Blade Runner Laserdiscs

All Deckard Out: A History of Blade Runner on Laserdisc

Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner may not have set the theatrical box office on fire back in 1982, but the film found enough of a cult audience on home video to warrant multiple releases on the Laserdisc format between 1983 to 1993. Over the years, I’ve collected most of them.

I don’t have much call to actually watch Laserdiscs in my home theater anymore. In fact, my LD player isn’t even currently connected to anything. Nevertheless, I continue to hang onto a collection of discs largely for sentimental reasons. At some point, I became obsessed with obtaining every NTSC Laserdisc edition of Blade Runner. Recently, I had a desire to pull them off the shelf to take a good look at their cover art.

Much to the disappointment of my completist impulse, I can’t claim to own literally every LD release of the movie. Some are very obscure and hard to find, and I stopped short of importing PAL Laserdiscs from Europe. What I do have are the majority of releases from the United States and Japan, covering all the different versions of the film up through the 1992 Director’s Cut. (Obviously, Laserdisc was long dead before the 2007 Final Cut came to exist. I have that one on HD DVD, Blu-ray, and Ultra HD.)

As a refresher, the edits of the movie break down as follows:

  • American Theatrical Cut: voiceover (yes), happy ending (yes), unicorn dream (no), extra violent snippets (no)
  • European Theatrical Cut: voiceover (yes), happy ending (yes), unicorn dream (no), extra violent snippets (yes)
  • Director’s Cut: voiceover (no), happy ending (no), unicorn dream (yes), extra violent snippets (no)
  • Final Cut: voiceover (no), happy ending (no), unicorn dream (yes), extra violent snippets (yes), plus small additional changes and fixes

1) Embassy Home Entertainment – 1983

Version: American Theatrical Cut
Release country: United States
Video format: Pan & scan 1.33:1
Audio format: Analog 2.0 surround (no CX noise reduction)
Disc format: NTSC, CLV
No. of discs: 1

Blade Runner Laserdisc: Embassy 1983

Blade Runner Laserdisc: Embassy 1983 (back)

2) Embassy Home Entertainment – 1987

Version: American Theatrical Cut
Release country: United States
Video format: Pan & scan 1.33:1
Audio format: Analog 2.0 surround (CX noise reduction)
Disc format: NTSC, CLV
No. of discs: 1

Despite a warning on the cover that “This film contains never before released scenes of graphic violence that were edited out of the theatrical release,” the disc itself only contains the American theatrical cut without that graphic violence. The artwork was copied from a template used for the VHS release, which was the European cut. For some reason, that master didn’t get used for the Laserdisc.

Blade Runner Laserdisc: Embassy 1987

Blade Runner Laserdisc: Embassy 1987 (back)

3) Criterion Collection – 1987

Version: European Theatrical Cut
Release country: United States
Video format: Letterboxed 2.35:1
Audio format: PCM 2.0 surround
Disc format: NTSC, CAV
No. of discs: 2

This was the first widescreen home video transfer for the film. Criterion also released a CLV edition, but I never owned it because it had the same cover art and felt redundant to me.

Note that the artwork appears to either be a variant or a recreation of the original poster art.

Blade Runner Laserdisc: Criterion 1987

Blade Runner Laserdisc: Criterion 1987 (back)

Blade Runner Laserdisc: Criterion 1987 (gatefold)

Blade Runner Laserdisc: Criterion 1987 (insert)

4) Warner Home Video – 1987

Version: European theatrical cut
Release country: Japan
Video format: Letterboxed 2.35:1
Audio format: PCM 2.0 surround
Disc format: NTSC, CAV
No. of discs: 2

For the Japanese market, Warner Bros. licensed Criterion’s video transfer and supplements. The video looks noticeably softer, however, and has Japanese subtitles in the lower letterbox bar.

Blade Runner Laserdisc: WB Japan 1987

Blade Runner Laserdisc: WB Japan 1987 (back)

Blade Runner Laserdisc: WB Japan 1987 (gatefold)

Blade Runner Laserdisc: WB Japan 1987 (insert)

5) Warner Home Video – 1993 (European Cut, LBX)

Version: European theatrical cut
Release country: Japan
Video format: Letterboxed 2.35:1
Audio format: PCM 2.0 surround
Disc format: NTSC, CLV
No. of discs: 1

This is essentially the same as the above, but in CLV format and with no supplements.

Blade Runner Laserdisc: WB Japan 1993 (Euro Cut)

Blade Runner Laserdisc: WB Japan 1993 (Euro Cut, back)

6) Warner Home Video – 1993 (American Cut, P&S)

Version: American Theatrical Cut
Release country: Japan
Video format: Pan & scan 1.33:1
Audio format: PCM 2.0 surround
Disc format: NTSC, CLV
No. of discs: 1

I have no idea why Warner chose to release the cropped American cut after having released the letterboxed European cut, but I really like this cover art montage.

Blade Runner Laserdisc: WB Japan 1993

Blade Runner Laserdisc: WB Japan 1993 (back)

Blade Runner Laserdisc: WB Japan 1993 (insert front)

Blade Runner Laserdisc: WB Japan 1993 (insert back)

7) Warner Home Video – 1993 (Director’s Cut, LBX CAV)

Version: Director’s Cut
Release country: United States
Video format: Letterboxed 2.35:1
Audio format: PCM 2.0 surround
Disc format: NTSC, CAV
No. of discs: 2

Blade Runner Laserdisc: Director's Cut CAV

Blade Runner Laserdisc: Director's Cut CAV (back)

8) Warner Home Video – 1993 (Director’s Cut, LBX CLV)

Version: Director’s Cut
Release country: Japan
Video format: Letterboxed 2.35:1
Audio format: PCM 2.0 surround
Disc format: NTSC, CLV
No. of discs: 1

This disc came with the same paper insert as #6 above.

Blade Runner Laserdisc: Director's Cut CLV (Japan)

Blade Runner Laserdisc: Director's Cut CLV (Japan, back)

10 comments

  1. Shannon Nutt

    ^ Also, I was sitting here swearing I remember it being only ONE disc…then I see you posted there’s a single-disc version. That’s the one I have.

  2. Chris B

    I remember asking yoi for this article the very first time I emailed you about six years ago! Awesome collection man. Like Shannon I have the Criterion on as well and I believe the DC release from 1993.

    Also, the timing of this post is rather curious given the fact I actually hooked up my brand new UHD player to my new TV last night and watched Blade Runner to break in the new format, what are the odds of that? Pretty damn slim lol.

  3. Chris B

    Also, how long ago did you upgrade to 4K? How many discs have you seen so far? What’s your overall impression of the format so far? Worth it after all?

    (If there is a post you’ve made that adresses these questions I’m unaware of it so please feel free to post a link)

  4. Love this post, both as a LaserDisc enthusiast and a Blade Runner fan.

    Funny how Warner kept writing ‘Harrison Ford IS Blade Runner’, as if that’s the name of the character he plays. Rather, he’s just ‘a’ Blade Runner – but the best in the business, as stated by M. Emmet Walsh’s Bryant.

  5. Josh Zyber
    Author

    I’ve added a note about the 1987 Embassy release. The cover art erroneously claims that the movie contains the extra violence from the European cut, but the disc itself is only the American cut.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *