conviced him that she must be an automaton.


The replicants are fallen angels (fell from the heavens/outer space), with Roy as Lucifer.

Tyrell lives in a giant pyramid (like a Pharaoh), which looks like a cathedral inside, whereas Sebastian lives in an abandoned apartment with a "toilet bowl plunger" on his head.

Tyrell creates. He builds his creations imperfect. Once of his creations resents the inbuilt imperfection (since the creator had no reason apart from fear to inhibit his creations), and returns to the creator to undo him. This is an interesting parallel to the spider memory that Tyrell gave Rachael, in which baby spiders killed their mother.

Batty is the creator's son. He returns to earth, and is persecuted by the agents of society. Deckard takes the role of Pilate, asking "What is reality?" (on the roof of the Bradbury Building). In John 18:38, Pilate asks "What is truth?", which echoes the same sentiment (In German, both of these questions could be phrased "Was ist Wahreit?"). Pilate/Deckard subsequently realize that they have done wrong in the course of upholding the law. By rescuing Deckard, Batty shows a last act of forgiveness against those who would have killed him, as did Christ during his crucifixion.

Tyrell's huge bed, pedestaled and canopied, is modeled after the bed of Pope John Paul II.


        "Fiery the angels fell,
         Deep thunder roll'd around their shores,
         Burning with the fires of Orc."

This is a paraphrase of William Blake's _America: A Prophesy_:

        "Fiery the angels rose, and as they rose deep thunder roll'd
         Around their shores: indignant burning with the fires of Orc."

When Roy finally confronts Tyrell, he calls him his "maker," and "the god of biomechanics." In the light of the parallels this film draws between the plight of the replicants and that of all human being -- four years against fourscore -- this scene has strange reverberations. If Roy can condemn his creator for determining his life span at four years, why can we not condemn our Creator (if we choose to believe in one) for placing us under a death sentence at birth. Can we sit in judgment of God?

Insofar as he creates artificial life and is killed by it, Tyrell is another Dr. Frankenstein. Tyrell and Frankenstein both are cruel towards their own creations, and yet it is these creations, not the creators, who are persecuted. We are sympathetic towards both Roy and Frankenstein's creature, as they are inherently benign creatures who become violent only when spurned by a paranoid society. Our creations tell us more about the ugliness of ourselves than they do about the creations themselves. The "Frankenstein" parallel is not perfect, however, as Dr Frankenstien is not directly killed by his creation.

Roy puts a nail through his palm, a symbol of Christian crucifixion.

In Milton's "Paradise Lost", Satan is, despite himself, the most attractive and interesting character. Roy is, of course, both Christ and Lucifer, but the important thing is that, almost despite ourselves, we are obliged to locate our sympathy where we do not want it to go. On a theological level, the "felix culpa", our "fortunate fall" through which we are redeemed, is occasioned by Satan, just as Deckard's "fortunate fall" is through Roy - Roy not only saves him from plummeting, but in fact elevates him to the heavens - a redeemed world.

The use of the number 4 throughout could be an extension of the Holy Trinity.

When Batty dies, he is released from torment as he releases the dove: the only shot of blue sky. (The laserdisc notes say that they couldn't get the dove to fly off into the rain.)

Deckard's voiceover after Roy's death muses "He wanted the answers that all of us wanted. Where did we come from? Where are we going? How long do I have?". According to an essay in _Retrofitting Blade Runner_, these three questions are very similar, if not almost exactly like those scribbled by the painter Gauguin on the back of one of his paintings during one of his more suicidal phases.

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More questions/answers

This section contains some questions which cannot be answered by considering solely the film. In these cases, either auxilliary material is quoted, or a rational explanation is offered.

Q: Whose eye is it at the start of the movie?
A: The storyboard says that it is Holden's

Q: Why would the Tyrell building have ceiling fans in it?
A: Ceiling fans are very efficient, even in 2019.

