RoboCop (1987) Movie Poster

Trivia for RoboCop (1987)

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  • For a while, Michael Ironside was attached to the role of RoboCop, but they had to give up on the idea when they realized that the actor would have to have a much smaller frame to fit into the costume envisaged.
  • The RoboCop suit was designed by Rob Bottin and his team. The production team wasn't satisfied with the initial design, and kept changing it and putting additions to it for months. Ultimately, nothing seemed to work and they went back to what was pretty much Bottin's original design. This caused considerable delays, and by the time the suit was completed, it was three weeks late and arrived at the studio on the day that the first RoboCop scene was scheduled to be shot. It took 11 hours for Bottin's people to fit Peter Weller into the suit, and when it was done Weller found that all his mime exercises were now useless because he needed time to get used to the suit and to perform as a robot in it. Production was halted so that Weller and his mime coach, Moni Yakim, could learn how to move in the suit.
  • Enforcement Droid 209's voice is that of producer Jon Davison, its growls are of a jaguar, and its squeals are of a pig. ED-209's body was based on the design of a Bell helicopter and the overall appearance is reminiscent of a line of toys named Robotech (1985) which were based on a 1980s Japanese anime series.
  • To shoot the scene where ED-209 falls down the stairs, Phil Tippett and his team made a small replica of the stairs and pushed the model down.
  • Former President Richard Nixon was hired to promote the home video release for $25,000, he donated the money to the American Boys Club.
  • Kurtwood Smith's wife, Joan Pirkle, has a small role as Dick Jones' secretary, Barbara.
  • The character Bob Morton was originally conceived as a stereotypical corporate executive, arrogant, unpleasant and unlikeable. However, when Miguel Ferrer signed on and gave his performance as an amiable and charismatic individual, Edward Neumeier and Paul Verhoeven realised that the audience would likely start sympathizing with the character, and Bob Morton was rewritten to become the more pleasant individual that he is in the movie.
  • Edward Neumeier came up with the idea for RoboCop after he had helped out on the set of Blade Runner (1982), which was about cops hunting robots that looked like humans in the future. Intrigued, Neumeier turned the scenario around into a future where a cop looking like a robot would be hunting human criminals.
  • Prominent Dallas landmarks seen in the film include Dallas City Hall (the exterior of the OCP headquarters), the Plaza of the Americas (where the glass elevator that RoboCop rides in are located), the Fountain Place building (the chisel-shaped skyscraper seen in the background of the OCP boardroom scenes) and the Reunion Tower (the tall tower in the background while Murphy and Lewis are chasing the van in the beginning of the movie on Victory Avenue (which is now the location of the Victory Park District (now the location of American Airlines Center) since 2001). The underground parking garage where RoboCop is shooting out with the police is the Crescent Building parking garage. Another garage used was the Dallas Public Library's, across the street from City Hall.
  • Stephanie Zimbalist was originally cast as Lewis but had to give up the role when she was called back to film more episodes of Remington Steele (1982). Nancy Allen was then cast and Paul Verhoeven had her cut her hair shorter and shorter several times until it was short enough, as Verhoeven wanted to desexualize the character.
  • Alex Cox turned down directorial duties to make Straight to Hell (1987).
  • RoboCop's first Directive, "Serve the public trust", was inspired by a fortune cookie.
  • The 6000 SUX was built from the body of a 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass four-door sedan (note front end).
  • The Desert Eagle Magnum that is in the OCP Board Room was originally intended to be RoboCop's gun. There is even existing behind-the-scene photos and footage of Peter Weller practicing with the Desert Eagle; however, when they gave Weller the gun, they noticed that even the bulky Desert Eagle was too small in the hands of RoboCop, so the film's armory supervisor, Randy E. Moore, brought in a Berretta Automatic Pistol to which a compensator and decorative dressing was added to increase the size of the gun.
  • The hostage scene where a former city council member holds the mayor and his staff hostage was based on a real-life crisis where former San Francisco supervisor Dan White wanted his old job back. The character is also seen eating Babe Ruth bars - as homage to White's 1979 conviction of involuntary manslaughter where diminished capacity was used, known in legal terms as the Twinkie Defense.
  • Kurtwood Smith claims in the 20th Anniversary DVD release that the scene where he is taken into the precinct was the first scene he had shot, and proposed the spitting of the blood and swearing to give the scene more punch. Paul Verhoeven, intrigued, decided to give it a shot. Smith mused that this may have simply been due to Verhoeven's love of bloodletting.
  • The song "Show Me Your Spine" by PTP is playing in the club when RoboCop arrests Leon. This song, which features vocals by Kevin 'ohGr' Ogilvie of Skinny Puppy, was unavailable in any format until October 2004, when it was included on the CD "Ministry: Side Trax" released by Rykodisc.
  • In 1988, brake and muffler shop Meineke used a RoboCop-like customer in a commercial. For legal reasons, the armor was completely orange in color, whereas everything else - even the voice - was similar.
  • In addition to Iron Man (1966), the comic book "ROM" is also seen in the mom-and-pop store, the story-line of which involves a hero sacrificing his human body and having his mind placed into a robot in order to save his people. In the scene where Murphy's son Jimmy watches TJ Lazer on TV in a flashback, issue 41 of ROM can be seen on the floor at his feet.
  • The members of Clarence Boddicker's gang (including Clarence himself) all use shotguns. No two shotguns are alike, each being a different model and/or variation, Clarence uses a modified Mossberg 5500, a semi-automatic shotgun with a shortened barrel and heat shield, Joe Cox uses a standard mag-tube Remington 870 Folding Stock with the stock removed and a Beretta 92F, Leon Nash uses an Ithaca 37 with a pistol-grip and extended magazine tube, He switches to a Remington 870 in the steel mill he also uses a Detonics ScoreMaster in .45 ACP during the nightclub scene, while Emil Antonowsky uses the Ithaca, he also uses a Ingram MAC-10 fitted with a recoil compensator and a modified folding stock when he robs a gas station, one of the same MAC-10's was also used in several episodes of Miami Vice. Steve Minh wields a Mossberg 500 Cruiser, with a distinctive sling swivel.
  • The special-effects were generated with a Commodore Amiga computer.
  • The point-of-view shots from RoboCop include references to MS-DOS.
  • The computer that RoboCop looks up criminal records on is actually a Northern Telecom telephone switch.
  • After Peter Weller complained about the costume during the first few days of filming, the role of RoboCop was offered to Lance Henriksen, who turned down because of time conflicts - Henriksen was also considered for the title role in The Terminator (1984) (before the cyborg was decided for to be large and bulky and Arnold Schwarzenegger was brought on), and finally got to play a robot in Aliens (1986) (see also trivia for The Terminator (1984)).
  • The "Cobra Assault Cannons" are working Barrett M82A1s, long-range anti-material .50 caliber sniper rifles with some plastic molding added to the frame and scopes originally meant to have CGI incorporated with them. That idea was scrapped due to budgetary constraints.
  • In the scene where Murphy is practicing his gun twirling while Lewis is getting the coffee, if you look in the background of the side shot (where both are in the scene) the low brown building behind them with the antennae tower is the TV station KDFW Channel 4, the Dallas/Fort Worth affiliate of the FOX Network (at the time it was the CBS affiliate). Also of an interesting note, the parking lot behind Murphy in the shots facing him is no longer there. It is now a city bus terminal.
  • RoboCop's gun, referred to in the script as an Auto-9, was a modified Beretta M93R: The barrel was extended and modified to resemble a casket. The weapon has a selectable fire mode switch, semi-automatic and three-round burst. The basic design of the Beretta 93R machine pistol is based on the famous Beretta 92 pistol. However, the trigger mechanism is somewhat different from Beretta 92, as it is a single action only, with non-ambidextrous frame mounted safety and additional fire mode selector.
  • Jonathan Kaplan was originally set to direct, but opted to do Project X (1987) instead.
  • When in full RoboCop costume, Peter Weller would remain in character between takes, only responding to director Paul Verhoeven's instructions when properly addressed as "Robo". Verhoeven found this too funny to take seriously and dropped this after a couple of weeks.
  • The police cars were modified Ford Tauruses. One of the main competitors of the Taurus at the time was the Pontiac 6000. The car the villains use is the 6000 SUX, a not-so-subtle jab at the Pontiac 6000. Ford did manufacture the Taurus as a police vehicle between 1989 to 1995 - the 1989-91 models had a modified front grille with eight openings which was not available on the civilian models including the Taurus SHO. The 2013 model year officially reintroduces the Taurus (sold to law enforcement agencies as a Police Interceptor sedan and not badged as a Taurus along with a utility variant sharing the same D4 platform with the 2011-present Ford Explorer (also sold as a Police Interceptor Utility - both D4 platform vehicles have standard all wheel drive) as the replacement for the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, which was phased out in 2011.
  • The repeated line "I'd buy that for a dollar!" comes from Cyril M. Kornbluth's short story "The Marching Morons", which presents a similarly cynical view of an over-commercialized future that's desensitized to violence and war. A radio game show in that short story uses the line "I'd buy that for a quarter." as its signature phrase.
  • Director Trademark: [nude co-ed shower scene] A nude scene takes place in a co-ed shower room and locker room, as in Starship Troopers (1997).
  • The scientist who introduces ED-209 in the beginning has a name tag of McNamara, a nod to Robert McNamara, the Secretary of Defense during the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson Administrations. Production designer William Sandell based the ED-209 design on the BELL UH-1H-HUEY chopper used during the Vietnam War.
  • For the theatrical trailer, Orion used the music from their film The Terminator (1984) which is also a movie about a cyborg (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger). Schwarzenegger was briefly considered for the role of RoboCop, but those involved with the film were concerned he would be too bulky in the suit and end up looking like the Michelin Man. Also, the background music was very misleading to some people, who believed the film to be a sequel to The Terminator. Explaining humanity's dependence on technology, and the rise of Skynet.
  • The screenplay had been offered to (and been rejected by) virtually every big director in Hollywood before Paul Verhoeven got hold of it. He threw it away after reading the first pages, convinced it was just a dumb action movie. However, his wife read it all the way through and convinced him that the story was layered with many satirical and allegorical elements, after which Verhoeven finally decided to direct the film.
  • (Director Cameo) Paul Verhoeven: wildly gesticulating guy in the dance club immediately after Leon tries to kick RoboCop in the crotch.
  • Writers and producers were concerned that cops would be offended by their portrayal in the movie. On the contrary, they loved it. They especially enjoyed the scene where RoboCop throws Boddicker through three planes of glass window while concurrently reading Boddicker an abbreviated rendition of his Miranda rights.
  • In the hostage scene, as RoboCop is walking toward the room where the former councilman is holding the mayor hostage, the infrared heat vision mode was actually executed using fluorescent body paint on the (nude) actors and a black light. Paul Verhoeven says that he thought this technique would be cheaper than getting an actual infrared spectrometer camera.
  • In Sacramento, California, a robbery suspect fled into a darkened movie theatre to escape pursuing police. He became so engrossed in the movie playing on screen (RoboCop), that he failed to notice that police had evacuated all other patrons from the theatre. When the lights flipped on, the stunned man was taken into custody.
  • The entrance to the OCP building in the movie is actually the front entrance of Dallas City Hall with extensive matte work (by Rocco Gioffre) above to make the building appear to be a giant skyscraper.
  • The RoboCop suit was so hot and heavy that Peter Weller was losing 3 lbs a day from water loss. Eventually, an air conditioner was installed in the suit.
  • David Cronenberg was one of many directors offered the position and who subsequently turned it down. Ironically, Peter Weller played the lead in Cronenberg's Naked Lunch (1991), in which Weller appeared in lieu of reprising his role in RoboCop 3 (1993).
  • RoboCop's three Prime Directives ("Serve the public trust; Protect the innocent; Uphold the law") are reminiscent of the Three Laws of Robotics as devised by sci-fi author Isaac Asimov and first published in his short story "Runaround".
  • Howard Stern made a radio version called "HomoCop".
  • Paul McCrane appears in this film with Miguel Ferrer. McCrane would later become a regular on ER (1994), opposite Ferrer's cousin, George Clooney. Ferrer and his mother, Rosemary Clooney, also both made guest appearances.
  • It was discovered that when in full RoboCop costume, Peter Weller could not fit properly into the police car as he was too bulky. That's why most shots of him show him exiting the car or preparing to get into it. For shots where he actually needed to be in the car, he only wore the top part of the costume and sat in his underwear. However, to maintain the illusion that RoboCop wears the entire suit while inside a car, most shots show his robotic feet exiting the car first.
  • On the 20th anniversary disc, Peter Weller stated that the scariest moment came when he had to film the scene where he walked down the stairs in the dance club. This consisted of him only wearing the upper portion of the costume but having to walk down the stairs without being allowed to look where he was stepping. He said the situation became very dangerous as loud music was being played and smoke was everywhere. He ended up doing this sequence three times.
  • The RoboCop suit was the most expensive item on set. While the price range varies, the producers indicated that they spent anywhere between US$500,000 to US$1 million for the suit.
  • Although Peter Weller is solely credited as playing RoboCop, he did in fact have a stunt double for certain scenes. During the making of the crack house scene, Peter Weller, Paul Verhoeven, and the stunt double can be seen discussing RoboCop's movements.
  • On the DVD Ray Wise explains that he and Kurtwood Smith ended up being too close to an explosion which caused pieces of glass to be embedded into Ray's face. He received an additional stunt pay for this mishap as per the studio. Ray then jokingly states that he devised ways where he would be as close to the explosions as possible to gain extra money.
  • The steel mill scenes at the end of the movie became the more boring part of the shoot. Ray Wise and Kurtwood Smith along with the rest of the cast would regularly steal golf carts belonging to the crew and race around with them. The crew became very angry and told them they were not happy with their actions.
  • Tom Berenger was in talks with director Verhoeven about playing the lead role of RoboCop.
  • Spencer Prokop's first cinematic appearance.
  • Because the hands of the RoboCop suit were made of foam rubber, the car keys would bounce off of Peter Weller's hand every time he attempted to catch them. The production took up to 50 takes and an entire day's worth of filming before finally getting the shot right.
  • RoboCop's spike, which emerges from his knuckles, and gun holster were actually two stand alone separate pieces that were never integrated into the costume. The spiked hand was controlled by someone who just held up a fake arm towards the camera while he was off camera, and the gun holster was operated off screen since it was a stand alone piece.
  • When the RoboCop suit arrived on set, Peter Weller discovered that his movements had become very restrictive in the suit after Paul Verhoeven began watching the raw dailies. He and Moni Yakim had envisioned RoboCop moving in a snake like fashion but the suit would not allow it. Moni then informed him that it would be best to slow down his movements so that he could gain the ability to move in the costume. Production was then halted for three days in order for Yakin, Verhoeven, and Weller to discuss the new approach. Tempers flew and arguments started over this decision, but in the end, Verhoeven thought Weller deserved the right to express his opinions and go forth with this decision. Verhoeven was happy with the end results.
  • Kurtwood Smith originally auditioned for the role of Dick Jones, and when he first learned he had been cast, he thought that was the role he had gotten. Not until later did he find out he would be playing Clarence Boddicker. Later still, he discovered the reason: being Dutch, director Paul Verhoeven had grown up near the Holocaust, and thought that, when wearing glasses, Smith resembled Heinrich Himmler. Smith apparently agreed with the idea, stating that a bigger, more menacing villain would come across as someone who could merely be outsmarted, while his character's glasses made him look smarter and therefore more of a threat.
  • Six actors from this film have also appeared in the Star Trek franchise: Kurtwood Smith played the Federation President in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), and also appeared on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993) and Star Trek: Voyager (1995); Ronny Cox appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987); Ray Wise appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) and Star Trek: Voyager (1995); Miguel Ferrer played a helmsman in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984); Robert DoQui appeared on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993); and Peter Weller appeared on Star Trek: Enterprise (2001) and in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013).
  • Director Trademark: [in-movie fake commercials] Several fake advertisements are featured throughout the movie: The Family Heart Center (a medical center specializing in artificial heart transplants), Nukem (a futuristic Battleship-like board game), and the 6000 SUX - the primary vehicle that Clarence Boddicker and his gang use.
  • This movie along with Basic Instinct (1992), Starship Troopers (1997), and Hollow Man (2000) is one of four separate movie franchises in which the first movie of their respected series (directed by Paul Verhoeven) were successful, but their respective sequels (not directed by Verhoeven) all either bombed at the box office or were released 'Direct-to-VHS/DVD'.
  • The young gas station attendant with the glasses and the geometry book is a reference to a young Paul Verhoeven himself, who wears spectacles and studied Maths in the Netherlands.
  • The shootout at the cocaine factory was not originally intended to be so fast-paced. The automatic guns used in the scene kept malfunctioning during filming. Most camera shots did not provide more than three seconds of usable footage, because most guns were usually jammed by that time. This necessitated quick cuts during editing, which proved to be advantageous for the scene.
  • Paul Verhoeven and Rob Bottin clashed repeatedly before and during production over the design and make-up of the RoboCop character. What they argued most about was the scene where Murphy takes off his helmet. Bottin wanted the scene to be filmed in a darkened area, fearing that harsh light would reveal too much of the make-up effects; Verhoeven wanted the scene to be filmed as brightly as possible, citing that director of photography Jost Vacano would be able to light it properly without revealing anything. Verhoeven got his way and Bottin refused to talk to him any further for the remainder of production. However, at the premiere, both men were so impressed with how the scene had turned out, that they instantly forgave each other. Bottin, who had even vowed to never again work with Verhoeven, happily accepted the offer to work on Verhoeven's next project, Total Recall (1990).
  • The man catching the gun that RoboCop beats out of Leon's hand in the disco was supposed to be a cameo by screenwriter Edward Neumeier, but he was not available at the time of filming.
  • Debra Lamb's small role was cut from the final finished version of the film.
  • Peter Weller turned down a role in King Kong Lives (1986) to star in this film.
  • When the movements in the Robosuit had to be rethought, movement coach Moni Yakim had Peter Weller study the exaggerated and theatrical performance of Nikolay Cherkasov in the title role of Ivan the Terrible, Part I (1944).
