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25 Things You Didn't Know About the Original ROBOCOP

RoboCop (Peter Weller); RoboCop
The RoboCop remake is due to be released on February 12, and I thought it would interesting to take a look back at the original, which had a rich and complex production. Here are twenty five facts about the making of RoboCop that you probably didn't know about.

1. Screenwriter Edward Neumeier says he got the idea for RoboCop from working on the set of Blade Runner. It was about a cop hunting robots, which made Neumeier think of reversing it to make a robot cop hunting humans.

2. RoboCop was allegedly inspired by Marvel's robot superhero ROM, and the futuristic British cop Judge Dredd.

3. ROM comic books appear on screen during the convenience store robbery. Another ROM comic shows up in a flashback with Murphy's son.
Source: ROM Spaceknight Revisited
4. When director Paul Verhoeven first saw the RoboCop script, he only glanced at it before throwing it in the trash in disgust. The movie studio and his wife had to convince him to finish reading it, and he liked it.

5. Peter Weller was hired over other proposed actors like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rutger Hauer, partly because his thin frame would keep the suit from being too bulky.

6. Peter Weller tried to stay in character on the set, responding only to "Robo," but abandoned his plan after the cast and crew kept making fun of him.

7. Villain Clarence Boddicker's rimless glasses were supposed to make him look like Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler.

8. Even though it's set in Detroit, most of the movie was actually filmed in Dallas. The only real shot of Detroit in the entire movie is an aerial shot in the opening, and that was stock footage.

9. Peter Weller originally wanted RoboCop to move quickly like a dancer, but the weight of the suit forced him to go the opposite direction and slow down his movements.

10. With a construction cost of one million dollars, the RoboCop suits were the most expensive objects in the entire movie.

11. During board meetings, screenwriter Neumeier fantasized about a robot busting in and killing everyone, which inspired the scene of ED-209 shooting an OCP executive.

12. The design of ED-209 was based on a Vietnam Era Bell helicopter and the rear legs of the Zentraedi Battlepod mecha in Robotech.
Early Concept Art of ED-209

13. Director Paul Verhoeven acted out some of ED-209's movements himself.

14. Much of Kurtwood Smith's performance as Clarence Boddicker, including the line "Can you fly, Bobby" and spitting blood on the police desk, was improvised by him on the set.

15. The 6000 SUX is a parody of the Pontiac 6000, rival of the Ford Taurus used as police cars in the movie.

16. RoboCop's first Directive, "Serve the Public Trust," was inspired by a fortune cookie.

17. The catchphrase "I'd buy that for a dollar" is based on the catchphrase "would you buy that for a quarter" from a fictional radio show in Cyril M. Kornbluth's short story "The Marching Morons."

18. The "infrared" scene was actually not infrared. The scene was filmed in black light with fluorescent body paint on the nude actors.

19. It took fifty takes to get the shot of RoboCop catching the car keys, because the keys kept bouncing off his hand.

20. The scene where RoboCop wades through water at the steel mill is meant to imply he's walking on water, like Jesus Christ.

21. In the original theatrical trailer, the theme of 1984's The Terminator was used instead of the RoboCop theme.

22. The parody commercials were added late in production to try to lighten the film's mood and distract from the more violent scenes.

23. It took eleven cuts before the film was lowered from an X to an R rating.

24. Former president Richard Nixon was hired to meet Robocop to promote the home video release. He donated the $25,000 he received to the Boys and Girls Club.
Source: Billboard Magazine
25. When Detroit Mayor Bing announced a proposal for a "New Detroit" in 2011, someone jokingly asked if they planned to build a statue of Robocop. When Bing declined, a Kickstarter campaign funded a real Robocop statue to be erected in summer of 2014.


What do you think of the movie? Did you learn anything about RoboCop? Any other trivia you can share?

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  1. The Terminator theme?
    Where would you rather film - Dallas or Detroit?
    Verhoeven almost didn't even read it. That's funny. Especially as it was one of his best movies. (Although really cheesy now.)

  2. That's why the Robocop statue in Detroit made no sense, because the movie was filmed in DALLAS. Let them have the stupid thing.

  3. Nisse SöderströmJanuary 22, 2014 at 3:45 AM

    speaking of robocop the upcoming movie (filmed in toronto, yet again NOT detroit) is something that i cannot really figure out if i am going to like or not. there are so many things that they seem to be changing up; especially the movement range of robocop. in the new movie, he jumps, rides bikes, an pretty much does all kinds of gymnastics.

    one of the things i really like with the old robocop is his bulky movement. it made him look like a tank; something where the reduction of speed and mobility is a price gladly payed for awesome armour and firepower. you cant have it all - you know.

    then again it is robocop, and i AM going to see it regardless.

  4. that last one is my favorite... thank you for this, i thought i knew a bunch... but really not.

  5. I learned a lot here. I haven't seen the movie in 25 years. All this time I thought it was a 2000 sux. Now I'm embarrassed by my ignorance.

  6. Too bad ROM doesn't hold up today. Or that Marvel has completely abandoned the concept. Or that Judge Dredd is still looking for as memorable a movie as this.

  7. In truth, I think RoboCop is more like Marvel's Deathlok character: a dead soldier made into a cyborg.

  8. I have mixed feelings as well. To me, RoboCop is an eighties movie, tackling greed, unfettered corporations under the Reagan administration, and the growing technology with the PC. But the part about a robot cop could be good with modern special effects.

  9. Nisse SöderströmJanuary 24, 2014 at 1:51 AM

    very true, spot on actually :). he's a tragic victim of both violence and corruption, and i dont think murphy himself understands what happens through out the movie. the politics takes place way over his head, where greed determines his fate. my take has always been that he's kinda shell-chocked and just goes along for he ride. i hope the upcoming movie plays to that as well...

  10. I love this movie. Although the scene when Murphy was brutally killed was very hard to watch. I heard that they had to install a fan in Weller's costume to keep him from passing out! That could have been #26.


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