AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Blade Runner
Director: Ridley Scott (Dir)
Release Date:   25 Jun 1982
Duration (in mins):  114, 117 or 124
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Cast: Harrison Ford  (Deckard)
  Rutger Hauer  ([Roy] Batty)
  Sean Young  (Rachael)

Summary: In 2019, Los Angeles, California, police squads called Blade Runner Units seek out Replicants, advanced robots created by the Tyrell Corporation that are nearly identical to humans. Because Replicants were being used as slaves in “Off-world” colonies on other planets, they led a bloody revolt against humans and are no longer welcome on Earth. Blade Runners are responsible for disabling, or “terminating,” them. Holden, a Blade Runner, interrogates Leon Kowalksi, a new employee of the Tyrell Corporation suspected of being a Replicant. When Holden asks him to describe his mother, Kowalski shoots the agent. Later, ex-Blade Runner, Deckard, orders from an Asian food stand and remembers that his ex-wife used to call him “Sushi,” implying that he was a cold fish. A policeman named Gaff appears and informs Deckard in another language that he is under arrest. As Deckard rides in Gaff’s flying police vehicle, he guesses that Gaff is from the streets due to his use of “city speak,” a newfangled language combining Japanese, Spanish, and German. Deckard is escorted to an office where Bryant, his former boss, orders him to find four Replicants who killed the passengers and crew of an off-world shuttle and later landed on Earth. Deckard refuses, telling Bryant to employ Holden in the task, but Bryant informs him that Holden was critically injured by Kowalski. When Deckard tries to walk out, Bryant reminds him that he has no choice but to cooperate. Later, Bryant and Deckard watch video footage of Kowalski, and Bryant explains that the suspected Replicants recently escaped from an off-world colony – three male and three female. Two have since died in an attempt to infiltrate the Tyrell Corporation, but Kowalski and possibly others have successfully penetrated the company as new employees. Footage of Roy Batty, an optimum-efficiency combat Replicant, appears on the screen, and Bryant suggests that Batty is leading the group. Deckard then sees images of the two other suspects: Zhora, a female combat Replicant, and Pris, a beautiful “pleasure model.” Deckard learns that these Replicants are “Nexus 6” versions, built to have a four-year lifespan in order to prevent the development of human emotions over time. Deckard visits Dr. Eldon Tyrell’s headquarters, where he meets Rachael. Tyrell orders Deckard to perform an emotional response test on Rachael to prove how a human reacts to the questioning. At a table, Deckard aims a camera at Rachael’s eye and monitors the movement of her pupils as she answers roughly one hundred questions. Toward the end of the interrogation, Tyrell sends Rachael away and Deckard states that she is a Replicant, though it took more than the usual twenty or thirty questions to confirm. Tyrell informs him that is partly because Rachael believes she is human. He says she is an experiment, and a result of his efforts to create more human robots by instilling them with memories of a life they never lived. Later, Deckard and Gaff examine the hotel room where Kowalski is registered as a guest, finding what appears to be a reptilian-like scale in the bathroom and family photos. Deckard insists that Replicants have neither scales nor family photos, so the findings are particularly strange. In search of Tyrell, Batty and Kowalski threaten Chew, a scientist who creates eyeballs for Replicants. Frightened, Chew tells Batty that J. F. Sebastian, a Tyrell operative, will lead them to their target. Rachael surprises Deckard at his apartment, and he convinces her that she is a Replicant by citing her implanted memories. Having upset Rachael with the news, Deckard offers her a drink, but she disappears. Roaming the streets alone in the rain, Pris runs into J. F. Sebastian and convinces him to invite her inside. At his apartment, Sebastian introduces her to his friends, two robotic toys he has invented. Pris tells Sebastian she has lost her own friends, but plans to find them soon. At home, Deckard examines a photograph taken from Kowalski’s apartment and blows it up to find an image of a woman. He prints the image, then visits a woman in town who examines the scale from Kowalski’s apartment and informs Deckard that it is a snake scale. Deckard questions an Egyptian street vendor who makes artificial snakes, forcing him to reveal that club owner, Taffey Lewis, purchased the artificial snake made from the same scales Deckard found at Kowalski’s hotel room. At a nightclub, Deckard questions Lewis, asking if he knows the girl in the picture he was examining earlier. After the Replicant, Zhora, performs with a snake on Lewis’s stage, Deckard approaches her dressing room disguised as a union representative. Zhora showers off her makeup then attempts to strangle Deckard but runs away after they are interrupted. Deckard pursues her through the busy streets and shoots her down. Bryant arrives and says Deckard has four more Replicants to retire, including Rachael. As Deckard walks home, Kowalski ambushes him in the streets and beats him, but Rachael saves Deckard by shooting the Replicant in the head. They regroup at Deckard’s apartment, and Rachael asks if Deckard would come after her if she ran away to the North. He promises no, but says that somebody would. As Deckard drifts to sleep, Rachael plays the piano. He wakes to the music and they kiss. At Sebastian’s apartment, Batty arrives, kisses Pris, and tells her that Zhora and Kowalski have been retired. Learning that Pris and Batty are Nexus 6 Replicants, Sebastian asks them to show him something, so Pris grabs an egg out of boiling water without flinching. Batty convinces Sebastian that he needs to speak to Tyrell directly, and they go along with Pris to Tyrell’s headquarters. In his bedroom, Tyrell meets Batty, who demands that his lifespan be elongated. Tyrell tells Batty it is not possible; in turn, Batty kills him with his bare hands. In search of Sebastian, Deckard goes to his apartment where he finds Pris and kills her after she attacks him. Batty arrives and finds Pris’s dead body. After Deckard attempts to shoot him, Batty breaks two of his fingers then allows him time to run away. In pursuit of Deckard, Batty senses his energy dwindling and recognizes that he has reached the end of his lifespan. To revive himself, Batty stabs his own hand and follows Deckard to the roof. There, Deckard jumps onto a nearby building, catching himself on a strut protruding from its roof. Leaping to the adjacent roof, Batty taunts Deckard before pulling him up from the strut. Batty tells Deckard he’s seen incredible things in space, but all the moments will be lost with his death. He then slumps his head forward and terminates. Deckard wonders why Batty saved him, imagining that perhaps he came to love life more than he had before in his final waking moments. Soon after, Gaff finds Deckard on the roof, throws his gun back to him, and tells him it’s unfortunate that Rachael will not live. Deckard later looks for Rachael at his apartment and finds her asleep in bed. He asks if she loves and trusts him, and she responds that she does. Deckard realizes that Gaff spared her life, thinking she would terminate in four years like the other Replicants. However, Tyrell informed Deckard that Rachael has no termination date. Some time later, in a remote landscape, Deckard and Rachael drive through the wilderness together.  

Distribution Company: Warner Bros., Inc.
Production Company: The Ladd Company
Sir Run Run Shaw
Director: Ridley Scott (Dir)
  John W. Rogers (Unit prod mgr)
  Newton Arnold (1st asst dir)
  Peter Cornberg (1st asst dir)
  Don Hauer (2d asst dir)
  Morris Chapnick (2d asst dir)
  Richard Schroer (2d asst dir)
Producer: Michael Deeley (Prod)
  Jerry Perenchio (Pres)
  Bud Yorkin (Pres)
  Brian Kelly (Exec prod)
  Hampton Fancher (Exec prod)
  Ivor Powell (Assoc prod)
Writer: Hampton Fancher (Scr)
  David Peoples (Scr)

Subject Major: The Future
  Police detectives
Subject Minor: Death and dying
  Los Angeles (CA)
  Space travel

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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