by Julian Spivey
Rutger Hauer, the Dutch actor best known for playing the terrific villain Roy Batty in Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi classic “Blade Runner,” died on Friday, July 19 after a short illness at his home in the Netherlands, according to Variety. News of his death was revealed on Wednesday, July 24, the day of his funeral. Hauer was 75.
Hauer had a career that lasted more than 40 years dating back to the early ‘70s, but the only film I’ve ever seen him in was “Blade Runner.” It was a performance that completely blew me away and will go down in history as one of the most memorable villain portrayals of all-time.
Hauer played Roy Batty, the leader of a renegade group of replicants being hunted by the film’s protagonist Rick Deckard, played by Harrison Ford. The performance by Batty was intelligent, intense and in the end poetic. A group of traits that will truly make Batty one of cinema’s greatest villains from here to eternity.
The thing most memorable of Hauer’s performance is Batty’s final scene – and if you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want it spoiled stop reading right here.
Batty’s “tears in rain” speech has been called “perhaps the most moving death soliloquy in cinematic history,” by critic Mark Rowlands. The monologue as originally written by screenwriter David Peoples was much longer, but Hauer decided it was too long and maybe took away some of its power. He decided to trim many lines to make it more succinct and added a final line that truly made it poetic and all the more powerful, especially given that the character’s death was taking place during a downpour.
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the should of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”
It’s a moment that makes you truly care for this villain, even though he’s not human, but the beauty of it – even if we never understand things like C-beams and the Tannhauser Gate – all shows that there was humanity within him. Not only is it one of cinema’s greatest monologues – if not the best one I’ve ever seen – but one of film’s best death scenes of all-time.
“Blade Runner” takes place in the dystopian future – at least what they thought a dystopian future might look like in 1982. That dystopian future was set in … 2019. Thus, Roy Batty and the man who brought him to life in such an incredible way both went out in the same year. Hauer will be missed and as a movie lover I thank him for adding so much to this beautiful scene that would’ve looked completely different and likely not as iconic had he not been involved.