Blade Runner

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Blade Runner is a genre-bending 1982 Science Fiction film that borrows stylistic elements from Film Noir and Hardboiled Detective fiction. Set in a dystopian near-future City Noir version of Los Angeles, it established much of the tone and flavor of the Cyberpunk movement and the film style of Tech Noir. It is a highly intelligent film, visually stunning and features a seriously great script. The definitive high-def/Blu-Ray Directors Cut came out in 2007.

Deckard is a Blade Runner. His job is to "retire" renegade Replicants: rogue androids that are not supposed to be on Earth. Some of the most advanced Replicants yet have escaped, and Deckard is assigned to retire them. But they are so like normal humans that Deckard can't help but empathize with them, and he even falls for one.

Blade Runner was loosely based on the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The title itself comes from the novel The Bladerunner by Alan E. Nourse.[1] Other than the title, the movie has nothing to do with The Bladerunner. It just sounded cool.

The film was a commercial failure upon release, but it later become a widely acknowledged classic that regularly appears on "Best Films of All Time" lists.

A sequel, Blade Runner 2049, directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Sicario), starring Ryan Gosling and with Roger Deakins as cinematographer, was released on October 2017. Harrison Ford, as well as original writer Hampton Fancher and Ridley Scott as an executive producer, returned for the production.

Not to disappoint anyone, but no one runs on blades in this movie.

Tropes used in Blade Runner include:
  • Adaptation Distillation: Philip K. Dick loved the visual imagery of those parts of the film he saw. He said they resonated deeply with his imagined future. But he is also on record as saying Ridley Scott inverted the meaning of the Replicants' inhumanity; from being self-serving non-empathic killers to being 'supermen who couldn't fly'. As impressed as he was, PKD maintained that it wasn't his story. In the final interview before his death, Dick said "After I finished reading the screenplay, I got the novel out and looked through it. The two reinforce each other, so that someone who started with the novel would enjoy the movie and someone who started with the movie would enjoy the novel."
    • In an interview, Rutger Hauer revealed that he had been a fan of the book long before the movie, and preferred to think of film Deckard as a sap who was pining over a vibrator.
  • Adult Child: While the Replicants are adults both physically and mentally, they're still very childlike in their emotions, be it Pris's very whimsical behavior or Roy basically having a temper tantrum when meeting Tyrell and becoming a Self-Made Orphan.
  • Advert-Overloaded Future: Animated and lighted signage all over buildings as well as blimps flying overhead.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: One of the most memorable in movie history.
  • The Alcoholic: It's much faster to count the scenes in which Deckard isn't drinking. And if you can still drink with a split lip, then you are an überholic.
    • Very probably a Shout-Out: the film takes much of its visual and stylistic cues from Film Noir, a genre in which the average alcohol intake of any given main character could probably drop a bull elephant.
  • Ambiguously Human: The Replicants. And Deckard himself as well.
  • Animal Motifs: Major characters have association with animals.
    • Roy: Wolves and doves when he dies.
    • Leon: Walruses, Turtles.
    • Zhora: Snakes.
    • Pris: Raccoons.
    • Tyrell: Owls.
    • Rachael: Spiders.
    • Sebastian: Mice.
    • Deckard: Chicken, but actually Unicorn.
  • Anti-Hero: Deckard. Depending on your interpretation of the movie, it is positively unnerving to have a state-sponsored killer of escaped slaves as the protagonist, quite unremarked, anvils undropped.
    • Or he is simply a guy recycling machines that go haywire and kill people.
    • Probably Type IV. Deckard's job of retiring Replicants is a very dark grey, but he regards it as his duty as a police officer and doesn't believe killing them to be wrong.
  • Anti-Villain: Roy Batty. Created as a slave-soldier with a short expiration date, his only goal for himself and his fellow Replicants is life. Even his killing of the man who installed all Replicants with an "expiration date" is understandable. He shows more remorse over his actions than Deckard ever does.
    • But even putting aside the crew he killed during his original escape, he does crush an unarmed man's head open with his bare hands, and kill Sebastian, a man who'd sheltered and helped him.
    • A blend of Types II and III, with shades of IV. Roy is a Woobie with a cause he's fighting for, but also commits several acts of violence that serve no greater purpose or necessity than his own urges.
  • Arc Words/Famous Last Words: Said by both Leon and Roy:

"Time to die!"

