RoboCop is a 1987 American cyberpunk action film directed by
Paul Verhoeven and written by
Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner. The
film stars Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy, Kurtwood Smith,
Miguel Ferrer, and Ronny Cox. Set in a crime-ridden Detroit, Michigan,
in the near future,
RoboCop centers on police officer Alex Murphy
(Weller) who is murdered by a gang of criminals and subsequently
revived by the megacorporation Omni Consumer Products (OCP) as a
superhuman cyborg law enforcer known as RoboCop.
Themes that make up the basis of
RoboCop include media influence,
gentrification, corruption, authoritarianism, greed, privatization,
capitalism, identity, dystopia, and human nature. It received positive
reviews and was cited as one of the best films of 1987, spawning a
franchise that included merchandise, two sequels, a television series,
a remake, two animated TV series, a television mini-series, video
games, and a number of comic book adaptations/crossovers. The film was
produced for a relatively modest $13 million. Honors for the film
include five Saturn Awards, two
BAFTA Award nominations and the
Academy Award for Best Sound Editing, along with nominations for Best
Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing.
3.1 Inspiration and script
3.5 Visual effects
4.1 Box office
4.2 Home media
5.1 Critical response
5.3 Themes and analysis
8 See also
10 External links
In the near future, Detroit, Michigan, is a dystopia on the verge of
total collapse due to financial ruin and a high crime rate. The mayor
signs a deal with the mega-corporation Omni Consumer Products (OCP),
giving it complete control of the underfunded
Department. In exchange, OCP will be allowed to turn the run-down
Detroit into a high-end utopia called Delta City. OCP's
new CEO Dick Jones proposes assisting the police with the ED-209
enforcement droid. At its first demonstration, however, ED-209
malfunctions and gruesomely kills an executive. Bob Morton, an
ambitious junior executive, uses the opportunity to introduce his own
experimental cyborg design, "RoboCop". To Jones's anger, the company
chairman (referred to as the Old Man) approves Morton's plan.
OCP ostensibly reassigns officers into crime-ridden districts in
anticipation that someone will be killed in action for use as a test
subject for RoboCop. Alex Murphy is newly-partnered to Anne Lewis; on
their first patrol, they chase a gang of criminals, led by Clarence
Boddicker. Boddicker's gang hides in an abandoned steel mill and
Murphy and Lewis separate on foot to find them. While Murphy manages
to kill two of them, he is caught by Boddicker and the others; the
gang tortures Murphy, brutally gunning him down before Boddicker
personally executes him. He is declared dead and OCP selects him as
RoboCop candidate; they replace most of his body with cybernetics,
leaving his human brain.
RoboCop is programmed with three directives:
serve the public trust, protect the innocent, and uphold the law;
RoboCop, Morton, and his team are unaware of a classified fourth
RoboCop, assigned to Murphy's former district, proceeds to efficiently
rid the streets of crime. This leads the human officers to believe
their jobs are at risk and threaten to strike. Lewis believes Robocop
is Murphy based on his exhibiting some of Murphy's behaviors. As
RoboCop suffers from latent memories from Murphy, he discovers his
true identity and that his wife and son moved away after Murphy's
death. Jones, fearing he will be displaced by the newly-promoted
Morton, discreetly hires Boddicker to murder Morton.
During a hold-up at a gas station,
RoboCop recognizes the robber as
one of Boddicker's gang, triggering memories of Murphy's execution.
RoboCop reviews police records, identifies the other gang members
including Boddicker, and confronts them. During Boddicker's arrest, he
admits to being hired by Jones. With this evidence recorded on video,
RoboCop attempts to arrest Jones at OCP; Jones openly admits his role
in Morton's death before revealing what the fourth directive is: it
RoboCop from arresting any OCP executive officer or staff
member. With RoboCop's programming limiting his abilities, Jones sends
the ED-209 (which has been stationed in his office) to attack RoboCop,
severely damaging him. Jones also asks police to meet them at the
tower. Lewis, who had been following RoboCop, helps him escape to
safety of the same steel mill and undergo repairs.
