Tears in rain monologue

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Roy Batty, as played by Rutger Hauer after the "Tears in Rain" monologue in Blade Runner.

"Tears in Rain" is a soliloquy of the Ridley Scott film Blade Runner, delivered by the replicant Roy Batty, portrayed by Rutger Hauer. The final form, altered from the scripted lines and much improvised by Hauer on the eve of filming,[1][2] has entered popular culture as "perhaps the most moving death soliloquy in cinematic history"[3] and is an often quoted piece of science fiction writing.[4]

Script and improvisation[edit]

In Blade Runner, the dying replicant Roy Batty makes this speech to Harrison Ford's character Deckard moments after saving him from falling off a tall building. Deckard had been tasked to kill him and his replicant friends. The words are spoken during a rain downpour, moments before Batty's death:

In the BBC documentary Dangerous Days: On the Edge of Blade Runner , Hauer, director Ridley Scott, and screenwriter David Peoples asserted that Hauer wrote the "Tears in Rain" speech. There were earlier versions of the speech in Peoples' draft screenplays; one included the sentence "I rode on the back decks of a blinker and watched c-beams glitter in the dark, near the Tanhauser Gate"[5] In his autobiography, Hauer said he merely cut the original scripted speech by several lines, adding only "All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain"[6] although the original script, displayed during the documentary, before Hauer's rewrite, does not mention "Tannhäuser Gate":

Hauer described this as "opera talk" and "hi-tech speech" with no bearing on the rest of the film, so he "put a knife in it" the night before filming, without Scott's knowledge.[7] In an interview with Dan Jolin, Hauer said that these final lines showed that Batty wanted to "make his mark on existence … the replicant in the final scene, by dying, shows Deckard what a real man is made of."[8]

When Hauer performed the scene, the film crew applauded and some even cried. This was due to the power of the dying speech combined with coming to the end of an exhausting shoot.[9]

The speech is the final track on the 1996 official release of Vangelis' Blade Runner soundtrack.

Critical reception[edit]

Sidney Perkowitz, writing in Hollywood science, praised the speech, "If there's a great speech in science fiction cinema, it's Batty's final words …". He says that it "underlines the replicant's humanlike characteristics mixed with its artificial capabilities."[10] Jason Vest, writing in Future Imperfect: Philip K. Dick at the Movies, praised the delivery of the speech, "Hauer's deft performance is heartbreaking in its gentle evocation of the memories, experiences, and passions that have driven Batty's short life."[11]

Tannhauser Gate[edit]

Tannhauser Gate, Tannhäuser Gate and Tanhauser Gate are variant spellings of this unexplained placename which is used only once in the film. It has since been reused in other science fiction sub-genres, in popular music and critically reviewed.[12] The name probably derives from Richard Wagner's operatic adaption of the legend of the medieval German knight and poet Tannhäuser.[13] Joanne Taylor, in an article discussing film noir and its epistemology, remarks on the relation between Wagner's opera and Batty's reference, and suggests that Batty aligns himself with Wagner's Tannhäuser, a character who has fallen from grace with men and with God. Both, she claims, are characters whose fate is beyond their own control.[13]

References in other media[edit]

A reference to Tannhäuser Gate in Soldier (1998) links that film to Blade Runner.[14]

"The Ballad of Roy Batty" by British neo-psychedelia duo Grumbling Fur on their album Glynnaestra uses the monologue as repeated lyrics throughout the song.[15]

The video game Homeworld contains a level involving a hyperspace gate called Tannhauser Gate.[16]

The Berlin-based techno label Dystopian will release a compilation in November 2014 referencing this soliloquy. [17]

Canadian recording artist The Weeknd's debut album Kiss Land features a song called "Tears In The Rain" as the album closer.[18]

Swedish melodic death metal band Scar Symmetry references "tears in rain" in lyrics on their album The Singularity - Phase I: Neohumanity, a concept album dealing with many of the same themes present in Blade Runner. [19]

Episode 87 of Scrubs (My Best Laid Plans) features Dr. Cox and The Janitor talking in the rain in a scene that obviously references the "I've seen..." portions of the Tannhauser Gate speech.

The novel Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde features a version of the soliloquy, with Literary Detective Thursday Next summing up her life inside literature:

"..I had seen and done things I wouldn’t have believed.
I’d watched grammasites in flight over the pleasure domes of Xanadu,
felt the strangeness of listeners glittering on the dark stair.
I had cantered bareback on unicorns through the leafy forests of Zenobia
and played chess with Ozymandias, the King of Kings..."

"Like tears in rain" is referenced by Leonard in the opening scene of Community's sixth season.



  1. ^ Ridley Scott, Paul Sammon (2005), Ridley Scott: interviews, University Press of Mississippi, p. 103 
  2. ^ Jim Krause (2006), Type Idea Index, p. 204, ISBN 9781581808063 
  3. ^ Mark Rowlands (2003), The philosopher at the end of the universe, pp. 234–235, Roy then dies, and in perhaps the most moving death soliloquy in cinematic history... 
  4. ^ Mark Brake, Neil Hook (2008), "Different engines", Scientific American (Palgrave Macmillan) 259 (6): 163, Bibcode:1988SciAm.259f.111E, doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1288-111, ISBN 9780230553972 
  5. ^ Hampton Fancher and David Peoples (23 February 1981). "Blade Runner Screenplay". Retrieved 11 March 2010. 
  6. ^ Rutger Hauer and Patrick Quinlan (2007), All Those Moments: Stories of Heroes, Villains, Replicants and Blade Runners, HarperEntertainment, ISBN 978-0-06-113389-3 
  7. ^ 105 minutes into the Channel 4 documentary On the Edge of Blade Runner.
  8. ^ Laurence Raw (2009), The Ridley Scott encyclopedia, p. 159, ISBN 9780810869523 
  9. ^ "The top 10 film moments - 6: Blade Runner - Batty's dying speech in the rain", The Observer, 6 February 2000, retrieved 6 October 2014 
  10. ^ S. Perkowitz (2007), Hollywood science, Columbia University Press, p. 203, ISBN 9780231142809 
  11. ^ Jason P. Vest (2009), Future Imperfect, University of Nebraska Press, p. 24, ISBN 0803218605 
  12. ^ Hicham Lasri, Static, ISBN 978-9954-1-0261-9, ff 255
  13. ^ a b Taylor, Joanne (2006), "'Here's to Plain Speaking': The Condition(s) of Knowing and Speaking in Film Noir", Florida Atlantic Comparative Studies 48: 29–54, ISBN 9781581129618 
  14. ^ Allon, Yoram; Del Cullen, Hannah Patterson. Contemporary North American film directors, ISBN 978-1-903364-52-9, p.14, "the two movies are connected by a single passing reference to Tannhauser Gate."
  15. ^ http://thequietus.com/articles/12981-grumbling-fur-glynnaestra-review
  16. ^ http://www.caltrops.com/review0022.php
  17. ^ http://www.residentadvisor.net/news.aspx?id=26938
  18. ^ http://www.mtv.com/news/1713909/the-weeknd-kiss-land/
  19. ^ http://www.metal-archives.com/albums/Scar_Symmetry/The_Singularity_%28Phase_I%3A_Neohumanity%29/445583