Blade Runner / 2049
It would be impossible to kick off this list in any other way than putting a spotlight on Blade Runner and its sequel.
The critically acclaimed 1982 movie is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, let alone the cyberpunk genre’s high watermark, and the recently released Blade Runner 2049 is perhaps one of the greatest examples of a modern sequel that managed to near-perfectly recapture the magic of its predecessor.
In both cases, across every facet of their production, from the thrilling plots and superb writing to the grittiness of its bleak vision of a dystopian future, both Blade Runner movies stand as definitive examples of cyberpunk fiction.
Incidentally, the franchise is based on Philip. K. Dick’s novel Do Android’s Dream of Electric Sheep? — another hugely important piece of cyberpunk fiction.
You obviously want to watch the Blade Runner films in order, but you actually can’t go wrong with either if you only have time for one. While they do follow on from each other, both stories can be enjoyed standalone.
Without spoiling any of the suspense of their respective plots, both films follow police detectives charged with seeking out rogue synthetic humans (replicants) created by the Tyrell mega-corporation.
Originally designed essentially as slave labor, a group of these replicants has started to think freely and rebel against their programming.
But not all is as it seems, as Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) and, later, Ryan Gosling find themselves at the center of something far greater in consequence than what they signed up for.
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