18 Cool Things You Probably Never Knew About Robocop

It's 30 years since Paul Verhoeven's sci-fi masterpiece arrived.

Peter Weller as Robocop.
Robocop The original and best.

30 years ago, Dutch director Paul Verhoeven delivered a sci-fi movie unlike any other seen before or since: Robocop.

Starring Peter Weller as the titular hero, Robocop was thrilling, emotional, clever and, most of all, extremely violent.

Three decades on and one forgettable attempt at a remake later here are 18 things you probably never knew about the film that everyone secretly knows is way better than The Terminator.



Blade Runner 2 will bring back Harrison Ford
Blade Runner Harrison Ford and Sean Young starred in the 80s sci-fi classic. Image Picture Warner Bros

Screenwriter Ed Neumeier got the idea to write Robocop after walking past a poster for Blade Runner and being told it was a film about a cop that hunted down robots.


Paul Verhoeven only ended up doing the film after his wife convinced him it was a good idea – originally he threw the script in the bin!


Arnold Schwarzenegger was one of the first choices for the role of Alex Murphy/Robocop until Paul Verhoeven realised the Austrian was simply too bulky to fit into the suit.


Peter Weller as Robocop.


Peter Weller was chosen after Verhoeven saw him in Buckaroo Banzai. It also helped that he was able to emote with his mouth – the only part of his face visible in the suit.


The film is set in Detroit and the source of some pride in the city – there are even plans to erect a Robocop statue there. However, most of the movie was actually filmed in Dallas.


The Robocop costume cost $1 million to make, with that fee covering six different “Shells” designed to highlight varying degrees of external damage.


Peter Weller as Robocop.


Weller had a nightmare in the suit. It took him 11 hours to put it on the first time and then a further three days to learn how to walk in it.


The clunky design of Robocop’s hands also meant the scene in which he catches a set of car keys required 60 takes.


When driving as Robocop, Weller only wore the top half of the suit – the legs could not fit in the car.


Miguel Ferrer in Robocop.


Weller wanted to stay in character as Robocop on set at all times but was mercilessly mocked by Verhoeven and co-star Miguel Ferrer, eventually scrapping the idea.


The notable nudity in the police locker room – a trick repeated in Starship Troopers – was supposed to highlight the gender neutrality of the future according to Verhoeven.


Only one full-scale ED-209 was built. It stood at seven-feet tall and weighed 300 pounds. Most of the footage of it moving was done using stop animated on a Commodore Amiga computer.



William Shockley, who plays the criminal who gets shot in the dick by Robocop, credits the appearance for landing him a six-year stint on Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman and its subsequent spin-off.


Kurtwood Smith’s rimless glasses were actually inspired by similar frames worn by Nazi officer Heinrich Himmler.


Almost all of Smith’s performance as Clarence Boddicker was improvised, including a scene involving his real-life wife.



Robocop was originally given an X rating and had to be recut and resubmitted 11 more times before getting an R rating.


A message in the end credits reads: “Unauthorized duplication, distribution or exhibition may result in civil liability and criminal prosecution by enforcement droids.”


Robocop was nominated for three Oscars and actually won one for best sound editing.

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