The police follow through with their strike, creating chaos in the
city. Boddicker and his gang are released from prison and acquire new
high-powered rifles to finish off RoboCop. Boddicker, using a tracking
system provided to him by Jones, head towards the steel mill. RoboCop
and Lewis work together to eliminate the gang, though Lewis is
RoboCop heads to OCP HQ alone and uses one of the rifles to
destroy the ED-209 guarding the entrance. He barges in on an executive
meeting where the Old Man and Jones are present and shows them the
video of Jones' confession. Jones takes the Old Man as a hostage,
knowing that the fourth directive still protects him. The Old Man
promptly fires Jones, nullifying the protection and allowing RoboCop
to shoot Jones, who falls out a window to his death. The Old Man
thankfully asks for RoboCop's name; he answers, "Murphy".
Peter Weller as Officer Alex J. Murphy / RoboCop
Nancy Allen as Officer Anne Lewis
Daniel O'Herlihy as The Old Man
Ronny Cox as Dick Jones
Kurtwood Smith as Clarence Boddicker
Miguel Ferrer as Bob Morton
Robert DoQui as Sgt. Warren Reed
Ray Wise as Leon C. Nash
Felton Perry as Donald Johnson
Paul McCrane as Emil Antonowsky
Jesse Goins as Joe P. Cox
Calvin Jung as Steve Minh
Del Zamora as Kaplan
Rick Lieberman as Walker
Lee de Broux as Sal
Edward Edwards as Manson
Mark Carlton as Miller
Michael Gregory as Lt. Hedgecock
Kevin Page as Kinney
Angie Bolling as Ellen Murphy
James Levine as Jimmy Murphy
S.D. Nemeth as Bixby Snyder
Mario Machado as Casey Wong
Inspiration and script
RoboCop was written by
Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner. Neumeier
stated that he first got the idea of
RoboCop when he walked with a
friend past a poster for Blade Runner. He asked his friend what the
film was about and his friend replied, "It's about a cop hunting
robots". For him, this sparked the idea about a robot cop. While the
two were attempting to pitch the screenplay to Hollywood executives,
they were accidentally stranded at an airplane terminal with a
high-ranking movie executive for several hours. Here, they were able
to speak to him about the project, and thus began the series of events
which eventually gave rise to RoboCop.
In 1981 Neumeier wrote the first treatment, about a robot police
officer who was not a cyborg but in the development of the story his
computer mind became more similar to human. The plot takes place in a
fairly distant future, the world is ruled by corporations and it was
assumed that this world would be visually similar to the world shown
in Blade Runner. The treatment was rejected by many studios because of
the incompleteness of the storyline and settings. In 1984 Neumeier met
music video director Michael Miner, who worked on a similar idea; his
rough draft of the script was called SuperCop, which was about a
police officer who has been seriously injured and becomes a donor for
experiment to create a cybernetic police officer. Neumeier and Miner
felt that they could successfully combine their ideas.[citation
RoboCop marked the first major Hollywood production for Dutch director
Paul Verhoeven. Although he had been working in the
more than a decade and directed several films to great acclaim, such
Soldier of Orange
Soldier of Orange in 1977, he moved to Hollywood in 1984 to seek
broader opportunities. While
RoboCop is often credited as his English
language debut, he had in fact previously made Flesh & Blood,
Rutger Hauer and Jennifer Jason Leigh, during 1985.
On the Criterion Edition audio commentary (available on both the
DVD versions), Verhoeven recalls that, when he first
glanced through the script, he discarded it in disgust. Afterwards,
his wife, after picking the script from the bin and reading it more
thoroughly, convinced him that the plot had more substance than he had
originally assumed. Repo Man director
Alex Cox was offered the
opportunity to direct before Verhoeven came aboard. Kenneth
Johnson, creator of television series V, The Bionic Woman, and The
Incredible Hulk, said that he was offered the chance to direct, but
turned it down when he was not allowed to change aspects of the script
that he considered to be "mean-spirited, ugly and ultra-violent."