When BR was shown as part of the "Los Angeles at the Los Angeles" film series in 1990 at the Los Angeles Theater, Ridley Scott was asked after the screening about the prevalence of fans in his work and their possible meaning. Without missing a beat, Scott replied: "Well, they keep you cool."

Q: How did Leon smuggle his gun into room where Holden VK'd him? And how did he escape from the building, given that the whole incident was on videotape, and occurred high up in the Tyrell building?
A: According to news reports, the World Trade Center in New York that was bombed in February 1993 had about 100,000 people in the 110-story building (presumably both buildings). The Tyrell Corp. also has two buildings and, according to various descriptions, is 700-stories tall. Since the top story is several times the area of the WTC, the base must be enormously larger. Also, it is surrounded by four buttresses that are probably equal in area to the WTC. All of this suggests that the pyramid must be larger by as much as a factor of 100. That suggests the pyramid might house up to 10 million people. It should be easy to get lost in a crowd that size. Add in the fact there may be other replicants that look like Leon and you've got an impossible job. We also know that Tyrell Corp. security is not perfect because, 1) Bryant tells Deckard one was fried trying to break in and the others got away, and 2) Batty gets in and kills Tyrell.

Q: What does the voice from the blimp say?
A: "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.....absolutely free. 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...."

Q: Why can't Tyrell afford a real owl?
A: The February 1981 screenplay was written as:
Deckard: "It's artificial?"
Rachael: "Of course not."
I believe this is how it was shot. If you watch Rachael's lips when she is saying this, it looks like an overdub. Hard to see except in a theater.
Tyrell may want to keep a replicant owl in his penthouse, the same as most companies have showpiece models in their offices.
Note further that in DADoES, the "Tyrell corporation" lied to Deckard (that is, told him it was real) as an attempted bribe.
Q: Who is the guy lying down in the photo Deckard uses in his image processor?
A: Roy?

Q: How did Rachael get away with killing Leon in public, when she was wanted dead by the police? The police arrived pretty soon after Deckard killed Zhora, so why didn't they swoop when Rachael killed Leon?
A: Deckard kills Zhora in the midst of a crowded street. Leon picked a deserted alley to maul Deckard.

Q: How can Tyrell tell Roy that "We made you to the best of our abilities", when he deliberately gave him a four year lifespan?
A: What Tyrell means is: You were made as well as we dared make you because we can only control you for so long. This explanation assumes Bryant is correct in saying the 4-year lifespan is built-in. It's possible Tyrell simply turned a problem into a benefit by claiming advantages for a 4-year lifespan rather than limitations. When Sebastian says, "There's some of me in you," he might well be referring to the Methuselah Syndrome.

Q: Why are real animals so expensive if there are lots of birds living in Sebastian's building?
A: DADoES offers an explanation: some animals are rarer than others. Pigeons will always be cheap.

Q: Batty calls Deckard by name during the chase at the end. How did he know Deckard's name?
A: This is either a technical error in the film, or an indication that Batty knew Deckard, and Deckard doesn't remember Batty. One theory is that Deckard (and possibly Rachael) were replicants, and part of the rebellion. They were caught alive entering the Tyrell building, and as an experiment they were retrained as an ex-Blade Runner, and a replicant who think's she's a human. The experiment was to see if a replicant could turn on other replicants that he/she used to know. This explanation is a bit weak and far fetched, as it relies on the Tyrell corporation retraining Deckard but not changing his name. (Imagine if Roy had called him "Mr Smith"!) This makes the Deckard/Zhora confrontation more interesting: she would have recognized him, and would be wondering if he was having a joke or not. When she realized that he was for real, she clobbered him. This could also give Bryant an excuse for getting the number of escaped replicants wrong. Different versions of the script have Deckard as a well-known Blade Runner, so in that case it would be reasonable for Batty to know him.