  • Artificial Human: The Tyrell Corporation's Human Replicants. Roy, Leon, Zhora, Pris, Rachael, definitely possibly (according to the latest version of the ever-changing Word of God) Deckard, etc.
  • Audit Threat: Attempted by Deckard when trying to get information from strip club owner Taffey Lewis.

Deckard: Did you ever see this girl?
Taffey: Never seen her. Buzz off.
Deckard: Your licenses in order, pal?
Taffey: [unimpressed] Hey, Louie. The man is dry. Give him one on the house, okay? See ya.

  • Awesome Yet Practical: The neon-lit umbrellas carried by the people in the background.
  • Badass Longcoat: Deckard and Batty.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: Batty punches through a rotting wall during their final encounter.
  • Bigger Bad: The Tyrell Corporation is responsible for the creation of the Replicants as well as the resulting social hierarchy between them and humans. However, it doesn't play as direct a role in the film as Big Bad Roy Batty, and its distance from the plot is even emphasized in a scrapped scene, when "Tyrell" is revealed to be a Replicant of the real founder of the corporation, who died many years before.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Gaff's multilingual Cityspeak, which is a mishmash of various languages including Spanish, Japanese and Hungarian. Lófasz! Nehogy már!
    • The first thing he says to Deckard translates to "You are the Blade Runner!"
  • Bilingual Dialogue: Deckard understands Gaff's dialect perfectly well, but he prefers English.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The director's and final cut end with Deckard realizing that the four years expiration date does apply to Rachael, and he - possibly being a Replicant himself - may end with the same fate a well. However, the film closes on a note of acceptance, as the quote on the bottom of this page suggests.
  • Blown Across the Room: Holden in the scene at the beginning of the film in which he interrogates Leon.
    • In fact, he gets blown clean through the goddamn wall. Do NOT ask Leon about his mother.
  • Body Motifs: Eyes.
  • Boom! Headshot!: How Leon meets his fate.
  • Bow Ties Are Cool: Gaff.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The little figurines Gaff creates and leaves lying around result in a realization at the end of the film.
  • Chess Motifs: The game of correspondence chess played by Sebastian and Tyrell (which Batty wins with his genius intellect). Notably, it's based on the famous "Immortal Game" of 1851, which ties into the film's themes of mortality and a quest for life.
  • Chiaroscuro: The film's dark, gritty feel set it apart from most science fiction films up to that point, and set a template for many to follow.
  • City Noir: A crowning example.
  • Climbing Climax: Inverted, just like Save the Villain below: it is the protagonist that climbs onto the top of the building for the ultimate showdown, and the antagonist that follows him.
  • Crapsack World: One of the most influential dystopias in cinema, and a huge influence on Cyberpunk.
  • Crucified Anti Villain Shot: Batty uses a nail driven into his own hand to stave off death for a few minutes. It's extremely visible as he saves Deckard's life.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Pris during her fight with Deckard. When Deckard shoots her the first time, she has a seizure with her body convulsing uncontrollably putting her into a screaming fit. Deckard had to shoot her two more times to put her out of her misery.
  • Culture Chop Suey: The film has a kind of "the future is Asian" theme with a mishmash of East Asian cultural stereotypes: Geishas in advertising, Chinese noodle stalls, Japanese and Chinese writing scattered about, broken Engrish, squadrons of bicycles ridden through squalid streets by people in big hats, etc.
  • Cyberpunk: Possibly an Unbuilt Trope: without computer networks or virtual reality, it's just another sci-fi dystopia. The genre, however, has been informed by it for decades. Even William Gibson despaired upon seeing it, because it featured the exact kind of visuals he had in mind for Neuromancer and he was afraid he'd be accused of ripping it off.
    • And this is the first sci-fi film where the "punk" aspect is really present.
  • Cyberpunk Is Techno: Vangelis' soundtrack makes heavy use of synthesizers and other electronic elements. The most notable exception is the "love theme" between Deckard and Rachael, which is played on the saxophone.
  • Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain: Blade Runner is probably responsible for associating Cyberpunk settings with constantly rainy weather in popular imagination.
  • Da Chief: An inversion. Deckard does not appear to like or respect the police chief very much.
  • Darkened Building Shootout: The final encounter between Deckard and Batty involves gunplay in a darkened building (the Bradbury Building in LA).
  • Deadly Euphemism: "Retire" for kill.
  • Defective Detective: Deckard. Not only is he plagued with self-loathing and doubt, he becomes increasingly unsure that his role as Blade Runner is ethical, and eventually becomes a fugitive with Rachael.
  • Designated Hero: Invoked in this case. The Replicants are escaped slaves. The Blade Runners are bounty hunters who get money for gunning them down. A Blade Runner protagonist makes for an uneasy moral setting at best.
  • Digital Head Swap: The original version had a shot during Zhora's death where it was obvious that a stunt double was standing in for the actress. For the 2007 Final Cut, actress Joanna Cassidy's face was digitally superimposed over that of the stunt double.
  • Disturbed Doves: In the Bradbury Building, where the final confrontation takes place.
  • Do Androids Dream?: Ironically more than in the book.
  • Dramatic Thunder: During Roy Batty's death speech, echoing his earlier line about thunder: "Fiery the angels fell; deep thunder rolled around their shores, burning with the fires of Orc." (This is a deliberate misquote of William Blake's poem America: A Prophecy: "Fiery the angels rose, and as they rose deep thunder roll'd/Around their shores, indignant burning with the fires of Orc.")
  • Dull Surprise: The narration in the theatrical cut seems to be trying for "Private Eye Monologue" and falling into "Bored Out of My Mind" instead (part of the reason for the "What theatrical cut?" mentality). Rumor has it that Harrison Ford disliked the idea of the narration and tried to prevent it from happening by deliberately botching his line delivery. The narration got used anyway. Ford denies that he did it deliberately, saying he did his best with what he was given. Possibly the legendarily difficult shoot had got to him.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: In the theatrical cut, Deckard's voiceover informs that the four-year expiration date did not apply to Rachael, and the final shot is just the opposite of the dark and oppressive mood of the whole movie; a bucolic and sunny place crossed by a road that implies they reach a Happily Ever After.
  • Earth That Used to Be Better: Overcrowded, polluted and rainy.
  • Enhance Button: One of the most-often referenced examples. Possibly the Trope Maker, almost certainly the Trope Codifier. Though ironically there is no actual button, as the machine is voice activated.
  • Evil Counterpart: Not "evil", exactly, but Roy/Pris to Deckard/Rachael.
  • Evil Roy: Roy Batty.
  • Eye Scream: Tyrell's death. Leon appears to be about to shove his fingers into Deckard's eyes at one point.
  • Face Death with Dignity: What Roy finally does in the end.

Roy Batty: "All those moments will be lost in time... like tears... in rain. Time to die."

  • Failure Is the Only Option: The Replicants' quest for more life is doomed from the beginning.
  • Famous Last Words: Roy Batty's famous lines, "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams... glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All these moments will be lost in time... like tears... in rain. Time to die."
    • Made all the more awesome by the fact that "like tears in rain" was ad-libbed by Rutger Hauer.
  • Fantastic Aesop: The movie seems to be trying to use the Replicants to make a point about human understanding and identity which relies heavily on the Replicants having a short 'hard-coded' lifespan.
  • Fantastic Noir: The film is basically a Film Noir in a science fiction setting.
  • Fantastic Racism: The sexually-charged racial-slur "skin-job" says a lot about how a person who uses it thinks of Replicants, as lampshaded by the much-maligned narration of the non-director's cut.

Deckard: "Skin job", that's what he calls them. Historically he's the kind of cop who calls black men niggers."

  • Fauxlosophic Narration: The narration in the theatrical cut is kind of dreadful, and veers straight into this at the end of the film.
  • Feather Boa Constrictor: Zhora wears a Replicant snake as a fashion accessory.
  • Final Speech: Delivered famously by Roy.
  • Five Stages of Grief: Roy appears to go through them all except for denial.
    • Anger: "Fiery the angels fell; deep thunder rolled around their shores; burning with the fires of Orc!"
    • Bargaining: His attempt to extract a longer life span from his own creator.
    • Depression: When he realizes it's already too late for his comrades and howls with grief over Priss' body.
    • Acceptance: His famous dying speech expresses only regret that the things he knows will become lost forever.
    • Rachael goes through a similar process, only we also get to see her early Denial stage, which we can assume happened to Roy and the others off-screen before the start of the story.
  • Flying Car: The spinners.
  • Forceful Kiss: Deckard to Rachael. Has overtones of Victim Falls For Rapist.
  • The Future Is Noir: Blade Runner practically invented a genre by mixing Film Noir aesthetics and Cyberpunk themes.
  • Gaia's Lament: Earth is an ecological disaster, with an irradiated atmosphere, and very little natural life left.
    • Indeed, aside from making human slave labor, the Tyrell Corporation has a nice lucrative little side line in synthetic animals going. A fact that allows Deckard to advance his search for Zhora by finding snake scales with a serial number on them.
  • Gainax Ending: In the Directors Cut. Although there's a general (and movie-changing) implication, the details are unclear, at best. What was up with that unicorn? [2]
  • Glamour Failure: Can be forced by using the Voight-Kampff test to detect them, which monitors answers and subtle physical response to emotional questions. Otherwise, Replicants are identical to humans. On occasion their eyes can be seen to glow slightly, but according to Word of God, this is for the audience, and characters can't see it.
  • Gorn: Tyrell's death, in the International and Final cuts.
  • Gray and Gray Morality: The story is rife with this. Roy Batty lampshades Deckard's proclivity for shooting unarmed people in the back.

Roy: Not very sporting to fire on an unarmed opponent. I thought you were supposed to be good. Aren't you the... "good" man?