The character of
RoboCop itself was inspired by British comic book
hero Judge Dredd, as well as the Japanese toku series Space Sheriff
Gavan and the
Marvel Comics superhero Rom. A Rom
comic book appears onscreen during the film's convenience store
robbery. Another Rom comic appears in a flashback depicting Murphy's
son. Although both Neumeier and Verhoeven have declared themselves
staunchly on the political left, Neumeier recalls on the audio
commentary to Starship Troopers that many of his liberal friends
RoboCop as a fascist movie. On the 20th Anniversary DVD,
producer Jon Davison referred to the film's message as "fascism for
liberals" – a politically liberal film done in the most violent
Peter Weller was cast,
Rutger Hauer and Arnold Schwarzenegger
were favored to play
RoboCop by Verhoeven and the producers,
respectively. However, each man's large frame would have made it
difficult for either of them to move in the cumbersome
which had been modeled on hockey gear and designed to be large and
bulky. Weller won the role both because Verhoeven felt that he could
adequately convey pathos with his lower face, and because Weller was
especially lithe and could more easily move inside the suit than a
Stephanie Zimbalist, who at the time was one of the stars of the
television series Remington Steele, was originally cast as Anne Lewis.
NBC had canceled
Remington Steele in 1986, leaving the stars free to
accept other roles, subject to options for further episodes on their
contracts. However, an upsurge of interest in the show saw the network
exercise the options, which meant that Zimbalist was then forced
to withdraw from RoboCop, to be replaced by Nancy Allen.
DVD director's commentary, Verhoeven explained that he
intentionally chose to cast
Kurtwood Smith and
Ronny Cox against type
by making them the central villains. Cox was an actor who, until then,
was primarily known for "nice-guy" roles, such as fatherly figures.
Similarly, Smith had been cast as more intellectual
characters. Verhoeven chose to outfit Smith's
character Clarence Boddicker in rimless glasses because of their
intellectual association, creating a disparity in the character that
Verhoeven found akin to the similarly bespectacled Heinrich
Filming began on August 6, 1986, and wrapped on October 20, 1986. The
scenes depicting Murphy's death were not filmed until the following
January (1987), some months after principal shooting had ceased.
RoboCop is set in Detroit, Michigan, many of the urban
settings in the film were actually filmed in Dallas, Texas. The
futuristic appearances of the
Dallas buildings, such as Reunion Tower,
are visible in the background during the car chase. The front of
Dallas City Hall was used as the exterior for the fictional OCP
Headquarters, combined with extensive matte paintings to make the
building appear taller than it actually is. The steel mill scenes were
filmed at Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel's Monessen Works, in the
Pittsburgh suburb of Monessen, Pennsylvania.
Peter Weller had prepared extensively for the role using a padded
costume, as development of the actual
RoboCop suit was three weeks
behind schedule. By the time shooting was underway
and the costume had arrived on set, however, Weller discovered he was
almost unable to move in it and needed additional training to become
accustomed to it. Weller later revealed to
Roger Ebert that during
filming, he was losing three pounds a day due to sweat loss while
RoboCop suit in 100 °F (38 °C)
temperatures. Weller's personal assistant, Todd Trotter, was
responsible for keeping the actor cool in between takes with electric
fans and, when available, large ducts connected to free-standing air
conditioning units. The suit later had a fan built into it.[citation
Monte Hellman acted as second unit director after Verhoeven began to
fall behind schedule. He directed several action scenes.
The 1986 Ford Taurus was used as the police cruiser in the movie, due
to its then-futuristic design. As of May 2012, RoboCop's Taurus is on
display at the Branson Auto Museum in Branson, Missouri.
Bob Morton's home was filmed in a home near
Dallas featured in the
Beyond 2000 in 1987.