  • Running Gag: Every time a patrol car speeds up or down a ramp of a parking garage, the rear bumper hits the ground causing sparks to fly.
  • Peter Weller and Nancy Allen actually share the same birthday - June 24.
  • Almost 20 years after RoboCop, Peter Weller, Paul McCrane and Ray Wise all appear in Day 5 of 24 (2001). However, they do not share any screen time.
  • Dick Jones taunts Bob Morton with the lines "... the old story, the fight for love and glory ...", which are from the song "As Time Goes By" by Herman Hupfeld.
  • "He's like Dirty Harry with Ball Bearings" was one of the early taglines considered but was ultimately dropped fearing litigation from either Warner Bros. or Clint Eastwood.
  • Before Peter Weller was cast, Rutger Hauer was another actor in line to play RoboCop. However, it was decided that he was too large to fit into the costume. Weller won the role because of his slender 5'10½ frame and the expressiveness of his lower face.
  • Peter Weller wore a bald cap so that the RoboCop helmet could be removed more easily.
  • The film was submitted to the MPAA 12 times before securing an R rating.
  • Nancy Allen first arrived on set when Paul Verhoeven was shooting the deliberately cheesy sitcom "It's Not My Problem" which appears on television screens throughout the film. Allen was initially horrified to think that she had signed on to make a film with an incompetent director.
  • Writer Edward Neumeier was an executive at Universal and hated his job so he jacked it in to pursue his dream of writing a screenplay about a robot that became a cop. Coincidentally fellow scribe Michael Miner was working on a script about a human cop who becomes a robot. It was a natural progression for the two to join forces.
  • Twenty-seven years after the movie's release, Detroit did actually file for bankruptcy.
  • While Murphy mentions his son Jimmy by name when twirling his gun in front of Lewis, the name of Murphy's wife is never mentioned in the film. The closing credits refer to them only as "Murphy's Wife" and "Murphy's Son". In the closing credits of the sequel RoboCop 2 (1990), their names are officially revealed as Ellen Murphy and Jimmy Murphy.
  • Murphy briefly mentions his son's name in the parking lot when he practices the gun twirl.
  • Peter Weller said one of his favorite memories of his film career was filming the drug bust sequence. While filming the sequence, Weller was listening to Peter Gabriel's song "Red Rain" on his Walkman inside the RoboCop helmet as he exchanged gunfire with various bad guys.
  • Some 25 years later, an internet rumor began to get funding for a RoboCop statue to be placed in Detroit. Peter Weller himself created a public service announcement to support the proposal. Eventually, a Kickstarter campaign was created and proved successful, as the 12 foot statue is now in production.
  • There are several connections between this film, its 2014 remake, and the Batman franchise. Peter Weller and Michael Keaton have both played Bruce Wayne/Batman, as has George Clooney, who is cousin to cast member Miguel Ferrer. Officer Lewis was originally to be played by Stephanie Zimbalist, whose father Efrem Zimbalist Jr. voiced Alfred Pennyworth on Batman: The Animated Series. Gary Oldman played Commissioner James Gordon in Batman Begins (2005).
  • All the POV shots when RoboCop first wakes up with technicians working on him (including the party scene and the moment when RoboCop is unveiled) were shot at the Mary Kay Cosmetics factory in Dallas.
  • The phone number for the Family Heart Center is 555-4444.
  • For the commercial about a nuclear war game, they replaced Parker Brothers with Butler Brothers. Coincidentally, in Dallas, Texas, where RoboCop was filmed, there was an actual company named Butler Brothers.
  • T.J. Lazer is a parody of the television series T.J. Hooker (1982), which starred William Shatner. Peter Weller, like Shatner, has appeared in the Star Trek films.
  • In the scene where Murphy is in the locker room and Frederickson's locker is being emptied, Murphy is seen placing his wedding ring on the top shelf of his locker. Shortly after when he is told to be front and centre by Reed, you can clearly see his wedding ring is back on as he loads his gun and closes his locker.
  • The house RoboCop visits that is meant to be Murphy's old home is not 548 Primrose Lane as given. Its actual number can be seen quickly and shows it is number 3128.
  • Robert DoQui and Felton Perry who both star in the film played the same character of Obra in the Walking Tall series. Perry played Obra in Walking Tall (1973) and DoQui played Obra in Walking Tall Part II (1975).
  • Another problem with the RoboCop suit was that it reflected too much light when lit like an actor normally is. This caused some unusable shots. Eventually, the problem was solved by lighting it like a car.
  • The thief who robs the liquor store walks by a rack of comic books and picks up an issue of Iron Man. Like RoboCop, Iron Man is about a man who wears a metal robotic suit due to injuries. Cast member Miguel Ferrer later appeared in Iron Man 3 (2013).
  • While set in Detroit, 22 locations in and around Dallas were used for filming. The only actual showing of the Motor City itself is in the opening and that was stock footage.
  • (Cameo) Edward Neumeier: The writer is briefly seen on a photo on the "Wanted" bulletin in the police department, hanging on a non-transparent glass when RoboCop walks behind it. Close inspection of the original prop reveals that the bulletin bears his name as well and that the fictionalized version of Edward Neumeier is charged with fraud and flight to avoid prosecution. Originally, the man catching the LAR Grizzly gun that RoboCop beats out of Leon's hand in the disco was supposed to be his cameo, but he wasn't available at the time of filming.
  • Monte Hellman acted as second unit director after Paul Verhoeven began to fall behind schedule.
  • The studio decided that Rob Bottin would be the ideal person to create the RoboCop suit, as he had just finished doing the special effects for The Thing (1982).
  • Bob Morton's home was filmed in a home near Dallas featured in the television series Beyond 2000 (1985).
  • RoboCop's look was inspired by the Japanese comic The 8 Man and the first Metal Hero Uchû keiji Gyaban (1982).
  • As one of the setpieces of the movie, the ED-209's look and animated sequences were under the close supervision of Paul Verhoeven, who sometimes acted out the robot's movements himself.
  • 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 (1987)...how big corporations will 'take care of us' and...how they won't."
