The main theme of Blade Runner, the movie, composed by Vangelis is one of the most renowned and popular movie themes in the history of American films.
The Blade Runner soundtrack was composed by Vangelis for Ridley Scott’s 1982 film of the same name. It is mostly a dark, melodic combination of classical composition and synthesizers which mirrors the futuristic film-noir envisioned by Scott.
The film depicts a dark version of Los Angeles in November 2019 in which genetically engineered organic robots called replicates—visually indistinguishable from adult humans—are manufactured by the all-powerful Tyrell Corporation as well as other mega manufacturers around the world. Their use on Earth is banned, and replicates are exclusively used for dangerous, menial or leisure work on Earth’s off-world colonies. Replicates who defy the ban and return to Earth are hunted down and “retired” by police special operatives known as “blade runners”.
Vangelis worked on the score for weeks to perfect the soundtrack and make it in harmony with the visual power of the film. This resulted in emotive music which conveyed an atmosphere that had never been experienced before. Vangelis finished Blade Runner’s musical score in April 1982. The film’s post-production and editing continued for a few more weeks before the film opened in UK cinemas on 9 September 1982.
Vangelis found working on the film both inspiring and engaging. It offered the composer immense opportunities to create an electronic score which had a wonderful ambience and complimented the enormous landscapes and character themes in the film.
“What interested me the most for this film was the atmosphere and the general feeling, rather than the distinct themes. The visual atmosphere of the film is unique and it is that I tried to enhance as much as I could“, said Vangelis for his composition for Blade Runner.
The original soundtrack release was delayed for over a decade, until 1992, despite the music being well-received by fans and critically acclaimed—nominated in 1983 for a BAFTA and Golden Globe as best original score. Also, there was the promise of a soundtrack album from Polydor Records in the film’s end titles. The 1989 compilation Themes included some tracks from the film, but it was not until 1992, with the release of Scott’s Director’s Cut, that the score saw an official release.