Was Philip K. Dick able to watch a complete version of Blade Runner before his death or just unedited material?

The Blade Runner release date according to Wikipedia and IMDb was 25 June, 1982. Philip K. Dick died a few months before, on March 2, 1982.

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    An awesome interview with PKD talking about Blade Runner is available here: youtu.be/oAXQ2ox-33c
    – JuanZe
    Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 5:59

2 Answers 2


No, he never saw the completed film, but he thought highly of the excerpts that he did see. There's a copy here of a letter that he sent to the production company:

October 11, 1981

Mr. Jeff Walker,
The Lada Company,
4000 Warner Boulevard,
Burbank, Calif. 91522.

Dear Jeff:

I happened to see the Channel 7 TV proyram "Hooray For Hollywood" tonight with the segment on BLADE RUNNER. (Well, to be honest, I didn't happen to see it; someone tipped me off that BLADE RUNNER was going to be a part of the show, and to be sure to watch.) Jeff, after looking --and especially after listening to Harrison Ford discuss the film-- I came to the conclusion that this indeed is not science fiction; it is not fantasy; it is exactly what Harrison said: futurism. The impact of BLADE RUNNER is simply going to be overwhelming, both on the public and on creative people -- and, I believe, on science fiction as a field. Since I have been writing and selling science fiction works for thirty years, this is a matter of some importance to me. In all candor I must say that our field has gradually and steadily been deteriorating for the last few years. Nothing that we have done, individually or collectively, matches BLADE RUNNER. This is not escapism; it is super realism, so gritty and detailed and authentic and goddam convincing that, well, after the segment I found my normal present-day "reality" pallid by comparison. What I am saying is that all of you collectively may have created a unigue new form of graphic, artistic expression, never before seen. And, I think, BLADE RUNNER is going to revolutionize our conceptions of what science fiction is and, more, can be.

Let me sum it up this way. Science fiction has slowly and ineluctably settled into a monotonous death: it has become inbred, derivative, stale. Suddenly you people have come in, some of the greatest talents currently in existence, and now we have a new life, a new start. As for my own role in the BLADE RUNNER project, I can only say that I did not know that a work of mine or a set of ideas of mine could be escalated into such stunning dimensions. My life and creative work are justified and completed by BLADE RUNNER. Thank you...and it is going to be one hell of a commercial success. It will prove invincible.


Philip K. Dick

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    I believe he mentioned to a friend that it was as if they'd put a camera in his mind and filmed it. He was very impressed :) Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 16:08
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    That's an excellent find, but it doesn't actually confirm that he didn't see the completed film, only that he saw some excerpts.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 19:32
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    "Commercial success"
    – tobiasvl
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 21:19
  • @tobiasvl - I would imagine that the DVD sales and licencing rights for replays have long since rendered the film a very profitable venture. It made more than its production budget at the Box office and the 'final cut' and 'director's cut' both made the bestselling DVD list.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 24, 2022 at 8:57
  • its actually quite sad to know that he never saw the whole movie, and its equally sad the initial reception to blade runner was
    – shanu
    Commented Sep 25, 2022 at 7:41

Philip K. Dick only saw twenty minutes of the film before his death.

According to Dick's close friend and confidante Maer Wilson (who spoke to him daily until his death) Philip Dick never saw the completed film.

Philip K. Dick only met Ridley Scott one time – the day Phil was invited to view the special effects months prior to the Blade Runner premiere. Sadly that would be the only one of a few clips of the film he would see. He also saw something on some TV show [This would be Channel 7 TV program “Hooray For Hollywood”]. Phil passed on in March of 1982.

Having known Phil for almost ten years, our friendship had grown to the comfort level you usually only get with the passing of years. I was with him or talked on the phone almost every day the last year of his life. The year that included the visit to the studio where we saw the models for the sets and some of the props and other cool stuff. That day is burned into my mind . . . even these 35 plus years later.


However, the special effects that Phil saw that day were what really won him over. (Insert the “I loosened it for you” thought here.) We sat next to each other with Ridley behind us. About eight people were in the studio standing around while a woman photographed us.

It was explained that the music we would hear was not the one to be used in the film. The opening scene from the film played, followed by scenes with the blimp, the city, and the flying cars. As scene after scene progressed, I felt Phil’s entire mood change.

When the clip ended, Phil turned to Scott in amazement. “You captured the exact mood I was going for in my book! I can’t wait to see the entire film be cause this was very impressive. It’s like you could see into my mind.”

The Other Side of Philip K. Dick.

Dick was invited by director Ridley Scott to a special screening of the film's opening scenes. Additionally he toured the set, watched some of the shooting, played with the props and saw some of the 'dailies' coming from the editing suite (as well as the "behind the scenes" footage on Hooray for Hollywood) so he certainly had some knowledge of what the finished product would look like on the big screen and approved of what he saw.

“So first we gave him a quick tour of the EEG shop, which I thought might settle him down. But Dick didn’t seem impressed, even when we showed him all the preproduction art and the actual models we’d used for certain effects shots. (Then, after Dick and Ridley had a meeting), we went into the screening room.”

“Dick was a bit guarded at first,” recalls Ridley Scott. “Until we doused the lights, turned up the music, and ran the reel for him,” adds Dryer.

However, according to Blade Runner’s coeffects supervisor, “Dick didn’t say a word at first. He sat there for twenty minutes like a statue. Then the lights came up, and Dick turned around to me. He said in this gruff voice, ‘Can you run that again?’ So the projectionist rethreaded and ran it again.

“Now the lights come up a second time. Dick looks me straight in the eye and says, ‘How is this possible? How can this be? Those are not the exact images, but the texture and tone of the images I saw in my head when I was writing the original book! The environment is exactly as how I’d imagined it! How’d you guys do that? How did you know what I was feeling and thinking?!’

“Let me tell you, that was one of the most successful moments of my career,” Dryer concludes. “Dick went away dazed.”

Book Excerpt: What Philip K. Dick Really Thought of ‘Blade Runner’

You can see a file image of Scott and Dick on his studio visit. In the background is what's described (by photographer Kim Gottlieb) as the film's "special effects storyboard set".

black-and-white photo of Ridley Scott and Philip K. Dick in the studio, both smiling

  • God knows why I'm giving bounties to you ;-p
    – Möoz
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 4:52
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    @Möoz - I can say with genuine humility that it's very much appreciated.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 5:28
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    This means PKD was spared the voice-over...
    – wberry
    Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 0:10

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