  • While filming in Dallas, Paul Verhoeven especially liked the look of one particular building when it was lit up by external lights at night. Unfortunately, that building was being renovated during the shooting and the lights were shut off. As they were finished in Dallas and were leaving, they literally saw the lights come on through the plane's window.
  • Kenneth L. Johnson said that he was offered the chance to direct, but turned down when he was not allowed to change aspects of the script that he considered to be "mean-spirited, ugly and ultra-violent".
  • Although both Edward Neumeier and Paul Verhoeven have declared themselves staunchly on the political left, Neumeier recalls on the audio commentary to Starship Troopers (1997) that many of his liberal friends perceived this 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 way possible.
  • 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.
  • 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 film was shot in a very hot summer in Dallas.
  • The stuntman playing the liquor store bandit's reaction to RoboCop's first appearance was totally ad-libbed and just too perfect to not include.
  • Ken Russell called this the greatest science-fiction film since Metropolis (1927).
  • 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 RoboCop and Clarence Boddicker's gang use as hideouts reflecting this concern.
  • Orion Pictures executives kept trying to interfere with the production while it was still going on.
  • At 1:15:52 there is a news story that tells of two former US presidents who retired in Santa Barbara and were struck by a laser. Audiences in Santa Barbara theaters cheered at the mention of the town. Former President Richard Nixon did have a home in San Clemente, California but resided in New York City since 1979 until his death in April 1994 (his Presidential library and birthplace is located in Yorba Linda, California); former President Ronald Reagan (who was President at the time of the film's release in 1987) passed away in June 2004 at his Bel Air estate (his presidential library is located in Simi Valley, CA).
  • Cameo: Alex Van Halen as Keva Rosenberg, Unemployed Person.
  • When Robocop first "loads up", you seen some IBM compatible computer commands displayed on the screen in a list. The commands are: Command.com, Load Bios, Memory Set, System Status, and OK. When he does a more extensive reboot, the commands are (some obviously related to only Robocop): Command.com, Load Bios, Bios System Check, RAM Check, Config.SYS, Bio.Com Interface, To Rom I/O, Controller, Compspec.EXE, Memory.DAT, Robo Utils, System Buffer, Parameters, Parity Set, Memory Set, System Status, and OK.
  • The convenient store robber was played by the movie's stunt coordinator who gladly accepted to be one of RoboCop's victims and contributed the idea of being hit into the door of the glass cooler.
  • In the Latinamerican DVD dubbing, the news about Mexico were changed to be happening in the Middle East. However, in the subtitles the location remained uncharged.
  • Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
  • The Twinkie as a defense for murder refered to in an earlier piece of trivia was mentioned in a cover of I Fought The Law by the 80's punk band the Dead Kennedys, it is also notable that the defense actually worked.
  • Paul Verhoeven admitted that while reading the screenplay for the first time, he had difficulties with the American slang (as he is Dutch). For instance, he did not understand why the Afro-American gang members would call the Caucasian members "brother", even though they weren't related.
  • Director Paul Verhoeven credits James Cameron's The Terminator (1984) with the success of RoboCop. Orion Pictures, the production company of RoboCop, was initially founded with the purpose of making quality movies instead of profitable blockbusters. Shortage of money forced them to produce The Terminator, which they saw as a low-budget production that might make some quick profit, but since this was not the type of movie they liked to be associated with, the studio did very little marketing for the film. When Terminator became an unexpected hit, the studio was convinced that science-fiction could be profitable, so RoboCop was quickly green-lit and appropriately marketed. Verhoeven also adopted the fast editing pace from that movie.
  • Paul Verhoeven wanted his American debut to have an appropriately American pacing. He worked again with cinematographer Jost Vacano (with whom he had filmed several of his Dutch movies), as Vacano had become famous for his groundbreaking tracking shots in Das Boot (1981). Verhoeven wanted the camera to be nearly always moving, to prevent the pace from slowing down; for that reason, even dialog scenes were filmed with a steady cam.
  • Steven Berkoff was considered for Dick Jones.
  • Paul Verhoeven's first American film.
  • Armand Assante auditioned for the role of Alex Murphy/Robocop.
  • When told cigarettes will kill him, Emil (Paul McCrane) replies "You wanna live forever?" This line was also used in Starship Troopers (1997), also directed by Paul Verhoeven. Paul McCrane also previously appeared in Fame (1980), the title song of which featured the line "I'm gonna live forever."
  • The organic food paste that Robocop eats was actually made up of parsnip, tomato purée and crushed butterfinger bars.
  • The script for Robocop was rejected by just about every major movie studio since it was conceived in the early 1980s. Orion films took the chance and Robocop's success continued on with 2 follow up sequels to the movie, two cartoon series, a television show, several comic book series, and a made for TV series of 4 movie length episodes as well as a fan made parody film. It has also spawned over a billion dollars in children and adult toy lines and collector statues which are still being released to date.
  • Plans for a Terminator vs Robocop film have been on and off in the works since 1990. Although no movie has yet to be made with the crossover, several video games and comic books have been released based on the idea, making the project one of the most anticipated crossovers of all time.
  • Michael Gregory as the SWAT team leader when the city councilman takes hostages. He previously appeared in Beverly Hills Cop (1984) as the hotel manager who checks in Axel Foley. Both movies have "cop" in the title.
  • This film features several actors connected to Batman. Peter Weller has voiced Batman, Miguel Ferrer was cousin to Batman player George Clooney, 'Ray Wise' voiced Commissioner Gordon, and Dan O'Herlihy appeared on Batman: The Animated Series (1992)_. The remake featured Michael Keaton and Gary Oldman, who has also played Batman and Gordon, They also both play roles in the Robocop Remake (2014)
  • Miguel Ferrer, Dan O'Herlihy and Ray Wise all subsequently appeared on Twin Peaks (1990).
  • Despite prominent advertising, the ED-209 is barely in the film.
  • The trademark phrase of RoboCop "Dead or alive you are coming with me" is actually uttered only twice in the film.
