Blade Runner

Blade Runner Quotes and Analysis

"The designers reckoned after a few years, they might develop their own emotional responses. You know, hate, love, fear, anger, envy. So they built in a failsafe device."

"Which is what?"

"Four-year lifespan."

Inspector Bryant and Rick Deckard, 00:15:05

The Replicants' 4-year lifespan was a cautionary action on the part of the genetic designers - who were aware of the dangers involved in creating an android that was "more human than human". The fact that the designers were aware of this possibility makes the moral implications of Replicant creation even more questionable. In the end, though, Tyrell's commodification of these near-human beings comes back to bite him when Roy Batty, indignant at his limited lifespan, kills his creator.

"Replicants are like any other machine. They're either a benefit or a hazard. If they're a benefit, it's not my problem."

Rick Deckard, 00:17:31

At the beginning of the film, Rick Deckard thinks of Replicants as machines that he has to vanquish. If these Replicants are performing the functions that they have been programmed to do, then he has no problem with or interest in their existence. It is only when they rise up against their human leaders that Deckard must spring into action and kill them (even shoot them in the back if he has to, like he does to Zhora). This quote embodies Deckard's disillusionment at the beginning of the film and sets the stage for his eventual awakening - when he falls in love with Rachael, an extremely sophisticated Replicant whom Deckard grows to see as more human than machine.

"Chew, if only you could see what I've seen with your eyes"

Roy Batty, 00:28:51

This quote exemplifies the powerful symbolism of the eye in Blade Runner. For Roy Batty, it is through the artificial eyes created by Chew that he has started developing emotions. These eyes are the doorways that allow his experiences to inform his emotional maturation. This line also connects to Roy Batty's last words. When he realizes that he cannot prolong his life, he laments to Deckard that all his memories and experiences will be lost like "tears in the rain." Although Chew is the manufacturer of Batty's eyes, and Tyrell is the person who has given Batty his mind and body - it is what Batty has done with these tools that have allowed him to transcend the mantle of "machine", and what fuels his desire to hold onto his life.

"Implants. Those aren't your memories, they're somebody else's. They're Tyrell's niece's."

Rick Deckard, 00:33:22

Rachael is the most sophisticated design of replicant - because she does not know that she is one. Tyrell has implanted false memories into Rachael's mind in order to exercise more control over her. These memories evoke emotions, and imbue Rachael with a level of humanity, supposedly preventing her from acting out in inhuman ways (the way the Nexus 6 Replicants have done). However, once Rachael realizes that she is a replicant and everything she has ever believed is a construction, she reacts in the same way a human would - she is devastated and confused. She does not understand what is real and what is not anymore - does she only have feelings for Deckard because she is programmed to? Rachael's realization is what makes her a threat for Tyrell and it is why she becomes one of Deckard's targets. However, her status as a replicant ends up freeing her - she does not know how long she has left to live, and with nothing at stake anymore, Rachael can run away with Deckard, for a chance at real happiness.

"Painful to live in fear, isn't it?"

Leon Kowalski, 01:02:25

This line embodies Blade Runner's moral statement, and this line is echoed by Roy Batty in his final encounter with Deckard. The Nexus 6 Replicants are aware that they are artificial machines and that they each have an expiration date, but they do not know what that date is. They live in constant fear of death. The Tyrell Corporation and the Blade Runners justify the limited lifespan of the Replicants by looking at them as machines - but the simple fact that Leon and Batty refer to their existence as "life" shows how many human characteristics they actually possess. At the end of the film, Deckard and Rachael know that they have limited lifespans but make the choice not to live in fear, and embrace their lives, no matter how long (or short) they may be.

"I'm not in the business. I am the business."

Rachael, 01:03:52

Rachael utters this line to Deckard after he admits that he gets the shakes after "retiring" a replicant. Deckard tries to reassure Rachael, saying that the shakes are all "part of the business". While Deckard makes a living from the commercial aspect of creating replicants, Rachael is coming to terms with the realization that she is a commodity - something to be bought and sold, all for the benefit of a large corporation. Rachael's character is crucial to Blade Runner's dystopian vision. The corporations have the power to create beings that are "more human than human" - which makes them effective machines, but also enables them to understand their unfair treatment.

"We're no computers, Sebastian. We're physical."

Roy Batty, 01:17:33

J.F. Sebastian, a human genetic designer with a degenerative disease, admires his work when he meets Pris and Roy Batty, two Nexus 6 Replicants. He comments that they are "so perfect" - which is how he designed them. However, despite being perfect machines, Roy Batty brings it to Sebastian's attention that he and Pris have many of the same emotional desires as J.F. Sebastian himself. Batty says this line when he is trying to convince Sebastian to bring him to see Tyrell, the creator of the Nexus 6 Replicants. Just as a human being has the survival instinct to do whatever he or she can to extend life, the Nexus 6 Replicants are desperate to be reprogrammed. What is more human than the fear of death?

"The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. And you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy. Look at you. You're the Prodigal Son. You're quite a prize."

Dr. Tyrell, 01:24:56

Tyrell explains to Roy Batty, his Nexus 6 creation, that there is nothing he can do to extend Batty's life. In the above quote, he tries to convince Roy Batty that his life has been extraordinary - and that he should accept the fact that his time is nearly up. Roy Batty reacts to this news by killing Tyrell - punishing him for creating beings so sophisticated that they can recognize the injustice of their fate. This quote also reveals the symbolic father-son relationship between Roy Batty and Tyrell. Tyrell is proud of Batty, his most sophisticated creation, as a father would be proud of his son. However, this is also the moment when the power dynamic shifts - Batty spends the first two acts of the film trying to meet Tyrell, hoping to extend his life. Once he finds out that it won't be possible, Roy Batty uses the power that Tyrell has endowed him with to kill his creator.

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in tears in rain. Time to die."

Roy Batty, 01:46:15

These are Roy Batty's last words. They read like poetry, illustrating how much Batty has appreciated his life. Roy Batty speaks these words after he has saved Deckard's life; by telling Deckard about his memories, he is able to preserve them even after he is gone. Also, by demonstrating his zest for life in this final fight scene, Roy Batty has been able to communicate to Deckard how unjust Tyrell's system is - his final protest against Tyrell Corp. Hampton Fancher describes Roy Batty as "... a character who was fascinated with life, even though he deals in death" (Sammon 194).

"It's too bad she won't live. But then again, who does?"

Gaff, 01:48:46

Gaff speaks this line to Deckard after Roy Batty's death. When Deckard returns to his apartment, he is anxious to find Rachael, whom he thinks might be dead - either because Gaff fulfilled Byrant's command to retire her or because her time has run out. Deckard discovers one of Gaff's origami figures outside his door - meaning that Gaff has been to his apartment and has allowed Rachael to live - a humane and generous gesture that Gaff could be punished for. But he gives Rachael the gift of life, just as Roy Batty saves Deckard. By running away, Deckard and Rachael are making the decision to make the most out of whatever time they have left. Yes, Replicants have limited lifespans - but so do all human beings. We all only have a limited amount of life, it's just that the Replicants' lifespan is pre-determined. It is likely that Deckard has read Rachael's file, because he knows all the artificial memories that have been implanted in her mind. If he does know when she is going to die - he doesn't tell her, so that she does not have to live in fear.