Versions of Blade Runner
- Original workprint version (1982, 113 minutes) shown to audience test previews in Denver and Dallas in March 1982. It was also seen in 1990 and 1991 in Los Angeles and San Francisco as a Director's Cut without the approval of director Ridley Scott. Negative responses to the test previews led to the modifications resulting in the US theatrical version, while positive response to the showings in 1990 and 1991 pushed the studio to approve work on an official director's cut. It was re-released as a 5-disc Ultimate Edition in 2007.
- A San Diego Sneak Preview shown only once in May 1982, which was almost identical to the US theatrical version with three extra scenes (see below).
- The US theatrical version (1982, 116 minutes), known as the original version or Domestic Cut. This version was released on Betamax and VHS in 1983. This version remained unreleased on DVD until 2007 when it was released as part of the five-disc Ultimate Edition.
- The International Cut (1982, 117 minutes) also known as the "Criterion Edition" or uncut version, included more violent action scenes than the US theatrical version. Although initially unavailable in the US and distributed in Europe and Asia via theatrical and local Warner Home Video laserdisc releases, it was later released on VHS and Criterion Collection laserdisc in North America, and re-released in 1992 as a "10th Anniversary Edition". Home Box Office broadcast this version to U.S. audiences in the 1980s and 1990s.
- The US broadcast version (1986, 114 minutes) was the U.S. theatrical version edited by CBS to tone down the violence, profanity, and nudity to meet broadcasting restrictions.
- The Ridley Scott-approved Director's Cut (1992, 116 minutes); prompted by the unauthorized 1990–1991 workprint theatrical release and made available on VHS and laserdisc in 1993, and on DVD in 1997. Significant changes from the theatrical version include: removal of Deckard's voice-over, insertion of a unicorn sequence and removal of the epilogue scene showing Rachel and Deckard driving through green, mountainous landscapes. Ridley did provide extensive notes and consultation to Warner Bros. although film preservationist Michael Arick was put in charge of creating the Director's Cut.
- Ridley Scott's Final Cut (2007, 117 minutes), or the "25th Anniversary Edition", released by Warner Bros. theatrically on October 5, 2007 and subsequently released on DVD, HD DVD, and Blu-ray in December 2007 (UK December 3; US December 18). This is the only version over which Ridley Scott had complete artistic control as the Director's Cut was rushed and he was not directly in charge. In conjunction with the Final Cut, extensive documentary and other materials were produced for the home video releases culminating in a five-disc "Ultimate Collector's Edition" release by Charles de Lauzirika.
In addition, the 2007 documentary Dangerous Days: The Making of Blade Runner includes references to a nearly four-hour-long "early cut" that was only shown to studio personnel.
Workprint prototype version (1982) 
The full workprint version of the movie was released to the public on DVD, HD DVD and Blu-ray as part of the five-disc boxed set containing the Final Cut, in 2007. It has the following differences:
- There is no voice-over, no "unicorn vision", and no "happy ending". However, Deckard does have a brief narration directly after Batty's death.
- There is no opening crawl: a static screen of text, showing a dictionary definition of the word "Replicant", replaces it.
- The scene in which Holden is shot by Leon (while giving the Voight-Kampff test) lasts slightly longer, and shows more of Holden after he is shot and comes to rest on the desk before it cuts to the next scene.
- In the scene at the Asian restaurant at the beginning, there is an insert shot of the dish Deckard orders. Also, we see Deckard eating his noodles (with great difficulty) while the waiter says, "He say you Blade Runner." In the Theatrical Release, we just see a cut to Deckard with his mouth full of noodles.
- From Deckard's arrival at the Bradbury building to the end of the film, the Vangelis music score is missing, presumably not yet composed at the time this version was made. It is replaced by placeholder music.
- Deckard is seen taking a few moments struggling to remove the tie that Zhora choked him with, before beginning to chase her.
- Batty addresses Tyrell as "father" (not "fucker") when asking for more life, as in the Final Cut.
- When Batty kills Tyrell, the scene is a combination of the "violent" footage from the International Edition and the "non-violent" footage from the theatrical original. Batty still pokes out Tyrell's eyes with his thumbs, but Tyrell is seen falling to the floor as in the original.
- When Pris attacks Deckard, the scene is again a combination of the International Edition and the original. Pris hits Deckard three times, and also holds him up by his nostrils. However, Deckard still shoots her only twice.
- The scene in which Batty pushes a nail through his hand is identical to the "non-violent" version in the Theatrical Release.
- There are no ending credits.