  • The only film in the RoboCop franchise to have filming performed in Detroit, albeit only flyover shots of the skyline as seen in the opening shot. A different city was used to double for the city in each installment: Dallas in this film, Houston was used for location filming in RoboCop 2 (1990), and Atlanta in RoboCop 3 (1993). The remake, RoboCop (2014), was filmed in Toronto.
  • A rare extended television spot, as well as a 1988 commercial for the film's home video release, establish that the film is set in 1991.
  • In August 1988, it was the first Orion release to premiere in the United States on Showtime, as part of an exclusive, multi-year deal for first-run television rights. Prior to then, HBO had a multi-year contract with the studio to have their films premiere first on the pay cable channel.
  • Sylvester Stallone was considered to play Alex Murphy/Robocop.
  • The company that makes Robocop is named OCP, which is the word "cop" rearranged.
  • Released on the 32 year anniversary of the opening of Disneyland Park: July 17.
  • Despite an uncanny resemblance, the actor who played Keva Rosenburg is NOT Eddie Van Halen, nor is it Alex Van Halen. The actor's name is James Staszkiel.
  • Michael Keaton, Mel Gibson, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lance Henriksen were considered for the title role. Ironically, Schwarzenegger would later work with director Paul Verhoeven in Total Recall (1990).
  • The character of Robocop made an appearance at WCW Capital Combat in 1990 as part of the publicity for Robocop 2. He rescues Sting, one of WCWs top wrestlers from a attack by The Four Horseman. It is widely regarded as one of the worst and most ridiculous moments in wrestling history
  • The film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #23.
  • Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) uses two different types of the Desert Eagle in the film. His main weapon is an Desert Eagle Mark I in .357 Magnum with an elongated threaded barrel (sometimes fitted with a suppressor). He also uses one without the extended barrel during the drug lab shootout.
  • Murphy carries the SIG-Sauer P226 in 9x19mm as his sidearm before he becomes RoboCop. His partner, Anne Lewis, also uses one in the abandoned factory and throughout the remainder of the film, although it appears that her sidearm was a P9S earlier. (There has been some debate on RoboCop message boards over whether this gun is a P220 or a P226. It is definitely a P226 because the frame of the gun has the prominent bulges along the side, visible between the takedown switch and the decocker, which make the frame wider so that the gun can accommodate a double-stack magazine. The P220, which takes a single-stack magazine, lacks these; the sides of the receiver appear smooth rather than bulged, even from a distance.)
  • A semi-automatic civilian version of the Sterling SMG, the Sterling Mark 6 Semiautomatic Carbine (recognizable by its 16" barrel, necessary to comply with gun laws in the U.S.) is seen used by the convenience store robber (Mike Moroff). It was imported for commercial sale into the U.S. during the 1980s and banned from import after 1989 (under the so-called Congressional Assault Weapons Ban, which, however, expired in the 2000s). The carbine is fired semiautomatic throughout the robbery.
  • The Cobras are actually older-specification Barrett M82 long-range .50 BMG rifles which have been dressed up extra plastic housing over the receivers and fitted with gigantic scopes. (The scopes were originally supposed to show computer-generated targeting information, but this idea was scrapped due to budget constraints.) The Cobra fires some type of powerful high explosive incendiary round that explodes upon impact (judging by the lack of substantial recoil, this is likely some form of low-pressure grenade);
  • Peter Weller and Ray Wise have both voiced characters in Batman animated movies.
  • Paul Verhoeven who directed this movie, also directed Total Recall (1990). The police in Total Recall (2012) are robotic cops. In fact, in that film, a street thug refers to one of the robotic police as "Robo-Dick", a nod to this film.
  • The helmets the police officers wear are modified versions of the Cooper SK 2000 hockey helmet. Oddly enough the visors are screwed into the side bumpers instead of the 2 screws on the front of the helmet where traditionally visors & cages are installed on the helmets. In the NHL it was most famously used but Mario Lemieux, Chris Osgood, & Dominic Hasek.
  • Takes place the same year as Lost in Space (1965), which had a robot as a main character.
  • When Robocop ends the hostage situation, it is a 'parody' of the media videotaped Bud Dwyer suicide.
  • One of the themes of Robocop was a futuristic bankruptcy of Detroit. Robocop premiered on July 17th, 1987, the city of Detroit, Michigan, filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy on July 18, 2013.
  • The phrase, " . . . dead or alive . . . you're coming with me . . . ," is an old western movie and television lawman/outlaw tag line.
  • Ray Wise says that he kept his costume from this film. He also keeps it wrapped in plastic, "just like Laura Palmer."
  • In 2019, KFC released a series of hilarious commercials featuring a character, in reference to the character of Robocop, named Colonel RoboCop. Among the most famous of these commercials was of a family watching this film in their living room when Colonel Robocop shows up and scare the family into eating the product when the family tried to ignore him. Peter Weller himself provided the voice for Colonel Robocop.
  • During filming, director Paul Verhoeven caused considerable tension on the set with his notoriously short temper. Cast members Kurtwood Smith and Ronny Cox were eyewitnesses to some of the director's rantings and ravings. In addition, Peter Weller hated the Robocop costume due to lack of comfort.

Spoilers

  • Originally, Clarence Boddicker was the lone villain in the movie, but the filmmakers decided to capitalize on the political commentary by making Dick Jones (as played by Ronny Cox) the arch villain pulling the strings. As a result, the two central storylines (RoboCop hunting Boddicker/the politics of OCP) converge into the finale.
  • When Lewis fires the Cobra Assault Cannon during the final shootout at the foundry the muzzle flash and blast are so powerful that they knock the Lexan screen protecting the film crew and equipment off its mounting and into the shot.
  • During the news footage when RoboCop throws the disgruntled city hall worker out the window during the hostage crisis, the dummy's legs fly up into the air in a comedic fashion as it hits the ground. This was a happy accident and the creators decided to keep it in the film.
  • Two scenes were storyboarded, but never filmed. The drawings are shown on the DVD. The first was a scene where RoboCop visits his grave. The second was a long car chase, an alternate scene that got them to the old steel mill (where Murphy died). This car chase was to be set after RoboCop removed his helmet and had RoboCop and Lewis break up a riot, followed by a shootout with Joe and Emil with the Cobra Assault Cannons. Eventually, they retreated to their cars then the car chase to the old steel mill began. There was also an alternate opening scene, showing Clarence Boddicker wounding the officer who is announced dead later in the movie, but this scene was scrapped as being unnecessary.
