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Know your movies – why are they called Blade Runners?

Barcelona Photo Call - "BLADE RUNNER 2049"
Getty Images for Sony Pictures

The movie Blade Runner 2049 hits theaters today. It’s been 35 years since the original Blade Runner movie came out. I was a huge fan of that movie, but the word on the streets is – you don’t have to know anything about the original to watch this one. (If you do watch the first one – just be warned – in 1982, movies moved at a lot slower pace than most current movies)

The term “Blade Runner”, in the movie, refers to police officers who hunt down and “kill” replicants – humanoid machines that sometimes go rogue. In the original movie, the year is 2019. And that would explain a lot these days, if it were true. But where did the term Blade Runner actually come from? Not the book that the movie was based on, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? According to, the term comes from a totally un-related book, from 1974, called The Bladerunner, by Alan E. Nourse.

This is a twisty story about how Hollywood creatively “borrowed” a term relating to futuristic health care, from a book and made a movie using it, just because they “really liked the term”.

Here’s the story.


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