Blade Runner Movie Home Page

Paul M. Sammon Interview

What is BR?
News & Views
BR Fun
BR Game
BR Magazine
BR Comic
Site Info
Search Site is the Home of Blade Runner - the current Blade Runner FAQ, news, resources, links, quotes, scripts and everything else Blade Runner.

Blade Runner
Blade Runner
Buy this Mini Poster at

Any Comments?
Please e-mail the Webmaster

Want the DVD? Or the BR Game? Don't know which books or music to get? Maybe you'd like a Deckard action figure? Make sure you check the BR Related section for all your BR choices.


N: Blade Runner is not simply a "cult classic" - it now regularly appears in Top 100 film lists and is particularly popular in the UK, where it graced the Top 10 of a few major "Favourite Films of the 20th Century" surveys. Why is that Paul? And did you have any idea back in 1982 that it would become such a classic?

PS: Well, to begin, I'm not quite sure that BR's totally escaped its cult status yet. Sure, it's easy to assume that the film is better known, especially with all of these "Best Of" lists floating around, not to mention all the BR-devoted books and websites and fans. But honestly, your average moviegoer could give a shit. Go ahead - stop somebody in the street and ask them, "Ever hear of a movie called Blade Runner?" Most of the time you'll be rewarded with a blank look. Or, at best, they'll say, "Yeah, I dimly seem to recall something called that." And how can I make such a statement? Because, for years now, I've been asking many, many different strangers the same question. And I usually get the responses I've just detailed. It's a little game I sometimes play when I first meet someone - "Ever heard of BR?"

A few results:

  • Wired Magazine: Best SF film ever
  • BBC Film '99: Viewers vote BR 2nd
    favourite movie of the 20th Century
  • London Time Out Readers vote BR 4th
    favourite movie of the 20th Century
  • Sky Premier Viewers vote BR 8th
    favourite movie of the 20th Century
  • Channel 4 public vote puts BR at 8th
    in 100 Greatest Movies List
  • public vote on Greatest
    Movies put BR in 11th place
  • Futurist Movies rates it best future
    movie ever
  • Online Film Critics Society vote it 2nd
    in their 100 years of SF review

For even more, see our Top 100s Page

So I think it's important to keep in mind that you may be preaching to the choir when you're trying to assess BR's overall recognition factor with other fans of the film. I mean, it's the job of film critics to know cinema history, right? So of course they'd be aware of BR. Just as a film buff or SF film enthusiast or SF literature fan would be. However, these are only splinter groups in a much larger culture - the mainstream, if you will. And the mainstream is far more aware of any Star Wars film than it is of BR.

As for why BR is now making "Best Of' lists, well, the superficial response would be to cite its influential production design. Which, for the most part, still looks fresh and dazzling today. But the real reason the film continues to build in popularity is due to its tone, its characters, and its complexity.

For instance, with BR, Ridley improved upon a strategy he'd used in Alien; that is, to create a fantastically detailed yet realistic future world, and then to populate that world with believable characters. In that sense, BR is Alien cubed - here are all these crazy things like Spinners and Espers surrounding people who are depressed, or arrogant, or manipulative, or confused
- hey, just like the real people we meet every day!

But that's only part of the equation. As BR unfolds, you realize that, even though it's set in 2019, it's actually forecasting many of the same dilemmas facing us now. Overcrowding. The police state. Cloning. Corporate dominance and corruption. Creating technology that serves our darkest interests. The film additionally touches on elemental questions, the big ones. Who am I? What am I? How do I deal with violence? Love? Freedom? And why the hell do I only have "X" days to live? Anyway, I think audiences recognize and respond to all this, even if it's only on the intuitive level. BR is among the handful of great science fiction films that challenges you to think, instead of just showing you intricately choreographed light-saber battles.

Of course, these concerns are chiefly cerebral ones. But BR isn't simply a Kubrickian exercise. Although I gotta tell ya, I'm still surprised by how few critics recognize the extent to which Blade Runner resembles a Stanley Kubrick picture. Anyway, I also think audiences really love the mood of BR. It's so intensely melancholic. So sad, so infused with forlorn nostalgia. But then, in the midst of this gloom, a sequence will suddenly come along that, in purely kinetic or visual terms, just totally blows you away. Furthermore, watching BR only once is like taking a single bite out of a seven-course meal. I mean, there's always something going on in the background or the corners of the frame, some little detail or activity you barely half-register. Still, those details pique your curiosity, so you want to see it again.

I obviously can go on and on about this (laughs). As that little mantra in Starship Troopers goes do you want to know more?

N: Certainly!

PS: Okay. Blade Runner treats its audience with respect; it isn't contemptuous of a viewer's head or heart. It also sucks you in and doesn't let go until the lights come up. It's very well paced. And of course there's Vangelis' music - what an incredible score!

Deckar is the tired Blade RunnerSo BR isn't the D.O.A. product of the sterile Hollywood assembly line. It's truly unique, truly alive in that way only great films can be. One other reason? BR's characters. They're vivid and quirky, yet at the same time demonstrably human. I mean, take Deckard's drinking. He drinks a lot in BR. Yet it's possible that Deckard's alcoholism is basically a way of insulating himself from this hellish city where he's stuck in an awful job he doesn't like. Now, who hasn't found themselves in a similar situation in their own life? That's another example of what I meant when I mentioned the multiple layers in this film. I mean, Deckard's taste for liquor can be read as more than an acknowledgement of all of those hard-drinking, two-fisted, two-dimensional stereotypes you find in most detective films - although it's a nod to that convention too.

Anyway, perhaps the most concise reasons why BR is finally making all these "Best Of" lists could be summed up as: Great story. Good characters. Astonishing sets. Amazing special effects. Gorgeous cinematography. Serious concerns. Truly bizarre set pieces. Wonderful music. And emotions. Genuinely affecting ones. I mean, every time I watch that scene in Deckard's apartment, where his callousness and verbal cruelty towards Rachael results in her finding out that she's a replicant, that everything she's ever trusted and believed in about her "life" is totally false, that all her memories are artificial ones hardwired into her brain - well, when Sean cries during that moment, I cry too.


  Back     Index     Forward