Blade Runner (1982), rising director Ridley Scott's follow-up to his hit Alien (1979), is one of the most popular and influential science-fiction films of all time – and it has become an enduring cult classic favorite. But the enthralling film was originally a box-office financial failure, and it received negative reviews from film critics who called it muddled and baffling. It also wasn't encouraging that it faced Spielberg's E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) during its opening release.
The main character in Blade Runner is a weary, former police officer/bounty hunter who is reluctantly dispatched by the state to search for four android replicants (robotic NEXUS models) that have been created with limited life spans (a built-in fail-safe mechanism in case they became too human). [Dustin Hoffman and many other actors were considered for the role of the title character, blade-runner Deckard.] The genetically-engineered renegades have escaped from enslaving conditions on an Off-World outer planet. Driven by fear, they have come to Earth to locate their creator and force him to prolong their short lives. The film's theme, the difficult quest for immortality, is supplemented by an ever-present eye motif – there are various VK eye tests, an Eye Works factory, and other symbolic references to eyes as being the window to the soul. Scott's masterpiece also asks the veritable question: what does it mean to be truly human? One of its main posters advertised the tagline: “MAN HAS MADE HIS MATCH – NOW IT'S HIS PROBLEM.”