Blade Runner — The Final Cut

Review No. 625

The definitive cut, because “Blade Runner” is sharpened to perfection.


Harrison Ford Rick Deckard
Rutger Hauer Roy Batty
Sean Young Rachael
Edward James Olmos Gaff
Director Ridley Scott
Producer Michael Deeley
Final Cut Producer Charles de Lauzirika
Screenplay Hampton Fancher and David Peoples
Based on the novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick
Distributor Warner Bros.
General Release 25 June 1982 (USA)
General Release (Director’s Cut) 11 September 1992 (USA)
Film Festivals (Final Cut) 1 September 2007 (Venice) – 29 September 2007 (New York)
Limited Releases (Final Cut) 5 October 2007 (NYC) – 5 October 2007 (LA) – 9 November 2007 (Toronto) – 11 November 2007 (Sydney) – 15 November 2007 (Melbourne)
Wide Releases (Final Cut) 16 November 2007 (Spain) – 17 November 2007 (Japan) – 23 November 2007 (UK) – 5 December 2007 (France) – 1 August 2008 (Norway)
Studio(s) American Zoetrope
Language English – Italian
Country USA – UK – Italy – Japan
Running Time 1:37 (theatrical)
MPAA Reason violence and nudity


NOTE: Of which are available, seven cuts of Blade Runner exist: 1) the original workprint version, shown to preview audiences in Denver in Dallas; 2) the San Diego Sneak Preview, shown only once; 3) the US theatrical version, or the “Domestic Cut”; 4) the International Cut, included in the Criterion Collection, with more violence than the US version; 5) the US broadcast version; 6) the Director’s Cut, approved by Ridley Scott; and 7) the Final Cut, released on the 25th anniversary of Blade Runner. Much of the newness in the Final Cut is restoration from the workprint, and while a number of scenes still remain in the bonus features section, at least 33 changes have been made between the Director’s Cut and the Final Cut.

Blade Runner is even better today than it was three decades ago. It’s because a) the visual effects have been restored to something too astonishing to possibly have come out of the ’80s; and b) because there’s people who appreciate it. Who would’ve thought that the 25th was Mr. Producer’s lucky day? May 25th, Star Wars and Alien. Blade Runner on June 25th. It didn’t make much money at the box office, and let’s consider who it was up against (E.T., Poltergeist, Star Trek II…even Clint Eastwood could make money off a fabled career low, Firefox). But let’s also consider how a cult classic is created. In the post-Rocky Horror era, it’s because of home video.

Ridley Scott’s third movie is nothing like his second. It’s science fiction, but cerebral science fiction. Moreover, it’s a neo noir. And it longs to be pure film-noir. Blade Runner is the presentation of a dystopia for Joseph McCarthy’s day. It’s completely social commentary. You have a corrupt leader, you have a corrupt society, you have a man whose freeing the world of corruption. He runs the risk of looking like a vigilante, or a rogue cop.

What makes this tale of dysfunction so thrilling is that it shows every side of the story as if it were a crime procedural. That’s pretty humble when the hero’s saving the world. Though even that cliché becomes exciting. Philip K. Dick had so much invention in his novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. No doubt it was difficult to adapt into a neo-noir, when its pulp-fiction roots verged on satire. But the accomplishment was made, and we have a grandiose opening (and ending), setting the dramatic tone of the movie with Vangelis. Their music works so much differently than it did in Chariots of Fire, and so much more effectively. Yes, the movie and the novel are as different as night and day, but at least the movie works ten times better.

Which makes me wonder about the cultural phenomenon Blade Runner is. Of the ones who made this into a cult classic, who are the “Replicants” and who are the real people? It’s pretty much the same as asking who’s a sinner, who’s a saint? Who’s the bad guy, who’s the good guy? Harrison Ford plays the saint, specifically the one who decides to become a saint again, against his own will. Rutger Hauer plays the ultimate sinner. He defiles everything.

Except “Tears in Rain”. It goes without saying that it’s difficult hearing a soliloquy so dramatically interpreted, but by the time it’s over, it’s as if you’re tearing up yourself. And if there’s one person on this earth that feels sci-fi can’t be so dramatic, I ask you to read R.U.R., the 1920 play that coined the term “robot.”



One thought on “Blade Runner — The Final Cut

Comments are closed.