So in the scene where Leon shoots Holden, at the beginning of the movie, a stream of quick-edit chaos happens.

At first you see Leon shoot Holden under the table. The next shot shows "oil" leaking from the bullet hole of some canister, which is followed by a CLEARLY ALIVE Holden turning around rapidly and rolling away, as though he was smacked in the face with a cricket bat. The next shot shows Leon aiming at Holden, his arm now above the table somehow, within split second. He shoots Holden again, and you can see Holden flying across the room, clearly being pulled away by cables (you can see him speed up as he approaches a wall). And to top it all off, Holden crashes and breaks through the wall, as though he was shot into it from a canon.

Now, Blade Runner being a masterpiece, this scene felt like an utter mess, and didn't fit at all into the rest of the movie. So back to my original question, what happens here? Like the actions in detail. Trust me, that I have rewatched this scene, frame by frame, multiple times, and it just bugs me every time.

Fancher and People's script read something radically different. After Holden asks of Leon's mother, the script read:

Leon looks shocked, surprised. But the needles in the computer barely move. Holden goes for the inside of his coat. But big Leon is faster. His laser burns a hole the size of a nickel through Holden's stomach. Unlike a bullet, a laser causes no impact. It goes through Holden's shoulder and comes out his back, clean as a whistle. Like a rag doll he falls back into the seat. Big slow Leon is already walking away, but he stops, turns, and with a little smile of satisfaction fires through the back of the seat.

As Leon walks out of the room the Voight-Kampff begins to blink, faint but steady.

If anyone has any idea about what is happening in the movie version of this scene, then let me know.


1 Answer 1


Step by Step.

Leon shoots Holden from under the table but through the table

enter image description here

The blast penetrates through a vacuum flask containing either coffee or tea (not oil) before hitting Holden.

enter image description here

Holden is spun around in his chair and through the wall by the blast, presumably Leon stands during this action.

enter image description here

Leon then finishes the job by shooting Holden again....once again the blast impels the chair with considerable force. The wall breaks with the sound of breaking glass rather than a solid wall. Perhaps for effect.

enter image description here

Certainly it appears that Holden was at least alive after the first shot as he seems to have been able to draw his own weapon which is why Leon finishes him off.

I won't comment on the quality of the effects or stuntwork (that's a subjectve thing) but clearly it's not a laser as indicated in the original script but what gets put on the script page is often not translated (for various reasons) to the screen.

As for Leon's actual gun, it seems that...

Assistant Art Director Stephen Dane produced several preliminary sketches during pre-production of a gun that Deckard (Harrison Ford) was to use throughout the movie. The drawings all appear to depict a COP .357 or a derivation of it. In the end, probably at the direction of Ridley Scott, the COP was dropped as the gun to be used by Rick Deckard. Instead, the COP, in completely unaltered form, was employed as the weapon Leon uses to maim the Blade Runner Holden in the famous opening scene of the film


enter image description here

  • 1
    Thanks so much. I used to think that this scene tried to mimic an over-the-top action sequence but failed. Now, I believe Leon had explosive bullets that release significant blast upon impact. Thanks so much for the clarification. Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 16:50
  • 3
    Holden survived, this is acknowledged in the dialogue when Cap. Bryant states that he already sent Holden to the Tyrell corporation to investigate, stating that following the shooting 'He can breathe okay, as long as nobody unplugs him.'. There is also a scene in which Holden in visible inside a a life support / incubator type device although I am not sure if it made it into any of the cuts (I own and have only seen 'The Final Cut' which is to the best of my knowledge the most stripped down of them all.) Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 6:19
  • This scene is hard to reconcile with real physics. Why do the bullets work the way they do? The director wanted it that way. Why does an antigravity car that can fly quietly through the air have a steam "purge" when taking off? The director wanted it that way. (I guess steam looks nifty.) Trying to make sense of it: I assume that in Blade Runner all the projectiles from handguns are little missiles, that accelerate as they fly, so they hit really hard without making much recoil when fired. And I think the bullets punched right through Holden but hit the chair and pushed it.
    – steveha
    Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 7:57
  • 1
    @Stephen The two additional scenes with Holden were deleted from all cuts. They were released as DVD extras. Spoiler: In that scene, Holden talks about Treasure Island, which is an Easter egg in the sequel.
    – user66063
    Commented Nov 14, 2023 at 20:18

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .