Blade Runner Movie Poster Image

Blade Runner

A dark, philosophical sci-fi drama for older teens.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 1982
  • Running Time: 117 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

It's 2019, and progress hasn't been kind. The city is in chaos: polluted, gloomy, overcrowded, and cruel. Darkness and steady rain enclose the loud, gaudy, and teeming streets. The film, which can be seen as a cautionary tale, poses some profound questions: What does it mean to be human? In a tortured world, who can be trusted? And, while we strive senselessly for immortality, will we destroy ourselves?

Positive role models

Deckhard, the closest thing to a hero in Blade Runner, is flawed at best. Given a dangerous mission on the side of "good," he recklessly fights, drinks, kills, and falls passionately in love. In almost every other instance, characters are not what they seem; they move from good to evil and back again in the blink of an eye. Scientists, law enforcement, strippers, street people and even replicants (androids) continually surprise us. Both men and women prove to be savage fighters and/or conscienceless killers.


Blood, howling, and anguish accompany the countless violent actions in this film. Characters are killed by gunfire at close range and brutal hand-to-hand combat. Characters dangle over the side of skyscrapers; multiple fingers are broken graphically; people are gagged and choked; a man's eyes are poked out (how much is seen depends upon the version of the film). There are repeated close shots of bloodied corpses and dying characters.


No overt sex acts, but sexuality is pervasive in many scenes. A stripper undresses, and her breasts are seen briefly. Other females wear revealing clothing. There are a number of passionate kisses (one between two males; one in which a man kisses a dead female lover). Most of the sexual behavior is hard-edged, with little tenderness or love expressed.


A few curse words (dependent upon the version) "ass," "f--ker."



In the dystopia the film portrays, loud, bright, intrusive advertising is everywhere. It's part of the fabric of the city. A few recognizable products are shown: Coca Cola, Atari, Budweiser, RCA, TDK, Tsing Tao, Bulova.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters drink alcoholic beverages in many scenes; the hero drinks hard liquor throughout the film, at least once to excess. Many characters smoke throughout.


Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Blade Runner envisions a bleak 2019 Los Angeles that's dark, oppressive, polluted, steeped in fear, and features genetically engineered organic robots called replicants that look just like humans. It's a very violent film, with multiple fights and killings, some gruesome and disturbing. Characters are killed by gunfire at close range and in brutal hand-to-hand combat. Characters dangle over the side of skyscrapers; multiple fingers are broken graphically; people are gagged and choked; a man's eyes are poked out (how much is seen depends upon the version of the film). There are repeated close shots of bloodied corpses and dying characters. While there's no overt sex, it's implied, and there's some partial nudity (breasts), passionate kissing, and several scenes that border on rough or nonconsensual sex. Smoking is pervasive; multiple scenes show characters drinking, and the hero often turns to alcohol when he's under stress. Editor's note: Families should avoid the earliest version (1982) of the movie; instead, go with Ridley Scott's 1992 "Director's Cut" or 2007's "Final Cut," a remastered version by Scott with few changes from the 1992 release.

What's the story?

BLADE RUNNER is set in dystopian Los Angeles, circa 2019. Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former Blade Runner, is recalled from retirement to exterminate a gang of rogue replicants (a type of human android). Replicants were invented to perform slave labor on off-world colonies. Law forbids them to live on Earth. Despite their artificial intelligent makeup, a glitch has allowed them to develop human emotions and a lust for life. The longer they live, the more powerful their emotions. Unofficial replicant leader Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) leads a pack of them to Earth to find and convince their maker, Tyrell (Joe Turkel), to invent a way to extend their five-year lifespan. As they become more desperate to find Tyrell, they grow weaker. Grappling with an intense love for model replicant Rachael (Sean Young) but bound by his duty to uphold the law, Deckard must rethink his views on what it means to be human, as he hunts down and kills his android nemeses.

Is it any good?


Based on the short story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by legendary sci-fi author Philip K. Dick, Blade Runner is a deeply philosophical yet violent picture. While it may come across as an action/adventure science fiction film, the movie is, in actuality, very slow-paced and visually dense. Constant tension, sad music, bloody visuals, and menacing sound effects add to the dystopian mood. When it premiered in 1982, Blade Runner bombed at the box office. Critics decried its unnecessary voice-over and inconsistent Hollywood ending. Audiences were alienated by its lengthy pace. As rumors circulated of studio interference, a cult following emerged seeking director Ridley Scott's original ending. The director's cut confirmed their suspicions in 1993 when the film was rereleased, this time without its original voice-over and cheesy finale. After well-deserved acclaim, Blade Runner is now considered one of the greatest science fiction films of all time.

Families considering viewing this film should avoid the first-released version like the plague; instead go with Ridley Scott's original vision. In 2007 Warner Bros. released a 25th anniversary digitally remastered by Scott "Final Cut" version that played in theaters and is available on DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. Children in their mid-teens with a strong interest in the science fiction genre are more likely to enjoy this film. However, it is not appropriate for teens under age 15.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the ethics of replicating humans. Replicants look and behave exactly like humans, but should they be treated as such?