The task of creating the
RoboCop suit was given to Rob Bottin. The
studio decided that Bottin would be the ideal person to create the
RoboCop suit, as he had just finished doing the special effects for
John Carpenter's The Thing. A budget of up to one million dollars was
allotted to the completion of the suit, making it the most expensive
item on the set. A total of six suits were made: three intact and
three showing damage.
Bottin himself had produced early design sketches for the suit's
prototype that the studio accepted enthusiastically, albeit with the
request of some minor adjustments. Influenced by the Japanese comic
8 Man and the first Metal Hero
Space Sheriff Gavan
Space Sheriff Gavan from Toei, Rob,
Paul Verhoeven, and
Edward Neumeier came up with the concept of the
suit being more of an outer shell, with very little of the actor's
actual face being visible. Bottin explained the basis of the design:
It's meant to look very speedy and aerodynamic. All the lines are
measured to go on a slant – forward, forward, forward! All the
lines were geometric, and complement every shape on the body from all
angles. When Verhoeven came on the project, he requested numerous
design changes, additions to the suit which looked more like machine
than man-like. I've never done so many conceptional drawings for a
director in my entire life – changing it, and changing it, and
However, the design ended up bearing a closer resemblance to Bottin's
RoboCop looks the way he does because that's the way a man's body
works! Although we went through fifty different variations, developing
his character, everything came back to man-like. It's definitely a guy
in the suit, which doesn't belittle it any.
The suit itself was attached to the actor in sections. To wear the
Peter Weller wore a bald cap that allowed the helmet to be
removed easily. After almost 10 months of preparation, the RoboCop
suit was completed based on life casts from
Peter Weller and Bottin's
six-foot clay models. The suit's color was supposed to be bright blue;
however, it was given a more grayish tint to make it look more
metallic and produce less glare on the camera when it was being
Peter Weller had in the meantime hired Moni Yakim, the head of the
Movement Department at Juilliard, to help create an appropriate way
for him to move his body while wearing the
needed] He and Moni had envisioned
RoboCop moving like a snake,
dancing around its targets very elusively. The suit, however, proved
to be too heavy and cumbersome. Instead, at the suggestion of Moni, it
was decided that they would slow down RoboCop's movements in order to
make them more appealing and plausible. Filming stopped for three
days, allowing Peter and
Paul Verhoeven to discuss new movements for
the suit.
The original gun for
RoboCop was a Desert Eagle, but this was deemed
too small. A
Beretta 93R was heavily modified by Ray Williams of
Freshour Machine, Texas City, Texas, who extended the gun barrel to
make it look bigger and more proportional to RoboCop's hand. The gun
holster itself was a standalone piece that was not integrated into the
suit. Off-screen technicians would operate the device on cue by
pulling cables that would force the holster to open up and allow the
gun to be placed inside.
The ED-209 stop motion model was designed by Craig Davies, who
also built the full size models, and animated by Phil Tippett, a
veteran stop-motion animator. As one of the setpieces of the
movie, the ED-209's look and animated sequences were under the close
supervision of director Paul Verhoeven, who sometimes acted out the
robot's movements himself. ED-209 was voiced by producer Jon Davison.
Davies and Tippett would go on to collaborate on many more projects.
In one scene, Emil attempts to run down RoboCop, but instead
accidentally drives into a vat of toxic waste, causing the flesh to
melt off his face and hands. These effects were also conceived and
designed by Bottin, who was inspired by Rick Baker's work on The
Incredible Melting Man, and who dubbed the
RoboCop effects "the
Melting Man" as an homage to the production.
Chiodo Brothers Productions fabricated and animated the dinosaur
puppet in the 6000 SUX commercial. The dinosaur itself was animated by
Don Waller, who also had a cameo in the same sequence, reacting to the
rampaging creature in a tight close-up.
Soundtrack's main theme, composed by Basil Poledouris.
Problems playing this file? See media help.
