Iconic cinematic dystopia that confirmed Ridley Scott as cinema’s leading futurist.
Based on the 1967 Phillip K Dick novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Ridley Scott’s science-fiction film noir Blade Runner was perhaps the most influential science-fiction movie of the 1980s, at least in visual terms. No attempt to represent a futuristic city since has been free of Blade Runner’s dark, neon-soaked cityscapes, dominated by enormous advertising hoardings, endless tower blocks and, between them, teeming crime-ridden streets. This stunning yet hellish visualisation was apparently a product of the director’s upbringing in the North East of England. There, the sprawling, flame-spewing Billingham ICI chemical works provided a template for his imagination.
The plot concerns androids (known as replicants in the film) attempting to subvert their programming and achieve humanity. They’re led by Rutger Hauer, who delivers a career-best performance. Tasked with hunting these renegades down is Harrison Ford’s disillusioned bounty hunter, Deckard. The film flopped at the box office, suffering from a long run-time and a determinedly sombre pace. But its reputation has subsequently skyrocketed, and Blade Runner is now rightly seen as a seminal dystopia.