  • How does Blade Runner's bleak urban vision of the future differ from that in other dystopian books and movies?

  • What do you think about the violence in Blade Runner? Is it effective? Artful? Over the top?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 25, 1982
DVD/Streaming release date:March 24, 1997
Cast:Daryl Hannah, Harrison Ford, Sean Young
Director:Ridley Scott
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Robots, Space and aliens
Run time:117 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:violence and brief nudity

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Adult Written byCastellanos July 17, 2009
Blade Runner is a timeless classic. The special effects were phenomenal for it's time and are up to today's standards. The story is both engaging and extremely thoughtful. This film creates a both realistic and believable look at the future and captures us into the movie. While not one of my favorites, this is a very well done film that I recommend, especially to sci-fi fans, but also, to any lover of good cinema. Parents should know that the atmosphere of this movie is very dark and there are some intense moment of violence. There is a scene where a man is shot twice and flies back in his chair very quickly, which will surprise many viewers. Other violent scenes include a man getting shot in the back of the head, with the front of his head bursting open, a mans face is crushed by another man, a woman is shot many times and breaks through many windows of glass in slow motion, another woman is shot and while yelling very loudly and writhing on the floor, she is shot again repeatedly, a man is bloodily beaten and has a couple of his fingers broken (with loud crunching sounds), and a man stabs himself in the hand with a nail. There is also a scene with a woman taking a shower where you see her bare breasts. As for language, in the final cut, there is one instance of the f-word, in other versions the language is PG.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written byAceguy Reviews July 4, 2012

Deep, Philisophical, and powerful, sci-fi drama.

Blade Runner is one of the best movies I have ever seen. It is a film that I feel should be seen by all. The film is a though provoking sci-fi drama with a focus on humanity. It takes place in a dystopian, asian influenced, Los Angeles, in the year 2019 (yes, 7 years from now.) There are machines known as replicants who are entirely identical to humans. Except they are illegal. Rick Deckard is a retired Blade Runner, a special police officer who hunts down and kills replicants. He is brought back into the force to kill a group of escapee replicants from an off-world colony. He meets a replicant named Rachael (that is not a spoiler) who he falls in love with and he finds himself having to make decisions about his own humanity and his job. It is a thought-provoking, and dark film that asks the questions of what we consider human. Director Ridley Scott brilliantly left the film with an ending open to interpretation. I cannot express how powerful this film is. Content wise this film contains a lot of violence. It is not action packed really but the violence is strong. In the beginning of the film we see a man get shot. Later, a replicant is shot to death and she crashes through a window. Shortly after, another replicant is shot in the head after a fist fight. There is no blood but you see a hole in his head and dangling skin. In a different scene, a man's eyes are violently pushed inward and his skull is crushed. This scene may be very terrifying to some viewers and it is the most violent scene. At the end of the film, a replicant beats up a man and grabs him by his nostrils. Then, he shoots her and she violently convulses. A replicant breaks a man's fingers and then a replicant sticks a nail through his hand. The violence is heavy but a very light R. The sex in the film is light. We see brief female nudity but not full frontal (we do see bare breasts.) It is only about 30 seconds and not sexual. It is not explicit as the scene in Titanic (a PG-13 film). There is also a scene where a man and a woman passionatly kiss and the woman tells him to put his hands on her. The scene is very romantic and not explicit. Later we see two men kiss. All of the sexual content is very light and would be considered PG-13 level. There is also some light drug use. A woman smokes and talks about it. The main character drinks liqour often. Really the thing that would make the film hard for younger viewers is how deep it is. It is very mature, and philisophical. The film goes over the heads of some adults. If you r child is mature they can handle it. I say that this film is fine for mature kids and it is a great film for all people. I highly recommend it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 12 years old April 25, 2013

A fantastic film, no matter which cut!

This is a dark, dramatic thriller about Rick Deckard being forced back into the old ways of his life to 'retire' a group of androids that are trying to expand their lives. One suggestion I do have for certain unanswered questions is to read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? for this is a great novel and even if you don't wonder unanswered questions, I suggest fans of the film to pick it up to compare and contrast between the different mediums for Deckard's story. This film has great casting from every actor and even with the short time after this film's release and Phillip K. D*ck's death, he thought that they got a great cast for the film, especially Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer. Letting you know, the Director's Cut from 1992, other than obviously the US Broadcast, it is the tamest cut out there, mainly due to the fact that it wasn't as gruesome (International Theatrical Cut) and there wasn't any use of the word f***er unlike the Theatrical Cuts and the Final Cut which didn't make that scene seem as poetic as other cuts. Letting you know, the Theatrical Cut has a voice over in which a racist slur is said, but it was technically used so we can understand the term 'skin-job' a little more. You will certainly enjoy this revolutionary science fiction masterpiece. A question CSM overlooked is brought up in later cuts with the question of if Deckard himself is an android. Letting you now with the guy saying that there isn't enough character development, this is just as much science fiction as there is noir elements like the voice over, and, as you most know, noir characters aren't known for character development for that is a way how it is stylized. Can't wait for the sequel!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing