10 Best Blade Runner Moments

2. Blush Response

In the original novel for “Ready Player One” (which Steven Spielberg adapted in 2017), the second gate was originally accessed by playing through this very scene, reciting the lines word for word. The second-seen Voigt-Kampff test of the film sees Deckard sent to the Tyrell Corporation headquarters to put the test on the latest model of replicant, the Nexus Six, but Tyrell himself tells him to perform the test on Rachel, to see ‘a negative before I provide you with a positive.’ A scene with smoke and flirting, we learn that Rachel is a replicant, but has been granted memories to keep her emotionally stable. A machine that doesn’t know what it is.

Here begins one of the main questions of the film. Cyberpunk fiction, as it was growing out of the ideas of writers like Philip K. Dick in the late 70s and early 80s, was constantly asking how technology changed what it meant to be human. Is it defined, or constantly in flux? Indeed, aside from the eyes (and even that is debated as to if they’re a good, reliable indicator of who is a replicant or not), we see no evidence of any machine parts in the replicants. They could simply be enhanced humans with mind-alterations, for all intents and purposes. Where is the line in the sand? ‘Have you ever retired a human by mistake?’ Deckard is asked. When he says no, the follow-up question should be ‘what is human?’ With the watery light shimmering on the golden walls, and the beautifully written dialogue, it’s a scene to never forget.

1. Tears in Rain

Was there ever going to be a different number one? The final moments of the life of Roy Batty, our antagonist, our villain of the film, turns into a heartbreaking, gut-wrenching moment of joy and sorrow.

After chasing Deckard through the apartment complex and onto the roof, leering over him, he saves the hero from falling, a change of heart at the last moment. Throwing him down onto the roof, clutching a white dove, shirtless and hair dripping, Rutger Hauer delivers one of best monologues ever put to film.

In a movie filled with detectives, smoke, rain, overpopulation, flying cars, advanced technology, robot replicants, and all of the other aesthetic considerations, it is in Batty’s final moments, in his final lines, that the film gives in to finally say what it has been denying all this time: this isn’t a film about the future. This isn’t a film about evil robots who look like men and women who kill their way through the city. It’s a film about people wanting to live longer, wanting to have more time to enjoy existing, and rebelling at the cruelty of the world for taking it away from them.

In a way, this scene near the film’s end shows us that the story was never about Rick Deckard. It was about Roy, and about us. It was about simply being human. It was about, as Dylan Thomas so perfectly put it, ‘not going quietly into that good night’, about trying to find a way to cheat the inevitable. In his final moments he stares the darkness in the face and uses his last remaining strength to give someone else, a man who has killed two of his best friends and hunted down the third, a little more time in the neon light of life. Although his memories “will be lost in time, like tears in the rain”, his final act as a machine is to pass the torch.

A moment between one (possibly two) replicants, serves as one of the most human moments in all of film.

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Which moments from Blade Runner do you enjoy the most? Are you a Final Cut fan or do you like the voiceover from the original cut? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow @thefilmagazine on Facebook and X (Twitter) for more insightful movie lists.

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