In Blade Runner, the dying replicant Roy Batty introspectively makes the speech during a rain downpour, moments before his own death:
I’ve… seen things you people wouldn’t believe… [contemptuous laugh] Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those… moments… will be lost in time, like [small cough] tears… in… rain. Time… to die…
In the Channel 4 documentary On the Edge of Blade Runner, Hauer, director Ridley Scott, and screenwriter David Peoples asserted that Hauer wrote the “Tears in Rain” speech. In his autobiography, Hauer said he merely cut the original scripted speech by several lines, adding only “All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain” although the original script, displayed during the documentary, before Hauer’s rewrite, does not mention “Tannhäuser Gate”:
I’ve known adventures, seen places you people will never see, I’ve been Offworld and back… frontiers! I’ve stood on the back deck of a blinker bound for the Plutition Camps with sweat in my eyes watching the stars fight on the shoulder of Orion…I’ve felt wind in my hair, riding test boats off the black galaxies and seen an attack fleet burn like a match and disappear. I’ve seen it, felt it…!
Hauer described this as “opera talk” and “hi-tech speech” with no bearing on the rest of the film, so he “put a knife in it” the night before filming, without Scott’s knowledge. In interview with Dan Jolin, Hauer said that these final lines showed that Batty wanted to “make his mark on existence … the replicant in the final scene, by dying, shows Deckard what a real man is made of.”
I’m not gonna say I like the original version better — the version we all know is ingrained too deeply — but I am the guy who has the infodump sections of all the Culture novels mentally bookmarked, if that tells you anything.