  • In the attempted rape scene, writer Edward Neumeier originally had RoboCop shoot past the victim's cheek, hitting and killing the rapist. While getting ready to shoot the scene as scripted, Paul Verhoeven notice how Donna Keegan's (playing the rape victim) legs were spread apart, giving him the idea to have RoboCop shoot between her legs and shoot the rapist in the genitals. Neumeier loved the idea and that was how the scene was shot.
  • Ray Wise actually kept a part of the torn and tattered remains of Leon's clothing (worn for the crane tower explosion) after filming by wrapping it in a plastic bag.
  • According to Paul Verhoeven's commentary on the Criterion Edition DVD, an additional Media Break was filmed and completed for the film. Most notably, it featured footage of Lewis hospitalized and recovering, assuring the audience that she did not die nor would become "Bride of RoboCop", as many speculated.
  • Realizing that the film was running behind schedule and over budget, director Paul Verhoeven and producer Jon Davison purposely did not film one crucial scene: Officer Murphy's death. When production wrapped, they went back to Los Angeles and grimly informed the execs that Murphy's death had not been filmed. So the execs gave them more money and they filmed the scene in a warehouse in Los Angeles.
  • As RoboCop approaches Dick Jones's office in his first attempt to arrest him, Jones is tapping his fingers in time to the incidental music.
  • One scene that was scripted, but not featured in the film is a fourth Media Break sequence in which Brixby Snyder, a parody of Benny Hill whose running line is "I'd buy that for a dollar!", is forcibly arrested on allegations of receiving sexual favors from underaged co-stars. The scene would have taken place after RoboCop's reply to the Old Man's question, but the decision was made to instead end the film after Murphy's reply, because Director Paul Verhoeven felt the scripted ending was "more of a punch-line than a climax". As a result, there is no dialog mentioning the names of Brixby Snyder or his program "It's Not My Problem" in the film.
  • Seven RoboCop suits were used throughout the movie. Out of the seven, one of them had special safeguards and fireproof fiberglass to help the stuntman perform the gas station scene. Another two were used exclusively during the third act of the movie where Robocop gets damaged from the ED-209 and the Detroit Police Department. There was no 'one suit' as most people would think, but actually more than one, each fragile and easily destroyed during filming.
  • Body count: 34
  • Director Trademark: [religious imagery] RoboCop is seen walking on water near the end of the film. Verhoeven has stated that he sees the character as a futuristic version of Christ. Additional references include the gunshot blast to Murphy's hand as Jesus' hands being nailed to the cross, the bullet to Murphy's head seen as the Crown of Thorns, and Boddicker's blood at the climax of the film turning the water red, like wine.
  • Director Paul Verhoeven originally wanted RoboCop to kill Clarence Boddicker by stabbing him through the eyeball. Realizing that the censors would balk, he changed his mind and envisioned Clarence having the interface spike shoved through his chin, mouth, and upper jaw. Again, for the sake of placating the censors, he settled on the filmed version, which was also altered slightly (see the "Alternate Versions" section for more information).
  • A puppet of Ronny Cox was used when he is shot out of the building window by RoboCop as he's falling to his death.
  • This was the second time that Kurtwood Smith killed Miguel Ferrer in a movie. The first was in Flashpoint (1984).
  • The trauma team portrayed in the movie trying to save Murphy was a real hospital trauma team. Their dialogue was mostly ad-libbed.
  • The scene where Boddicker's gang tortures and finally murders Murphy was heavily edited several times in order to avoid an X rating. In the theatrical version, it is clear that Boddicker has blown apart Murphy's right hand with a shotgun blast, and Emil then blows off his right arm at the shoulder with another shotgun blast, but the explicit gore is limited in those instances. There was also an extension of 2 seconds where Boddicker explicitly blows Murphy's brains out with a handgun that got taken out. The full scene with all of the original dismemberment and head shot was restored in the Director's Cut which was released on home media.
  • The violation RoboCop lists when attempting to arrest Dick Jones is C.6 SEC 148.
  • One unused idea for a scene was to have RoboCop going to his old house where his family would still live. He meets his son, but the boy does not recognize him; the only one who does is his old dog (similar to The Odyssey, where Odysseus returns home and isn't recognized by anyone except his dog). The producers liked the idea but Paul Verhoeven decided not to shoot the scene for being a bit too sentimental. The scene would later be used in the 2014 remake. This idea was also used in RoboCop 2, as he passes in front of the house in a police car and his former wife recognizes him.
  • Concerned that various police forces would object to the scene of the title character throwing Clarence Boddicker through glass while reading his rights, the producers had a preliminary screening for an audience of police officers. It turns out that they were delighted at the sight of the hero getting tough with a wanted murderer in a way that they could not.
  • While filming Bob Morton's death scene, Miguel Ferrer and Kurtwood Smith began cracking up because while directing the scene, Paul Verhoeven referred to all the actors in-character. This meant he addressed the actresses playing the prostitutes as "bitches".
  • Up till then, Ronny Cox was usually cast in friendly roles so his casting as a villain was a surprise. This was also the case for Kurtwood Smith who had normally won intellectual roles.
  • The climactic "Melting Man" scene with Emil (Paul McCrane) melting after being soaked in acid was heavily objected by the MPAA and they demanded to have it removed. However, they eventually backed down when they found out that in most test screenings, the scene elicited the most positive reaction from the test audience such that it was eventually passed without any cuts.
  • Just for the record (some viewers have asked about this very obvious point), loading the "demo" ED-209 with live ammo was no "mistake" or "character error", even though it was a ridiculous and catastrophic oversight in responsible behavior. The idea is that Dick Jones and his henchmen are such deranged, arrogant, confident people that they will actually risk lives merely to demonstrate/flaunt their preposterous juggernaut.
