100 Movies to See Before You Die- “Blade Runner”

Blade Runner is Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi film starring Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer. The film takes some of its ideas from the Philip K. Dick novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Scott filmed Blade Runner in a very dark, neo-noir style with a vision of the future that is dark, dirty, and very dystopian. While the film was not a box office success, it has gone on to achieve wide acclaim not just as a great sci-fi film but as one of the greatest films of all time. So the question is, does this dark, slow, “thinking man’s” sci-fi movie deserve to be counted among the all time greats?

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Should this film be considered a classic? From the moment of the opening scene of Blade Runner you know this film is something different. It is an extremely dark film both in tone and color. It paints a very bleak future where “replicants” are able to completely pass themselves off as human and to even believe that they are human. It’s a pretty classical sci-fi premise, but Blade Runner executes the premise with a slowly building detective story that bears a striking resemblance to classic noir films. Despite being a dark film, the set pieces are really well done and offer a great deal of variety. For example, there’s a stark difference between the living quarters of Deckard and Dr. Tyrell. One being oppressively dark but still realistic and the other being bright but artificial. The acting is also spot on. The characters of Blade Runner are the types of characters that you remember long after the credits have rolled. Yeah, this one is definitely a classic thanks to the great story, wonderful characters and acting, and a visual style that has aged well and stands with the best of the classical noir films.

Would I own this film? Yes. This is not a film I revisit frequently, but I do like to go back and watch it maybe once a year or so. I’m a big sci-fi fan and even today, almost thirty years after the release of this film,  I haven’t really seen anything quite like Blade Runner. Sure there are other dystopian sci-fi films but none have had the depth of Blade Runner or the great noir style. It’s not a film for everyone. The slow pace will turn some people off, but I find the pace refreshing when a lot of sci-fi today is basically just one big action set piece after another.

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2 thoughts on “100 Movies to See Before You Die- “Blade Runner”

  1. My library’s reading group read “Electric Sheep” a few months ago, and we discussed the movie. While most of us are of the camp that resents massive rewrites, we look at this movie entirely apart from the book. Possibly, that’s because it’s so different (the term “Blade Runner” never appearing in the book, Deckard being married rather than divorced, etc..)

    Anyway … I agree, this is one of those that I watch now and then. It holds up very well.

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