The soundtrack score for the movie was composed by Basil Poledouris,
who used both synthesized and orchestral music as a mirror to the
man-versus-machine theme of the movie. The score alternates
brass-heavy material, including the
RoboCop theme and ED-209's theme,
with more introverted pieces for strings, such as during RoboCop's
homecoming scene. The music was performed by the Sinfonia of London,
Howard Blake and Tony Britten. The soundtrack initially
was released by
Varèse Sarabande containing highlights from the score
in an order different from that heard in the movie. The final four
tracks were included on later CD re-issues.
RoboCop (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Film score by Basil Poledouris
RoboCop (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
"Robo vs. ED-209"
"Across The Board"
"Clarence Frags Bob"
"Robo Tips His Hat"
"Drive To Jones' Office"
"We Killed You"
"Have A Heart"
"Big Is Better"
The complete score in film sequence order was released in 2015
containing four previously unreleased tracks, the full end credits
suite and the four previous CD bonus tracks.
Music From The Motion Picture
RoboCop (Original Score)
Film score by Basil Poledouris
Music From The Film
RoboCop ( Complete Original Score By Basil
"Have A Heart"
"Twirl (previously unreleased)"
"Murphy Dies (previously titled "Murphy's Death)"
"Robo Lives (previously unreleased)"
"Drive Montage (previously unreleased)"
"Helpless Woman (previously unreleased)"
"Murphy's Dream (previously titled "The Dream")"
"Gas Station Blow-Up (previously titled "We Killed You")"
"Murphy Goes Home (previously titled "Home")"
"Clarence Frags Bob"
"Robo Drives To Jones (previously titled "Drive To Jones' Office")"
"Robo & ED 209 Fight (previously titled "Robo vs. ED-209")"
"Force Shoots Robo (previously titled "Betrayal")"
"Big Is Better"
"Care Package (previously titled "Robo Tips His Hat")"
"Looking For Me (previously titled "Showdown")"
"Across The Board/End Credits (previously unreleased extended
On the theatrical trailer, the theme of
The Terminator (1984) was used
instead of the
RoboCop theme. The theme song also made its way into
the arcade and NES
RoboCop video games.
The song "Show Me Your Spine" by P.T.P. was played during the
nightclub scene. P.T.P was a short-lived side project consisting of
members of the band Ministry and Skinny Puppy. However, this song was
not available in any official form and could only be heard in the
film. It was eventually released in 2004 on a compilation album called
Side Trax by Ministry.
The movie was originally given an
X rating by the Motion Picture
Association of America (MPAA) in 1987 due to its graphic violence, in
sharp contrast to most other X-rated movies that received the rating
due to strong sexual content. To appease the requirements of the
ratings board, Verhoeven reduced the blood and gore in the most
violent scenes in the movie, including ED-209's shooting of Kinney in
the boardroom, Bobby being shot in the leg, the Boddicker gang's
execution of Murphy with shotguns, and the final battle with Boddicker
RoboCop stabs him in the neck with his neural spike and
Boddicker's blood spatters onto RoboCop's chest). Verhoeven also added
humorous commercials throughout the news broadcasts to lighten the
mood and distract from the violent aspects of the movie (most of the
commercials satirize various aspects of the American consumer culture,
such as the commercial for the 6000 SUX sedan). After 11 original X
ratings, the film was eventually given an R rating. The original
uncut version was included on the
DVD of the film (both out of print), the 2005 trilogy box set, and the
2007 anniversary edition—the latter two were released by
were unrated. The 2014 Blu-ray 4K master edition also features this
Regarding the omitted scenes, Verhoeven stated on the 2007 anniversary
DVD that he had wanted the violence to be "over the top", in
an almost comical fashion (such as the scene involving the executive
that is killed by ED-209, and Bob Morton immediately asking "Somebody
wanna call a goddamn paramedic?!", which was meant as black comedy).
Verhoeven also stated that the tone of the violence was changed to a
more upsetting tone due to the deletions requested by the MPAA, and
that the deletions also removed footage of the extensive animatronic
puppet of Murphy just before he is executed by Boddicker.
