Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty - Blade Runner (1982)
Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, The Blade Runner Partnership, 1982)
Stories & Ideas

Sun 01 Nov 2020

Blade Runner – “I've seen things you people wouldn't believe"

Edit Line Film Pop culture
Matt Millikan
Matt Millikan

Senior Writer & Editor

We take a look at one of the most iconic lines in sci fi cinema history.

At the end of Blade Runner, Ridley Scot’s adaptation of Philip K Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep?, Rutger Hauer’s replicant Roy Batty delivers one of the most famous lines of the sci-fi noir – and movie history.

“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 Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”

While this does appear in the script, Hauer famously ad-libbed the "… like tears in rain" section of the speech, which has been lauded as “perhaps the most moving death soliloquy in cinematic history”, but it all starts with the moment he begins, “I’ve seen things…”

Not only have film critics praised the monologue, but the internet has adopted the “I’ve seen things…” for innumerable memes, repurposing and recontextualising the line to make social, political and cultural observations and critiques, or just for fun. These memes have proliferated 4chan, Reddit, message boards and other websites, while the speech has also been used as a copypasta.

When Hauer passed, many online tributes simply started with “I’ve seen things…”, including influential rating website Rotten Tomatoes.

On pop-culture site The Mary Sue, the speech was praised as the “most perfect villain speech in movie history”, while Know Your Meme says “the speech has been referenced, parodied and paid tribute to in books videogames and films, including Community, Billions, Fallout 4, River of Blue Fire by Tad Williams and Tears in Rain by Rosa Montero”.

– Matt Millikan

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This essay was written for Edit Line

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