San Diego Sneak Preview version (1982) 
This version is nearly identical to the American release version (1982), except that it included three additional scenes not shown in any other version, including the Final Cut version (2007), thus these scenes are not on any Blu-ray, DVD, VHS, or Laserdisc version available:
- Full body introduction of Roy Batty inside a "VidPhon" booth.
- Deckard attempting to reload his weapon, after Batty has broken Deckard's fingers.
- High-angled shot of Deckard and Rachael riding off into the sunset.
American theatrical release (1982) 
The 1982 American theatrical version released by the studio included a "happy ending" (using leftover aerial footage from Stanley Kubrick's The Shining) and voiceovers added. Although several different versions of the script had included a narration of some sort, Harrison Ford and Ridley Scott decided to add scenes to provide the information; but financiers rewrote and reinserted narration during post-production after test audience members indicated difficulty understanding the film. It has been suggested that Ford intentionally performed the voice-over poorly, in the hope it would not be used, but in a 2002 interview with Playboy magazine, Ford clarified: "I delivered it to the best of my ability, given that I had no input. I never thought they'd use it. But I didn't try and sandbag it. It was simply bad narration." Ford also stated in 1999: "I contested it mightily at the time. It was not an organic part of the film."
International theatrical release (1982) 
The International Cut, or "Criterion Edition", is similar to the US theatrical release but has more violence in three scenes:
- When Batty confronts Tyrell in his bedroom, in addition to crushing Tyrell's face with his hands, Batty pokes out Tyrell's eyes with his thumbs, releasing blood.
- When Pris has somersaulted onto Deckard's back, rather than hitting him three times and then dropping him (as she does in all other versions), she hits him twice, then inserts her fingers into his nostrils and releases her legs, holding him up by his nostrils for a few seconds before he falls to the floor. The shot of him falling to the floor is identical in all versions. Deckard also shoots Pris an extra time, and the scenes of her thrashing spasmodically on the floor after having been shot are slightly extended.
- At the end of the film, Deckard hunts Batty, who pushes a nail through his own hand, which again bleeds profusely.
The violent scenes in the International cut were later inserted into the Final Cut.
American broadcast version (1986) 
|This section requires expansion with: details of which scenes were cut. (September 2012)|
The Director's Cut (1992) 
In October 1989, film-restorer Michael Arick discovered a 70 mm print of Blade Runner at the Warner Bros. vaults while searching for footage from Gypsy. When the Cineplex Odeon Fairfax Theater in Los Angeles learned of this discovery, the theater management successfully got permission from Warners to screen the print for a film festival set for the following May. Until the screening, no one was aware that this print was that of the workprint version. Owing to this surprise, Warners booked more screenings of the now-advertised "Director's Cut" of Blade Runner in 15 American cities.
Ridley Scott publicly disowned this workprint version of the film as a Director's Cut, citing that it was roughly edited, lacked a key scene, and the climax did not feature the score composed for the film by Vangelis (it was a temp track using Jerry Goldsmith's score from Planet of the Apes). In response to Scott's dissatisfaction, Warners briefly allowed theatrical screenings of the workprint beginning in the fall of 1991, but only at the NuArt Theater in Los Angeles and the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. As a response to these sell-out screenings of the workprint (and screenings of the theatrical cut in Houston and Washington, D.C.), in addition to the film's resurgent cult popularity in the early '90s, Warner Bros. decided to assemble a definitive Director's Cut of the film, with direction from Scott, for an official theatrical re-release in 1992.
Warners hired Arick, who was already doing consultation work for them, to head the project with Scott. He started by spending several months in London with Les Healey, who had been the assistant editor on Blade Runner, attempting to compile a list of the changes that Scott wanted made to the film. He also received a number of suggestions/directions directly from the director himself. Three major changes were made to the film, which most people agree significantly changed the feel of the picture:
- The removal of Deckard's explanatory voice-over
- The insertion of a dream sequence of a unicorn running through a forest
- The removal of the studio-imposed "happy ending", including some associated visuals which had originally run under the film's end-credits. This made the film end ambiguously when the elevator doors closed.
The original sequence of Deckard's unicorn dream was not found in a print of sufficient quality; the original scene shows Deckard intercut with the running unicorn. Arick was thus forced to use a different print that shows only the unicorn running, without any intercutting to Deckard. This footage was inserted into what had previously been a continuous tracking shot. The unicorn scene suggests a completely different ending to the film: Gaff's origami unicorn means that Deckard's dreams are known to him, implying that Deckard's memories are artificial, and therefore he would be a replicant of the same generation as Rachael.
The cut did not include much of the "extra violence" included in the "International" version of the film.
