Blade Runner Movie Home Page

The Blade Runner FAQ

Blade Runner Terminology

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.


The following information is taken from the 1982 BR Press kit:

Blade Runner Deckard shootsBLADE RUNNER -- The nickname given to those police detectives who are specially trained in the use of the Voight-Kampff machine and whose specific function is to track down and eliminate any replicants that manage to escape into human society and attempt to pass as real human beings. The official name of the Blade Runner division is Rep-Detect.

Blade Runner replicants Roy and PrisREPLICANT -- A genetically engineered creature composed entirely of organic substance. Animal replicants (animoids) were developed first for use as pets and beasts of burden after most real animals became extinct. Later, humanoid replicants were created for military purposes and for the exploration and colonization of space. The Tyrell Corp. recently introduced the Nexus 6, the supreme replicant -- much stronger and faster than, and virtually indistinguishable from, real human beings. Earth law forbids replicants on the planet, except in the huge industrial complex where they are created. The law does not consider replicants human and therefore accords them no rights or protection.

Blade Runner Esper computerESPER -- A high-density computer with a very powerful three-dimensional resolution capacity and a cryogenic cooling system. The police cars and Deckard's apartment contain small models which can be channelled into the large one at police headquarters. This big apparatus is a well-worn, retro-fitted part of the furniture. Among many functions, the Esper can analyze and enlarge photos, enabling investigators to search a room without being there.


- The Esper was originally conceived as one big central computer system the police were using; the unit Deckard used was then connected to the central L.A.P.D. mainframe; the wall with the video screens in the briefing room was also supposed to be part of the Esper system (the wall was dubbed the Esper Wall by the crew).

- The January 1995 issue of NASA Tech Briefs includes a description of an Esper-like machine called Omniview.

Blade Runner Voight Kampff machineVOIGHT-KAMPFF MACHINE -- A very advanced form of lie detector that measures contractions of the iris muscle and the presence of invisible airborne particles emitted from the body. The bellows were designed for the latter function and give the machine the menacing air of a sinister insect. The V-K is used primarily by blade runners to determine if a suspect is truly human by measuring the degree of his empathic response through carefully worded questions and statements.

- In the original novel, the spelling used was in fact: VOIGT-KAMPFF; in the scripts, however, it was spelled VOIGHT-KAMPFF. For consistency's sake, the scripts' spelling will be used throughout this FAQ.

Blade Runner spinnerSPINNER -- The generic term for all flying cars in use around the year 2020. Only specially authorized people and police are licensed to operate these remarkable vehicles, which are capable of street driving, vertical lift-off, hovering and high-speed cruising. The Spinner is powered by three engines -- conventional internal combustion, jet and anti-gravity.


- Syd Mead explained in subsequent articles that the concept was actually one of internal lift like that used in vertical take-off aircraft today - NOT anti-gravity, ed.

- About Spinner being a "generic" term - it has been noted that some spinners in the movie actually display the name "Spinner", indicating Spinner would be an actual brand name of one particular spinner manufacturer. (An analogy might be the way 'Hoover' has become the universal term for 'a vacuum cleaner', but you can still see vacuum cleaners made by Hoover.)


Additional terms:

SKIN JOB -- slang; synonymous with "replicant".

Blade Runner owlANIMOID -- artificial animal, presumably created with replicant technology, or something very similar. (Note: this term is, to my recollection, never actually used in the film; also, the street with the animal dealers where Deckard interrogates Abdul-Ben Hassan, the snake dealer, is called "Animoid Row")

INCEPT DATE -- date of "birth" (or: manufacturing date, depending on how you look at it) of replicant.

RETIREMENT -- euphemistic jargon for the termination of replicants.


  Back     BR FAQ Index     Forward