    • Also apparently, one of the arguments for Deckard being human, in that Deckard has lost his humanity and morality, becoming detached, and regains it through Rachael, whereas Batty has learnt to be human and actively emotes more than Deckard does.
    • Also quite telling in the scene where Deckard practically forces Rachael to kiss him, whereas Batty and Pris are much more caring between one another.
  • Hand Cannon: Deckard's handgun seems to fire explosive shells. It certainly makes pretty big holes in walls during his fight with Roy in the hotel. Its components include a bolt-action .222 rifle and a Charter Arms Bulldog revolver. So it's basically a huge single shot rifle in the shape of a pistol.
  • Haunted House: The Bradbury Building is an extremely uninviting place at the best of times. When Roy Batty is somewhere inside howling like a wolf is very very far from the best of times.
  • Impostor-Exposing Test: The Voight-Kampff test, which is used to distinguish Replicants from humans.
  • Industrial Ghetto: The city as a whole.
  • Insistent Terminology: From the opening text crawl: "It Was Not Called Execution. It Was Called Retirement."
  • "It's Not Rape If You Enjoyed It": Comes up in discussions about the, ahem, questionable nature of Deckard and Rachael's "love scene", and how it was for her own good because she needed to learn how to feel.
    • Or if Deckard's a Replicant and therefore emotionally immature, he just doesn't understand the implications of what he's doing.
  • I Want My Jetpack: 2019 is still a little ways off, but the future depicted in the movie isn't looking very likely: technology would have to go through a lot of improvement to give us some of the things we see in the film. The theme of technology overwhelming the human population, on the other hand, isn't that far off the mark. Alas, Technology Marches On in some situations. Deckard has to use his car phone when he's out of the office. When was the last time you saw a car phone?
  • I Will Show You X: When Leon shoots Holden, the interrogator who asks him about his mother.
  • Japan Takes Over the World: Remembered as one of the classic examples, even though the "Asian" culture in the movie wasn't strictly just Japanese. The "building-size geisha advertisement", however, is a classic example of the trope and was more or less the image of how people in The Eighties expected things to go down.
  • Kiss of Death: A symbolic example when Roy Batty kisses Eldon Tyrell just before killing him.
  • Lack of Empathy: Why letting Replicants run around is a bad idea. Unlike most examples, though, it's played for sympathy, since it's implied that their callous nature is more akin to young children then any real quality of being a Replicant: they literally don't live long enough to understand what is and isn't right. And the reason they don't live as long was they gained emotions, but couldn't control them.
    • It becomes apparent that Replicants become increasingly emotionally aware as they age: Tyrell suggests that one of the reasons for their lifespan limitations is that were they allowed to continue developing, they might become indistinguishable from humans.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Rachael does this in Deckard's apartment, which is notable since she has Power Hair for most of the film.
  • Mandatory Unretirement: At the beginning of the movie, Deckard is no longer a Blade Runner, but is reluctantly recruited back. Or is he?
  • Meaningful Name: Deckard sounds like Descartes (famous for "I think therefore I am."). Does This Remind You of Anything?
  • Mega Corp: The Tyrell Corporation, whose massive pyramidal headquarters dominates the skyline of Los Angeles (not unlike the Ministry of Truth in Nineteen Eighty-Four).
  • Men Can't Keep House: Deckard's apartment has stuff littering every surface. When Rachael visits, he has to clear stuff out of a chair so that he can sit down. She remains standing. Deckard offers Rachael a drink, and has to clean a glass from the sink because there are no clean glasses available.
  • Mercy Kill: Deckard's first shot at Pris causes her to malfunction in a horrific way, and Deckard quickly shoots again in order to end the pain.
  • Multiple Endings: Various versions of the film end in different ways.
  • Murderous Thighs: Pris tries to use them on Deckard, but he ultimately survives and kills her.
  • Nicknaming the Enemy: The term "skinjobs" is used to refer to Replicants.
  • Non-Indicative Name: There is nary a blade to be found in this movie. The term "blade runner" comes from The Blade Runner, a completely unrelated dystopian novel in which the term refers to someone who sells black-market medical supplies. Ridley Scott bought the rights to the novel so that he could use the term in his film for no other reason than that it sounds cool. Also, given a certain thematic similarity to an earlier dystopian sci-fi film, it was just clever marketing to use a title with the word "runner" in it.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The final confrontation between Deckard and Roy.
