Blade Runner is a tech noir science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott, and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos, based on the 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.
Ridley Scott’s perfectionism – or obsessiveness – caused problems with the crew, and the American unions, who wouldn’t let him operate his own camera.
The director brought out the best in people, but he was difficult, production designer Lawrence Paull said: The production company decided that the film was too confusing, and insisted on a voiceover and a tacked-on happy ending that Scott hated.
But the film’s vision of a broken-down future filled with linguistic chaos (plus smoke and neon) was enormously influential.
Blade Runner appears regularly, two or three times a year in various shapes and forms of science fiction. It set the pace for what is essentially urban science fiction, urban future and it’s why I’ve never re-visited that area because I feel I’ve done it.
After a year working on the film adaptation of Dune, and following the sudden death of his brother Frank, Scott signed to direct the film version of Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Starring Harrison Ford, Blade Runner was a commercial disappointment in cinemas in 1982, but is now regarded as a classic. In 1991 Scott’s notes were used by Warner Brothers to create a rushed director’s cut which removed the main character’s voiceover and made a number of other small changes, including to the ending. Later Scott personally supervised a digital restoration of Blade Runner and approved what was called The Final Cut. This version was released in Los Angeles, New York City and Toronto cinemas on 5 October 2007, and as an elaborate DVD release in December 2007.
Today, Blade Runner is ranked by many critics as one of the most important and influential science fiction films yet made, partly thanks to its much imitated portraits of a future cityscape. It is often discussed along with William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer as initiating the cyberpunk genre. Scott has described Blade Runner as his “most complete and personal film”.