There is no one Blade Runner. Ridley Scott’s influential “neo-noir” has appeared in several different versions over the past 38 years, both official — the “director’s cut,” the “final cut,” and lest we forget, the now-derided first theatrical cut — and unofficial. So has Blade Runner‘s soundtrack, the first official release of which lagged the film by about a dozen years, and even then didn’t include all the music so integral to the unprecedented aesthetic richness of the futuristic setting. Then, about a dozen more years later, followed an expanded soundtrack album, which for many fans still proved unsatisfying. In the name of completeness and sonic fidelity, at least five widely distributed bootlegs have attempted to fill the gap.
Now, in our 21st-century age of streaming, we have fan-made “remasters” of the Blade Runner soundtrack like the above, the 5.7-million-times-viewed work of a user called Greendragon861. Running just over one hour and 52 minutes — nearly the length of the various cuts of Blade Runner itself — this sonic experience includes, of course, the well-known electronic pieces by composer Vangelis, those that come right to mind when you envision the flame-belching industrial landscape of 21st-century Los Angeles or a police “spinner” taking to the skies. But it also incorporates background music, sound effects, and even snatches of dialogue from the movie. The result feels a great deal like watching Blade Runner without actually watching Blade Runner.
Despite initially flopping, at least in the West, Blade Runner has exerted an enormous influence on other art and media — indeed, on the way humanity envisions the future — and one still spreading nearly four decades later. The film seems unsurpassable in that regard, an achievement creditable to a range of creators: director Ridley Scott, of course; but also Philip K. Dick, author of its source material; the late Syd Mead, who as a “visual futurist” gave focus to the world’s look and feel; model master Douglas Trumbull, thanks in part to whom its built and mechanical environment has aged so well. The list goes on, and it shouldn’t fail to include Vangelis as well as everyone else responsible for this intricate soundscape, without which Blade Runner wouldn’t be Blade Runner, no matter the cut.
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Sean Connery (RIP) Reads C.P. Cavafy’s Epic Poem “Ithaca,” Set to the Music of Vangelis
The Sounds of Blade Runner: How Music & Sound Effects Became Part of the DNA of Ridley Scott’s Futuristic World
Stream 72 Hours of Ambient Sounds from Blade Runner: Relax, Go to Sleep in a Dystopian Future
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The City in Cinema Mini-Documentaries Reveal the Los Angeles of Blade Runner, Her, Drive, Repo Man, and More
Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.
They can re-cut it till the cows come home, it remains a rubbish film.
I saw a cut of “Blade Runner” that very few people have seen- and it was terrible. When I was at Auburn University, the studio showed it to the students in a rough cut. There was music missing, and you’d even see an occasional grease mark from where they had marked the print for editing. It rambled on, was close to four hours long, and made virtually no sense. At the end, we filled out an extensive questionnaire about what we thought of it. I have to say, I’ve seen two or three different versions over the years, and have never been a fan, outside of the production design. But that first viewing was the mess you might expect it to be, given the situation.
Woody probably doesn’t understand the movie or just wants to troll by sayin “it’s rubbish” without any constructive criticism. Dear Woody, you don’t have to worry about Blade Runner, just watch the masterpieces you like, whatever.
Woody, De gustibus non est disputandum, this I know. But really, Blade Runner? Give it another look. Omygod its as close to perfection as one can get.
Like it or not – Blade Runner represents a significant turning point in science fiction and futurist films.
Personally, it is one of my favourite films ever. The depiction of a dystopian world which is so very close to reality, the extraordinary music by Vangelis, the frenetic soundscape and the extraordinary vision and performances, in my mind, far outweigh any negative comments. I personally don’t take drugs but this movie is a trip. I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to this extended ‘Soundtrack’. Bravo
“…But it also incorporates background music, sound effects, and even snatches of dialogue from the movie. The result feels a great deal like watching Blade Runner without actually watching Blade Runner…”
This is a dumb line.
Yep, playing any film and keeping your eyes closed is a great deal like that.
Excellent film, excellent soundtrack, btw.
Alas, the sequel, (to quote woody) was actual rubbish.
Blade Runner is also influenced by Metropolis movie by Frits Lang.
Blade Runner Its one of the most iconic movies visually and sound wise including music
all those Movies after Blade Runner and Games copied a lot of this movie as it gives a really good impression of to days reality and environment and design
Look at Sentinel book by Syd Mead he designed cars for Blade Runner that could actually be build.
Every one has an opinion about good or bad movies but it made an incredible impact on my profession to become an visual artist in the movie industry for many big productions and proud be Dutch and to have met Rutger Hauer as well
Same counts for Tron designs
Michael van Randeraat