The following scenes are now presented in the uncut version of the
movie available on Blu ray and DVD.
1) During the boardroom meeting, ED-209 begins to shoot Kinney who
falls back on a table. Additional shots are then shown of him being
shot at continuously in rapid succession. There is also an additional,
quick shot of ED-209's programmer unsuccessfully trying to shut it
down by ripping out its power cord.
2) Murphy's death scene is the most altered scene in the movie.
Additional shots include when his hand is shot off, Murphy gets up and
a visible stump is seen where his hand used to be. An additional shot
shows his left arm being shot off completely and him screaming in
pain. In the theatrical version, this scene is missing and Murphy is
merely shown with one arm without any explanation. The final seconds
of his murder shows an additional shot of the camera spinning around
Murphy as he withers in pain and Clarence shoots him in the head and a
hole appears. This original shot was achieved using a sophisticated
animatronic puppet of
Peter Weller controlled off-screen. One final
overhead shot also shows the bloody aftermath of what has happened to
Murphy as Lewis looks on shocked at his dead body.
3) Bob Morton's death now shows a close up of additional bullet holes
puncturing his leg before he falls down.
4) When Clarence is stabbed in the neck by
RoboCop in the film's
climax, an additional shot shows him turning around and blood
squirting out of his neck before he falls to the ground.
RoboCop was released in American theaters on July 17, 1987. The film
opened no. 1 at the US box office and grossed over $8 million in its
opening weekend and another $6 million in its second weekend,
again regaining the top spot at the box office. It topped rival films
released at the same time, including
Full Metal Jacket
Full Metal Jacket and Superman
IV. In total, it grossed $53.4 million during its North
American run, making it the 16th most successful film that
year. It also grossed an additional $24,036,000 from video rentals
in the United States.
The R-rated cinema version of
RoboCop was released on VHS and
LaserDisc in February 1988. It was sold for $89.98 on VHS, and for
$39.98 on S-VHS. It grossed $24,036,000 from rentals.
The film was released on Philips CD-i
VCD (Video CD) in 1994.
Criterion released the uncut "director's edit" on
LaserDisc in 1996.
In 1998 Criterion released it on
DVD while Image Entertainment
released the R-rated cinema version. It was re-released on Region 1
DVD in 2007 and on Blu-ray in 2010 as part of the Blu-ray Robocop
Trilogy. A remastered Blu-ray edition was released in January 2014 to
tie into the 2014 remake.
On Metacritic, the film has an average rating of 67/100, indicating
"generally favorable reviews".
Rotten Tomatoes retrospectively
gave it a rating of 88% based on reviews from 60 critics and an
average rating of 7.8/10. The site's consensus is: "While over-the-top
RoboCop is also a surprisingly smart sci-fi flick that uses
ultraviolence to disguise its satire of American culture".
Roger Ebert praised the film, calling
RoboCop "a thriller with a
difference," praising the way it puts the audience off-guard, and
calling it a thriller not easily categorized with splashes of other
genres added. Ebert praised Weller for his performance and his ability
to elicit sympathy despite the layers of makeup and prosthetics.
Walter Goodman, writing for The New York Times, believed the film's
anti-corporate message "has more trouble emerging from Mr. Verhoeven's
sizzling battles than poor Murphy does from his robosuit."
