The highly anticipated sequel to 1982's Blade Runner finally hits theaters this weekend, and yet there is a shocking number of people who have not seen Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. Additionally, there are plenty of people who have only seen one of the many alternate cuts of the film.
The original Blade Runner has gone through three widely-released cuts over the years. There was the original theatrical cut that was released in theaters in 1982. Ten years later, in 1992, the Director's Cut was released, which changed many features to better fit Ridley Scott's vision, but was not cut by Scott himself. Finally, in 2007, Blade Runner - The Final Cut was released, which was said to be the only cut to completely fulfill Ridley Scott's artistic vision.
Unfortunately, Blade Runner isn't available on subscription sites like Netflix, so rental may be the only option. Here are the best ways for you to watch Blade Runner online for as cheap as possible, before going to see Blade Runner 2049 in theaters.
Amazon has managed to turn itself into quite the movie-streaming service over the past few years, with Amazon Video releasing their own films and TV series, and a notable selection of recently released films available for free to anyone with Amazon Prime. That being said, none of the Blade Runner cuts are available for free from the site, but that doesn't mean they aren't cheap.
VUDU has also established itself to be a reliable streaming site in recent years. However, its most notable feature, in my experience, is that it is one of the primary outlets movie distributors will use if they release a Digital Copy of a movie with a DVD or BluRay disc. Overall, though, I have personally enjoyed VUDU's renting process, and have used their service on multiple occasions.
VUDU has some options that are a bit cheaper than Amazon, but only if you're willing to view the film in a lower quality. Both the Theatrical Cut and the Final Cut are available to rent for $2.99, but only in Standard Definition (SD). If you want to bump your experience up to High Definition (HD), however, the price goes up to $3.99, which is the same price offered by Amazon. However, it should be noted that once the movie has started, you only have 24 hours to finish it - half of the time offered by Amazon!
Does this make Rick Deckard a YouTuber? I sincerely hope not. YouTube has managed to make quite a bit of cash by renting out movies from their site. Starting a new business within YouTube was an incredibly smart move because, when you think about it, they pretty much get free marketing.
The options for Blade Runner on YouTube are almost identical to the options on VUDU. Both the Theatrical Cut and the Final Cut are available for $2.99 in SD and $3.99 in HD. Also, just like VUDU, YouTube only gives you a 24 hour time period to finish the film once it has been started, so be sure to keep that in mind.
Fandango, the site best known for reserving theater tickets online for a small fee, has also started their own online streaming services. Surprisingly, they have the best rental deal.
Both the Theatrical Cut and Final Cut of Blade Runner are available from this site for $1.99 in SD, and $2.99 in HD, making FandangoNow the cheapest option available. Additionally, just like Amazon, you have 48 hours to complete the movie after starting it - double the time given to you by YouTube and VUDU. So, both the price and the amount of time you have available make FandangoNow the best choice for your Blade Runner streaming needs.
Unfortunately, if you are looking to rent the Director's Cut, you will be out of luck, as there do not appear to be any streaming services with this cut of the film available for rental. However, if you really want to watch this version of the film, the best option I have found for purchasing digitally is Amazon Video, who has the film for $9.99 in SD, and $18.99 in HD.