Q: How did Deckard manage to haul himself onto the ceiling with two fingers, with two other broken fingers on the same hand?
A: Experienced rock climbers can achieve single-finger chin-ups. Whether or not they can do this in the rain while wearing a sodden trenchcoat, with two broken fingers, a history of alcoholism, and being chased by a homicidal replicant is another matter. Postings from rec.climbing suggest that this kind of action is as much a matter of technique as strength.
A: Easily. He's a replicant. :-) See section 14.

Q: Batty's incept date of January 2016 means that he should have lived to January 2020. Why did he die in November 2019?
A: The margin of error on a replicant's lifetime is probably the same as that of any human with a fatal disease.

Q: How did Gaff get Deckard's gun? Was he following them?
A: Deckard sits on the roof for a long time. Gaff probably followed Deckard's groundcar, or checked out the radio reports of Sebastian's death, walked around to piece together what happened, then found Deckard's gun.

Q: Why does Batty's nail disappear when he catches Deckard?
A: The bottom of the frame is slightly cropped (even on the Criterion disc), which prevents us from seeing the nail. It is nevertheless there and can be seen for a single frame at C-19 24493.

Q: Which companies/products have their logos appearing in BR?
A: ANACO, Atari, Atriton, Bell, Budweiser, Bulova, Citizen, Coca-Cola, Cuisine Art, Dentyne, Hilton, Jovan, JVC, Koss, Lark, Marlboro, Million Dollar Discount, Mon Hart, Pan Am, Polaroid, RCA, Remy, Schiltz, Shakey's, Toshiba, Star Jewelers, TDK, The Million Dollar Movie, TWA, Wakamoto.

Q: What is this "Blade Runner Curse"?
A: Someone once noticed that a number of the companies whose logos appeared in BR had financial difficulties after the film was released. Atari had 70% of the home console market in 1982, but faced losses of over $2 million in the first quarter of 1991. Bell lost it's monopoly in 1982. Pan-Am filed for bankruptcy protection in 1991. Soon after Blade Runner was released, Coca-Cola released their "new formula", resulting in losses of millions of dollars. It is interesting to note that since then, the Coca-Cola company has seen the biggest growth of any American company in history. Cusinart filed for bankruptcy protection in July 1989.

Q: Is there going to be a sequel to Blade Runner?
A: Ridley Scott has said that he is interested in doing a sequel. It is rumoured that he is considering Gerard Depardieu (whom he directed in _1492_) as one of the actors.

Q: Is there a Blade Runner computer game?
A: Yes. The official BR computer game was released for the Commodore 64 around 1982-1983. It featured the player as Deckard, tracking down the replicants on an electronic map. Upon locating one, you had to chase them down a crowded street and shoot them. The music in the game is reminscent of Vangelis' score.

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Is Deckard a replicant?

This question causes the most debate among BR fans. The different versions of BR support this notion to differing degrees. One might argue that in the theatrical release (1982), Deckard is not a replicant, but in BRDC, he is.

There is no definitive answer: Ridley Scott himself has stated that, although he deliberately made the ending ambiguous, he also intentionally introduced enough evidence to support the notion, and (as far as he is concerned), Deckard is a replicant. [See section 9]

The "for" case

The "against" case

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This file has been primarily compiled from my own viewings of Blade Runner, debates on the Internet, and private email messages. The contributors are too numerous to mention, and this task would never have been completed had I replied to everyone that sent me mail.

Special thanks to:

I regularly read the movie newsgroups, but I am more likely to get your message if you email it directly to me.

At present, I have no plans to form a mailing list, however this may change, depending on how many people are interested. My policy stands like this at the moment: If you don't have access to net news, I'll mail it to you. If you still don't get it, that means the mail has bounced, and you should try again, possibly with a different return address.

-- Murray Chapman                               Zheenl Punczna            --
--                         --
-- University of Queensland                     Havirefvgl bs Dhrrafynaq  --
-- Brisbane, Australia                          Oevfonar, Nhfgenyvn       --