  • One Last Job: Retiring the escaped group of Replicants, for Deckard.
  • Orwellian Retcon: Originally, Scott, Ford and the writers agreed that Deckard was human. When Scott made the Directors Cut in 1992, he had changed his mind, and he inserted a two-second-long clip of a unicorn to change Deckard's nature in the movie.
  • Popcultural Osmosis: Blade Runner was highly influential on Cyberpunk and Post Cyber Punk fiction. It is such a poster child for popcultural osmosis that the imagery in the film is sometimes familiar to people who've never even seen it.
  • Power Hair: Rachael, at least until she lets down her hair...
  • Precision F-Strike: "I want more life... fucker!" There are cuts where Roy says "father" instead. It is extremely interesting to see how a single word can completely change the mood of the scene.
  • Pretty in Mink: Rachael wears a few, indicative of her pampered status.
  • Private Eye Monologue: The infamous narration was an attempt at this, although it was removed in the Final Cut.
  • Product Placement: The dreaded Blade Runner Curse struck many of the brands featured in the movie. Atari was hammered by The Great Video Game Crash of 1983, barely survived, and is now a shadow of its former self. Pan-Am is long extinct. Coca-Cola launched New Coke shortly after the movie was released, but managed to survive anyway. Bell was broken up for monopolistic practices. Cuisinart went bankrupt and was bought out by a rival company, living on only as a brand name. Budweiser dodged the Curse all the way up to 2008, when Anheuser-Busch was bought by InBev.
RCA (big neon sign out Deckard's apartment window), as a company, bit the dust in '86 (the name is still trademarked by Technicolor, however, and sometimes used on products that come from its licensees). TDK, whose sign appears on the building opposite the Bradbury near the end, seems to have made it through more or less OK... although its sign is partially obscured.
    • Tsingtao is another brand name mentioned that survived the alleged curse, though the bottle Deckard buys after killing Zhora more resembles Gin or Vodka than the real world Chinese Lager.
  • Punch Clock Hero: Deckard.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Roy Batty, rescuing and sparing Deckard's life just before his death. And Deckard himself: if he is a replicant, he will die very soon "paying" for the Replicants he killed in the name of the state.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Philip K. Dick's characters don't always know what's real and what's not real. There's not supposed to be a "right answer". Filmmakers are most faithful to the source material when they leave the ambiguities in, whether intentionally or not. Ridley Scott chose to disregard this advice.
  • Ridiculous Future Inflation: Deckard has to pay a fairly infuriating price for a 30-second vidphone call.
  • Ridiculously-Human Robots: The Replicants are almost perfect in resemblance to regular humans, to the point where only a psychological test can detect them. Rachael takes this trope even further: she's a Replicant who thinks she is human. When Deckard tests the machine on Rachael, it takes over one hundred questions for him to determine she is a Replicant (it takes only twenty or thirty, normally). And that's not even getting into the idea that Deckard may be a Replicant.
  • Robosexual: Kind of, sort of, maybe. Especially depends on if you take Ridley Scott at his word. Is it robosexual if two "robots" do it?
  • Ruined FOREVER: If you prefer the film without the ambiguity of Deckard being human.
  • Rule of Cool: There's no meaning behind the term "blade runner," used to refer to bounty hunters. The filmmakers just thought it sounded cool (it makes more sense in the original context of Alan E. Nourse's novel The Bladerunner, where they were renegade doctors smuggling surgical equipment).
  • Save the Villain: A reversal of this trope. Or not, depending on how you view Deckard and Batty.
  • Scenery Porn: Throughout the film, especially during the extended aerial shots without dialog.
  • She Fu: Zhora and Pris.
  • Shown Their Work: A serendipitous example: When Batty and Tyrell are arguing about how to prolong a Replicant's lifespan, Batty mentions something called "EMS". Tyrell says they already tried "Ethyl methanesulfonate" unsuccessfully. Ethyl methanesulfonate is an actual organic compound with mutagenic qualities, used in genetics.
  • Signature Line: "It's too bad she won't live! But then again, who does?"
  • Slap Slap Kiss: Rachael and Deckard don't actually hit each other, but Deckard is very rough and dominating with her before they fall into each others' arms.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Tyrell and Sebastian regularly play chess. The Replicant Roy Batty tricks his way into Tyrell's presence by demonstrating his chess skills.
  • Smug Snake: Gaff. So very much. Possibly Holden too.