Susan Faludi called
RoboCop one of "an endless stream of war
and action movies" in which "women are reduced to mute and incidental
characters or banished altogether." Author
Rene Denfeld disagreed
with Faludi's characterization of the film, calling it her "favorite
blow-'em-up movie," citing Officer Lewis as an example of an
"independent and smart police officer." In the commentary track of
DVD release, Verhoeven explained that he
intentionally depicted Officer Lewis as "gender neutral", thus her
hidden gender during her introductory scene, a physical fight with a
male in the police station, and the choice to give the character short
Best Sound Editing*
Special Achievement Award
Stephen Hunter Flick and John Pospisil
Best Film Editing
Frank J. Urioste
Best Sound Mixing
Michael J. Kohut, Carlos Delarios, Aaron Rochin, and Robert Wald
Best Makeup and Hair
Special Visual Effects
Rob Bottin, Phil Tippett, Peter Kuran, Rocco Gioffre
Best Science Fiction Film
Michael Miner and Edward Neumeier
Rob Bottin and Stephan Dupuis
Peter Kuran, Phil Tippett,
Rob Bottin and Rocco Gioffre
Erica Edell Phillips
Entertainment Weekly named the film the 14th greatest action
film of all time, and Complex rated it as the 19th best action
film of all time in 2016. In 2008, it was selected by Empire
magazine as one of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time, placing at
The New York Times
The New York Times also included the film in their list of
The Best 1000 Movies Ever Made. AMC Filmsite.org and Film.com
rated it as one of the best films of 1987.
The film was on the ballot for two of the American Film Institute's
100 Series lists. These included 100 Years…100 Thrills, a list
of America's most heart-pounding films, and AFI's "Ten Top Ten", a
list of the best 10 films in 10 "classic" American film genres.
RoboCop was a candidate in the science fiction category. At its
release, British director
Ken Russell said that this was the best
science fiction film since Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927).
Themes and analysis
In a 2013 interview,
Edward Neumeier reflected on how the film's
script is starting to play into reality: "We are now living in the
world that I was proposing in
RoboCop … how big corporations will
'take care of us' and … how they won't."
Two of the primary themes explored by
RoboCop are the media and human
nature. On the Criterion Edition
DVD commentary track, executive
producer Jon Davison and writer
Edward Neumeier both relate the film
to the decay of American industry from the 1970s through the early
1980s, with the abandoned "
Rust Belt style" factories that
Clarence Boddicker's gang use as hideouts reflecting this concern.
Massive unemployment is prevalent, being reported frequently on the
news, as are poverty and the crime that results from economic
Director Paul Verhoeven, known for his heavy use of Christian
symbolism, states in the documentary "Flesh and Steel: The Making of
RoboCop" (featured on the
RoboCop DVD) that his intention was to
RoboCop as a
Christ figure. This is represented in Murphy's
horrific death, his resurrected return as RoboCop, and the scene at
the steel mill in which
RoboCop is seen walking ankle-deep in water,
creating the illusion of him walking on water.
Darian Leader considers
RoboCop one example of how the cinema has
dealt with the concept of masculinity, showing that to be a man
requires more than having the body of a man: something symbolic that
is not ultimately human must be added. He sees
RoboCop as similar to
The Terminator and
The Six Million Dollar Man
The Six Million Dollar Man in this respect. Leader
wrote of RoboCop:
RoboCop is a family man who is destroyed by thugs, then rebuilt as
a robot by science. His son always insists, before the transformation,
that his human father perform the gun spinning trick he sees on TV.
When the robot can finally do this properly, he is no longer just a
male biological body: he is a body plus machinery, a body which
includes within it the symbolic circuitry of science. Old heroes had
bits of metal outside them (knights), but modern heroes have bits of
metal inside them. To be a man today thus involves this kind of real
incorporation of symbolic properties.
Philosopher and cultural critic
Slavoj Žižek wrote that:
RoboCop, a futuristic story about a policeman shot to death and then
revived after all parts of his body have been replaced by artificial
substitutes, introduces a more tragic note: the hero who finds himself
literally "between two deaths" – clinically dead and at the
same time provided with a new, mechanical body—starts to remember
fragments of his previous, "human" life and thus undergoes a process
of resubjectivication, changing gradually back from pure incarnated
drive to a being of desire. (...) [I]f there is a phenomenon that
fully deserves to be called the "fundamental fantasy of contemporary
mass culture," it is this fantasy of the return of the living dead:
the fantasy of a person who does not want to stay dead but returns
again and again to pose a threat to the living.
