Blade Runner was a box office disappointment when it hit theaters in 1982, but since then it has been showered with accolades and developed a significant following that has placed it in the pantheon of great sci-fi movies.
One organization that has been very kind to the gritty neo-noir movie is the American Film Institute. Blade Runner is on AFI’s list of the greatest 100 movies of all time and is No. 6 on the prestigious film school’s list of the best sci-fi movies. The movie’s star, Harrison Ford, was the 28th recipient of the AFI LIfetime Achievement Award.
AFI celebrated the legacy of Blade Runner, along with 11 other classic films, at Arclight Hollywood on Wednesday night for the institute’s third AFI Night at the Movies. Ford was on hand to introduce the screening of Blade Runner: The Final Cut, an edition of the film closer to director Ridley Scott’s original vision for the project that features some notable differences from the theatrical release version, such as the lack of narration.
Here are a few highlights from Ford’s introduction to the film, both some of his dry humor and his memories from making Blade Runner:
• “It’s been extraordinary to see this film persist and continue to have supporters. I think it’s a good thing for film students to see and understand.”
• “When Ridley was asked why it was always raining he said, ‘Because I wanted it to rain.’ When he was asked why it was night all the time, he said, ‘Because I wanted it to be night.'”
• “The studio insisted that we put [the narration] back in so people could figure out what was going on. I didn’t think that was especially important ’cause I never figured out what was going on in all the time I was making it.”
• On the persistent debate about whether Ford’s character, Rick Deckard, is actually a Replicant himself: “I was moved to asked Ridley whether or not he thought that the character I was playing was a Replicant. Well, I never got a straight answer. Which is okay, I guess. But I thought it was important that the audience be able to have a human representative on screen, somebody that they could have an emotional understanding of. Ridley didn’t think that was all that important.”
• On the practical effects: “Everything was real. Everything was built. Everything was wet.”
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