Blade Runner is a Waste of Time: Siskel & Ebert in 1982

Note: The Blade Runner segment starts at 19:18 mark.

It’s perhaps hard to imagine now, but Ridley Scott’s classic sci-fi film, Blade Runner, saw some hard days when it was first released in 1982. Preview screenings went badly. Crowds flocked instead to see Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster, ET. The film lost money. And critics gave the film mixed reviews.

Case in point, Siskel & Ebert’s review on national television. Roger finds some redeeming qualities – the special effects. Siskel calls it a “waste of time.” One thumb up grudgingly; another firmly down. A decidedly mixed review.

Siskel died, of course, in 1999. If you’re wondering if Ebert ever changed his position, you can find this reappraisal written in 2007, on the 25th anniversary of the film’s release.

Related Content:

Philip K. Dick: A Day In The Afterlife

Ray Bradbury: Literature is the Safety Valve of Civilization


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  • blessingx says:

    It, along with Star Wars, is certainly a contender for generationally overrated.

  • Jimbob says:

    Absolutely my favorite SciFi movie of all time. I never tire of watching this film. Definately, Ridley Scott’s masterpiece.

  • chris says:

    My favourite film of all time,irrespective of genre.

  • jimjam41 says:

    Definitely the most excellent sci-futuristic movie of all time!

  • Rob McMillin says:

    Blade Runner will prove invincible” wrote Philip K. Dick at the time. He was right — though it would take a substantial amount of revising. The damage done by the Warner company would require substantial repair, which the film wouldn’t get until a working print surfaced in George Lucas’ personal vault and was exhibited at the Cineplex Odeon’s Sunday revival series in 1992. I was in the audience that day, and the friend I attended the screening with wrote a strong letter in praise of the modified film to the Los Angeles Times, which was subsequently printed. Shortly thereafter, Warners rereleased the film on video as a director’s cut, launching a whole new avenue of exploitation for existing titles.

  • Anonymous Bosch says:

    To be fair, the non-voiceover version was *much* better than the original theatrical release.

    • marcoselmalo says:

      The first version, with voice over, supped on donkey Ds. I think it was about ten years later that they released the 1st director’s cut, which was sublime and worthy of PKD.

  • Chris says:

    When I first saw Blade Runner I was greatly disappointed. The film cut out two of the crucial elements found in the novel: Mercerism and the Buster Friendly Show. By so doing, Ridley Scott effectively cut out the heart and soul of Philip K. Dick’s wonderful novel. Further, Scott moved the action from San Francisco to Los Angeles and made Rachael an ally rather than a betrayer. At the end of the day, Scott accomplished little more than a remake of an old Outer Limits episode called Demon With A Glass Hand, which also had to do with humanity versus robotics, and was also set in the Bradbury Building. If you want to understand where Scott acquired the “look” of Blade Runner, check out that old TV show.

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