Greatest Cinematic Death Soliloquy Ever?

Rutger Hauer delivers his ‘tears in rain’ death soliloquy in ‘Blade Runner’

I’ve been watching the new BBC series “The History of Science Fiction” and have come away impressed, after three episodes, with how much heart, soul and literary achievement can be found in scifi flicks.

I think just about everyone the producers interviewed about Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” (a film about a future filled both with real humans and with replicants, pseudo-humans with real human emotions and aspirations) waxes poetic about replicant Rutger Hauer’s death soliloquy, dubbed “tears in rain.”

Hauer mostly reimagined the soliloquy from the script. On the written page, however, his soliloquy loses most of the impact that the “History” interviewees rave about:

I’ve… seen things you people wouldn’t believe… [contemptuous laugh] 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 [small cough] tears… in… rain. Time… to die…

But it’s certainly terser and more impactful than the scripted version:

I’ve known adventures, seen places you people will never see, I’ve been Offworld and back… frontiers! I’ve stood on the back deck of a blinker bound for the Plutition Camps with sweat in my eyes watching the stars fight on the shoulder of Orion…I’ve felt wind in my hair, riding test boats off the black galaxies and seen an attack fleet burn like a match and disappear. I’ve seen it, felt it…!

Now, compare both of those to the on-screen rendition and draw your own conclusion. You can try this link to “Tears in Rain,” but if it doesn’t work, just do a search on YouTube. I tried embedding the clip here, but those idiots at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Scams, I mean, Sciences, have it blocked (even though I watched it on YouTube just minutes ago).

Categories: Grammar Notes

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