  • Snakes Are Sexy: "Ladies and gentlemen... Taffey Lewis presents... Miss Salome and the snake. Watch her take the pleasures from the serpent... that once corrupted man."
  • Spiritual Successor: To the 1920s silent film Metropolis, in the minds of most critics.
  • Stealth Mentor: Gaff, in the Westwood Studio's Video Game.
  • Stock Footage: Not quite "stock", but reused. At one point, a computer displays a clip from Alien, and more noticeably, the original theatrical ending was actually one of the alternate opening credits sequences for The Shining.
  • Surprise Checkmate: J.F. Sebastian calls Dr. Eldon Tyrell a genius and says he's only beaten him once, but Tyrell is totally surprised by Roy Batty's checkmate move.
  • "Take That!" Kiss: In the scene where Deckard forcibly seduces Rachael.
  • Tanks for The Memories: Rachael is given a copy of the memories of Tyrell's niece.
  • Tannhauser Gate: Roy Batty's famous death speech. Trope Namer.
  • Television Geography: The film's climax ostensibly takes place in and atop the Bradbury Building, but during the sequence where Deckard climbs up to the roof, he is obviously climbing up the side of one of the Rosslyn Hotel buildings several blocks away, as evidenced by the blue orbs on the roofline, as well as the increased height of the building itself (the Bradbury having only five floors in real life). Possibly justified in that most of the old buildings in Future L.A. seem to have been given major vertical extensions, and the fact that it is a very cool-looking roof line.
  • Thigh-High Boots: Zhora wears them during her chase/fight with Deckard.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Tyrell, Tyrell, Tyrell. When your angry, vengeful creation is confronting you and demanding you perform a medical procedure on him, the correct answer is not to explain why that procedure would be fatal, it's to perform it anyway. Possibly justified in that his idolization of Roy as his ultimate creation may have been stronger than his self-preservation.
  • Trashcan Bonfire: Sometimes visible in the mean streets where Deckard works.
  • Trickster Mentor: Gaff, in the Westwood Studio's Video Game.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The Replicants, angry over their servitude and intentionally limited lifespan. A lifespan that was limited in order to curb the development of rebellious anger, even.
  • Ubermensch: Roy Batty was intentionally created to be one, with a genius-level intellect. He naturally becomes the leader of the escaped Replicants.
  • Ugly Hero, Good-Looking Villain: The final showdown. Compare the grimy, grizzled, blood-smeared form of Deckard to the nearly naked, nearly flawless body of Roy Batty. May or may not be an inversion and/or subversion depending on who you regard to be the hero and villain of the piece. During the '80s Harrison Ford was well-known for getting his ass kicked on camera really well.
  • Used Future: The future is noir, and very grimy and polluted as well, with trash blowing in the streets.
  • Video Phone: Deckard has a vidphone in his car, which he uses to call Sebastian's residence, only for his call to be answered by Pris.
  • Villain's Dying Grace: Roy has Deckard in a literal cliffhanger but is dying himself. At the last moment, Roy saves Deckard's life, and is rewarded with an Obi-Wan Moment.
  • We Are as Mayflies: Inverted with the Replicants, who only live four years before they shut off.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: A major theme in the film.
  • White-Haired Pretty Boy/White-Haired Pretty Girl: Both Roy and Pris have almost white, platinum blond hair, possibly because they're near the end of their lifespans.
  • Window Pain: Zhora's retirement.
  • Younger Than They Look: Sebastian has an aging disease, making him look over fifty when he's in fact in his twenties. Replicants never live past four, by design.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: After Deckard kills Zhora, Bryant tells Gaff that he could learn a thing or two from Deckard and refers to him as a "God-damned one-man slaughterhouse" with a huge grin on his face. Deckard's expression at this point is one of utter disgust, though it's not quite clear if it's disgust at Bryant for his praise, or disgust at himself because he knows Bryant is right.
  • Zeerust: Can be partially overlooked as Used Future, but every Flying Car looks an awful lot like cars from The Eighties with jet-like parts added. The rather boxy and overly clicky photo analyzer is similarly dated... but on the other hand, the absolutely insane resolution of the photo itself is still something that modern photographers would kill for.

It's too bad she won't live. But then again, who does?
  1. Though in a roundabout fashion: the writer Hampton Fascher, took it from a William S. Burroughs adaptation Blade_Runner_(a_movie) which was originally meant to be a treatment of Nourse's novel but became its own novella.
  2. Don't try to explain it here, people: take it to the Wild Mass Guessing page instead. It's open to interpretation.