Which version of Blade Runner did you watch?

13 March 2023
It feels like Blade Runner has been tinkered with even more than George Lucas did for Star Wars!

Blade Runner has undergone several different versions and edits over the years, each with its own unique changes and nuances.

The original version of the film was released in 1982, and was subsequently followed by several different cuts and edits, including the Director's Cut in 1992, the Final Cut in 2007, and the various versions released for home video. 

Each version of the film offers different perspectives and interpretations of the story, and can leave the viewer with a different understanding of the movie.

One of the main reasons for the changes to Blade Runner was due to studio interference during the original production. The studio demanded changes to the film, including a voice-over narration by Harrison Ford's character and a more optimistic ending. These changes were made against the wishes of the director, Ridley Scott, and were widely criticized by audiences and critics. The subsequent cuts and edits of the film were made in an effort to restore Scott's original vision for the film and remove the unwanted studio interference.

racheal and dekkard in blade runner

The voice over

One of the major differences between the different versions of Blade Runner is the removal or inclusion of the voice-over narration by Harrison Ford's character. In the original version, Deckard's narration was added at the insistence of the studio, and many viewers found it to be unnecessary and distracting. The subsequent cuts of the film removed the narration entirely, which allowed the audience to experience the story more organically and draw their own conclusions about the characters and their motivations.

The ending change

Another major change between the different versions of Blade Runner is the ending. 

In the original version, the film ends with Deckard and Rachael driving off into the countryside, suggesting a hopeful and optimistic future for the characters. However, in subsequent cuts of the film, the ending was changed to a more ambiguous and open-ended conclusion, with Deckard's fate left uncertain. This change allowed for a more nuanced and complex understanding of the themes of the film, including the nature of humanity and the relationship between humans and artificial intelligence.

The different versions of Blade Runner also vary in terms of their visual and audio quality. The Final Cut, which was released in 2007, is considered by many to be the definitive version of the film, as it features improved visual effects, enhanced audio, and restored footage that was not included in previous cuts of the film.

Director Ridley Scott has made several public comments about the different versions of Blade Runner over the years. Overall, he has been supportive of the various edits and has stated that each version offers a unique perspective on the film.

Regarding the original theatrical cut, Scott has been critical of the changes that were made by the studio, including the addition of the voice-over narration and the more optimistic ending. In interviews, he has stated that these changes were made against his wishes and compromised his vision for the film.

Scott has also spoken positively about the Director's Cut, which was released in 1992. He has stated that this version of the film represents his true vision and removes the unwanted studio interference. He has praised the removal of the voice-over narration, which he has described as "ludicrous," and the more ambiguous ending.

In interviews about the Final Cut, which was released in 2007, Scott has described it as the definitive version of the film. He has stated that it includes improvements to the visual effects and audio, as well as additional footage that was not included in previous versions. He has also stated that he was able to correct some mistakes that were made in previous cuts of the film.

Here is a list of the different versions of Blade Runner in the order of their original release:

  1. Theatrical Cut (1982) - This is the original version of the film that was released in theaters. It includes the voice-over narration and the more optimistic ending.
  2. International Cut (1982) - This version of the film was released in some international markets and includes some additional violent footage and alternate takes.
  3. Director's Cut (1992) - This version of the film was released without the voice-over narration and with a more ambiguous ending. It also includes some additional footage that was not included in the original theatrical cut.
  4. Workprint Version (1993) - This is an unfinished version of the film that was screened for test audiences. It includes some alternate takes and scenes that were later removed from the final cut.
  5. The Final Cut (2007) - This is considered to be the definitive version of the film and was released to commemorate the film's 25th anniversary. It includes enhanced visual effects, improved audio, and restored footage that was not included in previous cuts.

Here are some pieces of trivia about the making of Blade Runner (1982):

  1. The film is based on the 1968 novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Philip K. Dick.
  2. The film was initially a box office disappointment, but it has since become a cult classic and is widely considered to be one of the greatest science fiction films of all time.
  3. The film's production was plagued by numerous problems, including disagreements between the director, Ridley Scott, and the studio over the film's length and tone.
  4. The film was shot primarily at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California, and on location in and around Los Angeles. The film's production design was heavily influenced by the architecture and urban landscapes of Los Angeles
  5. The iconic look of the film was created by production designer Lawrence G. Paull, art director David L. Snyder, and visual futurist Syd Mead. Their designs featured a mix of futuristic and industrial elements, including towering skyscrapers, billowing smokestacks, and neon signage.
  6. The film's score was composed by Vangelis, a Greek musician known for his electronic and synthesizer-based music. The score features haunting melodies and ambient soundscapes that help to create the film's eerie atmosphere.
  7. The film's special effects were created by a team of talented artists and technicians, including Douglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich, and David Dryer. Their work helped to create the film's memorable visuals, including the futuristic cityscapes, flying cars, and the replicants' glowing eyes.
  8. The film's cast includes Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard, the film's protagonist, and Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty, the leader of the replicants. Other notable cast members include Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, Daryl Hannah, and Joanna Cassidy.
  9. The film's themes of artificial intelligence, the nature of humanity, and the dangers of corporate greed have continued to resonate with audiences and have inspired numerous sequels, spin-offs, and adaptations.
  10. Blade Runner was nominated for two Academy Awards in 1983, for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration and Best Visual Effects, but it did not win either award. However, the film's impact on popular culture has endured, and it has become a beloved classic of science fiction cinema.


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

At The Astromech, you can expect to find a variety of articles, reviews, and analysis related to science fiction, including books, movies, TV, and games.
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