RoboCop: 35 facts to celebrate its 35th anniversary re-release at Cineworld

Your move, Cineworlders. Sci-fi classic RoboCop is getting a 35th-anniversary re-release in Cineworld this August, and this time the title character is packing even more heat than ever.

This gleaming 4K restoration offers the full director's cut of Paul Verhoeven's memorably controversial sci-fi masterpiece. Once a target of the American censors, who admitted to being appalled by Verhoeven's intentionally operatic use of violence, RoboCop now returns unfettered and uncompromised, exactly the way fans want it.

Peter Weller stars as Murphy, an idealistic cop working in the hellish dystopian landscape of futuristic Detroit. When Murphy is sadistically killed by vicious gang member Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith), Murphy is reborn as the android RoboCop, deployed by the apparently benign corporation OCP to rid the streets of crime and corruption.

However, Murphy is unable to suppress the memories of his human life, and upon discovering that Boddicker is on OCP's payroll, begins to enact spectacular revenge against his corporate overseers.

Gloriously over-the-top yet incisively satirical, laden with memorable quotes and also a surprising amount of heart, RoboCop has lost none of its capacity to surprise, delight and shock.

In anticipation of the movie's arrival, here are 35 fun facts to celebrate its 35th birthday. How well do you truly know RoboCop? Scroll down beneath the GIF to find out.



1. RoboCop was first devised by screenwriter Edward Neumeier in the early 1980s, and was heavily influenced by his time spent working near the set for Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner.

2. Neumeier went on to collaborate with Michael Miner who described the script as a response to the political era of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

3. The first draft of the script was titled RoboCop: The Future of Law Enforcement.

4. The script was eventually picked up Airplane! producer Jon Davison who demanded that the script's satirical emphasis be ramped up.

5. The movie went into production with the (now defunct) Orion Pictures and both Neumeier and Miner started work on their second draft of the script.

6. Several directors were courted for the project including cult body horror helmer David Cronenberg.


7. Dutch director Paul Verhoeven, acclaimed for satirical dramas like Turkish Delight, was then approached but on reading the script, he dismissed it as little more than an empty sci-fi spectacle.

8. However, he was convinced to read it again by his wife who stressed the underlying humanity of Murphy beneath the RoboCop suit.

9. Verhoeven then agreed to direct the movie, admitting that, due to his lack of proficiency in English, he had initially missed the satirical undertones.

10. Verhoeven, Neumeier and Miner aimed to strike a tone between seriousness, which Verhoeven favoured, and the pulpy comic book feel evinced by the 2000 AD likes of Judge Dredd.

11. Several actors were considered for the role of Murphy including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rutger Hauer.

12. Peter Weller was eventually cast on the basis of his martial arts training, not to mention his appearance in cult sci-fi comedy The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.


13. Verhoeven claimed that he hired Weller because "he had a very good chin."

14. Despite practising his proposed RoboCop movements for months in advance, Weller's efforts were stymied by the eventual design of the suit, which wasn't finished until production had started.

15. In fact, Weller became so frustrated with the cumbersome nature of the suit that he got himself fired from the movie.

16. He was eventually brought back on board on the condition that the suit was specifically designed for his body shape.

17. Movement co-ordinator and mime Moni Yakim worked with Weller to develop a steadier sense of movement for RoboCop, including the famous 90-degree head turns.

18. The diabolical Clarence Boddicker, played by TV actor Kurtwood Smith, was said to have been modelled on senior-ranking Nazi party member Heimlich Himmler.


19. Nancy Allen undertook police training and quit smoking to get in shape for the role of Murphy's loyal partner Lewis.

20. Dick Jones actor Ronny Cox was best known for playing good guys and seized on the opportunity to play against his screen image.

21. The movie was shot on location in Dallas and Pittsburgh with the fluctuating weather conditions causing havoc for the encased Weller.

22. It was said that Weller sweated off more than 3lb a day in the sweltering Dallas conditions.

23. Several Dallas structures stood in for the dystopian world of Detroit including the Renaissance Tower and the Dallas City Hall, which represented, respectively, the interior and exterior of OCP headquarters.

24. The climactic battle between RoboCop and Boddicker's men was filmed at a real-life steel mill in Pennsylvania. 


25. Verhoeven increased the extremity of the film's violence, reasoning that it would become outlandish and heighten the movie's sense of satirical absurdity.

26. The director said there were Christ-like comparisons to be made with Murphy's horrifying sacrificial execution, a theme that has run through many of the director's movies including the contentious The Fourth Man.

27. The film's practical effects were designed by Rob Bottin, at this point best known for his memorably gruesome work on the werewolf movie The Howling and John Carpenter's The Thing.

28. Bottin developed 50 different designs for the RoboCop suit before one was finally approved by Verhoeven.

29. The suit was influenced by Star Wars character C-3PO and classic sci-fi robots including Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still.

30. Bottin also designed a full-body prosthesis for actor Paul McCrane to wear during the thuggish Emil's horrific emaciation via toxic waste.


31. In fact, Emil's death scene was the one that test audiences rated the highest; Verhoeven noted that attendees laughed uproariously at the character's fate.

32. The film's propulsive and muscular score was composed by Basil Poledouris who had worked with Verhoeven on the earlier Flesh + Blood (1985).

33. Despite problems with the American censors, who demanded that several scenes be trimmed, RoboCop became a surprise hit at the box office, eventually grossing $53.4 million against its $15 million budget.

34. The movie was eventually nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Makeup and Hair and Best Special Visual Effects, although it lost out to The Last Emperor and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, respectively.

35. Verhoeven realised the film was working for audiences when, in the last scene, they repeated the name "Murphy" en masse along with the title character. 


Are you ready to comply? Then click here to book your tickets for RoboCop, which strides back into Cineworld from August 2nd. Let us know @Cineworld if you'd buy that for a dollar.