Scott has since complained that time and money constraints, along with his obligation to Thelma & Louise, kept him from retooling the film in a completely satisfactory manner. While he is happier with the 1992 release of the film than with the original theatrical version, he has never felt entirely comfortable with it as his definitive Director's Cut.
In 2000, Harrison Ford gave his view on the Director’s Cut of the film saying, although he thought it "spectacular," it didn’t "move him at all." He gave a brief reason: "They haven't put anything in, so it's still an exercise in design."
Originally released as a single-disc DVD in March 1997, with both pan-and-scan and widescreen versions on different sides, the Director's Cut was one of the first DVDs on the market. However, it is of low quality compared to DVDs of later standards, due to it being produced in the early days of the format. Warner Home Video re-released it with a new transfer in 2006 as a "Digitally Remastered Version". The 1997 stereo (2.0) audio track remained unchanged, however.
The Final Cut (2007) 
Scott found time in mid-2000 to help put together a final and definitive version of the film with restoration producer Charles de Lauzirika, which was only partially completed in mid-2001 before legal issues forced a halt to the work. Although the Special Edition DVD was originally rumored to be released in 2002 to coincide with the film's 20th Anniversary as a three-disc set, Warner Bros. delayed the "Special Edition" release after legal disputes began with the film's original completion bond guarantors (specifically Jerry Perenchio and Bud Yorkin), who were ceded the copyright to the film when the shooting ran over budget from $21.5 to $28 million.
After years of legal disputes, Warner Bros. announced in 2006 that it had finally secured full distribution rights to the film, and that there would be a three-stage release of the film. First, a digitally remastered single-disc re-release of the 1992 Director's Cut was released on September 5, 2006 in the United States, on October 9, 2006 in Ireland and the UK, and in the following months in continental Europe. Second, Ridley Scott's "Final Cut" of the film began a limited theatrical release in New York and Los Angeles on October 5, 2007; in Washington, D.C. at the Uptown Theatre on October 26, 2007; Chicago on November 2, 2007; in Toronto on November 9, 2007 at Theatre D Digital's Regent Theatre; Sydney, Australia at the Hayden Orpheum on November 8, 2007; Melbourne, Australia on November 15, 2007 at The Astor Theatre; Boston at the Coolidge Corner Theater on November 16, 2007 and Austin, Texas on November 18, 2007. The third and final phase—a multi-disc box set—was released on the DVD, HD DVD and Blu-ray disc formats. The set includes the workprint, the two 1982 original theatrical versions (US domestic and uncensored International cuts), the 2006-remastered Director's Cut, the 2007 Final Cut, and bonus features; which was released in Europe on December 3, 2007 and in the US on December 18, 2007. Two-disc and four-disc sets were also released, containing some of the features of the five-disc set. On November 10, 2008, The Final Cut premiered on US television, broadcast on the Sci-Fi Channel.
The DVD featurette All Our Variant Futures profiles the making of the Final Cut version, including behind-the-scenes footage of Harrison Ford's son, Ben Ford, filming new scenes (as described below). According to the documentary, Cassidy herself made the suggestion to refilm Zhora's death scene while being interviewed for the Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner documentary, and footage of her making this suggestion is intercut with footage of her attending the later digital recording session.
The Final Cut contains the following differences (in order of appearance) from the 1992 Director's Cut:
- The fireballs in the opening refinery shot are correctly synchronized with the associated light play on the smokestacks. Some of these had been off-sync in earlier versions.
- The sound effect for the close-up fireball during the opening sequence has been changed.
- The close-up of an eye overlooking the Hades landscape is no longer the static image seen in previous versions. The eye's pupil now reacts to the fireball and the eyelids move realistically. Also, the reflection of the cityscape below appears to move ever so slightly.
- The shot of Deckard waiting to eat at the White Dragon has been shortened, its editing reminiscent of the workprint version of the shot.
- The cables lifting Gaff's police spinner are no longer plainly visible. Cables were also removed from another shot of a spinner late in the film, just before Deckard enters Sebastian's apartment building.
- In addition to English, the voices on police radio during Gaff's and Deckard's flight to the police headquarters can be heard speaking German, Japanese, and Swedish.
- A repeated visual effects shot showing the city outside Gaff's Spinner has been adjusted very slightly: The once-obvious radar dish has been removed in the second use of the shot.
- As Deckard enters Bryant's office, Bryant's statement "I've got four skinjobs walking the streets" is no longer obviously a spliced-in re-recording.
- Bryant's line "One of them got fried running through an electrical field" is changed to "Two of them..." to remove the numerical inconsistency later on.
- Bryant adds a new line about Leon being able to "lift 400 pound atomic loads all day and night." This is from the workprint.
- A new cityscape horizon has been added to the shot of Gaff's Spinner coming in for a landing at the Tyrell Corporation.
- Additional Spinner air traffic has been added in the distance outside the large window of Tyrell's conference room.
- When Gaff and Deckard first appear at Leon's apartment, the landlord now says "Kowalski," another small bit originally from the workprint.
- A background behind Batty when he is first introduced speaking to Leon has been changed and the thumb on his shoulder has been removed. As the shot was taken from a later scene, this has now been corrected to appear as if Batty is actually in the phone booth as Leon finds him.
- The matte painting establishing the cityscape down the street from the Bradbury Building has been adjusted for improved realism, including fixing the perspective of the Pan-Am logo on one animated billboard.
- The original full-length version of the unicorn dream has been restored. This is a much different version from the one that appeared in the Director's Cut, and has never been in any version seen by the public prior to this one. Deckard is shown to be awake; previously he was asleep or nearly asleep.
- The Unicorn's horn has been digitally stabilized to minimize the unrealistic wobble of the horn appliance seen previously.
- The sequence at the fish booth now shows Deckard leaving.
- Deckard's conversation with the snake merchant Abdul Ben Hassan has been altered so that the dialogue is no longer out of sync; Ford's son, Ben, lip-synched the spoken dialog and his mouth was digitally placed over his father's.
- A shot of the busy crowds in the streets was restored. Immediately after that, a shot of two strippers wearing hockey goalie masks was restored. Finally, there's a shot of Deckard talking to another police officer just prior to Deckard entering the Snake Pit. These three shots had previously appeared in slightly different form in the workprint version.
- During Deckard's pursuit of Zhora, Joanna Cassidy's face has been digitally superimposed over that of the stunt double, Lee Pulford. This scene was re-filmed specifically for the Final Cut. Although great effort had been undertaken to replace the stunt double face with Cassidy's, the tan-colored protective suit Pulford wore to protect against glass cuts is still visible.
- A scar on Deckard's face after his "retirement" of Zhora has been removed. Originally, the scene in which Deckard meets Bryant after retiring Zhora was to take place after his encounter with Leon, explaining the scar. This was done prior to the removal of the "sixth replicant", creating a continuity error. Due to the re-ordering, the scar was always present before Deckard had actually received it.
- When Batty confronts Tyrell, he says, "I want more life, father"; this is from the workprint version, an alternative take intended for—but never used—in television broadcasts of the film, as opposed to the original line, "I want more life, fucker." The line also has a noticeably deeper tonal quality than the previous versions.
- After killing Tyrell, Batty says "I'm sorry Sebastian. Come. Come." In the original he merely approached the frightened Sebastian. This is also from the workprint.
- As Deckard moves through Sebastian's apartment, the once-obvious shadows of the camera crew have been digitally removed from the back wall.
- The fight between Pris and Deckard is partly altered in the Final Cut; some small part fell away. The inserted part is from the international release from 1982.
- After Deckard has shot Pris the first time, a second shot is inserted prior to the second one from the Director's Cut (which is now the third); all three shots were also originally part of the international release from 1982.
- When Batty puts the nail into his hand after Batty and Deckard had fought in the bathroom, he pushes it through and the nail is shown coming out of his hand on the top.
- As Deckard climbs up the roof, Batty was digitally placed into the open window, because he was missing there between two scenes.
- Deckard does not wander around the roof as long as he does in the Director's Cut.
- As Deckard flees Batty, the matte painting with a TDK neon sign has been cleaned-up a bit to look more realistic, and the TDK sign itself has been added to a subsequent shot for better continuity.
- All the violent scenes in the International Cut that were deleted in the US theatrical release and in the Director's Cut—including Tyrell's death, the confrontation between Deckard and Pris, and the nail through Batty's bleeding hand—are restored to the Final Cut.
- After Batty releases the dove, it now flies up into a dark rainy sky instead of a clear blue sky. Also, the original building (the undressed side of a soundstage) has been replaced with a more appropriate retrofit apartment building. The background has also been enhanced with a cluster of circa 2019 buildings more in keeping with the film's dark futuristic setting.
Scott chose not to reintegrate a number of scenes that had been cut from all versions of the film, such as an extended version of the love scene between Deckard and Rachael, and a scene in which Deckard visits Holden in the hospital (where Holden is, prophetically, shown reading an e-book). These scenes were included as part of a lengthy Deleted Scenes bonus feature in the 5-disc box set.
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