  • Kevin Page (the actor seen as Kinney - who is killed by the ED-209) has a still of the scene with himself and Ronny Cox which became his self-portrait - in real life an oil painting of this scene (done with a modern take on pointillism) is seen inside Page's art gallery in Dallas, Texas, which opened up in 2012 (at the same time when appearing on the television series Dallas (2012) in a recurring role - he and Brenda Strong (who was in Starship Troopers (1997)) were the only Verhoeven alumni to have appeared in the Dallas continuation series for three seasons). Page has been a professional artist/photographer in the DFW Metroplex since the early 2000s.
  • In the scene after RoboCop arrests Clarence Boddicker and brings him into the precinct, Kurtwood Smith improvised the line "Just give me my fucking phone call.".
  • Emil Antonowski's fate was inspired by The Incredible Melting Man (1977).
  • The paramedics attempting to resuscitate Murphy after he is shot up with holes were played by a real trauma team. They were allowed to improvise their lines, and on the DVD commentary the writers mention how it turned out better than what they ever could have thought up.
  • Joe P. Cox was originally supposed to have a much more gruesome death. In the original script during the climax, he got knocked off a scaffold and was impaled on a pole when he fell, and would then be eaten alive by dogs.
  • The 'Melting Man' sequence was conceived by special make-up effects designer Rob Bottin as a two-stage effect, with increasing amounts of flesh melting off from Emil's (Paul McCrane) bones in each stage. About three-quarters of McCrane's head and chest were covered in make-up appliances. For the shot where Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) runs over Emil with his car, a life-size dummy was created with the stage two make-up. The dummy was jointed to give the correct effect of buckling while being hit. The head was always supposed to come off, but the fact that it rolled neatly over the car's windshield was pure luck. For the shot from inside the car that showed Emil's guts splattering over the windshield, the cast and crew had gathered several days' worth of catering leftovers in a pot. This had become a disgusting liquid mess that was subsequently thrown at the windshield to get the desired effect.
  • After writing the second draft of the screenplay, writers Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner had two months to rewrite the screenplay with director Paul Verhoeven's input. Verhoeven initially wanted to give the story more realism, and also suggested that Murphy should have an extramarital affair with Anne Lewis. When Miner became sick, Neumeier reluctantly started to work on the alterations, but not before he gave Verhoeven a stack of American comics, so that the director could get a taste of the comic book atmosphere that Neumeier and Miner had been aiming for. Fortunately, Verhoeven enjoyed the comics, and after reading the third draft of the screenplay, he agreed that the second draft (with a few slight modifications) was superior.
  • Paul Verhoeven initially did not like the screenplay, but was finally won over when he noticed that underneath all the science fiction, there was a universal story about a man who finally finds his lost identity. When he saw the finished film with an audience for the first time, Verhoeven was touched to learn that he had succeeded in getting that quest to the screen; during the final shot, they already started to yell "Murphy!" before RoboCop got the chance to say it.
  • The police union strike taking place at the end of the film, provides a viable explanation as to why Dick Jones did not dispatch a second mission of police officers against RoboCop (after the OCP Tower shootout). Seeing that he has run out of options Dick Jones resorted to his last ally: Clarence Boddicker and his gang of thugs.
  • According to Kevin Page, the scene where his character Kinney is violently shot by ED-209 was trimmed by 2 seconds in order to obtain the R rating. The shots involved him being shot some more as he is lying on the table. Page was actually called back two months after the production wrapped to film this shot that ultimately got removed. However, the full scene was restored in the Director's Cut.
  • After accepting the script to direct, Paul Verhoeven stated in a QA panel that he asked for a sex scene to be inserted between Robocop and his partner, Lewis. To his utter surprise, despite having no credentials in Hollywood as a director yet, both writers Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner agreed to so and brought him the altered script with the scene. He rejected the idea afterward and they did too. Such demands were unheard of for a first time director and would never be accepted.
  • Body count: 34, Including Alex Murphy and Ed 209.
  • Robocop is impervious to bullets, however, his mouth and chin are constantly exposed. None of the criminals ever think to exploit this weakness by aiming or shooting at this clear target. Even after Robocop has massive amounts of steel dropped on him his organic face is not damaged.
  • The mouth and cheeks of Robocop are constantly unprotected yet no criminal or villain attempts to exploit this weakness except ED209 when he sees the eye of Robocop but he stops ED209 just before the robot fires. Also, odds are that Robocop would be hit in the area of his exposed face with all the stray bullets fired.
  • In the infamous melting man sequence, Paul McCrane and Ray Wise were kept apart so that the first time Wise's character, Leon sees Emil, McCrane's character, melting like cheese off a pizza was genuinely horrifying. It was the first time that Wise sees McCrane in makeup, ensuring that his look of fear and yell of terror were real. Leon's line, "Don't touch me, man!" was also genuine on the part of Wise's fear of McCrane's monstrously altered appearance.
  • During Murphy's death scene, director Paul Verhoeven's finger can be seen briefly in front of the camera by accident. Rather than reshoot the scene, it was left in the final film. The cast and crew dubbed it, "Verhoeven's cameo".
  • This film and Starship Troopers (1997) each feature a scene where men and women who are co-workers share locker and shower rooms. Instead of having the standard separate locker and shower rooms in accordance to gender, both films depict coed locker and shower rooms in futuristic settings. The male and female characters are seen in various states of undress and bathing while interacting with one another as if it's natural. Both films are directed by Paul Verhoeven.
  • During the scene where Murphy/RoboCop is carrying out his revenge against Boddicker while reading him his Miranda Rights, he is about to strangle him to death until it's averted due to Boddicker's pleading and his program reminding him to uphold the law. In the latter half of the film where the final battle takes place between Murphy/RoboCop and Lewis against Boddicker and his gang at the steel mill, he finally does kill Boddicker by stabbing him in the throat with his bayonet jack. In both cases, Murphy/RoboCop aimed for the throat in terms of killing his killer.
  • This film share several similarities with Spawn (1997). * Both films show the main character working for a government agency. * Both films show the wrongful, violent, and excruciating death of the main character. * Both films show that the main character's death robbed him of his family and normal life. * Both films show the main character eventually seeking revenge for his death. * Both films show the rampant city corruption that the main character must contend with. * Both films show the advancement of technology that serves a huge purpose for the entire story.
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