The depiction of Murphy's struggles in reasserting his humanity also
deals with themes of identity. This is even touched upon in the
cyborg's construction. On the Robocop: 20th Anniversary Collector's
Edition DVD, Paul Sammon states:
Rob Bottin and Paul Verhoeven, and Ed Neumeier had all come up with a
concept that there would be such a potential for psychological
disruption. Even if you had supposedly wiped someone's memories and
emotions they'd still might have some kind of residual humanity where,
if they'd looked at themselves as a complete robot with no relation to
their past organic form, they'd completely freak out and have a
psychotic breakdown. So the idea was that surgeons had literally
skinned off Alex Murphy's face and then placed it on the cyborg. So
it's not like they transplanted his head, they just took his face off
and laid it on the cyborg, and that was to give him his own little
sense of identity.
The film novelization, written by Ed Naha, was released on June 1,
1987. The novel differed in several ways from the film by following
one of the earlier drafts of the screenplay. It expanded on Murphy's
struggle with being part man and part machine, and his memories. It
also included more "humanized" dialogue from RoboCop, as opposed to
the minimal, cold dialogue heard in the film.
The success of the movie spawned a large franchise, including
merchandise, two sequels, a television series, a remake, two animated
TV series, a television mini-series, video games, and a number of
comic book adaptations/crossovers.
In January 2018, it was announced that original
RoboCop writer Ed
Neumeier was writing a direct sequel to the 1987 film that would
ignore the two previous sequels and the 2014 remake. “We’re not
supposed to say too much. There’s been a bunch of other RoboCop
movies and there was recently a remake and I would say this would be
kind of going back to the old
RoboCop we all love and starting there
and going forward. So it’s a continuation really of the first movie.
In my mind. So it’s a little bit more of the old school thing”
In February 2011, a humorous ploy asked
Dave Bing if
there was to be a
RoboCop statue in his "New Detroit" proposal, which
was planned to turn
Detroit back into a prosperous city again. When
Bing said there was no such plan, and word of this reached the
Internet, several fundraising events raised enough money for the
statue, which would be built at the Imagination Station. There
were plans to unveil the
RoboCop statue in spring of 2014.
RoboCop (2014 film)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Sony produced a remake of RoboCop, directed by
Joel Kinnaman plays the role of Alex Murphy and Gary
Oldman is "Norton", a new character, "the scientist who creates
RoboCop and finds himself torn between the ideals of the machine
trying to rediscover its humanity and the callous needs of a
Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson plays a powerful and charismatic
media mogul, while
Michael Keaton plays the CEO of Omnicorp after Hugh
Laurie dropped out of the project in August 2012. Actress Abbie
Cornish plays Murphy's wife and Watchmen star
Jackie Earle Haley
Jackie Earle Haley plays
Maddox, the man who gives
RoboCop his military training. The film
was finally released in the United States on February 12, 2014.
Film in the United States portal
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the feel of the cyberpunk vision.
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'RoboCop' Remake". The Hollywood Reporter.
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Hugh Laurie in talks to play villain in
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Wikiquote has quotations related to: RoboCop
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Glass, Fred (1989). "The 'new bad future': Robocop and 1980s' Sci‐Fi
films". Science as Culture. 1 (5): 7–49.
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Flesh and Blood (1985)
Total Recall (1990)
Basic Instinct (1992)
Starship Troopers (1997)
Hollow Man (2000)
Black Book (2006)
Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film
Soylent Green (1973)
Logan's Run (1976)
Star Wars (1977)
The Empire Strikes Back
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Superman II (1981)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Return of the Jedi
Return of the Jedi (1983)
The Terminator (1984)
Back to the Future
Back to the Future (1985)
Alien Nation (1988)
Total Recall (1989/1990)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1992)
Jurassic Park (1993)
12 Monkeys (1995)
Independence Day (1996)
Men in Black (1997)
Armageddon/Dark City (1998)
The Matrix (1999)
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
Minority Report (2002)
X2: X-Men United (2003)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Children of Men
Children of Men (2006)
Iron Man (2008)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
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Rogue One: A
Star Wars Story (2016)